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17·MAR·2014

An Introduction to Mallorca

Mallorca is small enough to cross by car in just over an hour, but large enough to contain all kinds of different landscapes. Wherever you end up, it won’t take long to get there. Here’s a look at just a few of the highlights.

Palma - A classy capital

Bellver Castle Palma de Mallorca Upmarket and packed with history, Palma de Mallorca has the usual warren of twisting alleys and arcaded squares loved in Mediterranean old-towns. On a walking tour you can peek inside some of the stately courtyard houses in the streets close to the medieval cathedral, which was started in the 1200s and took almost four centuries to complete. Shoppers can explore the boutiques and high street stores clustered around Passeig del Born and Via Sindicat.

Old-Town-Palma

The mix of nationalities in Palma gives the city a dining scene unlike any other. Spanish cuisine runs the gamut from contemporary to old-school specialities like paella. There are plenty of tapas bars of course, as well as a few places serving pintxos, the Basque variation on tapas. International restaurants abound—there are elegant cafes, sushi bars, Argentine bakeries, Indian restaurants, German fish and chip shops, Swedish delicatessens and a whole lot more. The list is remarkable for such a compact city.

Cala d’Or, sophisticated and family friendly

Cala d’Or on Mallorca’s southeast coast proves that a purpose built seaside destination needn’t be raucous or tacky. Nearly all the buildings are whitewashed in the traditional Mediterranean style and the resort is set on a sequence of coves that cut deep into the coastline and are bathed by calm, turquoise waters. For two sublime undeveloped beaches there’s the Mondragó Natural Park just next door, while two-kilometre-long Es Trenc is 20 minutes away from Cala d’Or by car and is up there with the best beaches on the island.

Mallorca - Wine country

Mallorca hasn’t always been associated with wine, but there’s been an industry on the island since before the Romans arrived. Most of the vineyards are centred on Binissalem in the central plains. It’s a scenic spot too, with views of the Tramuntana Mountains to the north. Take a tour of the top vineyards on a specially organised miniature road train, which stops at seven wineries for walks and tasting sessions.

Mallorca´s rocky east

The eastern side of Mallorca has some of the most eye-catching landscapes of the island. At the Llevant Range there are bare rocky peaks dominating valleys of oak and pine forest. The mountains stretch out to the coast and loom over craggy little coves, some of which are only reachable by walking trail. East Mallorca is also the place to explore Mallorca’s subterranean world. The strange, knobbly stalactites and stalagmites of Artà are claimed to have inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The Cuevas del Drach meanwhile is most famous for its vast underground lake, which is crossed by rowboat as part of the tour.

Mallorca´s mountainous north

The scenery changes again in the Tramuntana Mountain range. The scenery here is of gorges, Mallorca’s tallest peaks and deep valleys covered in pine and citrus trees. On walks you’ll pass ancient stone walls, olive groves and rustic shepherd’s refuges that have stood here for centuries. High up, herds of goats can be spotted on the steep rocks and on the coast are immense cliffs negotiable by walking trail and punctuated by small coves. The towns of Valldemossa, Sóller and Pollença are gorgeous, with neatly preserved centres.
This is just a starting point of what you can discover on Mallorca. There are, for instance, 20 golf courses, a host of dive centres and 207 beaches, 43 of which have the Blue Flag. Get to all of these great destinations within 50 minutes of the Drivalia car rental depot at Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI).