The Balearic Islands, Mallorca
The Balearic Islands are located in the Mediterranean Sea, less than 100 km from the coast of Alicante. The islands are divided in Gimneasias in the north and Pitiusas in the southwest. Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera belong to Gimnesias, Ibiza and Formentera to Pitiusas. Mallorca is the biggest of the Balearic Island with 3640km2 and the smallest is Cabrera. There are 983.131 (2005) inhabitants on the Balearic Islands, of which approximately 15% are foreigners.
The Balearic Islands average more than 300 sunny days a year and that is why it is one of the most popular destinations in Spain. You can also enjoy the magnificent beaches and the many sights of cultural interest.
The Island of Mallorca has also attracted many artists. Before the Spanish Civil War the French author Aurore Dupin, better known as George Sand, and her lover, the composer Frédéric Chopin, spent a long time on the island. George Sand wrote a book about her visit “Un invierno en Mallorca” (A winter in Mallorca), the first book ever written about Mallorca.
The island offers plenty to see. Places worth visiting in Palma are the Cathedral and its surroundings: “The City of the Arabs”, the Plaza Sant Francese, the castle of Bellver, the Palace of Almudaina and the Foundation of Pilar and Jose Miró. In Valldemossa you can find the monastery of Cartuja where George Sand and Chopin spent the winter of 1838-1839.
On the eastern coast, near Port Cristo, lie the stalactite caves of Drach and Artán. In the caves of Drach you can enjoy classical music by an underground lake. Approximately 30km west from Palma you will find Andrtrax with its port, where the idyllic atmosphere of an old fishing village is well-preserved. A romantic dinner in one the excellent fish restaurants of the port is an unforgettable experience.
From the village up along the coast runs an old mountain road going up to the northeast ending on the cliffs of Cap de Formentor with breath taking views of the mountains and sea. From Palma you can take a wooden train to the charming village of Sóller. (The wooden train was inaugurated the same day the Titanic sank, according to the conductor of the train). The train passes through the olive- and almond tree covered groves of small mountain villages. In Sóller you can spend the day by getting to know the old part of the village. The trip to the harbour is worthwhile doing by tram!
In Mallorca there are 12 golf courses and most of them are full-sized. The island is also popular amongst cyclists. In spring time you can see cyclists from Spain and all over the world training in the fresh spring weather.