You Are At: AllSands Home > Travel > Places > Majorca: island paradise
It's replete with colorful orange and lemon groves. It's dotted with white and terracotta little fishing villages. It's got twisting mountain roads and miles of golden beaches, vineyards, peaceful rocky coves and great mountain scenery. This is Majorca: the largest island of the Balearics.

The airport at Palma (the capital) is full of visitors of all nationalities, including those from its Mediterranean neighbours. The climate is considered among the most agreeable in Western Europe with sunny days and mild winters. While summer days can be hot, they are often breezy with clear evening skies. The water is warm and in September and October the weather is cool enough for exploring the inland tracks and barrancos (ravines).

The islands have miles and miles of coastline that ranges from soft undulating plains to steep windswept cliffs. There are small rocky or sandy coves strung between cliff-lined headlands. Majorca offers a wide choice of restaurants (with very tasty seafood), picture postcard sunsets, a fascinating inland, and an interesting history - the Balearics have been visited by the Greeks, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, French, Catalans and the British.

Majorca has its share of historic towns, gleaming white and salty fishing villages where cottages cling to the low cliffs along the quay. In the larger towns such as Palma, there are tree-lined squares, elegant shop-lined avenues, architectural delights and, in particular, beautiful churches.

Most visitors head for the beach resorts. Eastward from Palma are Ca'n Pastilla, Las Maravillas, and El Arenal where tourists mingle in the cafes, bars and discos and generally have a good time. Magalluf is another popular spot with the young set with its boutiques, ice cream parlours, disotheques, bars and restaurants.

Santa Ponca, a few kilometres from Magalluf, enjoys a wide appeal with all age groups. The beaches are excellent and clean. Night life is at a slightly less frenetic pace than the bigger resorts. Aquatic enthusiasts can go surfing, fishing or scuba driving.

Inland, there are treats in store. You'd soon discover that Majorca has its very own windmills which are decidedly different from those that dot the landscape of the Netherlands. The terrain is covered with orange groves and pine trees. Bird-watchers can keep an eye on wildfowl, waders and other feathered migrants at the marshes near Puerto de Alcudia. The wild flowers are at their best in early summer when the weather is warm and the fields green and uncrowded as a sun-seekers from northern Europe haven't arrived yet. Golf players will not be disappointed for there are dozen courses including the Son Vida near Palma and at Costa de Los Pinos on the east coast.

Another specialty is pearls, from the Heusch Factory at Manacor in eastern Majorca. Organized tours to this cultured pearl factory which is reputed for its quality, are available.

If you should get bored lying in the sun there is always Palma to explore - and a lot to see. In particular Palma Cathedral is a gem. This magnificient Gothic building glows, especially at night time, in its hillside setting. Then there is the Almudaina Palace facing the cathedral, fine art galleries, cafes, pavement artists and good shops. Palma is an excellent place to pamper your palate with a wide range of Spanish epicurean delights: the people of Majorca, like the rest of Spain, are fond of fish such as baby eels, calamares (squid) and pil-pil (cod in garlic and olive oil). You can take your fill from such specialities as chorizo, gazpacho, grilled Mediterranean prawns, zarzuela, and the most famous national dish, paella.

On the west coast is a lovely monastery at Valldemosa set admist delightful scenery; lush gardens at Raxa and Alfabia on the route from Palma to Soller.

Other places worth visiting include Deya, Puerto de Soller, Lluch and La Calobra, at the end of snaking, mountain roads. You can also take the train from Palma to Soller, from where there is a tramway connection further down to the coast at Puerto de Soller. This part of the island is relatively unscathed from the effects of mass tourism and you get the feel of the Old Majorca that attracted writers such as George Sands and Robert Graves to its shores to live under… all the sunshine!

If you go

· Getting there:
Iberia operates services to Palma from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Serville and several other Spanish cities and there are direct flights to Palma on various airlines from London, Paris, Milan, Frankfurt and other major European cities.

· Where to stay:
Hotel Baro, C1 Sont Joume 3, 3-07012, Palma comfortable 2 star hotel, doubles from around US$…
Victoria Sol Joan Miro 21 a first class hotel doubles from US$175
Palas Atenea, Paco Maritimo 28 doubles start from around US$150.

· Where to eat:
Both local Mallocan and "continental" Spanish style cuisine is available in Palma and the other townsand you will also find French, English and German restaurants on the island.