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Sitting off the east coast of Spain, surrounded by Mediterranean blue, the Balearic Islands are a magnet for those seeking sun, sea, and sand. The largest of these Spanish islands is Mallorca (its name means ‘the larger one’), which lives up to expectations with 300 days of sunshine a year, temperatures hovering around the mid-seventies, and 340 miles of coastline fringed with over 120 beaches. The backbone of the island is the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, almost 55 miles long and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. The mountains, covered in ancient dry-stone terraces and centuries-old olive trees, are popular with hikers and bikers looking for a challenge, and any journey through their peaks will take you past picturesque old towns and villages full of tradition. The beachy-keen, culture lovers, romantic souls and summer-vacation families will all find something to steal their hearts in Mallorca.
Let’s start at the top – Palma de Mallorca is the island’s capital city and quite a beauty. Sitting at the northern end of the sweeping Bay of Palma, its honey-colored stone buildings seem to glow in the mellow sunshine and its treasures are many. Rich with historical sites, it also offers a wealth of galleries, restaurants, and bars, and its medieval streets are lined with hushed churches, elegant townhouses, busy public squares and bustling markets.
Chief among its charms is its towering Gothic cathedral. The Catedral de Mallorca rises in all its 21,000 square feet of glory above the old harbor, and its intricate stained-glass windows illuminate the interior with jewel hues, earning it the name ‘cathedral of light’. Building began on the sandstone monument in the 13th century, but it wasn’t completed until the 17th; much of the interior was remodeled by Gaudi at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is said that his use of natural light here was practice for later work on his famous Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Art buffs are also well served in the cultured capital. Surrealist master Joan Miro fell in love with Mallorca and made Palma his home – the house where he lived is now the Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro, a museum with an excellent collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by the Catalan artist. The Museu Fundacion Juan March, in a stately converted townhouse, widens the focus, showing works by important Spanish vanguard artists such Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Salvador Dali.
A wonderful day trip from Palma is to visit the pretty town of Soller, 17 miles away to the north. Half the fun is in the journey, which is made on the Ferrocarril de Soller, a narrow-gauge wooden train that was built in 1912 so that farmers could bring their fruit crops to market in Palma. Take the whole family to chug through a series of tunnels and past the pine forests, olive groves and citrus orchards of the Tramuntana Mountains then explore Soller’s craft shops and enjoy an ice cream in its attractive main square. If the beach calls, hop on the tram down to Port de Soller for some fun in the sun.
One of the prettiest villages on the island is Deia, on the northwest coast. Perched on a hill with views out across the Mediterranean’s gentle swell, it has long been a magnet for artists and writers, and is famed for being the home of English war poet Robert Graves, who entertained famous guests such as Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov and Ava Gardner at his home, Ca n’Alluny, now a museum. The town streets, lined with shuttered stone houses, small boutiques, galleries, and shops, are made for strolling. Deia is also known for the quality of its Balearic cuisine and boasts several top-rated restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Es Raco d’Es Teix, so foodies might want to think ahead and make a reservation.
Whether you crave the peace and quiet of a hilltop retreat or want to enjoy the cultured charms of Mallorca’s elegant capital city, we have just the vacation home for you. Stunning modern structures and charming old fincas await, so whatever your style, the sunshine of the Mediterranean can be yours to enjoy.
Pollensa, in the north of Mallorca, is an ancient town of pretty, narrow streets and an impressive main square ringed with several good cafes perfect for enjoying a cafe con leche and watching the world go by. Nearby Port de Pollensa is blessed with long swathes of sandy beach lined with pine and palm trees. Rent one of our Pollensa villas to experience a slower pace of life, perhaps relaxing on a sun-drenched terrace, wandering through the grounds gathering organic produce from the garden, then preparing an alfresco BBQ supper by the pool.
Andratx with its rambling streets and the stylish harbor of Port Andratx nearby on the coast make a welcoming pair. The port has a well-maintained and equipped yacht club and many restaurants to suit the yachting set, but it’s also still a working fishing port where you can sit outside at one of the many cafes and bars and watch life pass by. Our Andratx villa rentals major on fabulous views – down to the azure Med from your sun lounger next to your private pool. All our villas sleep at least 7, with plenty of entertaining space both inside and out, for the perfect sociable vacation.
The terraces of Banyalbufar, on Mallorca’s west coast, cascade from the craggy hills down to the sparkling sea. Choose one of your Banyalbufar rentals and you’ll be surrounded by scattered farms and vineyards in an area steeped in history and authentic Mallorcan culture. Our villas offer traditional architecture in a peaceful country setting, but with all the trappings of luxury you might wish for – so practice your serve on the tennis court, improve your stroke in the pool or head down to the nearby beaches; the choice is yours.