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Destinations · Europe · spain · Mallorca · Worth knowing ·

Worth Knowing

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Mallorca is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea's Balearic Islands archipelago, with its next largest neighbours being Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera. Mallorca lies 209 km south of Barcelona and 241 km to the east of Valencia; it has an area of 3640 km2 and a coastline that stretches for 554 km. The name "Mallorca" comes from the Latin insula maior, meaning "the largest island".

Mallorcans speak in a dialect of Catalan and are visibly delighted if you address them in Catalan instead of Spanish. The trusty old aphorism of "God is in the details" is alive and kicking in Spain: "please" and "thank you" in Spanish is "por favor" and "gracias", whereas in Catalan they are "per favor" and "gracies", respectively.

Mallorca became a popular tourist destination in the 1950s, and since then the island has hosted about 215 million people - from Hollywood stars to customers of all-inclusive holiday packages. On average, the island gets about 6 million tourists a year, and half of Mallorca's inhabitants work in the tourist industry. Unsurprisingly, the island has more than 1586 hotels in a variety of price ranges, and at least 2500 restaurants and cafés - several have even been awarded Michelin stars. In spite of its status as a tourist hot spot, there still are beaches on Mallorca that can only be reached on foot or by boat.

Mallorca boasts an average of 300 sunny days a year, and taking into account its geographical location, the summers are not extremely hot and the winters are relatively mild. January is the coldest month, whereas the hottest are July and August (which are also the months of peak tourist numbers and hotel room rates). The sunbathing season, however, stretches well into September and October, when the largest crowds have already dissipated and prices have begun to drop.

The hallmark of Parma is its majestic La Seu Cathedral, built over a span of 372 years, from 1229 to 1601. On this scale, the traditional Spanish term for procrastination, "mañana..." (tomorrow...), is forgiveable.

Mallorca is a paradise for fans of active recreation. The island has 400 kilometres of hiking trails rated at various levels of difficulty, and more than 35,000 bicyclists visit annually - both recreational bikers and professionals who like to train on the mountain roads. Most of the bicycle routes are concentrated in the region of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, on the western coast of the island. Pollença, in the north of the island, and Can Pastilla in the south, are top spots for windsurfing and kite-boarding, whereas the south-west and north-west coasts of Mallorca are well known for being good places in which to snorkel.

Mallorca's highest point, Puig Major, has an elevation of 1445 metres, and there are four summits over 1000 metres on the island in total.

In contrast with the tourist-favoured coasts, Mallorca's interior and its agricultural heart - the Es Pla region - is relatively untouched and well-suited to those who would much rather experience nature and solitude than the chattering crowds of Palma. Es Pla is famous for not only its olive and almond plantations, but also for the vineyards around Binissalem and Santa Maria, which even have organized wine-tasting tours.

If you're an adrenaline junkie, the west coast-hugging road connecting Port d'Andratx with Sóller is a "must-drive".

Mallorca is also known as the home of the famous Spanish shoe brand, Camper. It was founded in 1975 by Lorenzo Fluxá, a fourth-generation master cobbler. "Camper" is the Catalan word for "farmer", and the brand's styles are, in large part, inspired by real farmer footwear.

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