hen non-Europeans say “Majorca”, they often mean the Balearic Islands as a whole, an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The four largest islands are: Majorca (Mallorca), Minorca (Menorca), Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital city. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish. The current Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain.
A world apart from the party atmosphere of neighboring Ibiza, this island will show you the ‘real’ Majorca that the Phoenecians, Arabs, Moors, Romans, Cartheganians and others fought over for centuries — each of whom has left on the island its particular influences. Yes, there is a resort area for the young and rowdy — named Magaluf — but locals say it could be razed to the ground and no one would remember it after a short while, whereas the legacy of the ancient cultures in the fabric of Majorca is indelible and will always remain.
The ‘real’ Majorca is an island of complete contrasts. The beach-life of Es Trenc; the mega-yachts anchored off Formentor; the rarefied atmosphere of Lluc Monastery; the Cathedral and old city– they are worlds apart. It is at once ancient and modern, busy and tranquil, trendy and old fashioned. As one British guide so aptly put it, “Therefore do not fall into the trap of dismissing Majorca as a bucket and spade, hankie on the head, ice-lolly in hand island.”
There is plenty to see and do on Majorca besides gawking at the rich and famous or burning yourself to a crisp on a beach under the hot Mediterranean sun. (There are approximately 180 beaches!)
One especially tantalizing “must do” is to take one of the island’s narrow guage trains from the Plaza Espana in Palma to Soller, up on the west coast of the island. The train still uses old wooden carriages and the track runs over the Tramuntana mountains through beautiful wooded hills with spectacular views. In Soller you can catch a nostalgic tram to the wonderful harbour of Puerto Soller.
Or you might consider a boat tour. Departing from nearly every harbor on the island you can book round trips and sightseeing tours including:
- Palma de Majorca: Round-trip trough the bay of Palma or around the whole island. Excursions to Ibiza and Menorca.
- El Arenal: All the way through the bay of Palma up to “Marineland” in Palma Nova.
- Puerto Andratx: To San Telmo and the island of Dragonera.
- Colonia Sant Jordi: To the island of Cabrera (only once a week)
- Magaluf: Diving with the tourist-submarine “Nemo”.
- Puerto Pollensa: Round-trip through the bay of Pollensa and to Formentor.
- Puerto Soller: To Calobra and the Torrent de Pareis, along the steep coast to San Telmo.
You will also find several water parks, with slides and all the other water toys to make a child’s day a pleasure. And golf, at least 12 courses. Especially in spring and autumn you’ll see more golf bags than suitcases at the airport of Palma. For a small fee you can rent your golf equipment at every club. In most of the clubs you’ll find a very casual atmosphere. Nobody will ask for your handicap and no club requires a membership.
In addition to these fun pastimes are:
- Marineland: With dolphin shows! On the way from Palma to Portals Nous. Open daily.
- Reserva Africana: A safari park with elephants, monkeys, hippopotamus etc. Children’s zoo. In Son Servera, on the way from Cala Millor to Portocristo.
For shopping and history, Palma is the place to start. Palma de Majorca is the capital city of the Balearic Islands. As of the 2009 census, the population of the city of Palma proper was 401,270, and the population of the entire urban area was 517,285, ranking as the twelfth largest urban area of Spain. Almost half of the total population of Majorca live in Palma. The Spanish Royal Family summers there in the Marivent Palace.
Palma is beautiful, cosmopolitan and interesting — by day or night. It has restaurants for every taste, from elegant to rustic; discos; bars and pubs with an international flair; boutiques and craft shops enough to wear your shoes out shopping. Make sure to visit the lovely Cathedral, and the historic areas of the old town surrounding it, as well.
And when you’ve exhausted yourself with exploring and eating and drinking and shopping, head on back to the Onagrup Club Cala Pi Nou (aka Onagrup Mediterranean Cala Pi and formerly the Residencial Cala Pi Nou), an Interval International-affiliated timeshare resort about just east of Palma overlooking a sparkling little cove with a quiet beach.
Set in landscaped gardens about 7.5 miles (12kms) from the town of Llucmajor, this area of southeastern Majorca is still unspoilt and the scenery around the resort is of pine forests and rocky coves. The air smells of pine and ocean, and you can spoil yourself here in perfect luxury while you arm yourself for the next day’s adventures.
The Club Cala Pi Nou has 118 fully equipped 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments, each with a fully equipped kitchen, direct line telephone, satellite TV, safe deposit box and a magnificent view over the sea and the surrounding pinewoods, thanks to its unique S-shaped architecture.
The amenities at the Resort include a gymnasium, games room, two swimming pools, a whirlpool, a children´s playground, a miniclub (in the summer months) and a supermarket. There is also a restaurant, along with a cafeteria with a beautiful terrace serving a wide selection of snacks and fast food.
Club Cala Pi Nou is a perfect place for either just relaxing and soaking in the atmosphere in peace and quiet or as a base for a full range of exciting activities.
Oh, and one more thing: Do rent a car: you’ll need it.
Websites you might want to visit for more information:
- http://www.onagrup.net/es/destinos/Cala-Pi-Club.html –Club Cala Pi
- http://www.seemallorca.com/ –Online destination guide, with a photo gallery that will knock your socks off
- http://www.majorca.com/ –Everything you need to know, from visa requirements to weather– including maps
- http://majorcadailybulletin.es/ –the local newspaper, in English
- http://www.lafiore.com/ –The beautiful Lafiore blown glass from Majorca
- http://www.mallorcaonline.com/ –A very comprehensive website about Majorca
- http://www.mallorcagolfholidays.com/ –GOLF!
“On the Road” is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
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