Go to Mallorca, Spain, to experience much more than just sunshine and sandy beaches
Mallorca, the tiny island off the coast of Spain is known to many travelers for its beautiful beaches, all-inclusive resorts and vibrant nightlife. What many vacationers fail to see, though, is Mallorca’s historic and enchanting villages. Set away from the tourist hotspots, the villages of Mallorca provide spectacular scenery, history and authentic Spanish cuisine.
Last May, we visited Mallorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands, and rented a villa with friends. During the trip, we spent time not just visiting the island’s larger cities, such as Palma, but exploring many of the smaller villages around the island. We discovered that each one is unique from the others and tells its own story about the eclectic people of Mallorca.
First up was Valldemossa, which is primarily known for its former monastery complex. The monastery has attracted many famous people over the years, most notably Fredric Chopin. In the winter of 1838, Chopin along with the renowned writer George Sand stayed in the village and are said to have had a horrible time due to the hostile villagers, who did not like their presence. George recounts all of this in her book, A Winter in Majorca.
Thankfully we did not have the same experience. The people of Valldemossa are kind, generous and a great representation of the people of Mallorca. In addition to the historical attractions, Valldemossa also boasts the best restaurants in the Tramuntana Mountain region and a wonderful family-run gelato shop in the middle of the village.
After Valldemossa, we found ourselves in Estellencs, which was the closest to our villa. Estellencs is a picturesque town also situated within the Tramuntana Mountains. The village’s beach may be a huge tourist attraction for the area, but the main draw is in fact the drive to the remote town, as it provides spectacular panoramas of the sea and mountain ranges. Still, hairpin turns along yawning chasms are not for the faint of heart; although the roads are well kept, make sure the driver of your car is an expert.
If you go to Mallorca, don’t miss Banyalbufar, my favorite of all the villages we visited on the trip. Also set within the Tramuntana Mountain range, it is rich in historic culture and traditional Mallorcan cuisine. Banyalbufar’s beach has no access to the water; instead it is set upon a rocky cliff with crashing waves below. The main attraction to this town is the best restaurant (in my opinion) in Mallorca. Restaurante Es Trast offers fresh seafood and fish that is so good we actually ended up eating there twice during our trip and loved everything about it.
Our trip on the tiny Spanish island of Mallorca was truly unforgettable. Instead of sticking to a resort we were able to explore the island, it’s historic villages and authentic Spanish cuisine.