Thursday, 3 August 2017

SPAIN: Majorca Island Receives 8 Million Tourists A Year, Both A Blessing And Curse For Inhabitants

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, the others being Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.

Majorca or Mallorca is the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, which are part of Spain and located in the Mediterranean.

The capital of the island, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. The Balearic Islands have been an autonomous region of Spain since 1983.The Cabrera Archipelago is administratively grouped with Majorca in the municipality of Palma. The anthem of Majorca is La Balanguera.

Like the other Balearic Islands of Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the island is an extremely popular holiday destination, particularly for tourists from Germany and the United Kingdom. The international airport, Palma de Mallorca Airport, is one of the busiest in Spain; it was used by 23.1 million passengers in 2014.

The name derives from Latin insula maior or larger island; later Maiorica, the larger one in comparison to Minorca, the smaller one.

Majorca is the largest island of Spain by area and second most populated after Tenerife in the Canary Islands.Majorca has two mountainous regions, the Serra de Tramuntana and Serres de Llevant. Each are about 70 km (43 mi) in length and occupy the northwestern and eastern parts of the island respectively.

The highest peak on Majorca is Puig Major at 1,445 m (4,741 ft) in the Serra de Tramuntana. As this is a military zone, the neighbouring peak at Puig de Massanella is the highest accessible peak at 1,364 m (4,475 ft). The northeast coast comprises two bays: the Badia de Pollença and the larger Badia d'Alcúdia.

The northern coast is rugged and has many cliffs. The central zone, extending from Palma, is a generally flat, fertile plain known as Es Pla. The island has a variety of caves both above and below sea – two of the caves, the above sea level Coves dels Hams and the Coves del Drach, also contain underground lakes and are open to tours.

Both are located near the eastern coastal town of Porto Cristo. There are two small islands off the coast of Majorca: Cabrera,southeast of Palma and Dragonera west of Palma. Other notable areas include the Alfabia Mountains, Es Cornadors and Cap de Formentor.

Regions of Mallorca

- Serra de Tramuntana (Soller, Lluc)

- The mountain range along the north western coast of the island

- Palma de Mallorca

- The area surrounding the capital of the island, Palma

- Pla de Mallorca

- Raiguer

- Migjorn

- Llevant

The Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.

Cities Of Mallorca

- Palma de Mallorca - Mallorca's main and largest city

- Alcudia - just perfect for combining beach and cycling

- Binssalem - located to the north of Palma, this small town features an impressive cathedral and many fine local restaurants.

- Cala Ratjada - located in the far north-east corner of the island this resort is popular with German Tour operators, who almost exclusively supply the many hotels with guests. The resort is characterised by its large horseshoe shaped beach, although there are two other beaches to choose from. The resort offers a wide variety of shops and the local market takes place on a Saturday, where as well as fruit & vegetables there is a large selection of leather goods, shoes and clothes, as well as locally made table cloths and honey. During the winter months the resort practically closes, with only a handful of hotels and restaurants remaining open.

- Cala d'Or - resort on the east coast, well known for its annual Jazz Festival.

- Cala Moraia - resort as well on the east coast, access to golf courses and smaller beaches.

- Cala Millor - south eastern coastal town, linked by a long promenade to the adjacent resort of Cala Bona.

- Calvia

- Deia - small village in the Tramuntana mountains, beloved by artists, intriguing cemetery.

- Esporles - small village between Banyalbufar and Valldemossa and just 12 Km from Palma de Mallorca. At the feet of the Tramuntana mountains, its San Pedro festivities are its important day in August.

- Fornalutx - one of the most attractive villages on the west coast, good starting point for hikers.

- Inca - the second largest city, renown for its leather factories.

- Manacor - the third largest city, famous for its furniture shops and pearl factories. There is also a large shop on the outskirts of the town that specialises in products made from the wood of the Olive tree.

- Pollença - charming little city in the north-east, and home to a good Sunday market.

- Puerto Pollensa - beach resort in the north of the island, popular with families

- Sa Pobla - small, rural municipality in the district of Raiguer on Majorca. Hosts fantastic Jazz Festival.

- Sineu - the geographical heart of the island, a small village best visited on Wednesdays, the weekly market is enormous.

- Sóller - pretty town set in fantastic mountainous scenery.

- Valldemossa - the charming village in the Tramuntana mountains is a must see, Chopin spent here a winter with George Sand.

Destinations Of Interest

- Monastery of Lluc - in the Tramuntana mountains

- Sa Calobra + Torrent de Pareis - Mallorca's "Grand Canyon"

Mallorca (3640 is known as an easy-to-reach mecca for friends of sunny beaches, amazing landscapes, wonderful mountains and affordable mediterranean food. With a coastline of more than 550km. In high season the island receives about 8 million tourists from around the world. This is both a blessing and a curse for the inhabitants, and they are well prepared for it and provide a very well-organized tourist infrastructure.

Nevertheless, Mallorca can show even other faces when you leave the coastline and take a look at the inner country. Prices fall with each kilometer you move away from the coast, and reach the usual Spanish standards in the center of the island or even some parts of the mountain area.

Geographically the island can be divided into three parts. The Serra de Tramuntana rocks extend from south-west to north-east, while the Serra de Llevant stretches along the eastern coast. Between them lies the central plain (Es pla).

The natives speak so-called Mallorquí, a sub-dialect of Balear, a regional dialect of Catalan. Schools teach Catalan and Spanish; both are official languages in this region. Anyone raised there can speak both languages. Whilst Catalan is the local language of the island, Spanish has an overall majority in terms of number of native speakers.

The main language spoken on the island is Catalan.The two official languages of Majorca are Catalan and Spanish.The local dialect of Catalan spoken in the island is mallorquí, with slightly different variants in most villages. The education is bilingual in Catalan and Spanish, with some knowledge of English.

In 2012, the then-governing People's Party announced its intention to end preferential treatment for Catalan in the Island's schools to bring parity to the two languages of the island. It was said that this could lead Majorcan Catalan to become extinct in the fairly near future, as it was being used in a situation of diglossia in favor of the Spanish language.

As of 2016, with the most recent election in May 2015 sweeping a pro-Catalan party and president into power, the Popular Party's policy of trilingualism has been dismantled,making this outcome unlikely.

Since the 1950s, Majorca has become a major tourist destination, and the tourism business has become the main source of revenue for the island.In 2001, the island received millions of tourists, and the boom in the tourism industry has provided significant growth in the economy of the country.

The island's popularity as a tourist destination has steadily grown since the 1950s, with many artists and academics choosing to visit and live on the island. Visitors to Majorca continued to increase with holiday makers in the 1970s approaching 3 million a year. In 2010 over 6 million visitors came to Majorca. In 2013, Majorca was visited by nearly 9.5 million tourists, and the Balearic Islands as a whole reached 13 million tourists.

Majorca has been jokingly referred to as the 17th Federal State of Germany, due to the high number of German tourists.

With thousands of rooms available Majorca's economy is largely dependent on its tourism industry. Holiday makers are attracted by the large number of beaches, warm weather, and high-quality tourist amenities.

Attempts to build illegally caused a scandal in 2006 in Port Andratx that El País named 'caso Andratx'. A main reason for illegal building permits, corruption and black market construction is that communities have few ways to finance themselves other than through permits.The former mayor was incarcerated since 2009 after being prosecuted for taking bribes to permit illegal house building.

In 2005, there were over 2,400 restaurants on the island of Majorca according to the Majorcan Tourist Board, ranging from small bars to full restaurants.Olives and almonds are typical of the Majorcan diet. Among the foods that are typical from Majorca are sobrassada, arròs brut (saffron rice cooked with chicken, pork and vegetables), and the sweet pastry ensaimada.

Herbs de Majorca is a herbal liqueur.

In tourist areas, you will frequently come across people speaking English, German, French and other common European languages.

Mallorca has beautiful white sand and crystal water beaches, so most are base for package tourists nowadays. In more remote areas you might find very rarely visited beaches.

- Cala Fonoll
- Reco De Sarena
- Sant Pere
- Magaluf Beach, in Magaluf. A beautiful 900 meters long beach with fine sand and clear water. New and stylish promenade is close.
- En Repic
- Cala Torta
- Cala Es Carregador
- Pollenca
- Es Trenc Beach. A large, not developed, beach with fine white sand and crystal clear water. Protected area now.
- Es Carbo Beach. A quiet, hardly developed beach. An alternative to overcrowded beaches. Finest sand, turquise water.
- Santa Ponsa
- Coll Baix
- Cala Mitjana
- Oratori De Portals
- Cala Es Marmols
- Es Marques
- Es Port Des Canonge
- Sa Calobra
- Cala Figuera Beach, Formentor peninsula. Located deep within a cove with high mountains on both sides of the water. Spectacular view.
- Portals Vells
- Ses Bassetes
- Sa Cova
- Son Serra De Marina Beach. A very long, little known, virgin beach without facilities on the north east coast of Mallorca.
- Cala Murada
- Cala Major
- Cala Estremer
- Cala Dor
- Cala Tuent
- Formentor
- Cala Bota
- Cala Sant Vicenc (Cala San Vincente Beach), Sant Vicenc city. Beautiful beach on the north west coast of Mallorca. Fine grained white sand and very clear water.
- Son Bunyola
- Sant Elm
- Cala Murta Beach, Formentor peninsula. edit Small secluded beach with fine white sand. Transparent water.
- Cala Basset
- Port De Valldemosa
- Cala Fornells
- Cala Deia
- Port De Soller
- Torrent De Pareis

There are frequent flights from many European cities to Palma de Mallorca airport. In particular, many of the discount airlines have daily flights.

There are also flights from Menorca and Ibiza, but these are about double the price of the ferries from these islands, and save only about an hour.

From Sant Joan airport public buses run frequently to central Palma. Many car rental agencies have their offices at the airport.

You can catch a ferry to Palma de Mallorca from the other Balearic Islands or from several points on the Spanish coast, including Barcelona and Valencia and a super-fast ferry service from Denia Alicante. You can catch a ferry to Alcudia from Menorca.

Many spots are reachable by bus; while transportation between the major holiday resorts is no problem, especially medium and long-distance services may be as sparse as one bus per week; many bus routes are not served at all on Sundays, in the lower season and during the night. Schedules are available online.

There is inland train transportation, but mainly limited to Puerto de Sóller, Manacor, Inca, Sa Pobla and Sineu. Rural halts tend to be far away from town centres, but there are usually bus shuttles available.

Cars can be hired in many tourist towns, especially along the coast. Unless in high season, when you should book your rental in advance if you want to ensure getting one, hiring a car directly at the airport without reservation shouldn't be any problem at all. However, as at desk rental prices are often far higher than booking in advance it may be prudent to organise it from home before you arrive and to avoid disappointment during peak periods.

When you are only for short time in the island the best way is to take one of the conducted tours organized by the Official tourguides center in Mallorca. Valldemossa is only 18 km away from Palma,tour of 3 or 4 hours will be perfect. This itinerary takes visitors around the streets, plazas and most picturesque spots in the village of Valldemossa, an introduction to the French writer Aurore Dudevant aka George Sand and Polish composer Frederick Chopin's stay on Mallorca.

The celebrated couple resided in this Mallorcan village during the winter of 1838-39. Its landscapes, peoples and customs made a strong impression on the writer. During their visit, the couple stayed in cells at the Royal Carthusian Monastery.

Palma de Mallorca - the island´s capital is worth a trip on its own. Very old city where you will find architectural wonders, culture and mediterranean food.

Serra de Tramuntana - wonderful range of mountains that run along the north-west coast of Mallorca

Playa de Palma - Busiest destination on Mallorca.

Valldemossa - Georges Sand and Frederic Chopin spent some time in this beautiful village

Soller and Port de Soller - a beautiful town in the mountains that can be reached by a combination of train and tram

Caves - several caves are open to the public, the Dragon Caves (Coves del Drach in mallorquin) being the most visited

Beaches - this is what most people come for. The main tourist areas are on the southern and eastern coast but places may be crowded in high season. More secluded and quiet beaches can be found on the island but expect a difficult route e.g. cliffs and minimal parking. A must visit is Es Trenc, near the Colonia de Sant Jordi, but there are also many beaches not that popular worth a visit. Here you can find photos, video and map of the most beautiful beaches of Mallorca

If you find yourself in Palma, looking for a quieter beach than the 5km strand (Platja de Palma), take the line 3 of the town's public bus company "EMT" blue and white buses all the way to its Western terminus "Illetes", which is simply called Playa. It is a wonderful little cove set about by rocks, with a local restaurant right on the beach. There are other coves in either direction, but this is the most welcoming.

Hiking - The Serra de Tramuntana offers some fine trails.

Cycling - In spring the island's roads are popular with several professional teams in preparation for the next season.

Palma - the island's capital offers the famous cathedral as well as a nice city centre to stroll around. Cultural visits, shore excursions and private guided tours lead by official Mallorca Tour Guides to Jewish quarter and other sites and villages around the Island.

Golf - There are nineteen, 18 hole golf courses on the island that are open to the general public. These are Andratx, Alcanada, Bendinat, Canyamel, Capdepera, Poniente, Pula, Golf Park Puntiró Mallorca, Golf Maioris, Santa Ponsa 1, Son Antem East, Son Antem West, Son Servera, Son Termens, Son Vida, Son Muntaner, Son Quint, Son Gual & Vall d'Or.
There is one 9 hole course open to the general public; Pollença. The courses Santa Ponsa 2 & 3 are 'members only' and finally there is a private 9 hole golf course in the grounds of La Reserva Rotana, a boutique hotel located in the North-East of the island, just outside of Manacor.

Nature - S'Abulfera is a large salt marsh near the town of Alcudia. Large numbers of bird species can be seen, including many species of heron, waders, ducks and warblers. The cliffs of Fortmentor are good for sea bird watching and is one of the best places for a chance of seeing the rare Elenora's Falcon.

Free Classical Music Concerts - during the summer, free open-air classical music concerts are usually organised on Saturday evenings on the Bendinat Golf Course.

Deep Water Solo / Psicobloc - the island's unique geography has helped it become the premier destination for rock climbers wishing to experience deep water soloing or psicobloc, rock climbing above deep water.

Sailing - MaritimVs. Rent a boat, a yacht or a catamaran.

Recommend Paella, especially the seafood version while in Mallorca.

Local dishes include Frit Mallorquí and Sopes Mallorquines,a simple, yet healthy vegetable soup with meat, wild mushrooms, etc.

Many dishes are made with Sobrassada, a rather spicy sausage made of pork, paprika, condiments, etc. - also eaten plain on a slice of bread.

For breakfast, instead of croissant, try the typical Ensaimada a spiral-shaped bun, and for dessert the Gató,a cake made of almond with almond ice cream.

Palma is most known place for dining, having probably more restaurants than the rest of the island.

For out-of-cities dining, head to Algaida: there are several great restaurants around the village.

In restaurants with average bill under €30, waiters and clients are tolerant to children even of 2-3 years old.

An option for those where budget is no concern can hire a private chef, also known in Spain as Chef a Casa.

A fine dining experience at your Villa or event.

Try Piers Dawson - Piers Dawson Private Chef Mallorca

Drinking is allowed if you are 18 or older the same as in the rest of Spain. While alcohol is widely sold, pursuant to local laws only bars, restaurants, discotheques and the like are allowed to serve it after midnight.

Spanish people go out quite late and, while in the main tourist resorts you can find people drinking and chatting from early hours, you will not see many locals before 24:00.

The main nighttime areas are:

Magaluf: well known to be the British capital in the island, this is the place for clubbing. Bananas Disco and BCM Empire Disco are a must.

Palma de Mallorca: most of the places can be found at the Paseo Martimo, the main road by the sea. Abraxas former Pacha and Tito's are the main discos where everybody goes. El Garito, and old bohemian bar now reconverted into trendy club are also worth a visit. Gay oriented bars can be found around Plaza Gomila,must visit: Hotel Aries Pub and the Black Cat Disco.

Also, you must know that while drinking in the street is allowed, big groups drinkings are not tolerated and the police will fine you if you leave any rubbish in the street. In any case, is better to carry a plastic bag for any rubbish you could have.

You should consider trying the Sangria, a mix of wine, fruit juice and brandy. Another option are the excellent local wines. Many bodegas offer tours with free tastings.

- Ses Nines "Negre, Binissalem D.O.", a real bargain, this pleasant red wine will accompany your barbecues. €5

- José L. Ferrer "Blanc de blancs, Binissalem D.O.", a light and tasty white wine to drink with a fish soup or grilled sardines. €7.

- Mont Ferrutx, "Pla i Llevant D.O.", a solid red wine bottled by Miquel Oliver, to accompany a grilled pork chop. €7.

- Macia Batle crianza, "Binissalem D.O.", a fine, tasty and elegant red wine, bottled by Macia Batle in Santa Maria del Cami. €10.

- Mortitx "Vi negre, Vi de la Serra de Tramuntana", a deep red wine with red fruit taste. €10.

- Moli de Vent "Blanc, Pla i Llevant D.O.", a fine white wine with a subtle citrus fruit parfum, bottled by Jaume Mesquida. €10.

- GVIVM "Merlot-Callet, Pla i Llevant D.O.", a strong red wine with character, bottled by Pere Seda. €15.

- Negre de sa Colonia "Pla i Llevant D.O.", a fine red wine with a deep oak taste, bottled by Toni Gelabert. €20.

Accommodation is mainly for the package-tour tourist who wants a room near the beach. Most of these hotels are cheaper if booked by a travel agent. But over the past few years, the number of alternative accommodations for more experienced, individual travellers has steadily been growing: designer hotels, fully equipped apartments, aparthotels and fincas to name a few.

Rural tourism: Also known as Agroturismo. Refers to farmhouses and country estates built before 1960, still being used for agriculture but, of course, fully refurbished and modernized. Just perfect for families with children.

Rural Hotel, Turisme d'Interior and Petit Hotel on the other hand are generally former mansions and manor-houses located in smaller towns such as Sòller, Lloseta, Deià or Campanet. They offer a limited number of rooms for guests, mostly 4 star service with an excellent cuisine, Spa services, etc.

Although the vast majority are 3 and 4 star hotels, the island does offer excellent 5 star hotels and resorts, small and trendy Designer Hotels next to Palma's shopping district as well as charming city hotels in the old city centre of Palma de Mallorca.

If you prefer to stay in your own apartment, but don't want to miss the hotel's daily entertainment programme, sports and shows in the evening, then consider staying in an aparthotel. Most of them are located in the north - Alcudia, Playa de Muro or on the east coast of the island - Cala Millor, Cala d'Or and offer a wide range of services.

There are no commercial camp grounds in Mallorca, but there are some recreation areas with toilets and sometimes with showers where camping is allowed.

Renting a villa is an excellent, if often inexpensive, way of enjoying Mallorca's more secluded locations. These are generally found on the western and northern sides of the island. There are several choices, from casitas that are small and offer no additional services, to those which are classed as luxury, and offer a wide range of additional features such as a maid service, breakfast and hire cars.

Mallorca has become a major European & International wedding destination. Cheap flights from all over Europe make it easy for wedding parties to access all year round. There is also a flourishing host of wedding services on the island.

Enjoy Your Holiday In Majorca
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