PALMA DE MALLORCA
Island of poetry and light
Just 170 km off the coast of Spain, a cosmopolitan island, Mallorca is a precious gem polished by art and history, and offers one of the most beautiful “faces” of the Balearic islands. Partitioned by Chopin, the island touches on the sublime.
Whether you're thinking of ‘Maiorica’ in Latin, ‘Mayurqa’ in Arabic, or ‘Mallorca’ in Catalan, the island remains the "great island" - literally - of the Balearic Islands, 170 km off the Spanish coast. Popularly known as Majorca in English, the island’s official name - Mallorca - uses the Spanish spelling. In 1842, George Sand published her autobiographical travel novel A winter in Mallorca (Un Hiver à Majorque), about her trip with Frederic Chopin (1838-1839), and its tales of stunning beauty turned the French author into the island's greatest ambassador. Chopin, too, was taken by the poetry of the luxurious Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa and its surroundings; in fact, he composed his Preludes here.
Whether you are an artist or a tourist, the many facets of the island of Mallorca will enchant your unbridled imagination. On one side you may navigate its turquoise coves, bays hidden between cliffs, or beaches of fine sand lined with pines. On the other, you'll find the stunning pastoral scenery of the rugged green Serra de Tramuntana, with vineyards at its feet. The entire island breathes history thanks to the Roman ruins of the ancient town of Pollentia, the various monasteries or chartreuses which you will discover during your walks.
There is the city of Palma, of course, its bay, port, Catalan Gothic cathedral, Alcazar - the Almudaina - which has become a proud hidalgo palace. Over a few decades, Palma has transformed itself into a modern and cosmopolitan capital, an alliance of "poetry and light" according to Joan Miró, the Catalan artist whose characteristic style you will identify in the streets of the old town. Palma knows how to cultivate the arts: visit some of its many galleries and museums to admire surprisingly rich collections of colourful masterpieces.
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© Text and photography courtesy of EnVols