Most travellers know the Balearic Island of Majorca boasts some of the best beaches, nightlife and seafood in Europe. However, there are quite a few things even seasoned Majorca tourists don’t know about their favourite holiday spot:
1. Majorca has been occupied by humans for several millennia, at least since 5,000 BC. There are several impressive archaeological sites on the island dated to Bronze-Age occupation. The first Roman “tourists” arrived in 123 BC, taking over the island. Package holidays to the island have been available since 1952.
2. Majorca was under frequent attack by pirates for several centuries. This led to the construction of a series of imposing castles, fortresses and a chain of Torres, watch towers, lining the coast. Only a handful of Torres remain today. One of Majorca’s biggest castles, the 700-year-old Castle Capdepera, is a fine example of this type of anti-pirate strategy. It lies some 48 miles/77 km distance from Palma.
3. Majorca regularly wins awards for its delicious and elegant wines. The vineyards grouped around the village of Binissalem in the interior of Majorca produce red varieties like Syrah Monastrell, Merlot, Manto Negro, Sauvignon and Tempranillo, while white wines include Chardonnay, Parellada and Prensal Blanc.
4. One of Majorca’s most famous home-grown dishes is a sweet pastry called ensaimadas, only available on the island, where it has been consumed since the 17th century, making it one of Europe’s oldest documented recipes.
5. Another favourite Majorca delicacy is the spicy sobrassada, a cured sausage made from loin pork and pork bacon and spiced with paprika, salt, pepper and aniseed. Boiled, they’re eaten with…pretty much anything that’s going, but are particularly good with seasonal salads made from locally grown tomatoes and peppers.
6. Majorca’s house prices weathered the European financial crisis far better than other parts of Spain because here demand for high-end properties always outstripped what was available. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to live in Majorca for most of the year?
7. Rural tourism is beginning to boom. The Balearic government now permits small historic farmhouses to be converted into charming guesthouses and B&Bs. If you love hiking holidays and want to escape the bigger beach resort’s hustle and bustle and have a truly relaxing holiday, stay in rural hamlets like Llubli, Costitx, Petra, Algaida and Sineu, which are being promoted by Turismo de Interior now.
Majorca is an island full of history and fascination and no visitor should simply restrict themselves to the beaches – glorious though they be.