Magical Mallorca ... 10 Fascinating Facts
Mallorca is an interesting and beautiful place justifiably renowned for its beaches and weather, but there is a lot more to this charming island than meets the eye and makes it a great destination for your next luxury yacht charter. Here's 10 facts to help you get to know the Mallorca that we love a little bit better....
1. The name of the island comes from an old Latin phrase 'insula maior' the 'larger island', as Mallorca is the largest island in all of Spain. It was later adapted to Maiorica, "the larger one" in comparison to Minorca, "the smaller one". Over time this gradually changed and the island became known as Mallorca. The island is also sometimes called Majorca - this is very much a British invention. It seems they couldn't get their tongues around the double "ll", pronounced y, so replaced it with a "j".
2. Since the 1950s, Mallorca has been a major tourist destination, and tourism has become the main source of revenue for the island. While known throughout Europe for the mass tourism of a cheap package holiday destination the island has also played host to the glamourous likes of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot. More recently Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have been recognised as unofficial ambassadors to the island while other regular visitors include Kate Moss, Stephen Fry, Claudia Schiffer and Brad Pitt.
3. Artists, writers and musicians have long been attracted to the dramatic beautiful west coast of the island. These have included the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover the pioneering French writer Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym George Sand. She wrote A Winter in Majorca, which describes their 1838–39 visit and praises the island's natural beauty. Another notable resident was Robert Graves, one of England's greatest poets and one of the first English to move to the island. He lived (& died) in the pretty mountain village of Deia which has since become a centre for the creative crowd and celebrities.
4. Mallorca is mostly known for her beaches however the island is also home to the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. These 'mountains of the north wind' run the length of Mallorca's north coast from Andratx to Pollensa and are home to the island's most spectacular landscapes. In 2011 they were awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO for being an area of great physical and cultural import. There are so many places to discover here – amazing views, great walks, pretty villages. It is definitely worth planning at least a day of sightseeing on the island at the beginning or the end of your luxury yacht charter to explore this area.
5. The impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly known as La Seu, is one of Mallorca's most significant heritage sites. A huge Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral it was begun in 1229 by the Crown of Aragon on the site of a Moorish-era mosque but was not completed until 1601. The cathedral went through a major restoration starting in the mid-1800s with the renowned architect Antoni Gaudi getting involved in 1901 although he abandoned his work after a dispute with a contractor in 1914. It is a spectacular building with stunning stained-glass windows that dominates Palma's skyline from the sea.
6. Much of Mallorca is suitable for vine-growing, although the best known wines are produced in three areas. Binissalem, in the plains coming off the Tramuntana Mountains, is the most famous area while Pla & Llevant are both located in the area on the fertile plain in the east of the island. There are now over 70 local wine producers on Mallorca and the quality is improving each year. As high-end tourism has developed on the island, high-quality winemaking has definitely followed in its wake. To get an idea of the depth and class of the wines on offer we recommend a visit to one of more of the bodegas (wine cellars) who are open to the public, including Macià Batle where you should try the house white, a Prensal, Chardonnay, Moscatel blend, or one of the oak-aged reds a Manto Negro with Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot.
7. As well as wines Mallorca is home to some food specialities only found in the Balearics. Breakfast may include an 'Ensaimada' - this is a delicious spiral yeast bun dusted with icing sugar and sometimes filled with fruit and/or custard. If you fly out of Palma de Mallorca's airport you are bound to see many visitors carrying stacks of boxes of these as they are only available on the island. For lunch you might try some cocarrois (delicious local pasties with a variety of savoury fillings), trampos (vegetable cheese-less pizza slices) or pa'amb oli (mallorquin bread with garlic, tomato, olive oil sometimes served with cured ham or cheese). Mallorca also has their own sausages: sobrassada is made of a mixture of minced pork with paprika, while botifarro, more akin to an English black pudding, is made with pork and liver and flavoured with aniseed and other spices. Both are traditional delicacies that have been made on the island for centuries.
8. As elsewhere in Spain fiestas and festivals are an important part of life. These take place throughout the year and offer visitors a real taste of the traditions and celebrations that the locals enjoy. While some do take place over winter many occur between May and September when most yacht charters take place. In May, for example, the Fiesta de Nostra Sanyora de la Victoria, takes place in Soller where mock battles are staged to mark the raid by the Turkish pirates in the year 1561. While in July the Fiesta of Virgen del Carmen, patron saint of fishermen, sees decorated boats in Port d'Andratx parade around the harbour followed by an explosive street party with a chaotic parade of fire wielding demons and an impressive pyrotechnic display.
9. One event that only dates back to the early 80s is the Copa del Rey, or King's Cup. For one week in August, sailors from around the world gather on the island to participate in this now famous regatta. Held at Real Club Nautico in the centre of Palma the race combines ideal sailing conditions with the legendary hospitality and stunning scenery that the island is famous for. Spain's previous King, His Majesty Juan Carlos, is usually seen out on the water helming the legendary yacht 'Bribon', which took first place in both 1984 and 85. Since its beginning, the regatta has grown from being relatively small into the much acclaimed regatta that it is now, with over one hundred yachts, split in to seven classes, taking to the water.
10. There are many great locations on the island to enjoy a lively night on the town, whatever you are looking for ... restaurants, bars and clubs abound. But if late night, or more accurately early morning, dancing is what you are looking for then Palma's Paseo Marítimo has many places where you can shake your booty to the groove. While the legendary Tito's no longer attracts the A-listers of its prime, there's still a red carpet to walk and a glass elevator to take you to the top with amazing views of the harbour. Nearby the global sensation Pacha offers some of the best DJs in the world with two main dancefloors, as well as terraces, VIP areas, and three rooms of house and funk music. The largest nightclub in Mallorca, BCM is located near Plaza España and claims to have the biggest foam machine in the world. The club is known around the world for its popcorn, water and foam parties.
For further information about Mallorca and luxury charter yachts available in the Balearics please contact one of the charter specialists at the Luxury Charter Group.
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