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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Postcard from Mallorca: the alluring interior

We've been on the road again in Mallorca, so much so that I can now say we have well and truly crisscrossed this island - by car, foot and bike. There aren't too many cities, towns, resorts and villages we haven't visited over the last five weeks and they include a lot we wished we'd never been and don't ever need to return again, as well as some we would have liked more time exploring and would happily revisit one day. But while Mallorca is a magnet for beachlovers (most of those 11 million tourists visiting each year and the almost-20% of the population of expats are here for the sun, sea and sand) we've found the interior far more alluring. Some of the beaches are certainly attractive - especially the snug horseshoe coves with aquamarine waters protected by craggy cliffs - but unfortunately unsightly hotels have been allowed to develop around many of the best stretches of sand, spoiling their natural beauty. By contrast, the rural areas remain as they have for decades - if not centuries. Stone farmhouses and sprawling fincas with ramshackle windmills dot the landscape, their gardens luxuriant with wild cacti, oleander, bougainvillea and palm trees. Often surrounded by olive groves, citrus orchards, and golden fields dotted with haystacks, they're a delight to drive or cycle through, and even better to expore on foot - although not during summer. In Mallorca, you can give me one of these bucolic landscapes to explore over a crowded beach to lie on any day.

2 comments:

jen laceda said...

That's too bad about the overdevelopment of their beach area.

Lara Dunston said...

It is very sad, actually... we keep arriving at these gorgeous beaches, look around, aquamarine sea, check, white sand, check, dramatic cliffs, check... um, big ugly hotels, check. Very different to say, the Amalfi coast in Italy, or the Cinque Terre, where the architecture is so charming.