Hiking in Mallorca
Discovering the Other Mallorca
Today, let’s start with a little game. I would like you to think of Paris for a few seconds: close your eyes and picture one of the famous Parisian sights, let’s say: the Eiffel Tower. And once you have finished that, do the same for London.
Done? Fantastic. And now for the results. I would bet that your-mind’s-eye Parisian scenery was bathed in sunshine on a bright day in April, while London’s Big Ben was grey and gloomy under a thick cloud of fog.
Now, I lived in London and Paris for many years, and you can believe me when I tell you that the weather patterns of these two cities are not that dramatically different from one another. When the sun shines in one place, there is a good chance that it will shine in the other one, too. But such is the power of reputation.
The reputational problem of Mallorca is not so much the weather but the kind of visitor it is thought to attract. The island was one of the first places in the Mediterranean that opened itself up to mass tourism in the 1950s, and ever since, it has never been quite able to shake off the image of the beer-sodden lout who comes here only for sun, sea and sangria. Although you are as likely to find such people on the Costa Brava or on Crete these days. Or anywhere else around the Mediterranean coastline, come to think of it.
But then there is the other Mallorca. The beaches are there, of course, but so are the breathtaking cliffs, the mountains, the dramatic landscapes of the interior.
There is a lot of history, too: the Romans built a settlement here, and the island continued to flourish under both Byzantine and Moorish rule.
And finally, there is an surprising amount of culture: Chopin came here because of his poor health and stayed to create some of his most famous works, George Sand wrote one of the first ever travel books about the island, and Joan Mirò lived here for decades.
With so much that Mallorca has to offer, it should not surprise you that not all modern holiday makers come here for cheap thrills. Far from it.
On the list of private jet destinations in Europe (one of the more reliable indicators of where the rich and famous like to spend their summer vacations), Mallorca comes in at number 3, beaten only by Cannes and Nice. I bet you did not know that. Not to forget that Mallorca also accommodates the official summer residence of the Spanish Royal Family.
Mallorca has many sites and trails in store for easy hikers, too, and for the next few days, we will explore this island in some depth: not by private jet but on foot.