Synonymous with glamorous parties and fabulous beaches, the Balearic Islands sit on the Mediterranean side Spain and includes some of the most popular locales frequented by Europe’s rich and famous. The most notable islands in the archipelago are Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera with Majorca being the largest. More than a mecca of luxury, the island itself is stunningly picturesque with its stretches of white sandy beaches that melt into turquoise waters.
Over the years, artists have flocked to Majorca for inspiration and respite. Greats like Chopin, George Sand, Jorge Luis Borges, and Camilo José Cela draw from the natural beauty and vibrancy held within its shores. Palma, the island’s largest city, is host to a handful of vibrant nightclubs, restaurants, and museums to visit. Just off the larger urban city center lies Portals Nous, quietly secluded on a near-private beach but still close enough the city’s vibrancy. Its glittering charm still inspires a bit of awe in travelers.
The tastes of the Balearic
The cuisines of the Balearic Islands are not unfamiliar to the mainland’s cuisine, borrowing heavily from its Mediterranean surroundings. Fresh meats and coastal fishes accompanied by fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, and potatoes are what make up some of Majorca’s most definitive dishes. Things like frit mallorquín (pig organ meat with potatoes) or trampó (a pico de gallo-esque salad of fresh tomatoes, red pepper, and onion) embody Majorca, but many menus across the island feature a mix of Balearic dishes like Ibiza’s bullit de peix, and Menorca’s lobster soup. One staple across all of the islands is pamboli, at its simplest it’s just bread with virgin olive oil, but it can also be topped with any number of items such as the local ramallet tomato and camaiot (a type of Balearic sausage), or Mahón cheese. Desserts are not to be missed, like the ensaimada (a delicate pastry spiral made with flour, confectioner's sugar, and lard) or a piece of gató (a classic almond cake). Even more simply than the cuisines are the many ingredients specific to the area—like the tomatoes, almonds, peppers, and wild mushrooms—that Majorcans celebrate the bounties of in autumn and spring. Majorcan liquors, like Palo (an herb infused apertif), and wines from Binnissalem round out the gastronomic experience.
The sights of Majorca
Dive into the glittering warm waters of the Mediterranean or explore the rich history of the island, either way travelers are treated to something special. The Majorcan coast is dotted with inlets and ports, providing nearly 20,000 docks in the main towns around the island. Sailing is one the most popular water activity, even hosting a few maritime competitions like the prestigious Copa del Rey Sailing Competition, an annual event originating in Palma's port. Plenty of travelers and locals alike can’t deny the magnetism of the Mediterranean's pristine waters and their ideal conditions for scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing, and a host of other aquatic adventures. In the city centers, cycling the island is an eco-friendly and ambitious way to explore the sites and take in the differing terrains. Hiking Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rewards travelers with breathtaking views of the island. Serra de Llevant can be seen to the east, the marinas to the south, and the central plains to the north. If travel by horse sounds more enticing, equestrian enthusiasts can visit one of the island’s horseback riding centers, or take a guided tour upon the lovely beaches or expansive fields of the isle.
The luxuries of Portals Nous
In the popular district of Calvià, overlooking a marina harboring one incredible yacht after another, lies Portals Nous. As one of the most exclusive and luxurious areas in Majorca, the Grand Hotel Portals Nous feels right at home in this quiet cove offering guests near-private beachfront access and a level of elegance that matches the glamor of Portal Nous itself.
The best time to go
The Mediterranean sun shines on average 300 days in the year around the coasts of Majorca, but the temperatures are most ideal during the spring and fall.