Majorca (including rainfall and temperature averages)
Mallorca is popularly dismissed as little more than sun, booze and high-rise hotels,
so much so that there's a long-standing Spanish joke about a mythical fifth Balearic
island called Majorca, inhabited by an estimated seventeen million tourists a year.
The clichés do exist – and two or three stretches of coastline are largely concrete
– but the largest of the Balearic Islands has far more to offer the adventurous
Inhabited since antiquity, Mallorca was occupied by the Romans in 123 BC, flourishing
under the rule of the Empire until 426, when the Vandals sacked the island. It passed
through various hands before King Peter III of Aragon invaded in 1344 and reincorporated
it into the Spanish crown. Life was fairly peaceful until the Spanish Civil War
broke out in 1936. A nationalist stronghold, the island was swiftly attacked by
Republican loyalists. The battle was fierce but short: air power provided by the
Fascist government in Italy proved decisive and within a month the Republicans had
retreated for good. In the 1950s, tourists started to arrive in Mallorca. They were
followed by workers from the mainland chasing foreign money; between them the new
invaders would change the culture and appearance of the island forever.
Mild stormy winters and hot bright summers make Mallorca appealing almost year-round.
The obvious attractions are the beaches, which vary wildly depending on where you
go. For resort lovers the best bet is the developed southeast, which offers all
the usual watersports against a backdrop of ruined castles. The Coves del Drac near
Porto Christo are an underfeature classical musicians sailing on an underground
lake, with astonishing illuminations. The north, untamed and rocky, is a magnet
for hikers, who adore the thorny trails of the Serra de Tramuntana, whose leaping
peaks are interspersed with occasional olive groves and a series of picturesque
towns and villages. Port d’Alcudia, with its pine-studded golden beach, is easily
the most popular resort in this area, while the wetlands of Parc Natural de S'Albufera
provide superb birdwatching.
Palma de Mallorca is the most vibrant city in the islands, making up in cosmopolitan
colour what it has lost in cultural purity. Avoid the suburbs, which are tired and
dull – the centre is a wonderful mix of mazy lanes, restored old buildings and lively
shops, all enclosed in the crumbling city walls. Dominating the waterfront, the
magnificent cathedral is deservedly world-famous. Started in 1221 on the remains
of a mosque, it was not finished until the 17th century. Much later, the eccentric
architect Antoni Gaudi was drafted in to refurbish the interior – the combination
of styles is surprising but beautiful. Palau de l'Almudaina, opposite, is a warren
of rooms that now houses a collection of Flemish paintings. Tucked away in the backstreets
is the Banys Arabs, a bathhouse dating to the Moorish occupation.
Bizarrely for an island, Mallorca imports almost all its seafood. There’s no need
to worry about what you’ll eat, though: the islanders are famous for their cuisine.
Sobrassada is a soft cured sausage, often spread on toast or fried with quails eggs
or honey. Botifarro is more exotic: a pork intestine stuffed with coarsely ground
pork cuts and liver and flavoured with aniseed. Saffron rice with chicken, pork
and vegetables is another favourite, and there are olives and almonds in almost
everything else. Ensaimadas are sweet pastries with a variety of stuffings – island
cooks use pork lard to make the pastry, which is why it never tastes the same anywhere
Monthly temperature and rainfall averages for Majorca
Average minimum temperature
Average maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
Absolute maximum temperature
Average daily rain
Avg monthly rain
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