Mallorca, also spelled Majorca, is all about olives, almonds and tourists, though not in that order. Actually, it's Europe's great vacation getaway. For more than 50 years, beginning in the 1950s, Europeans have flocked to this island to let their hair down, frolicking in its sandy coves (calas) and lapping it up in its lavish ports and on its terraced hillsides. It is the largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, and the most popular. Typically, in season, tourists outnumber locals by about 5 to 1. Spain's royal family maintains a summer residence here, the Marivent Palace, as do several celebrities, among them novelist Robert Graves and actor-director Michael Douglas. Tennis top-dog Rafael Nadal was born and raised on Mallorca.
The Balearic Islands of Spain
Mallorca's capital city, and that of the Balearic Islands, is Palma, which is also the largest and oldest city in the archipelago. It was founded in 123 BC by the Romans and, as with other Spanish cities, overrun a few centuries later, first by the Moors and then the Christians. Palma has many old buildings in its historic center, a fair few in the peninsular architectural style, and an array of shops, restaurants and cafés – there are more than 2,500 dining establishments in Mallorca, the majority in Palma – as well as a lively night scene. Palma is situated along the southwest coast of the island
Majorca, for its part, is situated in the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 100 miles (160 km) west of Valencia. It has a resident population of around 870,000, of which some 400,000 live in Palma.
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