When I first learned that legendary Polish composer Frederic Chopin and his lover Parisian writer George Sand lived in a monastery when he spent time in the gorgeous Spanish island of Mallorca, I was puzzled as to why anyone would want to live there if they weren’t monks. But then we went to visit the Royal Carthusian Monastery, set high on a hill surrounded by terraced land in the picturesque town of Valldemossa. I could appreciate that this famous culture couple had discovered some very prime real estate combined with true privacy. But I know that I’d always choose beach living with a little — or a lot of — luxury and there is no shortage of great resorts in Mallorca.
I have a real soft spot for Mallorca. My first “big” trip six years ago, my re-entry into travel was to Spain, and we went a few days in Madrid, then flew to Mallorca and then flew to Barcelona. This itinerary was partly born because the high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona didn’t exist yet and partly born because we wanted some amazing beaches. Mallorca is like a tropical vacation with culture — so glad we went and we really want to go back one day.
And it was on that trip that we began our grand tradition of trying to see too much in too little time. There was a constant struggle between wanting to just lie on the beach that is pictured at top or get out and see and do everything like . We were very smart to stay right outside Palma de Mallorca, the island’s capital, for two reasons. First of all, Palma is fabulous little city full of charming, winding streets, great restaurants and the most enormous Gothic cathedral you can imagine. It’s really impressive that such a city exists on an island, and is a real testament to Mallorca’s prosperous history. Second, it’s a universal rule that the beaches get better when you get outside a city. So by staying a short taxi ride away, we had the best of both worlds. Except that it only exacerbated the problem of wanting to stay at the beach all day… The Mediterranean Sea, soft golden sand and a hotel lounger can do that to a person.
Mallorca is a big island, and I’ll admit that in three nights we really only saw a little bit. Our main day of exploration was to rent a car and see the Royal Carthusian Monastery and Port de Soller, a very pretty marina area with a small beach on the northwest coast. The Port de Soller beach wasn’t that great, although the setting was gorgeous. What we should have done is travel further to the northern tip of the island to swim at Cala Formentor, which is one of Mallorca’s best beaches. Next time, I need a full week in Mallorca and a real beach-hopping plan!