Due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean, Mallorca has been since ancient times a melting pot of cultures and civilizations. This has left a rich cultural heritage that is unique in the Mediterranean.
Nature, as well as mankind, has left its mark on the island, endowing it with an extraordinary beauty. It has all kinds of landscapes, from amazing, lush mountain ranges to the peaceful plains and splendid beaches of warm, crystal-clear waters.
Mallorca and Menorca share a unique and common past as cradle of the Talaiotic culture (1400 BCE – 100 BCE). The remains of Talaiotic settlements in Mallorca increase as the archaeological teams make progress. It is worth walking between the stones that gave shelter to the first settlers and feel the difference with the 21st century Mallorca.
The talaiot is the structure that gave its name to this culture. It is of circular and square ground plan and has a tapered tower shape. Talaiots can reach 9 metres in height. Their function are still a mystery to experts. They might have been defence towers, burial monuments or simple chambers. The most outstanding archaeological sites are the settlement of Capocorb Vell (Llucmajor), which was designated an Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931, Son Fornés (Montuïri), Ses Païsses (Artà) and the Necropolis of Son Real (Santa Margalida), where 74 graves were excavated, uncovering jewels and iron and bronze weapons.
The Roman settlements of Palma and Pollentia were founded after the annexation of Mallorca to the Roman Empire. The remains of the first settlement are not visible as they lie under Palma’s old quarters. Pollentia is located in Alcúdia. It is an excellent example of Roman city. Several elements such as the streets, the forum and the capitol in honour of Jupiter and Minerva can been seen in the archaeological site. The capitol is the best preserved of the three categorized to date in Spain. The Arab baths of the city of Palma are a heritage connecting us to our Muslim past. The baths boast arches and flower crowned columns. Unique monuments from the Gothic period are preserved in Palma: the Cathedral of Mallorca, an authentic jewel of the Mediterranean Gothic style; Bellver Castle, the only medieval fortress of circular ground plan in Spain; and La Llotja, a beautiful building designed by the architect Guillem that combines Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Religious architecture is well represented in all the towns and cities of Mallorca with churches, sanctuaries, chapels and monasteries. One of the most singular buildings is Lluc monastery in Escorca, which is considered the spiritual centre of the island. Lluc attracts a large number of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because it is located in an impressive mountainous landscape with rocky outcrops and holm oak forests.
The beauty of nature is present all over the island. Mallorca is blessed with beautiful landscapes and the so-called “possesions”, which are old rural estates and the perfect example of traditional Mallorcan architecture. The main element of these buildings is the “clastra”, a paved courtyard that grants access to the main house. Some of these estates house exclusive rural hotels adapted to the latest technologies.
At present, around 40% of Mallorca is protected and divided into natural spaces: s'Albufera nature park, Sa Dragonera nature park, Península de Llevant nature park and Mondragó nature park; s'Albufereta nature reserve; and the maritime-terrestrial national park of Cabrera, which is the first of its kind in Spain and was created in 1991. Furthermore, there are 44 Natural Areas of Special Interest and the aim is to establish the Tramuntana Mountains as a Biosphere Reserve. The Tramuntana Mountains are the largest mountain range and natural space in Mallorca. Here, in the crevices and ravines of the remotest streams, is where the ferreret lives. It is an endemic amphibious that evolved before the arrival of humans to Mallorca. One of the most spectacular places in the area is the Torrent de Pareis, which was designated Natural Monument. These natural spaces preserve a great diversity of unique ecosystems with a great deal of endemic wildlife that constitutes one of the largest attractions for naturalists visiting us from all over the world.
Another natural richness lies hidden beneath the surface: the fascinating world of stalagmites and stalactites. More than two hundred natural caves have been categorized in Mallorca. The last cave discovered is Cova de la Gleda, in Manacor. It is the largest underwater cave discovered in Europe to this day. Five of the caves are open to visitors. Some of them are considered to be among the most beautiful in the world.