Pla de Mallorca
In the centre of Majorca, a depression of 600 square kilometres unfolds between the island’s two mountain ranges: the Tramuntana mountain range (to the north-west) and the Llevant mountain range (to the south-east). It is the county of Pla de Mallorca, a plain dotted with hills where the most rural part of Majorca begins. It is a place where farmers have worked the land and reared livestock for centuries. However, the boom in inland tourism in recent years has turned many of these possesions or Majorcan farms into rural houses where visitors can stay and get to know the charms of the humble land. Fourteen small towns – Algaida, Ariany, Costitx, Lloret de Vistalegre, Llubí, Maria de la Salut, Montuïri, Petra, Porreres, Santa Eugènia, Sant Joan, Sencelles, Sineu and Vilafranca de Bonany – make up a county in which the last traces of traditional farm life remain. Would you like to discover them?
The weekly markets held in each town, where the freshest produce from Majorcan farms is sold, are one of the region’s longest-lasting traditions. The most important and oldest of them all is Sineu market, the only market in Majorca where live animals are still sold. It is held every Wednesday in Plaça des Fossar, and was first recorded in 1252. The numerous fairs and patron saint fiestas also characterise the county, the most important being the festivities of Sant Bartomeu, on 24 August in Montuïri, and Sant Honorat, on 16 January in Algaida, where you can attend the old cossiers dance, which dates to the 14th century. More recent but very popular nonetheless are the delicious Vilafranca de Bonany Melon Festival (in September) and Llubí Honey Fair (in November). And throughout the summer, the Mancomunitat Pla de Mallorca International Music Festival offers free classical music concerts in the churches of each town.
The mark of rural life is present in many possesions, where you can find old wells, waterwheels, cisterns and flour mills. One of the best excuses for going from town to town is to see the Windmill Route, which takes you through more than 30 windmills that are in good condition, such as that of Xina – today converted into an artists’ studio – and Pau in the town of Algaida, both from the 18th century. Another interesting route, known as the Mystical Route, takes you through hermitages and medieval sanctuaries lost in the mountains where the island’s long hermitage tradition developed. The excursion from Algaida to Puig de Randa, where the philosopher and mystic Ramon Llull retired as a hermit in the 13th century, is very beautiful.
Another thing you cannot miss in the county are the museums that keep its past alive, such as the Gordiola Glass Museum (in Algaida), with precious handcrafted pieces made by this family that passed the trade from father to son for generations, or scientific dissemination centres such as the Astronomical Observatory of Majorca and the Museum of Natural Sciences, both located in Costitx.
For those interested in prehistoric times, Pla de Mallorca is an excellent place to visit Talaiotic sites: megalithic constructions and remains of settlements of this culture that inhabited the Balearic archipelago during the Iron Age. Many are in the vicinity of Sencelles and Costitx, although one of the best-preserved villages on the island is Es Racons, half a kilometre from Llubí.
There are dozens of wineries in Majorca, which makes it patent that this island has a special link with the fascinating world of wine.
The Tramuntana mountain range is full of oil mills where the oil from centenary olive trees was made. Oil is an essential element of Mediterranean cuisine.
Visiting the island of Majorca for a short stay is almost impossible given the excursions on offer for all tastes and all types of travellers.