Living in Majorca

Majorca's geographical location, central in the Mediterranean, has been of great strategic importance to merchants and conquistadors for many centuries. It is the most invaded island in the Mediterranean. Its capital Palma still retains architectural influences from its many invaders throughout the centuries. To this day you can still stand inside old look out towers which were once used as a means to be able to forewarn the nearest towns of the invading Moors, Romans, and even pirates.

Whilst self-sufficient, Majorca was a relatively impoverished farming island whose main arable produce were grown on these plains, such as olives and almonds. Leather goods and particularly shoe factories were an important produce of the island. Fishing was also important, indeed to this day popular tourist destinations such as the Puerto Andratx retain an active & charismatic fishing community.

Even towards the latter half of the twentieth century it was not unusual for villagers to live a rather insular lifestyle as the island was relatively untouched by commercialism. Some adults never venturing far from their village and rarely seeing the sea! In town, generations of families would live together. It is only in the last few decades that a new generation of Majorcans have started a movement for independence from the main family residence. Today this has had a significant impact on the creation of Spanish mortgages, as financial institutions tapped into an emerging market so that young locals could realise their dreams for a home of their own.

The wealthier Majorcan families traditionally handed down the most fertile land to the eldest sibling in the family. The youngest of the family or the women would inherit the sandy beaches that were worthless to a predominantly arable producing island.

Tourism gave birth to a coastal gold rush and a dramatic twist of fate for Majorcan tradition.

Majorca's breathtaking landscape has been a inspiration for generations of artists. Many celebrities now own property in Majorca including Claudia Schiffer, Michael Douglas, Richard Branson, Boris Becker, Julian Lennon, Annie Lennox and Jasper Carrot to name but a few.

Majorca has had an ever growing tourist industry for the best part of 50 years. Central and local government have worked hard over recent decades to promote the tourism industry which is a significant source of income to the island. The island has benefited from European Union funding and many public services have been significantly improved. New motorways have made for safer travel and halved the driving time between the four corners of the island.

Majorca's main commercial airport San Joan is one of the largest in Europe, handles nine million passengers a year and is due for further expansion in the near future. Indeed the explosion in the provision of budget airline travel has given birth to the European commuter.

For those of us who live here we know we are spoilt with the diversity of attractions that the island has to offer. Purpose built cabaret entertainment venues and a casino where you can also see world class acts, palm tree lined beaches, beautiful scenery with dramatic cliff edge coastlines, arable farming plains decorated with charismatic windmills hundreds of years old. Historically these would pump up fresh spring water from natural sources deep underground, some of which are fed from the snow-capped Pyrenees.

At the beginning of the year the island becomes an instinctive magnet for ramblers who will happily loose themselves for a day and wander through inspiring scenery, almond trees with their pink blossom which give Majorca its only reliable "snow" at sea level. Both professional and enthusiast cyclists conquer the hills of the Sierra Tramuntana through the spring months as they prepare for the Tour de France. Puig Mayor (Major Mountain) is over 1,400m high, that's higher than Ben Nevis which stands at 1344m!

Enthusiastic golfers enjoy the challenges of 18 golf courses on the island with a further 5 under construction. There are many Equestrian centres on the island where you can go trekking in the mountains on horse back.
In the summer Majorca becomes a Royal destination as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia come for their annual summer holidays and take part in prestigious sailing regattas in the Bay of Palma. Many sailors rush to enjoy the crystal clear waters.

Many of the villages host spectacular fiestas sprinkled with equestrian shows and live music from internationally recognised performers. Majorca's capital, Palma, is a Medieval historic town with the only Cathedral in the world whose reflection you can see in water. If you are in need of some retail therapy you will find many shops in Palma selling some of the worlds leading fashion goods. There is a strong cultural movement on the island and many banking institutions support charitable foundations to ensure easy access to artists' works throughout the year.

Whether you want peace and tranquillity or enjoy the excitement of more adventurous activities the island really has become a choice holiday destination for all people. Many European holiday makers have now also made Majorca their home. For more information see other links and buying property in Majorca.