Mallorca

Discover Mallorca's chic side with our print-out-and-keep guide

Why go? While Mallorca’s beaches were commandeered by package hotels years ago, it’s still a refreshingly different world inland. Stretching from Andratx to Pollença, the Serra da Tramuntana is a head-clearing sweep of craggy mountains, pine woods, ancient olive groves and terraces dotted with lemon trees. Pick the right place and you’d hardly know you’re on an island packed full of fellow Brits – instead it’s just blue skies and barbecues under the stars. Mallorca is a great choice for a get-together with friends or a big family celebration as it’s so easy to reach and not too pricey.

Where to stay? For somewhere to indulge in some serious pampering, celeb favourite La Residencia (www.hotellaresidencia.com) in Deià is still the perfect retreat. A new sight here is Ca n’Alluny (www.fundaciorobertgraves.com), the enchanting home of the poet Robert Graves, which opened to visitors last summer. Another essential stop is the monastery at Valldemossa, where in 1838 the author George Sand spent a romantic winter with her lover, Frédéric Chopin. For an easygoing fly-drive holiday, compose your own tour with the help of www.topfincas.com, a guide to small hotels set on fincas (country estates) that have been developed though agroturismo projects. One of the most idyllic is Can Coll (www.cancoll.com) near Sóller, which has welcoming rooms, mountain views, a pool and restful gardens full of citrus trees. Other rural escapes to consider are Finca Es Castell (www.fincaescastell.com) near Caimari, and Ca’s Xorc (www.casxorc.com) by Sóller, which comes with just 12 rooms and a smart restaurant. Prefer to flop by a pool with glossy mags, an iPod and a bottle of chilled cava? For a lazy week or two in the sun, you can’t beat a villa in the olive-dotted hills. The choice of villas to rent on Mallorca covers everything from OTT footballer’s wife pad to rustic farmhouse. In high summer, pick somewhere on a hill that catches the breeze, and check it’s isolated if you plan to turn up the volume. Mallorca Farmhouses (0118-947 3001; www.mfh.co.uk) has a good selection of large villas sleeping up to 16 people.

What to do? Visit the island’s wonderful local markets and enjoy shopping on an unprecedented scale – whole cheeses, heaps of artichokes, basketfuls of peaches… A good area to stay is around Pollença in the northeast of the island, which is easily reached thanks to a new motorway from Palma. The beaches and mountains are within striking distance and there are hidden treats to discover, such as the Fundación Yannick y Ben Jakober (www.fundacionjakober.org), an extraordinary subterranean art gallery near Alcúdia with a collection of 16th to 19th century portraits of royal children. For a slap-up meal, book yourself an outside table at the groovy Hotel Son Brull (www.sonbrull.com).

Getting around: This landscape is ideal for exploring by car or on foot following numerous marked trails – head for a rural inner sanctum like the Vall d’Orient, then cool off in a little cove such as Cala Deià, where you can enjoy a simple lunch of grilled sardines.

Getting there: You can fly to Palma from over 20 UK airports. Visit www.travelsupermarket.com for a choice of routes and fares.

Need to know: The latest edition of Mallorca & Menorca (£12.99, Rough Guides) is worth a read, or contact Mallorca Tourist Information (00 34 971 712216; www.infomallorca.net).

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