Situated 345 mi/555 km east of Madrid, Mallorca (pronounced my-YOR-ka) is the largest and most popular of Spain's Balearic Islands, drawing visitors from the colder climes of Europe. It's the only member of the archipelago that enjoys, and caters to, year-round tourism.
Its beaches, sunny weather and dazzling seaside scenery are the main attractions, though it retains a bit more of its traditional flavor than the Costa del Sol, another package-tour haven on the Spanish mainland. Most of the built-up, hotel-filled areas are around Palma Bay in the south, Alcudia Bay in the north, and along the island's cove-dotted east coast. In the center is a windmill-dotted plain called Es Pla that's home to several small towns and villages. In February, a virtual sea of pink and white blossoms from the 10 million almond trees fills this peaceful area of countryside.
The protected northwest area is, for many, the most beautiful of all. It has a long continuous mountain range that rises to 4,600 ft/1,400 m at its highest point. The mountain range towers above tiny hidden inlets, boasts silver-green groves of ancient gnarled olive trees, and shelters beautiful stone-walled towns and villages such as Valldemossa, Deia and Soller.
Palma de Mallorca is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the Balearics. In spite of the massive popularity of the island, the capital has managed to retain much of its original charm and character.
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