Why Americans Love the Balearic Islands

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Located in the Mediterranean Sea, by the Coast of the Iberian Peninsula, The Balearic Islands are an archipelago that consist of several islands. The largest of the islands include Ibiza, Majorca, Formentera and Minorca. The Baleric Islands are an autonomous province of Spain and its capital is the city of Palma. These islands cover an area of nineteen hundred square miles and has a population of approximately one million people.

The official languages of the Balearic are Catalan and Spanish. Little is known of the ancient history of the islands, though its commonly believed that they were colonized from the residents of Rhodes after the end of the Trojan War. For a brief period of time, the Baleric Islands were occuppied by the Phoenicians and much of this history can be seen in the town of Mahon. The Phoenician occupation of these islands lasted until the fall of Carthage and they once again became independent. They remained independent until they were conquered by the Roman Empire under the pretense that they were in league with the pirates of the Mediterranean. In 123 B.C., Q. Caecilius Metellus invaded the Balearic Islands and settled over three thousand Roman and Spanish colonist on the island of Majorca. These colonist founded the cities of Pollentia and Palma.

When the Roman Empire fell, the Balearic Islands would become invaded by the Vandals. They were then conquered by various other groups which include the Byzantines, the Moors and the Cordobas. In the thirteenth century, the islands were conquered by King James I of Aragon and they were added to the Aragon Empire. After his death, the islands were deeded to his son, James II and named the Kingdom of Mallorca. During the fifteenth century, the King of Aragon Ferdinand II married the Queen of Castile Isabella I. This brought their separate kingdoms together and eventually would become the territory of their grandson Charles V. During the sixteenth century, the islands were frequently attacks by Barbary Pirates.

A popular attraction of the Balearic Islands is located on the island of Mallorca and is called the Soller Railway (Ferrocarril de Soller in Spanish). This scenic railway runs between the towns of Palma and Soller and travels north from the capital through a variety of smaller towns, mountain passes and tunnels. This electric train is the only mode of transportation between two Mallorcan settlements, but has also become an attraction in its own right. The Palma Railway station is a tiny brick building that has large glass windows that reflect the railroad tracks in a way that makes them look like they are entering the building.

View of Sa Penya District in Ibiza Town, Balearic Islands, Spain

Around this station are old railroad structures and several train themed play grounds. Cap de Formentor is another prominent attraction on the islands. The cape forms the eastern end of the Formentor Peninsula on Majorca. It os called “Meeting Place of the Winds” by the local population and the bluff’s highest point is Fumart. Fumart stands at about eleven hundred feet above sea level. The street that runs from Cap de Formentor to Port de Pollenca was built by an Italian engineer named Antonio Paretti. El Toro is another prominent attraction. This hill is the tallest on the island of Minorca and has an altitude of eleven hundred feet. The hill is a popular spot for getting a panoramic view of the south side of the island and is home to a famous church. Also on the hill is a cafe which serves food and cold drinks to visitors. Going up the hill is a road which allows visitors to drive all the way to the top.

A very impressive attraction in the Belearic Islands is Bellver Castle. Bellver Castle is a Gothic castle that is located on Majorca Island and just northwest of the city of Palma. It was constructed in the fourteenth century for King James II and is one of the few castles in Europe that has a circular shape. It was used by King James only when he wasn’t staying at his castle in mainland Europe. It wouldn’t be after him by royalty untill the seventeenth century. It resisted two assaults during the Middle Ages. The first one was in 1343, when it was attacked by the forces of Peter IV. The second attack was during the peasant revolts. After the fourteenth century, it was used as a prison and held the Queen of Mallorca, Queen Violant. In 1932, it was given to the city of Palma and became a museum. During the 1970s, it was renovated and became Palma’s History Museum. The addition of a road and parking lot next to the castle allows it to accommodate a large number of visitors. The courtyard of the castle is often used for concerts and other events. Near the castle is the Chapel of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, which was built near the end of the nineteenth century. The mounted police station of Palma is also located nearby.

Attractions in the Balearic Islands:

  • No Frills Excursions
  • Hidropark
  • Pirates Adventure Show Dinner Theater
  • Come Fly With Me, Platja de ses Illetes
  • Le Seu Cathedral
  • Domingo Plaza
  • Wind Fornells Dinghy and Windsurf Sailing School
  • Puig de Pollenca
  • Es Trenc Beach
  • Estatua del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus
  • Monumento a los Corsarios
  • Marineland Majorca
  • Aqualand el Arenal
  • Aqualand Magaluf
  • Es Grau Beach
  • Boquer Valley
  • Palau de l’Almudaina
  • Los jardines de Alfabia
  • Calvario
  • Caves of Arta
  • Mahon Port
  • Ethnological Museum of Formentera
  • Playa de S’amarador
  • Jonathan Markson Tennis Center Peguera, Las Benirras
  • Rancho Grande
  • Platja de Llevant
  • Golf Fantasia
  • Castle of Ibiza
  • Poble Espanyol
  • Portals Nous Marina
  • Puerto de Soller
  • Cala Bassa
  • Pilar and Joan Miro Foundation in Mallorca
  • Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum
  • Cala de Deia, Lafiore Art Gallery
  • Western Park
  • Canyamel Golf Club
  • Necropolis del Puig des Molins
  • Palma Aquarium
  • Es Cap de Barbaria Lighthouse
  • Serra de Tramuntana, La Mola Lighthouse
  • Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani
  • Robert Graves House
  • Can Rich de Buscastell
  • Playa de Ses Salines
  • Castell de Capdepera
  • Platja de Palma
  • Hipodromo Sant Jordi
  • Son Vida Golf Course
  • Placa Major
  • Royal Carthusian Monastery
  • Capilla de San Ciriaco
  • Church of Saint Agnes
  • Iglesia de Sant Rafel
  • Cueva de Es Cuieram
  • Hotel Saratoga Palma de Mallorca and The House of Katmandu