1.1. About Mallorca
Mediterranean Island Living with a Modern Touch
Mallorca combines all the elements you are likely to associate with paradise; Golden sandy beaches, palm trees and turquoise seas, brilliant sunshine and clear skies, friendly people and low costs...and a few more you probably don’t, like great infrastructure, accessibility and regular flights, a good road network and fast internet connection. Celebrities and Spanish royalty have been holidaying in Mallorca for decades lending a certain sparkle to the more upmarket areas while budget still primes in the more popular resorts. It isn’t only easy to come on holiday to Mallorca, but it is quite easy to live here as well.
Mallorca Island geography
Mallorca is 3,640.11Km2 to be exact, not a very large island and hence real estate here is a prime commodity. Building and planning laws have become increasingly strict and are heavily controlled, especially in the rural areas, and so any existing building in natural surroundings is a great investment in itself and a sure fire way of ensuring you won’t be getting any new neighbours anytime soon. The island´s limited size and good road network also means it is easy to access anywhere in Mallorca in under an hour, so not being on the beach is no longer a handicap, in fact it is often a blessing.
The island however is the largest of the Balearic islands and packs surprising diversity within its limited frame. A thorough understanding of the different areas on the island will help you decide where you are most interested in buying property.
The north of Mallorca is the last area to become easily accessible from the airport and so is both well connected yet relatively unspoiled with the Tramuntana Mountains creating a weather barrier which ensures this part of the island enjoys the mild mediterranean climate all year round, and making it highly sought after as both a second residence and holiday destination.
The east of Mallorca is mountanous and wild, with tiny villages dotted in the hills and tricky to reach both by land and by sea, but affording some of the most spectacular views on the island.
The west coast is an unlikely mix of very popular, built up resort areas and some of the most virgin beaches on the island, most of which are within nature reserves.
And the south of Mallorca runs from les Salines saltpans to Palma city and the luxury residential areas on the coast west of Palma.
The centre of the island is a vast and fertile plain with small agricultural villages, miles of olive and almond groves and the vineyards which produce Mallorca's most accomplished wines.
As a small Mediterranean island just off the coast of mainland Spain, Mallorca presents itself as a unique location for a number of reasons. Firstly, as the main island in the Balearics, it has the best flight connections making it easier, faster and cheaper to reach.
Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the Balearic Islands, and hence Mallorca is its administrative centre. Here you have an island which seems at first to be a vast holiday resort, and yet, it has a capital city as cosmopolitant and culturally vibrant as any city in Europe. This makes the legal and bureaucratic process of buying property in Mallorca less complicated or time consuming as everything has to go through Palma.
Protected Natural Reserves
Albeit mass tourism in the 80s and 90s, Mallorca has managed to come away fairly unscathed and a good deal wiser, 40% of the island is now protected natural reserves and building on rural land is heavily controlled. There are two mountain ranges on the east and west coasts called the Serra de Tramuntana and the Serra de Llevant, the S’Albufera and S’Albufereta wetlands around Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia, which attract migratory birds in their thousands, and Ses Salines saltpans in the south, also a bird sanctuary, make up most of Mallorca’s 312 km coastline. The central plain, known locally as Es Pla, is Mallorca´s top wine region, now living a renaissance and producing award winning wines.
The Serra de Tramuntana Mountains
The Serra de Tramuntana Mountain range was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010 and covers an area of 1000 km2 along the entire SE to NW coastal ridge between Port Andratx and Pollensa. Puig Major, at 1,445 m, is the highest mountain but there are many more around the 1000 m mark, a favourite training ground for the British Sky team cyclists and all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. The combined efforts of the Balearic government and local ecological groups brought about the opening of the 173 km long Dry Stone Way, a public path which traditionally connected the mountain villages and monasteries, and now serves as a trekking route over the majestic landscape of the Tramuntana.
Beaches in Mallorca
No mention of the Mallorcan landscape can fail to include the island´s coastline and 200 stunning beaches, the real reason why most people come here in the first place, even if they later discover the island’s other many delights. The mountains which border the north and north east of the island create a magnificent coastal ridge with clear aquamarine waters and tiny coves etched into the rock, while the flatter southern coast sees miles of soft sand dunes and long shallow seas.
Mallorca has a typically temperate Mediterranean climate with scorching hot summers (over 30ºC) and short, mild winters (rarely below 5ºC) and long, warm autumn and spring seasons, thanks to a large extent to the Tramuntana Range´s barrier effect. You can safely say that Mallorca still enjoys the full 4 seasons, with snow on the peaks in winter and obligatory siestas in the midday heat in summer. Short rainy spells in November and February tend to be all the rain the island will see for the year, heralding the start of an early spring.
Mallorca has proved itself practically immune to the major real estate and housing crisis that has ravaged Spain over the last decade. House prices have remained stubbornly high over the whole period, only dipping slightly in the last few years and prompting an immediate boost in sales, as cash wealthy buyers lap up bargain property deals.
Palma de Mallorca has the third largest airport in Spain and direct flight routes to all the main cities in Europe and good connections to the rest of the world. Palma airport also has a dedicated terminal for private jet charter flights. There are few places which combine such easy accessibly. A short flight (between 2 and 3 hours) will fly you to Mallorca from practically anywhere in Europe and once you land on the island you are greeted by a state of the art modern airport which sees 10 million visitors a year and new modern motorways crisscrossing the island.
Most major airlines and practically all the low cost and budget airlines operate out of Palma Airport. A regular air shuttle runs daily to and from Madrid and Barcelona, and though there is a significant drop in air traffic during the winter, flights continue to run throughout the year.
The island authorities have invested heavily in infrastructure in the last 5 to 10 years, building motorways from Palma to Pollensa, Manacor and Santayí, expanding and relocating the Palma Son Espases hospital and opening Son Llatzer hospital outside Palma and another major hospital in Inca to serve the north of the island. The railway network has been improved and the airport expanded. The marinas have also undergone a fair bit of restructuring, with major renovations taking place in Port Adriano marina and the Port of Palma has been remodelled to take in deep-draft cruise ships.
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