Destination: Spain: Mallorca
Whether conquered by Moors or Christians, German sun worshippers or royal entourages, the Spanish island of Mallorca has always been a chameleon, changing colors with the times and reinventing itself from century to century and decade to decade. Its dramatic landscapes and rugged coves have drawn international celebrities ever since 1838, when George Sand lived for several months in Valldemossa with Frédéric Chopin. This visit inspired her book Winter in Majorca. In it, she wrote about her stay: “It is poetry, it is solitude, it is everything that is most enchanting under the sky; and what sky! What country! We are in a dream of happiness.”
Although one can still find both solitude and poetry on Mallorca, things have changed quite a bit since Sand wrote those words. In the ’60s and early ’70s, the island fell victim to mass tourism and greed, building up (and in some cases ruining) its southern coast with cheap concrete high-rise hotels. Mallorca developed a reputation as an affordable beach destination, attracting sun-starved German and English budget tourists by the planeful.
To solve that problem, in the last several years Mallorca’s government and tourism leaders have decided to shift their focus to luxury and eco-resorts. Sophisticated tourists have started to turn away from the coast (unless they are traveling by private yacht) and instead are heading inland. In other words, goodbye, massive concrete beachside resorts; hello, intimate, stylish country retreats.
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