Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Majorca's Winter Welcome

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Majorca's Winter Welcome

Article excerpt

Byline: By Harvey Elliott

Image is all important. That's a truism, maybe, but especially true about travel.

Walk into your local pub, for example, and tell them you've just been to Majorca. Everyone assumes you paid around pounds 300 for a week's accommodation, and read books on your apartment balcony.

Try explaining that you went for just three days, stayed in five star luxury, walked among orange trees up in the mountains, played golf on one of the island's 21 spectacular courses, ate some of the finest food and wine on earth - and the old image of the Spanish island in the middle of the Med will be shattered.

But I have just done all that, and a great deal more, on the island which is fast becoming one of Europe's top winter break destinations, as well as its favourite summer playground.

Although it attracts more than 7m tourists a year, Majorca has areas completely untouched by the hordes. In the north of the island, beyond the ancient and beautiful town of Soller, lie tiny villages where tourist coaches hardly ever stray - even at the height of summer.

Places such as Biniaratx and Fornalutx - the unusual names come from ancient Moorish settlers on the island - cling to the great mountain range running along the Northern coast, their tiny lanes and byways hidden from view among the olive trees above and the orange groves below.

A rattling train heaves its way up the mountain from the centre of Palma, pausing to stop while passengers get an eagle's eye view of the deep valley in which Soller lies.

And from there it is possible to walk, in temperatures which even in mid-January rarely drop below the mid 50s, up into the foothills of the Tramuntana mountain ranges.

Alternatively, you could drive along narrow lanes towards the summer tourist "hotspot" of Valldemosa, the town near the home of film star Michael Douglas and where he has built a film and exhibition centre revealing not only his love of the island but its history and culture. …

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