If a relaxing combination of sunny beaches and historical attractions sounds like the ideal backdrop for a vacation, head to Majorca, Spain’s northern coast. Though the resort town of Alcudia is only 35 miles from the island’s airport at Palma, it’s a world away from the packed beaches, nightclubs and party people that congregate in southern Majorca.
The city of Alcudia’s earliest recorded inhabitants date to before 1300 B.C.; over the centuries, many groups, from the Romans to the Byzantines, the Vandals to the Christians, have conquered and attempted to hold onto this desirable region.
Today, visitors can explore these diverse cultural influences at the area’s many museums and historic sites. Tour the Roman ruins at Pollentia, home to an excavated theater, necropolis, gymnasium, ancient houses and the Pollentia Monographic Museum.
Though they’re not for the faint of heart, bullfights have been a central feature in Spanish culture since before the Roman Empire ruled the land. Today, visitors can watch a bull fight in the historic Bastion of Sant Ferran bullring. Constructed in the town’s ancient defense wall, bullfights are held in July and August each year.
Explore the rich artistic heritage of the Alcudia region; from Joan Miro to Yannick Vu, Peter Ustinov to Ben Jakober and Aligi Sassi, many historic and contemporary artists have made their mark in Alcudia. Tour the Fundacion Yannick y Ben Jakober, a gallery that collects and exhibits Spanish artworks.
Once you’ve explored Alcudia’s culture and history, get out into nature and experience that infamous Mediterranean climate. One of the best ways to explore the region is on a bike. The local tourism office provides maps for several self-guided biking tours.
Choose the tour that best matches your biking ability and fitness level and hit the road. S’Albufera Nature Park on the southern end of the city is a great place to start. This 4,200-acre park is full of trails that wind through sand dunes, bird-filled marshes and along the ocean.
Of course, no trip to Majorca would be complete without time on the beach. Alcudia’s setting on Majorca’s northern coast provides a range of beaches from which to choose.
If you prefer people-watching, shopping and a wide choice of eateries, head to Puerto Alcudia. This 6-mile-long life-guarded beach — the longest in the area — boasts a combination of fine white sand and calm, shallow water that forms the perfect backdrop for sunbathing and swimming.
For a quieter setting, stroll or drive to the southern end of Puerto Alcudia, where you’ll find Playa de Muro. This quiet stretch of sand is adjacent to the Albufera Nature Park and draws less visitors. For diving and snorkeling, head to the pebble shores at S’Illot Beach. Just north of the city, this scenic coastline is a great place for water sports and also offers picnic areas.