Whether you’ve hopped to this Balearic beauty for a well–earned lounge by the pool, or a gallop through the island’s gourmet offerings, these interesting facts might just tempt you to stray from your plans. A bold claim, but we think a family feud that’s fooled many – and rumbled on for a couple of centuries – will easily compete with your page-turning best-seller.
While we’re teasing you with our interesting facts about Majorca, we may as well drop in a Hollywood name. Tom Hanks. He wasn’t quite trawling the sands looking for Wilson, but he has spent some time getting to grips with the island’s mountain range. Our Majorcan facts are diverse, intriguing and at times a little dark. Which basically makes them essential reading …
1. Two Majorcan families having been feuding for generations over Chopin’s piano
You could guess interesting facts about Majorca for months and probably never stumble upon this one. Classical composer Chopin spent some time on the island in the 1800s. So far, so uncomplicated. The trouble started when one Majorcan family started selling tickets to see Chopin’s accommodation and piano. And things escalated quickly, with 300,000 people a year stopping by to take a peek.
There was just one small problem. The piano they were looking at was built after Chopin died. And the accommodation? He never stayed there. All this was revealed in a lengthy series of court battles. Today, the Ferrá–Capllonch family are still showcasing genuine Chopin memorabilia on the island. To see the real deal? You’ll want to visit the Quetglas family’s cell at the Valldemossa monastry and their piano – not the fake one.
2. Majorca’s caves are home to living fossils
When it comes to unusual facts about Majorca – this one’s likely to divide opinions. Whether you’re in camp ‘meh’ or team ‘wow!’ will all depend on your relationship with bugs and all things insect-like. Scientists rummaging around the stalagmites of the Coves de Campanet caves have found a pseudoscorpion that, as things stand, hasn’t been found anywhere else on the planet. There’s also an entirely new species of pseudoscorpion and a couple of carnivorous bugs.
Then there’s the japygid. If we had to compare it to a familiar insect, we’d say it’s not dissimilar to an earwig. Except the japygid is blind – yet still manages to hunt its prey with some decidedly impressive pincers. The stuff of nightmares for some, others will be enthralled. To avoid these small beasts, perhaps check out other caves in Majorca?
3. Majorca’s a star of the silver screen
Few among us would fail to recognise the distinctive Love Island villa. But Majorca has also welcomed some very famous faces for a Hollywood blockbuster. In 2011, Tom Hanks and Halle Berry headed for the Tramuntana mountain regions to shoot some scenes. If you’ve seen the sci-fi epic, think back to the Pacific Islands and Big Island moments in the movie. Other snippets for the film were shot on the Formentor peninsula and Cala Tuent beach.
You might get a few people dropping by to take in the view, but one island restaurant is still trading off the back of its 15 minutes of fame. BBC mini series ‘The Night Manager’ shot some iconic scenes for the mini series at Ca’s Patro March. Since the show aired, hungry drama fans have booked up tables at every sitting. We wouldn’t necessarily cast it as the star in a ‘best restaurants in Majorca’ montage … but the views aren’t bad. If you can get a table.
4. Professional cyclists have been using Majorca’s roads to train
If you’ve even taken a road trip in Majorca and thought you saw a familiar face pedalling past – you could be right. Team Sky have used the gruelling roads as a training ground and Sir Bradley Wiggins has also been known to take on the terrain. The best cycling in Majorca doesn’t have to be an Olympic sprint to glory or long–distance haul. But just knowing you’re conquering the same tarmac as some of the world’s best cyclists is more than likely to see you give those hills some extra knee power.
5. You can stay in a fully vegan hotel…
Veganism may be on the rise, but finding a hotel that’s 100% vegan is still a tough ask. Majorca just happens to be one of the few places in the world that has not one, but two vegan hotels. Villa Vegana and Ecocier are retreats that take their menus seriously too. Plant-based travellers, things only get better from here. In addition to the two hotels, you can add a wide choice of vegan eateries to your unusual facts about Majorca list. A Balearic vegan break with added gastronomy? Worth every penny.
6. Majorca has its own species of hedgehog
Birdwatchers will have been clued up to the Majorca’s endemic bird species for a while now. And, while we all might enjoy spotting a Balearic Shearwater gracing the skies, there’s something a little cuter to watch out for. The Mallorcan Hedgehog – or Atelerix Algirus Vagans for latin fans – is a distant relative of the African Hedgehog. Smaller than the mammals we’re used to spotting bimbling around our gardens, the Majorcan mammal can be spotted at dusk or dawn – if you’re not having a holiday lie-in.
7. You can take an underground boat trip
We’re all used to hopping aboard a ferry or catamaran for a spot of island hopping. But rarely will you get the chance to sail on an underground lake. Well, one of the caves in Majorca is the place to give it a whirl. The largest lake is hidden in the depths of the Cuevas del Drach, where you can take to waters that are beautifully lit to show off the stalactites and stalagmites. Yes, it’s admittedly a short ride, as part of one of Majorca’s biggest tourist attractions, but it’s still a stunner.
8. Majorca’s the best Balearic island for a spot of Dark Tourism
If cemeteries, tombs and burial grounds are your favoured day trips, you’ll love Majorca. On the north-east coast, you’ll find the Necròpoli de Son Real. The necropolis dates back the Iron Age – and is the Balearic Island’s biggest prehistoric cemetery. Archaeologists have found over 130 tombs – and removed 300 bodies. Used until the Roman Era, it’s thought that Majorca’s great and good were buried here. Jewellery, weapons, instruments and pottery were also found in the horse shoe shaped tombs and ship shaped burial chambers. You can fully explore the site on the Bay of Alcudia headland. Or, pop into the Museu Monogràfic de Pollèntia to see the artefacts.
Fascinated by Majorca’s eclectic batch of facts? With the Orbzii app your ultimate island getaway can be planned and booked in no time.