Majorca (Mallorca in Spanish) is the most popular of Spain's Mediterranean islands, drawing millions of visitors each year.

About 209km (130 miles) from Barcelona and 145km (90 miles) from Valencia, Majorca has a coastline 500km (310 miles) long. The beautiful island is an explorer's paradise in its exterior, although horribly overbuilt along certain coastal regions. The north is mountainous; the fertile southern flatlands offer a landscape of olive and almond groves, occasionally interrupted by windmills.

The golden sands of Majorca are famous, with lovely beaches such as Ca'n Pastilla and El Arenal, but they tend to be overcrowded with sun worshipers on package tours. Tourist facilities line the shores of Cala Mayor and Sant Agustí; both have good beaches, including Playa Magaluf, the longest beach on the Calvía coast. Cala de San Vicente, 6.5km (4 miles) north of Pollença, is a beautiful beach bordered by a pine grove and towering cliffs. Stretches of golden-sand beach lie between Cala Pi and Cala Murta in Formentor near the tip of the northern coast.

Not an Island for All Seasons -- July and August are high season for Majorca; don't even think of coming then without a reservation. It's possible to swim comfortably from June to October; after that, it's prohibitively cold.