Valldemossa is the site of the Cartoixa Reial, Plaça de las Cartujas s/n (tel. 97-161-21-06), where George Sand and the tubercular Frédéric Chopin wintered in 1838 and 1839. The monastery was founded in the 14th century, but the present buildings are from the 17th and 18th centuries. After monks abandoned the dwelling, the cells were rented to guests, which led to the appearance of Sand and Chopin, who managed to shock the conservative locals. They occupied cells 2 and 4. The only belongings left are a small painting and a French piano. The peasants, fearing they'd catch Chopin's tuberculosis, burned most of the rest after the couple returned to the mainland. The cells may be visited November to February, Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm, Sunday 10am to 1:30pm, and March to October, Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6pm. Admission is 7.50€ adults, free for children 9 and under.
It's also possible to visit Palau del Rei Sancho, next door to the monastery, on the same ticket. This is a Moorish retreat built by one of the island kings. You'll be given a guided tour of the palace by a woman in Majorcan dress.
From Valldemossa, continue through the mountains, following the signposts for 11km (6 1/2 miles) to Deià. Before the village, consider a stopover at Son Marroig (tel. 97-163-91-58; www.sonmarroig.com), at Km 26 on the highway. Now a museum, this was once the estate of Archduke Luis Salvador. Born in 1847, the archduke fled court life and found refuge here with his young bride in 1870. A tower on the estate is from the 1500s. Many of the archduke's personal furnishings and mementos, such as photographs and his ceramic collection, are still here. The estate is surrounded by lovely gardens, and the property has many panoramic views. It is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6:30pm (to 5:30pm in winter). Admission is 3€.
There are more tributes to the Austrian archduke at Costa Nord, Av. Palma 6 (tel. 97-161-24-25), a cultural center opened by actor Michael Douglas, who has a home in the area. A life-size reproduction of the archduke's yacht is on exhibit. In addition, a 15-minute film, narrated by none other than Kirk's son himself, is presented in the auditorium, detailing the natural wonders of the Sierra de Tramuntana. Douglas also narrates a history of the island, which begins with the arrival of the Phoenicians at Majorca and continues through the centuries until the archduke's arrival. Classical music, and even flamenco, is performed in the auditorium during summer on Friday and Saturday nights. Admission is 7.50€ for adults, 6€ for seniors and students, 4.50€ for children 7 to 12, and free for children 6 and under. Summer hours are daily 10am to 6pm; off-season visits are possible daily 9am to 5pm. For more information, check out www.costanord.com.
Set against a backdrop of olive-green mountains, Deià (Deyá) is peaceful and serene, with its stone houses and creeping bougainvillea. It has long had a special meaning for artists. Robert Graves, the English poet and novelist (I, Claudius and Claudius the God), lived in Deià, and died here in 1985. He is buried in the local cemetery.
It is now possible to visit Graves's home, where he once entertained such notables as Ava Gardner, Alec Guinness, and Peter Ustinov. Ca N'Alluny, Carretera de Soller Km 1 (tel. 97-163-61-85), lies a 5-minute walk from the center of the town. Graves and his then companion, Laura Riding, built the house in 1932. The poet wrote: "I wanted to go where town was still town; and country, country."
Tomás Graves, the poet's son, told the press: "My father's legacy can be seen as something besides a tombstone." The house has been restored the way it was when Graves returned to the island in 1946, containing the original furnishings, even the electrical fittings. Visitors can explore the studies of both Laura and Robert Graves as well as visit the kitchen and dining room.
Valldemossa lacks basic services, including a tourist office. It is connected to a bus service from Palma, however. Bus Nort Balear (tel. 97-149-06-80) goes to Valldemossa 13 times daily for a one-way fare of 4€. Buses leave Palma at Plaza España (Calle Eusebio Estrada).
To reach Deià by public transportation from Palma, 27km (17 miles) away, just stay on the bus that stops in Valldemossa. If you're driving from Palma, take the Carretera Valldemossa-Deià to Valldemossa; from there, you can continue to Deià. Those with cars might want to consider one of the idyllic accommodations offered in this little Majorcan village, which has very few tourist facilities outside the hotels.