Love Island: 10 things you may not know about Mallorca
Millions of TV viewers are once again giving up their evenings for the foreseeable to watch the fun and frolics of Love Island contestants as they flirt and fondle in the sun. Every strata of society seems to be drawn into watching the series, but we have a theory that its not just the romancing couples that have caught peoples imagination. Aside from the sensational villa that is home to the cast for the show duration, the fabulous backdrop of the Spanish island of Mallorca has had many of us falling in love and embracing our ‘inner islander’.
Here are some things you might NOT have known about the Balearic’s largest island.
They're not bad at sport
The world famous tennis player Rafael Nadal is from the Mallorcan town of Manacor. Often referred to as the ‘king of clay’, the ambidextrous sportsman (writes with his right hand, plays tennis with his left) was trained on the island by his uncle who was also a professional tennis player in his day.
It has 8 Michelin stars
There are over 2,500 eateries in Mallorca and it boasts Eight Michelin stars between 7 restaurants – not bad for a small island. Zaranda, owned by chef Fernando Perez Arellano, is located in the 5 Star Castell Son Claret Hotel in Es Capdella and has retained two Michelin stars since 2016. Restaurant Es Fum, Costa d’en Blanes is perhaps recognised as the best restaurant in Mallorca – chef Jose Miguel Navarro previously worked at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona – named the worlds best restaurant in 2013.
So is it Mallorca or Majorca?
The Brits invented the j in Majorca, because we couldn’t get our tongues around the double l, pronounced y. The revered British poet, Robert Graves was a resident of Deia and wrote an essay titled “Why I Live in Majorca?” which legitimised the spelling in literary circles. The local British newspaper, inaugurated in 1962, is still called the Majorca Daily Bulletin. The Spanish spelling Mallorca is used by both Catalan and Castilian speakers (there is some theory that Majorca is Catillian – it’s not)and travel giants, Lonely Planet, use the correct spelling of Mallorca . Us Brits however seem destined to forever mispronounce, even with a helpful J thrown in for guidance.
They know how to do luxury
Some of the property here is off the scale super luxurious. In a list of Spain’s most expensive properties published last year, over half of them were in Mallorca. If you are searching for a new home and money is no object how about Villa Solitaire in Son Vida, Palma, (pictured below) – on the market currently for a cool 65 Million Euros.
And here’s a fact – the villa that was featured in 2016’s Love Island season, hosts the largest private pool in the whole of the Balearic Islands. Located in Ses Salines, the gigantic pool is designed to look like the shoreline – it was built by a French businessman to replicate an existing property he owns in France.
Dragons are a big tourist attraction
Ok maybe that’s a bit of a stretch… An impressive cave system riddles the island but the most spectacular without doubt are the The Caves of Drach (Dragon Caves). Enormous stalactites formations in the deep grottos look other worldly, and buried deep within is a huge body of water, Lake Martel. Guided tours in a row boat are accompanied by floating muscians making the shimmering lake even more dramatic.
Cyclists are very welcome
Mallorca takes its cycling very seriously with over 35,000 riders visiting each year – its varied terrain features one of the most feared and challenging routes for those advanced in the sport. Sa Calobra is a 10km ride which hurtles 668 metres down the side of a mountain containing 26 hair pin turns at an average gradient of 7.1%!
Film location scouts love it
ITV’s Love Island team follows a long line of location scouts and its no surprise that with its stunning coastline Mallorca has been used as the scene for many films and movies. The Night Manager, Me Before You, Cloud Atlas and The Inbetweeners are all recent projects that were filmed on the island.
One particular film shot back in 1962 caused a particular stir as it was the first Spanish film to show an actress wearing a bikini. Bahia de Palma, starring German screen star Elke Sommer, broke the ban imposed by the conservative Franco regime. The film was so popular in Germany it is believed to be largely responsible for the arrival of German tourists, which leads neatly onto…
Weird one for you – in Germany Mallorca apparently has the nickname Putzfraueninsel meaning “Cleaning Lady Island”. This is because it was considered such an affordable destination – even your cleaning lady could go there?! It’s also claimed that some Germans refer to Mallorca as their 17th federate state.
Whatever they call it, the Germans LOVE Mallorca and continue to dominate the foreign residents table to this day. It is one of the few holiday isles where the locals master the German language above English and German Bierhaus, bratwurst and sauerkraut are available in abundance.
Their wine is REALLY good!"
Seriously Mallorca has some of the best wine you’ve never tried (as they are not typically exported you have to go in order to taste them). There are five different areas of the island which have slightly varying climates, creating completely different wines so its well worth going on a wine tour to try them all out. A good start would be Bodegues Ribas, the oldest estate on the island and don’t miss Bodegas Mesquida Mora run by a one of a handful of female winemakers on the island. One of her livelier wines is called Acrollam (Mallorca, spelt backwards).
It lays claim to Europe’s first sweet pastry recipe
Ensaimadas’ is a local pastry only available on the island and is said to date back to the 17th century in origin where it was made for festivals. One of Spain’s most iconic pastries, it is essentially a spiral-shaped pastry made with flour, eggs, water, sugar, mother dough and ‘saim’ (pork lard). Mallorcan emigrants have spread the recipe across Latin America, so adaptations can be found in Argentina, Puerto Rico (where it is known simply as ‘mallorca’) or the Philippines. Said to be highly addictive due to its ‘lighter than air’ texture, it comes with a variety of fillings including the traditional ‘cabello de angel’ (pumpkin strands in syrup). Here’s a link in case you fancy trying to make them.