Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, being 3,640Km2, with over 5,500Km of coastline. It also lies off the East coast of mainland Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea, along with its close neighbouring islands of Ibiza and Menorca. The Island is divided by an extensive mountain range, cutting from the Northwest to the Southwest, and so isolating the central agricultural areas from the secluded beaches and rocky Alcúdia bay in the north.
Tourists often get confused by the difference in Mallorca's names; the original, traditional name of the island is Mallorca, which is used by the locals and intimates the vibrant life and culture that can be found almost everywhere, whereas Majorca is the name that was adopted by foreign visitors who found it difficult to pronounce the Spanish version.
Mallorca's native population may be one of the most hospitable in the Mediterranean, a tradition that can be credited to the extensive history of traders, invaders and tourists. The fact that tourism is Mallorca's most lucrative industry provides a considerable incentive for the local's to create a warm and welcoming environment. Such openness as can be found on the island is best experienced in smaller, more traditional restaurants and taverns, where frequently tourists are met with a hearty welcome and a chorus of greetings - "Bon dia!"
Mallorca, like many Mediterranean places still retains the age-old ritual of a midday siesta, which usually lasts about 3 hours. The Mallorcans love to take life leisurely and so by shutting up shop in the afternoon, gives them time to relax in the shade to chat, and miss the hottest part of the day, which I'm sure nobody would enjoy working through.
Although Mallorca has managed to retain much of it's traditional atmosphere and architecture, the last 20 years of extended growth has taken its toll. Palma Nova and Magalluf are prime examples of the urban lifestyle that seems to have developed in the Mediterranean, almost entirely due to the arrival of foreign visitors who expect to find their all the aspects of home, only in a warmer climate. Nonetheless times are changing and this pace of growth is beginning to slow, assisted by local authorities that are trying to reduce the worst elements of construction and preserve some of Mallorca's cultural charm.