Mallorca has been, and continues to be, the home of many notable persons, and chief amongst them were Fédéric Chopin and his lover, the pioneering French writer George Sands, who, in her account of their 1839 stay described the natural beauty which pervades Mallorca. That is no more so than in the stunning hilltop village where Chopin and Sands made their home, Valldemossa, a picture-perfect rural retreat which is every bit the archetypal Mallorcan village, with its stone-built houses, green wooden window shutters, and small shop-lined cobbled streets.
The hilltop village of Valldemossa
It was to this bucolic idyll that we recently ventured, taking with us our friend visiting from London in order to share with her this most perfect example of a Mallorcan pueblo. Valldemossa is not huge – indeed it comprises of a main shopping street with a few narrow side streets each plied with their fair share of pretty cafes and shops selling local produce. But its best selling point is the grand turquoise-tile-topped Real Cartuja monastery which was itself home to Chopin and Sands. Towering above both the town and the stunning mountain valley which gives the village its name, the monastery is a place of utmost solitude and tranquility, not least on its breathtaking garden terraces, which tickle each of the senses with their bounty of flowers, perfumes and unbeatable vistas, all accompanied by the gently bonging of sheep bells in the distance.
The Real Cartuja monastery and its surroundings
But Valldemossa does not stand alone, and rather benefits from its own little fishing village; an even more idyllic spot which, while appearing to be close to the upper village on the map, is in fact down a perilous zig zag of hair-pin bends which are enough to put the fear of god into the most experienced of drivers, let alone me. But the views which greet the visitor upon their descent are well worth the effort, for the little port of Valldemossa is surely one of the most beautiful I have seen on the island.
The port of Valldemossa
In the port itself, a handful of unostentatious fishermen’s cottages make up a tiny settlement which is situated amongst some of the most stunning mountain scenery imaginable. For surrounding the port are steep rocky mountain cliffs plunging directly into the crystal clear seas, while on the odd beaches formed from falling stones, one can find rocks of hugely varying colours, from the most peachy pink to a deep golden ochre.
A rainbow panoply of rocks
Between these two sites, both the port and village of Valldemossa, there could be no doubting the reasons as to why George Sand had been so inspired to describe the natural beauty of Mallorca, nor the impetus for other visitors, both renowned or otherwise, to make the island their home. But while many of Mallorca’s most beautiful spots have been ravaged by tourism and modernity, both parts of Valldemossa retain a local authentic charm which cannot help but present Mallorca at its very charming best.
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