Valldemossa: little place, big names

There are moments on this island that make you stop and pause. Moments when you rub your eyes or pinch yourself because you’ve been so captivated – once again – by Majorca and its villages like Valldemossa. King James II of Majorca (1243-1311) set his sights on this place and had a summer palace built in Valldemossa. It was later expanded by his son Sancho I to become the Palau del Rei Sancho. The palace is still in existence and nowadays you can listen to piano concerts there.

Chopin composed here

In summer, there are lots of tourists around in this mountain village at the foot of the Tramuntana mountains but that doesn’t detract from its charm. Especially as the narrow, romantic village streets are lavishly decorated with flowers and green foliage, so there are plants blooming and sprouting wherever you look. It’s pure Mediterranean life.

Many visitors gravitate towards the former Carthusian monastery, particularly the Real Cartuja, where French female writer George Sand and Polish composer Frédéric Chopin spent their famous Winter in Majorca. That was in 1838/39. George Sand’s book “A Winter in Majorca” became world-famous, even though – or perhaps indeed because – she didn’t always describe the Majorcans very kindly. You get a very special feeling looking at the Carthusian monastery where Chopin composed music such as his “Raindrop” Prelude.

Cross vaults and the old apothecary

Visiting the complex with its beautiful garden is always impressive, and not only because of the two artists Sand and Chopin. Just strolling beneath the unpretentious cross vaults or looking at the historic apothecary with receptacles from the 17th and 18th centuries is well worth the trip…In Valldemossa, this former monastery belonging to the Carthusian order is simply not to be missed.

The devout Catalina

Nor can you miss Saint Catalina (also known as Saint Catherine) and how she is revered here. Catalina Thomás was born in Valldemossa in 1531. Time and time again, you see her as she shines from the walls of the houses on colourful tiles. Catalina was considered a particularly devout young girl. As a young person, she devoted herself completely to prayer and came across all kinds of miracles. She died aged 43 in a convent in Palma in 1574. It took two centuries for her to be beatified and she was later canonised in the 20th century. That makes her one of just two Majorcan saints, the other being Mönch Junípero Serra from Petra. Small lanterns are often mounted right next to the Catalina tile decorations and, even in broad daylight, these stay alight to appeal for her intercession.

Potato buns à la Valldemossa

Sunday is market day in Valldemossa. This is one of the typical mercados that sells fruit and vegetables, bread and honey, leather belts and foliage plants. After doing the rounds here, you’ll be ready for a coffee. In Valldemossa, coffee naturally has to be accompanied by cocas de patata, which are round buns made with potato that have a cap of icing sugar. The place is known for these baked goodies! And the most beautiful place to sit down and relish them is among the citrus trees in the garden of the Ca’n Molinas café/bakery. This is a stunning little corner, and you can find it at Vía Blanquerna 15. Moreover, if you’re looking for a souvenir, you’re guaranteed to hit the jackpot in one of the shops on the same street.

Art in Majorca

A few steps further on, you’ll see the Fundación Cultural Coll Bardolet, which showcases Majorcan art at its finest. This beautiful property is dedicated to the work of painter Josep Coll Bardolet, who died in Valldemossa in 2007. Here, you can explore the light, colourful world of this artist to your heart’s content. You can also see other works by contemporary painters and sculptors.

Worth visiting in winter too

Valldemossa is also beautiful in winter. That’s when the place is more mystical, dreamier and somewhat more sombre than in the warmer months. The shining Christmas lights seem enchanted as if in a fairy tale – and you can have certain corners of the village all to yourself. Corners such as the Plaça de la Cartuja near the monastery perhaps, or the Gothic parish church of Sant Bartomeu from the 13th century.

Winding drive down to the harbour

Not many people know this…but Valldemossa also has a harbour. They call it a harbour anyway – – Port de Valldemossa – and it is by all means a little harbour bay. Fancy a trip on a serpentine road? One of the most beautiful roads on the island winds its way down to the harbour. It’s more or less an endless series of bends for the eight kilometres and is not recommendable for inexperienced drivers with big cars. Otherwise, the visit is worth the little bit of dizziness!