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Palma De Mallorca Cruises

The Balearics are comprised of 16 islands; the three principal ones are Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca. Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Arabs have invaded these islands over the centuries.

Remains even show evidence of the prehistoric Talayot civilization, a megalithic culture which flourished here between 1500 B.C. and the Roman conquest. Today the islands are besieged by invaders of a different sort - hordes of tourists.

Lying just 60 miles off the Spanish mainland, the islands' lush and rugged landscape combined with an extremely mild, sunny climate prove irresistible, especially to northern Europeans. As a result, the Balearics boast cosmopolitan resorts with lively nightlife and plenty of sports activities.

Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) is the largest of the islands, with an area of more than 1,400 square miles. The scenery is magnificent with cliffs along indented shorelines jutting out of the sea and mountain ranges sheltering the plains from harsh sea breezes. The fertile plain in the center is covered with almond and fig trees plus olive groves with some trees 1,000 years old. Tall pines, junipers and oaks line the mountain slopes.

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the archipelago. A cosmopolitan city with sophisticated shops and restaurants, it also offers buildings of spectacular Moorish and gothic architecture.

In the western part of Mallorca, nestled into the mountains, lies the village of Valldemosa. It is known for its Carthusian monastery where Frederic Chopin and George Sand spent the winter of 1838-1839. On a trip to picturesque Valldemosa, see the monastery and the rooms where Chopin composed his Raindrop Prelude and George Sand gathered impressions for her book A Winter in Majorca.