Most tourists visiting Majorca are content to book into their seafront hotel and spend most of their time soaking up the sun. Of course, there have always been some whose curiosity took them away from the beaches and into the hinterlands. My only visit to Majorca (indeed, my longest trip anywhere outside Britain) was on a company weekend outing in the seventies, flying out on Friday night and returning on Sunday night. Some of us sensed that there was much more to Majorca than the beaches but we didn't have time to explore beyond an all-too-brief trip to Palma. Now the book confirms what I thought then. Lavishly illustrated and with all photographs in full color, you can find a wealth of knowledge about Majorca in the pages of this book. Originally written in German, the book was translated into at least five other languages including this English language edition.
Beginning with a brief chapter on Majorca as a whole, the book then explores each of the seven regions in detail. Tramuntana, with Soller as the main town, is the mountainous region in the northwest. Ponent is the southwest region with Calvia as its main town, but tourists are attracted to its seaside resorts such as Magaluf (where I stayed) and Port Vellis. Raigner is an inland region sandwiched between Tramuntana and the Pla, with Inca as its main town. Raigner has a diverse industrial base including farming, vineyards, shoemaking and pottery. Despite (or because of) all the industry, Raigner has plenty to offer tourists who wish to get away from the beaches for a while. Palma is the region containing and dominated by Majorca's capital city of the same name. The Pla, with Sineu as its main town, is a large, predominately rural region in north and central Majorca. Migjorn is the southeast region with Llucmajor as its main town. The book says that this very dry region can only support certain types of agriculture, especially not livestock (since they require plenty of water), yet some cattle (descended from imported Frisians) are reared here to support the local cheese industry. Wine and tourism are also important in the Migjorn region. Llevant is the northeast region with Mancor as its main town.
For each region, its, history, environment, farming, fishing, tourism, architecture, transport, religion, art, music and cuisine are all mentioned though some get more coverage than others. With brief mentions for golf, bullfighting and horseracing, there's even something for sports fans. Prior to the tourist boom, the coastal areas were valued less highly by the locals than many of the inland area. The overall impression throughout the book is of an island steeped in history, retaining much of its old world charm despite incursions by the tourist industry. Indeed, it seems that the early tourist developments alarmed the locals so much that developers now face severe difficulties getting their new plans accepted.
I suspect that many people, upon reading this book, will be inspired to visit Majorca to explore it properly. Whether I do so personally is doubtful, partly because I'm happy with my own country despite its unpredictable, partly because I don't have the money these days and partly because I don't drive or speak Spanish, so I couldn't explore Majorca in the way that I'd like to. But I will admit that this book makes Majorca seem very tempting.