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Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands

Principal city of the largest of the Balearic Islands, Palma is surely also one of the most upscale, chic resort retreats of the Mediterranean. The waterfront is lined with luxury hotels and apartment buildings, and I doubt whether I’ve ever seen a port filled with so many (literally thousands) of high-end sailing and motor yachts.

Wealth is evident here wherever one looks. The island of Mallorca itself covers some 1,350 square miles, and has a population of 800,000, a number that swells to 1.5 million during the “high” summer season.

The heart of the city is its Gothic Quarter, home to Spain’s second-largest Gothic cathedral. The interior of the structure is particularly magnificent, and contains several features added later that were designed by Antoni Gaudi.

Next door is the suitably impressive Almudaina Palace, which has been a popular retreat for Spanish kings through the centuries due to the area’s superb climate.  And from this point, the elegant shops and boutiques that line the main streets of Es Born and Via Roma are but steps away.

Other points of significant interest on the island include the elegant resort of Port Andratx, the manor houses of La Granja and Son Marroig, the lovely village of Valldemossa, and the unusual Caves of Drach, which reportedly contain the largest underground lake in the world.

Village of Valldemossa

Cathedral’s main altar

Yachts and hotels lining harbor