From Andratx to Sóller
The dazzling drive up the west coast of the island along the MA-10 involves a seemingly endless series of fabulous views of the Tramuntana mountains and the turquoise sea, interspersed with impossibly pretty villages of honey-coloured stone.
The route is only about 40 miles, but there are lots of twists and turns and plenty of interesting stops along the way, so allow all day. There are frequent viewpoints along the road, often with vestiges of the watchtowers where the locals used to look out for pirates.
Leaving Andratx. you soon come to Estellencs, an idyllic village of cobbled lanes, stone houses, citrus orchards and a handful of cafés for the first coffee break. It’s probably a bit early for lunch, but Montimar on Plaça Constitució is excellent for traditional roasts.
Back on the road, look out for the Mirador de Ses Ànimes (signposted as Torre del Verger), a 16-century watchtower with panoramic views of the coast. A couple of miles further on you reach the equally picturesque village of Banyalbufar, where tomatoes grow on the terraced hillside. Have a look at the 15-century Natividad church and maybe try a glass of the locally-made Malvasia white wine.
The road winds on towards Valldemossa, one of the most attractive towns in Mallorca. Although heaving with tourists on excursions from the resorts in high season, at other times of year it is a lovely place to wander around and visit the Carthusian monastery were Chopin and George Sand spent the freezing winter of 1838-1839.
Beyond Valldemossa, the road hugs the dramatic coastline. About five miles along you reach Son Marroig, the palatial former home of the Archduke Ludwig Salvator, the Austrian aristocrat who fell in love with the island in the late 19 century and bought up vast tracts of land on his particularly scenic bit of the coast.
There are more jawdropping views to come, however, as you approach Deià, the village where Robert Graves lived for much of his life. You’ll understand why as soon as you clap eyes on the ochre houses with green shutters and balconies full of flowers.