5 Game of Thrones Locations in Spain That Feel Like You’re in the Show

Gaztelugatxe Game of Thrones locations Spain
The towering castles, glittering palaces, and sea-torn shorelines of HBO’s iconic Game of Thrones series weren’t just computer simulations. Most were filmed in real locations — and few countries feature more prominently than Spain. From Basque Country to Catalonia to Andalusia, no matter where you are on the Iberian Peninsula, you’re bound to discover just how many Game of Thrones locations Spain has to offer.

Your next Spain trip won’t be complete without these destinations. Here, we’ll share the top 5 most stunning destinations for Game of Thrones fans — but they’re incredible stops for anyone interested in learning about Spain’s history and culture.

We’ll also include recaps of what happened at each site (so spoiler alert) along with all the details on how to get there, plus what you need to know about each real-life location. Let’s kick off our ranking with #5.

5. Castle of Zafra | Tower of Joy

Castle of Zafra Game of Thrones
The 12th-century Castle of Zafra, located in Aragon, was the Tower of Joy in "Game of Thrones" season 6.

The Real-Life Destination

The Castle of Zafra is a 12th-century castle built to protect the southern flanks of the Kingdom of Aragon. Perched on a sloping, sandstone outcropping, it bursts forth out of a hilltop overlooking the rolling countryside of the Spanish province of Guadalajara, and is a simply stunning place to visit.

Over the years, attackers who tried to seize the castle failed again and again.

The Game of Thrones Location

In the world of Game of Thrones, this castle appears in the sixth season as the infamous Tower of Joy, located near the Red Mountains of Dorne. This is where Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen fled to hide their secret love and Lyanna’s secret pregnancy. This is where a young Ned Stark arrived to rescue his sister, only to be met by the most famous swordsman in Westeros, the Sword of the Morning, Ser Arthur Dayne. This is where Ned Stark would duel Ser Arthur Dayne to the death, then race up the castle steps to find his sister Lyanna, immediately after giving birth, on the brink of death. This is where Lyanna, in her final moments, would charge Ned with protecting her half-Targaryean, half-Stark baby from the wrath of Robert Baratheon by hiding his true identity from the world.

The mystery and hidden legacy of Jon Snow begins here and this impressive location is worthy of the pivotal events that unfold in the story here. Campillo de Dueñas, Guadalajara.

Check out this video of young Ned Stark facing off against Ser Arthur Dayne outside the Castle of Zafra / Tower of Joy:

How to Visit

The Castle of Zafra is located in the Sierra de Caldereros, and is best accessed by car. You’ll drive about 2 hours and 30 minutes northeast from Madrid or 1 hour and 40 minutes southwest from Zaragoza to get here.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to go inside the castle — but the views from outside are stunning enough.

4. Itzurun Beach | Beachhead of Dragonstone

Itzurun Beach Basque Country Spain
Itzurun Beach in Basque Country serves as the beachhead of Dragonstone in "Games of Thrones." | Courtesy http://www.passenger6a.com/game-of-thrones-reconquers-spain.

The Real-Life Destination

Near the small seaside village of Zumaia, located in the north of Spain in Basque Country, lies Itzurun Beach. This beautiful beach is wrapped by vertical cliffs and limestone walls that have been eroded by the sea to reveal beautiful striated layers of rock, a geological phenomena called flysch.

Along the sea walls there are beautiful overlooks to take in the dramatic landscape. At low tide the unique rock strata extend all the way across the beach into the sea.

Like the landscape, the water is wild, and visitors should travel with care. There are strong currents, big waves, and hidden rock fins beneath the surface.

The Game of Thrones Location

On Game of Thrones, this is where Daenerys Targaryen, having crossed the Narrow Sea with her army, returns to Westeros for the first time. This is a strong symbolic milestone in the beginnings of her war to reclaim the Iron Throne and fulfill what she believes is her destiny.

When her ships land on the beach, they are landing on the beachhead of Dragonstone, the ancestral home of Daenerys’s people — the home of House Targaryen. When she lays her hand on the beach she is reconnecting to that heritage and walking in the footsteps of her ancestral kings and queens. From here, she approaches and enters the dragon-flanked gates of Dragonstone.

Here's Daenerys's arrival at Dragonstone, where you see her land at Itzurun Beach:

You can see some of the same battlements from the video above in the film set, which is shown under construction in 2016 in this video: 

How to Visit

You can arrive at Itzurun Beach by car, bus, or taxi from San Sebastian, Bilbao, or another nearby city. If you’re driving from one of these cities, you’ll be traveling along the A-8 toll motorway.

By bus, check out the schedules with Bilman Bus or Estellesa. You can also try the local train system, Euskotren.

Find the latest deals on places to stay around Spain:


3. Girona Cathedral | The Great Sept of Baelor

Girona Cathedral Game of Thrones
The Girona Cathedral towers above the 86 steps where Queen Margaery almost did her walk of shame. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

The Real-Life Destination

The heart of Girona, a town in the Catalonia region, is comprised of winding, stone-paved streets climbing the steep slope of the hill of the Capuchins. The rectangular façade of the Girona Cathedral, poised at the very summit, is one of the most imposing structures you’ll ever see.

After climbing the hill and passing through the narrow staircases and alleys of the old Jewish Quarter, you’ll reach an open plaza at the foot of the 86 steps that approach the entrance to the cathedral. This Catalan Gothic and Romanesque structure was constructed between the 11th and 18th centuries. Inside, you’ll find a 23-meter-wide Gothic nave that’s the widest in the world.

Behind the Girona Cathedral, explore the ancient city wall, built by the Romans in the 1st century BCE. It now serves as a foundation for fortifications built by Peter III in the 14th century. Climbing the watchtowers and walking along these walls offers stunning views of the cathedral and Girona. It’s an experience just as stunning as the cathedral itself.

The Game of Thrones Location

Few filming locations could have been worthy of serving as the exterior of the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing in the final episode of Game of Thrones season 6. Here, Jaime Lannister faces off with the High Sparrow, and narrowly prevents Queen Margaery’s walk of shame.

Girona Cathedral plaza Spain
Nearly 90 steps lead down to a broad plaza at the peak of the hill in Girona's old city. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

Girona’s old town also features prominently in Game of Thrones. It was transformed into the city of Braavos, where Arya Stark, blind and begging in the streets, was attacked by the Waif. Visit the Plaça dels Jurats to relive the play Arya witnessed about the Lannister family. Then walk toward the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants; you’ll cross the very bridge where Arya was stabbed. The interior of this monastery also features in season 6; it’s where Samwell Tarly declares he wants to become a Maester. There’s an archaeology museum here now that comes highly recommended.

Pass through the claustrophobic Carrer Sant Llorenc, the archway-shaded street where the Waif pursued Arya. Next, stop on the stairs to Sant Marti Sacosta church to transport yourself to the Braavos markets, where an injured Arya flees the Waif. She later tries to hide in the Banys Àrabs, or Arab Baths. These are located in a 12th-century building behind the cathedral.

Girona old city Game of Thrones
Many parts of Girona's old city, not least its steep and winding streets, are featured prominently in "Game of Thrones." | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

How to Visit

At 61 miles (98 kilometers) from Barcelona, Girona makes an easy day trip by bus or by rental car. Take the Barcelona Bus from the Estació Nord; you can buy your tickets at the Barcelona Bus desk on the first floor of the station. Buses should leave from platforms 28 and 29. One way tickets are €16 and round-trip cost €25. Check out bus timetables on the Official Barcelona Bus website.

Girona is well worth a full day of wandering and exploring. You’ll enjoy exploring the hidden archways and winding, ancient streets of the old town. Eleven bridges cross the river Onyar, which is flanked by brightly painted buildings. Take a moment to explore the streets along this river.

To visit the cathedral, buy your €7 ticket to the left of the main entrance. An audioguide will help you navigate the massive structure.


2. Gaztelugatxe | Dragonstone

Gaztelugatxe Game of Thrones locations Spain
Gaztelugatxe is an island, reachable by bridge, that is a featured "Game of Thrones" location in Spain. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

The Real-Life Destination

Journey to the town of Bermeo in Basque Country, an hour’s drive west of Itzurun Beach, and head to the coast. There, just off the rugged and scenic coastline, you’ll find a jagged little island of obstinate rock punching out of the waves, like a sleeping dragon in the breaking surf. This island is called Gaztelugatxe.

Over the millennia, the battering of the sea has eroded a wing of double arches on the east side of the small isle. The Basque people centuries ago built a bridge from the mainland to the south side of the island that acts as another wing, topped with a zig-zagging stone pathway.

That pathway leads across the churning waters and up onto the island to a small, beautiful church. First built in the ninth century as a hermitage, the church, called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, is dedicated to John the Baptist. It is also a sacred refuge for the communities of seafaring people to give thanks and pray for protection from the powerful forces of nature and the dangers of the sea.  

The Game of Thrones Location

Gaztelugatxe is home to Dragonstone, the ancestral home of House Targaryen, in the Game of Thrones universe. When Daenerys Targaryen walks through the gates of Dragonstone, the pathway to the castle is the very same stone bridge that leads to Gaztelugatxe.

Now, there is no Dragonstone castle on this little island — that was a computer-generated animation in the show. But remember that famous scene when Jon Snow is walking into Dragonstone with Tyrrion Lannister and Tyrrion reminds him that “Stark men don’t fare well when they travel South”? Jon replies, “True, but I am not a Stark” — then all of a sudden Jon and his men fall to the ground for cover as a roaring dragon, Drogon, flies by just overhead. That scene foreshadowing the true lineage of Jon Snow occurs right on the pathway steps of Gaztelugatxe.  

It is also on these steps where Daenerys reminds Jon that she, too, has lost two brothers, and that honoring the memory of her lost family is a driving force for her. Although their wills clash, Daenerys ultimately agrees to support Jon’s war against the white walkers with dragonglass, men, and resources.

Gaztelugatxe pathway Game of Thrones locations Spain
The pathway to Gaztelugatxe features prominently in "Game of Thrones." | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

This beautiful location, where a land-based people have tried to make their peace with the grand forces of the sea, is a beautiful backdrop for where the characters representing the grand forces of ice and fire, Jon and Daenerys, learn to make peace and begin to trust one another. 

Watch Tyrian and Jon Snow's conversation along the bridge to Gaztelugatxe:

To learn more about filming at Itzurun Beach and Gaztelugatxe, check out this video, which features interviews with the cast and crew on why Spain is such an incredible place to shoot: 

How to Visit

If you’re leaving from Bilbao, take the A3518 bus to Bakio. It leaves every hour beginning at 6:30 a.m. Walk 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) to get to Gaztelugatxe.

If you’re traveling from Gernika, take a bus or a train (Euskotren) to Bermeo, where you can catch a bus with Bizkaibus or a taxi to Gaztelugatxe.

Admission is free, but you need to book a ticket ahead of time if you’re visiting:

  • Between June 15 and the end of September
  • Weekends from the last week of March through the end of the year
  • On Christmas, Easter, or an official Spanish holiday

Book your ticket to Gaztelugatxe here.

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1. The Real Alcazar of Seville | A Great House of Westeros

Seville Spain Patio de las Doncellas
The Patio de las Doncellas (Damsels' Courtyard) is one of the most iconic spaces inside the Real Alcazar of Seville. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

The Real-Life Destination

The Real Alcazar of Seville is probably the only filming site in Game of Thrones that is still actually the seasonal residence of a royal family. It is thus rightfully worthy of the setting for a Great House of Westeros.

The Real Alcazar de Sevilla, or Royal Alcazar of Seville, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose upper floors are still used to this day as the royal residence for the Spanish monarchs when they’re in Seville.

The site has changed hands many times over the centuries. It has been home to a Roman collegium, a Visigothic basilica, and a Moorish citadel. But the current palace, the Alcazar, was constructed in the 14th century for the Christian King Peter of Castile.

The Alcazar is a beautiful royal palace. It is built in Mudejar style — a style unique to the south of Spain that is strongly influenced by Moorish artistry and workmanship. It includes elaborate geometric patterns, multi-lobed or horseshoe arches, meticulously worked wooden roofing, ornamental stucco work, and glazed ceramic tiles.

With beautiful gardens, sunken fountains, soaring scalloped ceilings evoking the wonders of the night sky and heaven, and prismatic tilework decorating all available space, nearly everywhere the eye lands in the Alcazar is a visual feast.


The Game of Thrones Location

The Alcazar of Seville is the filming location for the Water Gardens of Dorne, the seasonal home for the House of Martell, the rulers of Dorne. This is where we meet the ruler of the House Martell and of Dorne, Doran Martell. Doran Martell is the older brother of Oberyn Martell, famously killed in a trial by combat against Gregor Clegane. Doran is older, but wheelchair-bound due to gout and losing the trust of his family and his people.

Here, too, we see a lovestruck Myrcella Boratheon (Cersei and Jamie Lannister’s daughter) betrothed to Trystane Martell, heir to House Martell, wandering the lush Alcazar gardens. (You can and should actually visit these gardens during your trip here.)

This is also where we see Jamie Lannister and his man Brohn sneak in and try to whisk Myrcella away back to King’s Landing only to be discovered by the Sand Snakes. The fight that ensues is set in the Alcazar gardens.

The subsequent meeting between Doran and Jamie, securing Myrcella’s return to King’s Landing and Trystane’s betrothal and position on the King’s small council, occurs in the real-life sumptuous and adorned Hall of Ambassadors in the Alcazar.

The beautiful and intricate decorations of the Alcazar, of this world-class location, mirror the elaborate and complex machinations and motivations at play in the world of Game of Thrones.

Alcazar of Seville Water Gardens
The lush gardens of the Alcazar of Seville, which include elaborate water features, play a large role in "Game of Thrones." | Photo by Erin L. McCoy
Alcazar Seville Hall of Ambassadors
The domed ceiling of the Hall of the Ambassadors in the Alcazar of Seville is in Mudejar style. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

How to Visit Seville

Seville can be reached via any number of bus companies or trains. For bus travel, try Alsa; for trains, try Renfe or book via RailEurope.

The Alcazar has a complex and fascinating history, so we'd recommend trying a guided tour or audioguide if you can. For a guided visit to the Alcazar, try one of these Get Your Guide tours: 

And finally, here's a map of Seville for your reference: 

Looking for more Game of Thrones locations?

Check out the map below for Game of Thrones filming locations throughout Europe. 

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Spain May Close Public Spaces That Celebrate Spanish Dictator

Valle de los Caídos Franco
Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo announced on Monday that she will impose sanctions that could lead to the closure of spaces, now open to the public, where the memory of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is celebrated, El País reports.

The sanctions could impact such controversial destinations as the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen), a massive monument near Madrid where the remains of 40,000 people who died in the Spanish Civil War lie alongside Franco's remains.

Calvo's announcement comes after a campaign by Franco's family to inter Franco's remains in the Almudena Cathedral, the primary church of the Diocese of Madrid, which is located right next to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace).

"The objective of the government is that [Franco's] remains are in a place that is respectful and private, in the responsibility of the family, not the state," Calvo said.

Francisco Franco, Spanish Dictator

Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco ruled over Spain for 35 years as a ruthless and repressive dictator. He took power during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, ousting a democratic government.

Upon taking control of Spain, Franco instituted laws that reflected his Catholic ideology, severely curbing the rights of women and limiting free speech. Thousands of those who had opposed him during the Spanish Civil War remained in prison for their political beliefs after the war was over. Meanwhile, the 1940s plunged Spain into a period of want and famine as Franco's isolationist policies slowed the country's recovery.

Franco's political ideology has been called Catholic nationalism, and was based on the belief in a superior Spanish race. As a nationalist, Franco aimed for a homogenous, Catholic society populated by this single race of people. To this end, he prohibited the minority languages of Spain — Catalán, Gallego (Galician), and Basque—from being spoken in daily life or used in official documents.

Women were at first unable to work outside the home, and part of the vast propaganda machine under Franco was dedicated to creating women's magazines teaching them how to be good housewives. Later, some of these restrictions were loosened, and women were permitted to work with their husbands' permission. When Franco died in 1975 Spain transitioned to a democracy and began to reckon with a difficult past.

Almudena Cathedral in Madrid

Almudena Cathedral Madrid
The Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. | Photo by Erin L. McCoy

When the family of Franco suggested that he be interred in Almudena Cathedral, the seat of the Madrid diocese, the Spanish government originally stated that it could do nothing to stop the move, according to El País.

But now, the government is now looking into a way to modify legislation, called the Law of Historic Memory, that is now under consideration in congress, in order to ensure that Franco's remains cannot be placed there. A change to the law has already been drafted. 

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Sagrada Familia Will Pay Millions After 136 Years Without a Permit

The Sagrada Familia | Photo by Erin L. McCoy
More than 130 years after construction began on Barcelona's most iconic church, it turns out that the Sagrada Familia never had a building permit. Now, the basilica has agreed to pay the city back-fees for all those years of nonpayment. The Sagrada Familia will pay millions—$41 million, to be exact—to the city of Barcelona in a space of just 10 years.

The basilica was designed by famed Catalán architect Antoni Gaudí. Construction began in 1882, and is expected to reach completion in 2026. By 2022, it will be Barcelona's tallest building, according to Spanish newspaper El País.

The funds that the church is slated to pay back will cover improvements in public services and transport, TIME reports. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau called the culmination of the agreement a "historic day" for the city.

The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws 20 million visitors a year—4.5 million of whom pay to step inside the awe-inspiring structure. It can be expected, then, that the church will not find it too difficult to muster up the funds necessary to pay back the city of Barcelona.

Construction plans around creating an access road, tunnel, and staircase to help visitors reach the Sagrada Familia have also generated controversy, as some have proposed removing as many as 150 homes in the area to achieve these aims. Neighbors of the temple demonstrated on Oct. 18 calling for a resolution to this question.

Your Visit to Barcelona

The most essential sights, experiences, and dining recommendations for your next trip to Barcelona, all in one place.

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Spain and Morocco in Talks to Build Underwater Tunnel

Tangiers Morocco ferry Spain

A Spanish government committee has confirmed that a proposed project to build an underwater tunnel connecting Spain and Morocco is a viable project. 

The largest tunnel-construction company in the world, Herrenknecht, teamed up with the University of Zurich to conduct a feasibility analysis, The Local reports. Despite worries over construction challenges, they concluded that the 18.6-mile-long tunnel between Europe and Africa can reasonably be constructed.

The total price tag is estimated at €8 billion. The first step would be to construct a custom-made boring machine at a cost of €32 million.

The tunnel would be used to transport high-speed trains, and also to transmit solar energy generated in the Sahara desert to Europe. Nearly 17 miles of the tunnel would be submerged below water, reaching depths of 1,558 feet below sea level.

Those wishing to travel between Spain and Morocco generally travel either by plane or by ferry. Ferries launch from Gibraltar and Tarifa in Spain and land in Tangier or Ceuta, an autonomous Spanish city on the northern coast of Africa that is just 7.1 square miles. 

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Barcelona’s Sant Antoni Market Reopens to Fanfare after a Major Facelift

Mercat de St. Antoni
The Mercado de Sant Antoni is in many ways the beating heart of one of Barcelona's most vibrant neighborhoods. Now, locals are celebrating its new lease on life, as the market reopens after a nine-year renovation.

A Quintessential Barcelona Market

The market has been hosted in a temporary structure while €80 million was being invested in turning the area into a "super block." There is now a pedestrian-friendly area with more greenery and play sets for children surrounding the market.

The Guardian explains how this massive market is structured:

Sant Antoni actually consists of three markets. As well as a food area with 52 stalls, there are 95 stalls in the Encants (enchantments), the lightly ironic Catalan term for a flea market. In this case it mainly sells cheap clothes. On Sundays, Sant Antoni also hosts one of Europe’s largest open-air book markets, with 78 stalls selling new and secondhand books, comics, stamps and other collectables.

Opening for the first time in 1882, the market was designed by Ildefons Cerdà, famed for designing Barcelona's Eixample neighborhood. By 2009, though, the steel-framed building had some steep maintenance costs and was in desperate need of updates.

Hub of the Sant Antoni Community

Locals celebrated the reopening in May 2018 with poetry readings, dances, and music. The renovation had suffered delays, in part as a result of the discovery of part of a Roman road and an old city wall. As a hub of this working-class—but quickly gentrifying community—residents were more than eager to see its return:

“The market generates business, it’s a point of attraction but it’s also a social nexus,” explains Agustí Colom, head of commerce on the city council and the man charged with implementing Barcelona’s costly citywide market renovation plan. “People don’t just shop, they talk and they feel part of a community. We run programs in markets for elderly people who feel isolated. Because they’re regular customers, there are people there who know them and to whom they can talk about their problems.”

Still, locals aren't keen on having the market turn into another tourist hub like the Boquería market off La Rambla. In order to ensure that this doesn't happen, they've reduced the number of bars and are discouraging stalls that are designed for tourists.

Visitors should be respectful, and instead of snapping Instagram stories, should put away their phones, talk to the vendors, and make some purchases. It's a surefire way to glimpse what daily life in Barcelona is really like.
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Mallorca’s Beaches Named Among the World’s Best

beaches in Palma, Mallorca, in Spain's Balearic Islands

After an analysis of thousands of different data points, MONEY magazine has identified the 14 best beaches in the world. It narrowed down a list of more than 250 popular destinations. The beaches of the island of Mallorca, Spain, came out to be among the world's very best, according to MONEY's analysis.

Mallorca: A Holiday Destination

Mallorca, also spelled Mallorca, is the largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, a destination for anyone who loves clear, blue water and golden sand. In 2016, more than 26 million visitors flew into and out of Palma de Mallorca Airport. Other islands in the area are Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, all of them about 200 kilometers off the coast of Valencia.

There are 24 ferry crossings every day from the mainland of the Iberian Peninsula leaving from Barcelona, Valencia, and Dénia in Alicante. This makes Mallorca a magnificent getaway for anyone visiting Spain. Best of all, though, is that Mallorca offers not just beautiful beaches but fabulous cuisine and a long, rich cultural history.

And while this is a highly popular destination, don't let the crowds deter you. According to TIME:

Famed largely for its beach clubs and nightlife, this Spanish island also offers sheltered beach coves and peaceful hill towns. “Even among the tourist swarms of mid-August you can find pockets of silence,” says Tom Stainer, a Lonely Planet destination editor.

Beaches for Rest and Relaxation

Bahía de Alcudia: This is the longest beach in Mallorca and is perfect for families because of the variety of available activities. The nearby town of Alcúdia offers up shopping and great eateries, and is considered by many to be the island's most beautiful village.

Cala Mondragó: This environmentally protected area features a bright green double bay and white sand. Shelter from the waves makes the area safe for children and families, who will also have easy access to beachside snacks.

Formentor: This beach is located near Cap de Formentor at the northern end of the island's Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. The Serra de Tamuntana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formentor beach is lined with pine trees and features clear blue waters on a quiet peninsula. Stay at the Barceló Hotel Formentor. You can reach this area by boat.

Playa de Palma: Located in the capital of Palma de Mallorca, this beach is ideal for those who'd prefer not to rent a car but are looking for a bright, sloping beach to relax and take a dip.

Beaches for Water Sports and Activities

Cala Estellencs: This beach is ideal for those who like diving and snorkelling. It's a rocky spot flanked by caves, and offers up a great sunset.

Cala Llamp: There's no sand here but there's a wealth of snorkeling. Relax at the seaside bar after a dip.

Cala Mesquida: This is one of the only beaches that's optimal for surfing on the island. It's also ideal for long walks and a relaxing picnic.


Historical and Cultural Sites

The entrance to the Ses Païsses talaiotic settlement on Mallorca island in Spain.
The first settlements on Mallorca date from as early as 6000–4000 BCE. The Talaiotic Culture thrived here during prehistoric times and ruins can still be seen in Puig de sa Morisca, an archaeological park.

Tumuli structures, built for funerary purposes, date from the second millennium BCE while talaiots date from the first millennium BCE. There are at least 274 talaiots on the island, but their purpose is not yet clearly understood. Some argue they were defensive in nature, and perhaps served as lookout points. Various tombs also date from this period.

The entrance to the Ses Païsses talaiotic settlement on Mallorca island in Spain.
The entrance to the Ses Païsses talaiotic settlement on Mallorca island in Spain.

Perhaps one of the best-known archaeological sites on Mallorca is the Taula, a table-shaped arrangement of stones. Visit the Taula of Talatí de Dalt near the town of Mahón.

The Phoenicians arrived around the eighth century BCE (when they were also active in the area around modern-day Cádiz). Carthage had control over the island for a time before the Romans took hold. Alcúdia, considered the oldest town on the island, was founded during the Roman period. Roman remains are still visible in this charming town in the northern region.

In more recent history, the Polish composer Frederic Chopin loved to visit the island with French writer Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, known by the pseudonym George Sand. Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío was so inspired by his visit that he wrote several poems and began a novel called El oro de Mallorca. Artist Joan Miró settled in Mallorca in 1954, and you can see a collection of his work at the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma. For fans of Agatha Christie, stay at the Hotel Illa d'Or in Puerto Pollensa, a small fishing village in Mallorca's fertile northern region. The site was a favorite of Christie's and inspired her novel, Problems at Pollensa Bay—which, incidentally, makes for fabulous beach reading.

There are at least 2,400 restaurants on the island, including Michelin-starred Marc Fosh. Even a three-course meal here shouldn't cost more than about $40. Here's where to find it:

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