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The Ultimate Guide to Spain's Mediterranean Coast

Where to shop, stay, and eat on Spain's mediterranean coast.

There's a reason royals, hippies, and great artists flock to these dreamy Iberian spots.


By Alexander Lobrano, Town & Country

Majorca
[post_ads]Too touristy? Not if you do it right. In fact, it’s hardly surprising that the Spanish royal family, who own a stunning portfolio of palaces all over Spain, have been spending their summer holidays on Majorca since 1975. With craggy shores punctuated by sandy coves, a dramatic northern spine of the Tramuntana mountain range, and groves of silvery green olive trees and fragrant citrus orchards, the island has been casting its spell for centuries. All it needs is a good edit (not unlike Florida, for that matter). Avoid, of course, the package holiday towns (Magaluf especially, on the south coast) and spend a night or two in Palma, a delightful little city with a beautiful Gothic cathedral. Then retreat to one of the stone farmhouses in the countryside that have been converted into luxurious boutique hotels. Surrounded by orange trees that perfume the warm night air, you’ll discover that Majorca’s biggest surprise is how magnificently unspoiled so much of it is.


Stay
Richard Branson launched “finca chic” when he created (and later sold) La Residencia from a pair of 16th- and 17th-century manor houses in 1986. Princess Diana sought refuge here at the end of her marriage, but otherwise it is a soothing, happy place.

Eat
It’s worth booking weeks ahead to snag a table at Santi Taura, in Lloseta, for its superb locavore cuisine. And no visit to Majorca is complete without a tapas crawl at La Bóveda, in Palma. Shop In Lloseta, Teixits Riera has been producing colorful Majorcan ikat since 1896.


In the Know
Mercado Gastronómico San Juan, a new gourmet food hall in Palma, has 20 vendors serving some 260 different dishes. Lively, fun, and perfect for lunch.
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Ibiza
And you thought Ibiza was still for club-going kids sharing -fishbowl-size cocktails. The truth is, it can be one of the prettiest, quietest places to put your feet up in the Mediterranean. At Cala Xuclar, a tiny beach in a hidden cove on the northern coast, the only sound you’ll hear is the soft rattle of the waves washing over pebbles. Later, you can dance the night away at one of the huge discos that have earned Ibiza its reputation as Europe’s premier nightlife destination; or, simply return to a quiet bed with a canopy draped in white cotton. Either way, you have to hand it to the hippies who put Ibiza on the map in the ’60s: The boho chic of this “island of Bes,” named for the Egyptian god/household protector, has proven irresistible to everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Jade Jagger.


Stay
In a handsome stone mansion on the edge of the old town, Hotel Mirador de Dalt Vila is far from the madding crowds.

Eat
Es Torrent serves the island’s best seafood, on a deck overlooking the sea. At Can Salinas, near ancient salt pans, you’ll find delicious fideuá, a type of paella made with stubby vermicelli pasta.

Shop
Open-air markets at Punta Arabí (Wednesdays) or Las Dalias (Saturdays) offer a taste of the island’s lingering hippie culture.

In the Know Experience
1950s Ibiza at laid-back Beso Beach Club on the butterfly-shaped island of Formentera, where the breeze is scented by fig leaves on summer afternoons.

[post_ads]CadaquésIf you consider a whiff of the Mediterranean as it once was to be luxury enough, Cadaqués is the place for you. The clock has stood still in this tiny fishing village strung along a series of small coves on the Costa Brava, at the end of a winding road. The whitewashed houses and colorful boats pulled up on the beach look much as they did back in the 1950s, and an international clientele of bohemian regulars cherish the place for what it is still: remote and relaxed. There’s a small museum and, in neighboring Port Lligat, Salvador Dalí’s strange house, accessed by hiking a pretty coastal path and surmounted by a giant egg. But that’s about it. After a few days, you’ll understand why Dalí, Picasso, Miró, Matisse, and countless others found their muse along this rugged stretch of Spain.


Stay
The boutique hotel Calma Blanca has lovely sea views and a pool. Llané Petit Hotel has its own small beach.

Eat
The same trio of talented young Catalan chefs who’ve made Disfrutar one of the most talked-about new tables in Barcelona have Compartir, Cadaqués’s best restaurant. Book well in advance. And don’t miss Es Baluard’s superb grilled fish and Catalan rice dishes.

In the Know
The backcountry here produces superb wines made from grenache grapes; visit Celler Martin Faixó or head to its Enoteca MF bar in town.

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Travel Magazine: The Ultimate Guide to Spain's Mediterranean Coast
The Ultimate Guide to Spain's Mediterranean Coast
Where to shop, stay, and eat on Spain's mediterranean coast.
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