The town of Valldemossa is only around 15-20 minutes’ drive from Palma de Mallorca into the Tramuntana mountains, but feels a world away from the capital. Perched on a hilltop, surrounded by terraced terrain, Valldemossa was named after the area’s original Moorish landowner, Muza. With its car-free cobbled alleys and rich cultural heritage, the town is a treat to visit.
History & Culture
The highest town in Mallorca is probably best-known as the place where the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover, the French writer George Sand, spent the winter of 1838/9, staying in rented rooms in the monastery. And, as a result, it’s probably Mallorca’s most visited town.
In fact, Chopin and Sand didn’t have the best of stays and Sand’s book about their experiences didn’t pull any punches. Nevertheless, the book ‘A Winter in Majorca’ is a bestseller and is on sale in almost every shop in Valldemossa, in a variety of languages.
Valldemossa is also home to Costa Nord – a contemporary cultural centre, established by Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, whose home S’Estaca is off the Valldemossa to Sóller coast road, near Deià.
For the Mallorcans, Valldemossa has a more important claim to fame: it was the birthplace of the island’s only saint: Santa Catalina Thomas. Leave the busier part of the town, and head for the church of Sant Bartomeu; in the peaceful C/Rectoría behind it, you can visit her tiny birthplace and shrine.
You can visit Valldemossa’s Real Cartuja (Royal Carthusian Monastery), including the church, cloisters, and old pharmacy. Part of the monastery is King Sancho’s palace – later gifted to Carthusian monks, who converted it and other buildings into the monastery. It probably has more visitors than any other building in Mallorca, apart from Palma’s cathedral, La Seu. A ticket for the Real Cartuja includes a short Chopin piano recital.