Pollença rests on the foothills at the eastern end of the Serra de Tramuntana. This attractive town is a haven of sleepy Mallorcan traditions, where café life and the siesta roll on as if package holiday-makers had never been invented. The somewhat austere buildings lining the dusty streets, with their ochre roofs, sun-baked walls, and faded wooden shutters, could be virtually anywhere in Spain - as could the street-chocking traffic. Do not be deterred by Pollença's legendary parking problems. Leave your vehicle in one of the car parks on the south side of town and walk into the central square, Plaça Major.
Pollença has put on the map by the Romans, and a Pont Romà still spans the Torrente de Sant Jordi River to the north of the town. After the Spanish conquest of 1229 Pollença came under the control of the Knights Templar, who initiated work on the parish church, Nostra Senyora dels Angels. The expulsion of the Moor and the resistance against pirates is celebrated every August with a mock battle, moros i cristians
, that rages around town during the local fiesta.
Pollença's lively market
takes place on Sunday mornings: clothes and household goods are sold near the car park, with fruit, flowers, and vegetables in the Plaça Major. Local cheeses and roasted almonds are always good buys.
Just north of Plaça Major, the Convent de Montesió built by the Jesuits in 1738, has been appropriated by the Ajuntament (Town Hall). From here, heralded by a fountain adorned with a cockerel, a flight of 365 steps, bordered with cypresses that provide welcome shade in summer, leads up to a hilltop pilgrimage chapel, where the views justify the exertion - of course, you could drive up instead. Inside the chapel, built in 1794, is a wooden cross said to date from the 13th century. It was placed on the site by grateful mariners who survived a shipwreck in Cala Sant Vicenç.
Museu Municipal de Pollença
South of Plaça Major, the 17th-century monastery of Santo Domingo has beautiful cloisters that are the principal venue for an acclaimed international music festival every summer. Inside is a small museum where winning entries from an annual international art competition are exhibited.
Ermita de la Mare de Déu del Puig
Three kilometres southeast of the town, a side road leads up to Puig de Maria (320 m) and a small hermitage founded by nuns in the 14th century.