Alcúdia & Port d’Alcúdia local destination guide
Alcúdia offers some of the most tourist friendly conditions in the entire Mediterranean region, perhaps this is why it is the most popular holiday destination amongst Europeans. However, Alcúdia is more than just a tourist attraction, it is a cultural mecca packed with exciting and stunning places of interest to explore.
Where to stay in Alcúdia?
There are numerous accommodation options to choose from in either Alcúdias old charming town and in the modern beach area of Port d’Alcúdia.
Enter your arrival and departures dates below to find out which accommodation offers are available during your stay in Alcúdia.
Sightseeing in Alcúdia
ROAM THE OLD TOWN CORE OF ALCÚDIA
Points of Interest, monuments
Alcúdia is by far one of the most charming, historical and well-preserved towns in all of Mallorca. The old urban core is enclosed by the massive town walls and gates dating back from the 1300’s, which is a landmark of the area. As you stroll about inside the walls, notice the many beautiful buildings of various architectural style evidencing the different cultures and cultural eras that has dominated this area throughout times. The streets of Alcúdia are never empty, there is always lots of people here creating the unique and vibrant ambience that makes this place so special. There is also a wonderful selection of bars, restaurants and shops to indulge in for a refreshment or something to bring home.
VISIT THE RUINS OF POL-LENTIA
Points of Interest, archaeological sites, monuments
Pol-lentia is the name of a former Roman city that was established 123 BC when the Roman army had conquered Mallorca after more than a decade of wars with the Carthaginians. As you stroll around inside the huge excavation site, you will understand the life of the legendary Romans and their impact on our day civilization. Info-boards will explain every single area of Pollen-tia for you to get the best experience and understanding of what you are looking at. You will be taken through the urban areas, the burial sites, the forum and the amphitheater, and afterwards, you can visit the museum across the street to learn more and see all the amazing artifacts that has been found. This is a great and interesting attraction the whole family can enjoy.
INDULGE IN A UNIQUE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE AT SA BASSA BLANCA
Sa Bassa Blanca is one of the most impressive properties in Mallorca, and also home to the Yannick Vu and Ben Jakober foundation. Some of the highlighted exhibitions here, are the els Nins, an impressive collection of portrait paintings of royal children, the SoKRaTES exhibitions space of contemporary art, the sculpture park, the rose gardens and the impressive finca itself featuring a unique and playful combination of various architectural styles. You don’t have to be an art enthusiast to enjoy a visit at Sa Bassa Blanca, it is a thing you can do with the whole family.
VISIT THE PARISH CHURCH AND ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Points of Interest, religious architecture
The parish church of Alcúdia is as beautiful on the inside as it is from the outside. The church is built into the massive medieval town walls as par of the old defensive system of Alcúdia. Inside the church, you will find a treasury of beautiful arts, thus the ethnological museum of Alcúdia exhibiting all the amazing founds from excavation works at the Roman city of Pollen-tia.
VISIT THE ORATORY OF SANTA ANNA
Points of Interest, religious architecture
This small oratory, is actually one of the first and most well-preserved chapels/churches in Mallorca. It was built from stones found in the ruins of Pol-lentia across the street,, just after the Catalan conquest of the island. It’s a cute little church, easily accessible from the street, absolutely worth a picture.
VISIT THE OLD HERMITAGE OF VICTORIA
Points of Interest, religious architecture, vantage points
An excursion to the old hermitage of Victoria is a beautiful and scenic experience that can be done by car, bicycle or on foot. The Victoria hermitage enjoys a magical spot on the western side of the Alcanada peninsula overlooking the bay of Pollenca and Formentor. Today, the hermitage serves as a hostel for hikers and pilgrims, but there is a nice restaurant situated next to it from where you can enjoy a nice meal accompanied by the breathtaking views. The trip to Vistoria is absolutely just as stunning as the place itself, you’ll move along the steep narrow roads and hairpin swings as you ascent with the water surface gets farther every turn you make, amazing feeling.
Points of Interest, military architecture
The medieval watchtower of Torre Major is situated just between Port d’Alcúdia and Alcanada, in the very corner of the bay. The tower used to guard the bay during the 16th century when pirate attacks were consistently going on. Along with a network of other watchtowers, Torre Major assisted in alarming the town of Alcúdia whenever a hostile ship was spotted in the bay. The towers communicated via smoke signals and flags, and the guards were simple peasants who had to work day and night while at the same time maintaining their regular jobs.
DISCOVER THE S’ALBUFERA WETLANDS
Points of Interest, nature parks, walking, cycling
One of the largest and most amazing nature parks in Mallorca is the s’Albufera wetlands found south of Alcúdia. The wetland stretches over an area of about 2,700 hectares, and is home to more than 200 different species of Balearic wildlife living in perfect harmony. S’Albufera is the perfect place for bird watching, walking and cycling, the many paths and bridges makes it easy to move between the beautiful vegetation and many small lagoons. If you are looking for a scenic outdoor activity, the s’Albufera wetland is a great thing to consider.
DISCOVER THE HIDDEN GEM OF COLL BAIX
Points of Interest, nature parks, beaches, walking/hiking
If you are looking for the secrets gems of Mallorca, look no further. the Coll Baix natural area is one of those secrets that can only be accessed by walking/hiking or sailing. The area is located on the coast of the peninsula of Alcanada, and the trip starts in the harbour area of Port d’Alcúdia, from where a scenic experience awaits. The virgin beach of Coll Baix and the crystal clear water in the cove is the perfect place for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. The rocky walls rising behind the beach gives this place an extra dimension making it even more incredible and instagramable.
ENJOY A BREATHTAKING WALK TO THE PENYA DES MIGDIA
Points of Interest, monuments, military architecture, vantage points, walking/hiking
This scenic walk/hike will without a doubt take your breath away as you climb to the summit of Penya des Migdia to enjoy the most amazing panoramic views of the bays of Alcúdia and Pollenca. At Penya des Migdia, you’ll find a medieval military installation from where soldiers could spot hostile ships in the sea. This is undoubtedly the peak of all the walking trips you can do in Alcúdia.
CLIMB TO THE SA TALAIA (THE LOOKOUT)
Points of Interest, monuments, vantage points, walking / hiking
Sa Talaia is located in amazing 434 metres altitude, the highest point in Alcúdia, rising high above the natural area of Coll Baix. The excursion to Sa Talaia can only be done by foot, and at top, you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views from the remnants of the old medieval watchtower that was once installed here to guard the bay.
PLAY A GAME OF GOLF AT THE BEAUTIFUL ALCANADA GOLF COURSE
A short drive from Alcudia is the Golf d’Alcanada, a beautiful course situated on the gentle slopes next to the coastline. Regardless of your personal handicap and prior experience, you are sure to find amusement and challenges here at Golf d’Alcanada, which is one of the best courses in Mallorca.
SPEND A DAY AT SEA
Enjoy a relaxing and beautiful cruise around the coastline of Alcúdia, Pollenca and Formentor. Several times a day, catamarans departures from the marina in Port d’Alcúdia which will take you to the most picturesque places found in north Mallorca. The catamaran anchors in little rocky coves allowing you to jump in and go for a swim in the crystal clear water where you can see 30 meters to the bottom. This is a refreshing and beautiful activity for the whole family to enjoy.
Activities for kids
HIDROPARK WATER PARK
The most child-friendly water park in Mallorca is situated right here in Alcúdia, just outside the old town. Give your children a day of adrenaline, fun and joy in Hindropark, where numerous fun activities awaits excited minds. Slides, rings, waves, miniature golf, playgrounds are just some of the activities you can indulge in here.
Beaches in Alcúdia
Alcúdia is famous for its wonderful beaches, which combined gives more than 7 kilometres of beach line. The main beach, is the one situated next to the harbour area which stretches more than 3 kilometres.
Platja d’Alcúdia is the main beach of the are and by far the largest. It stretches from the harbor and 3,4 km towards Playa de Muro. The beach is characterized by the fine-grained white sand and the extreme low water far out thanks to the extremely gentle slope of the bay. Behind the beach of Platja d’Alcúdia, hundreds of modern tourist resorts and hotels rises making this one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Mallorca.
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Platja de l’Alcanada is the beach belonging the the peninsula of same name extending on the left side of Port d’Alcúdia. The beach does not have any facilities, however, it is still quite popular during the high season as people seek here for more quiet and tranquil surroundings instead of the main beach of Port d’Alcúdia. From the beach, you can see the lighthouse island. Swimming to this island is a very popular activity as you can do sunbathing here in the soft grass.
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Can Cap de Bou
The beach of Can Cap de Bou is found on the coastline between Port de Pollença and Alcudía, near the Club Pollentia resort. It is a long and open beach with natural sand and no cover, which makes it perfect for wind surfing and kite surfing.
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The natural area of Coll Baix is one of the most beautiful of its kind in this part of the island. The beach of Coll Baix is found in a protected cove that can only be accessed by foot or from the sea side. The area and beach of Coll Baix is really one of the hidden gems in the northern part of Mallorca.
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Platja de Sant Joan
The beach of Sant Joan is found on the west coast of Alcanada, facing the Pollença bay. The beach is located close to the old medieval fortress of Manresa that used to protect the bay against pirate attacks. The beach has fine sand and nicely protected by a rocky landscape.
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Platja de Sant Pere
The beach of Sant Joan is found on the west coast of Alcanada, facing the Pollença bay. The beach is located close to the old medieval fortress of Manresa and the small village of Mal Pas. The beach is hidden in the rocky landscape that dominates this specific area, but the beach itself has fine natural sand.
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Platja des Morer Vermell
Platja des Morer Vermell is a long beach line of 800 metres found. The beach is sandy and relatively unspoiled surrounded by ricks and vegetation. You can park in the nearby area of the small village and do a short walk until you reach it.
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The small beach of s’Illot is found below the well-known hermitage of Victoria.It is a beautiful small unspoiled beach with gravel and pebbles. The beach is popular among walkers and boats that anchors here.
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Weekly Market in Alcúdia
There are two weekly markets in the old town of Alcúdia held on Tuesdays and Sundays. The market in Alcúdia is very popular, so make sure to arrive early if you arrive by car.
Annual fairs, festivities and events in Alcúdia
There are a lot of events to enjoy in Alcúdia, both cultural and sports events. Below you will find some of the annual events, such as the traditional fairs and celebrations that are part of the local patrimony of Alcúdia.
FIRA NÀUTICA I DE LA SÍPIA (NAUTICAL FAIR)
Every year in April, the annual nautical fair is held in Port d’Alcúdia to celebrate the local patrimony and traditions of fishing. You can enjoy a great range of exhibitions of products related to the maritime theme, as well as sales of various products. To assist in creating a nice atmosphere, there is usually a range of different musical performances.
One of the best things about the nautical fair, is that most bars and restaurants create special dishes of fish caught in the Alcúdia bay which are only available during the fair.
Where: Port d’Alcúdia
When: Beginning of April
STREET FOOD FESTIVAL
The street food festival is celebrated during the end of April at the promenade of Port d’Alcúdia. Come sample a world of innovative street foods and enjoy the many musical performances.
Where: Port d’Alcúdia
When: End of April
The April fair is something people really look forward to in Alcúdia, as it marks the entrance to the summertime. Indulge in warm evenings of music and dance performances, as well as traditional Spanish cuisine, and of course, many fun activities.
Where: Old town
When: End of April
FESTES DE SANT PERE (CELEBRATION OF SAINT PETER)
In late June it is time to celebrate the patron saint of fishermen, Sant Pere (Saint Peter) in Port d’Alcúdia. A whole week of fun and interesting events awaits in the harbor area before the actual day on the 29th arrives. Here you can experience a great procession at sea.
Where: Harbor area
When: The week leading up to June 29th
FESTES DE SANT JAUME (CELEBRATION OF SAINT JACOB)
Patron saint of Alcúdia, Sant Jaume (Saint Jacob), is celebrated during the end of July with a series of fun and traditional events and activities. During this week, the streets of Alcúdia and Port d’Alcúdia are decorated in festive colors and stalls and scenes turns the area into one big venue. Music and dance performances, games, comptetitions, exhibitions, tastings and much more are part of the program, a great time to visit Alcúdia as a tourist.
When: The week leading up to July 25th
FIRA ALCÚDIA (ALCÚDIA FAIR)
Every year during the first weekend of October Alcúdia celebrates the coming of autumn with a big traditional fair. At the fair you can look forward to a traditional farmers market of crafts and local products, as well as the renown Roman market that commemorate the former Roman capital of Pol-lentia. Moreover, there are various fun and interesting activities to indulge in such as tastings, workshops and competitions. The autumn fair is a great opportunity to discover some typical Mallorcan traditions.
Where: Old town
When: First weekend of October
Alcúdia celebrates the patron saint of music, Santa Cecilia every year with a great classical convert in the auditorium of the town.
MERCAT NADAL (CHRISTMAS MARKET)
The Christmas market in Alcúdia old town is something every young and adult look forward to. The Christmas market is a great time to enjoy the special atmosphere of this time, the cozy medieval town is decorated in beautiful lights and colors creating a joyful ambience.
Where: Old town
When: Middle of December
The Raiguer region
The Raiguer region is perhaps the most versatile of all regions Mallorca, because of its unique location between the foothills of Tramuntana and the rural countryside of the Pla region. The regions spans from Mattratxi in the south to Alcúdia on the northern part of the island.
Alaró is a charming and typical village located in a valley formed by dramatic mountain formations, which has also given the area its unique characteristic. Traveling to Alaró means beautiful natural areas, meeting an international audience and dining in delicious restaurants and bars. During the recent years, Alaró has really grown in the hearts of its visitors, especially hikers and cyclists are fond of this amazing area, where they can find restitution for body and mind. Moreover, Alaró is not just a great place for tourists to settle, it is also a highly popular place for foreign settlers to buy property.
Alcanada is a beautiful peninsula parting the bays of Pollenca and Alcúdia. Alcanada is known for its lighthouse island and exclusive golf club. Traveling and finding accommodation in Alcanada, is for you who wish a quiet base still connected to popular tourist areas. From Alcanada, you have only 5 minutes in car to the popular area of Port de Alcúdia where hundreds of restaurants and activities awaits. Alcanada is a typical adult destination, there are no Mickey Mouse clubs or other children-friendly amenities. Most of the accommodation in Alcanada are small hotels and holiday rentals, like villas and apartments/flats, a great place for a self-catered holiday on Mallorca.
Biniamar nestles at the feet of the Tramuntana, a sleepy and quiet village where you come to find solitude and tranquillity. Biniamar is perfect for renting a holiday home, because of the great location close to both mountains and rural countryside. The local area surrounding Biniamar offers plenty of activities and sight to explore, especially walkers, cyclists and cultural enthusiasts will find a lot of value in this area. Most accommodation in Biniamar consists of private holiday homes such as villas, perfect for a self-catered holiday in Mallorca.
Binibona is a quite overseen area located on the slopes of Tramuntana not far from the villages of Moscari and Caimari. The beautiful and scenic area extends from the small hamlet surrounded by olive and almond groves, a particularly beautiful area during blossom of these in February. If you are looking to combine tranquility, romance, nature and luxury, then Binibona is your choice.
Visit or stay in the biggest wine district of Mallorca, located at the feet of the dramatic mountain range. Choose Binissalem as your travel destination in the Raiguer for a versatile and tranquil rural holiday on Mallorca. Most accommodation found in Binissalem are holiday homes, villas and rustic fincas that has been transformed to accommodate the modern human with all desired amenities. The area surrounding Binissalem is perfect for road cycling and walking. Moreover, Binissalem is located very close to the free-way of MA-13 connecting Palma and Alcúdia, which makes it easy to access almost any local area in no time.
Búger is a typical Mallorcan agricultural community built upon traditional Mallorcan values. Renting a holiday villa here will take you back in time and let you enjoy a simple and completely uncomplicated life. Búger is located somewhere in the northern part of the region, with easy access to mountains and beaches, thus the can’t miss attraction in the local area, the amazing stalactite caves of Campanet. Accommodation in Búger mainly consist of wonderful holiday villas and homes packed with modern amenities to offer you the best frame for a holiday on the Mallorcan countryside.
Caimari, in local mouths referred to as “Olive Town”, is a small sleepy village situated at the feet of the Tramuntana, with direct access to the road network leading in to the green valleys of the mountains. As with other destinations in the El Raiguer region, Caimari enjoys a versatile landscape of both rural fields and mountainous terrain, which makes Caimari a perfect retreat for cyclists and hikers/walkers, who come to Mallorca to explore the scenic nature. Accommodation in Caimari mainly consist of rustic fincas and villas in the surrounding area, all in the rural flat area, but with the majestic mountains rising in the background creating an amazing scene from your terrace or swimming pool.
Campanet is a beautiful and very versatile holiday destination on Mallorca, simply because of its unique location between mountains, countryside and beaches. Choose accommodation in Campanet as your holiday base, if you want to combine unique nature, cultural heritage and luxury. Especially recommended accommodation in Campanet, is the beautiful and authentic old manor of Monnaber Nou, which has been transformed into a luxury hotel. The surrounding area invites to close exploration, there are so many places of interest and so much scenic Mediterranean nature.
Consell is mainly an industrial area where mass tourism has not yet made its entrance, making it an authentic and calm rural area full of charm. Consell was one of the first areas of Mallorca to have a winery, and the traditions for the wine making industry has been a part of the local business life ever since. Consell is a great place to enjoy a relaxing vacation in the Mallorcan countryside; close to mountains, close to roads and even close to Palma.
Inca is a great place to absorb some Mallorcan cultural heritage, enjoy some of the best restaurants on the island and of course, shop for leather products. Inca is indeed a versatile city and area, there is so much to indulge in here, so much to taste, see and feel. The city of Inca is home to a vibrant restaurant and shopping life, moreover, to a lot of interesting places of interest. Accommodation offers in Inca mainly consists of authentic fincas and villas situated in the surrounding areas, giving you direct access to the best of the Mallorcan nature, both mountains and rural countryside, a true versatile holiday base.
Lloseta is a small town and suburb to Inca. The town is situated directly on the mountain slopes giving it a unique character, as you ascent and decent in the narrow stony streets. Lloseta has a rich cultural heritage, which is also why it is so interesting to explore closer. Accommodation in Lloseta is equally unique, as you can stay in the charming and highly rated boutique hotel, Cas Comte, in the centre of the town. This luxury boutique hotel, is an obvious choice for an authentic hotel experience. When based in Lloseta during your holiday, you have great access to the Mallorcan road network, the rural countryside and the impressive Tramuntana mountain range.
Mancor de la Vall
Mancor de la Vall is a cosy little mountain village nestled in a valley at the feet of the green mountain slopes of Tramuntana. The village has a sought for restaurant and hotel, as well as a stunning natural local area perfect for hiking, MTB and walking. You want to choose accommodation in Mancor de la Vall if you prefer a quiet and authentic holiday base, in sync with the Mallorcan soul and nature. Moreover, travelling to Mancor de la Vall lets you completely escape mass tourism and screaming infants, you will completely forget all about your day job and any worries you might have.
Moscari is a very sleepy small village belonging to the municipality of Selva. Moscari is the perfect escape for couples and friends looking for solitude and romance in a tranquil scenery. The accommodation offers in Moscari includes a few small finca hotels in the village itself, and a bunch of rustic fincas and villas nestled in the hilly terrain that surrounds Moscari. If you choose one of the petit finca hotels in Moscari, be sure that you will find both luxury, great food and tranquillity.
Sa Pobla is one of those area you don’t hear much about due to the very little impact of commercial tourism in the area. Sa Pobla offers an interesting history full of events, a series of stunning mansions and architecture witnessing the wealth of the area and a lot of natural spaces such as the s’Albufera wetlands. Sa Pobla is a wonderful place to either visit or stay in, you’ll have a lot of charm, authenticity and tranquility. At the same time, you are close to the stunning beaches of the Alcúdia bay and the mountains to the west. Sa Pobla is also a great place for dining experiences.
Santa Maria del Cami
Santa Maria del Cami offers an eventful history and rich cultural heritage to delve into. Santa Maria is located just 15 minutes from Palma at the feet of the Tramuntana range, making it easy to reach and wonderful to explore. Santa Maria del Cami has a range of interesting buildings to discover in the streets, as well as eateries and bars. Some of the highlights to see, are the parish church, the Minims monastery and the winery of Macia Batle. Every corner in the town is associated with a part of the local history, it is definitely a place to visit.
Selva is a charming village at the foothills of Tramuntana. Selva offers a large selection of wonderful and charming holiday villas, fincas and flats for rent. Selva is a great area for hiking, walking, mountain biking and cycling due to the great location between mountains and countryside. Selva is an obvious choice of holiday destination for self-catered couples looking to enjoy each other in the most authentic frames.
Alcúdia is a town and municipality located in the northern part of the Raiguer region in Mallorca. Alcúdia is more or less completely committed to the tourism industry, namely because of the incredibly fine and wide beaches in the bay.
History of Alcúdia
Table of Contents
The first vestiges of human occupation with in the present day municipality of Alcúdia dates from around 2,000 BC, in what is commonly referred to as the pre-Talayotic period in the Balearic Islands. From this early period, people used caves for habitation and funerary purposes. Some of the finds include the caves of Molí Des Barcarés, Manresa, S`hort Des Moro, Quintana, Sa Coma and Sa Cova.
From around 1,100 BC, the Balearic Islands entered a period known as the Talayotic. The Talayotic, or Talaiotic, culture got its name from the tower-like megalithic constructions that served as lookouts. In Catalan, talaia means lookout or watchtower, and these constructions became the main characteristic of this period and culture. They are evidence that this period was marked by colonizers and impact from outside, as life on the island switched from regular huts and caves to more military oriented architecture. One of the greatest examples in Alcúdia, is the remains and ruins of the former watchtower which simply carries the name “Sa Talaia” (the lookout), situated 400 meters above sea level on the Alcanada peninsula overlooking the bays of Alcúdia and Pollenca.
During the 6th century BC, colonizers from ancient Greece and Carthage started occupying the western Mediterranean region. The Greeks sailed from the Aegean coast, from Phocaea (present day Foça, Turkey), across the Mediterranean and built big colonies such as Empuries in present day Girona, north of Barcelona.
The Phoenicians of Carthage too started expanding their territories and trading activities in this period. The Phoenicians were highly productive people, they created multiple textile factories all over their territories and engaged in trading activities.
One of the main reasons that the Iberian peninsula and the rest of present day western Europe was interesting to them, was the ore found in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (stretch between northwest Portugal and Sevilla). The Phoenicians had a predilection for islands and territories close to the sea, which again proves their dedication to trading activities.
The mix of Phoenicians and ancient Greeks with the indigenous peoples gave rise to another characteristic of the Talayotic period, the Balearic foner. The foner was a warrior renown and feared for his abilities to throw spears and shoot slingshots. Chronicles from the wars in Sicily stated how much Hannibal valued these island warriors, and how he asked his generals and commanders to give them extra protection, as they were a unique weapon against the Romans during these wars.
The Roman conquest
The Roman conquest of the islands was defining for Alcúdia, and for the rest of Mallorca for that matter, as these were to first to start a civilization as we know it today.
In 123 BC, Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus took control of Mallorca, after the fall of Carthage. Metellus had learned about the feared foners and knew of their enormous strength and accuracy that had killed thousands of soldiers. He knew very well, that it was almost impossible to enter the bays of Mallorca without getting killed. However, he came up with a solution to this, by strapping pieces of leather around the boats he was able to sail close to the shores and embark his troops.
Following a long and protracted quest to locate and fight down the Balearic warriors, Metellus and his Roman army eventually took control of the island. This accomplishment gave Metellus the title of consul and the nickname “Balearicus”.
Along with the archipelago, the Roman army too gained the Balearic foners, the deadly warriors which were a great asset to the troops. In the war against Jugurtha in Numidia, the Balearic foners was again mentioned as a key asset, this time as part of the Roman delegation. Caesar mentions them again in context of the Gaul war, about 56 BC, fighting alongside other elite troops.
The conquest of the Balearic islands gave rise to two major urban areas; Palma and Pol-lentia, whereof Pol-lentia was the capital, the bigger and most important. Excavation works has shown incredible marks of the Roman city i.e. the forum consisting of blocks of buildings of shops and workshops, as well as bases of sculptures typical for Roman cities. Another fascinating feature of Pol-lentia, is/was the amphitheater dug into the rocky walls, and had a capacity of about 1,000 spectators.
The Obscure centuries
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire around the 5th century, Mallorca entered a long phase of changing cultures that lasted for about four centuries. This phase is called “the obscure centuries”.
Pol-lentia too suffered great decay and destruction, particularly in the years between 425 and 455 when it was completely sacked by Vandals.
The Byzantine conquest around 536, did not have much impact on Pol-lentia as the Byzantine’s were more occupied by Palma and the eastern part of the island.
Under Moorish rule
In the years 902-903, Moorish general Issam al-Khawlani conquered the archipelago and incorporated it into the Emirate of Córdoba. He was awarded the title of governor of the islands, and it was during his rule that present day Palma became the capital, only at that time it was called Madina Mayurqua.
During the Moorish rule of the island, a fiscal system was inaugurated and agricultural communities started to form. The Moors built tunnels for transporting water and cisterns for collecting it, which gave a much more efficient agriculture as irrigation of soil and cultivation of crops were scaled up.
Alcúdia was a large farmstead called “Al Kudi”. The meaning of the name is “on the hill“. Some of the place names such as Guinyent, Biniatria, Gatamoix and Alcanada, are all testimony to the Moorish presence in the area. The Moors settled in groups of tribes bound by blood. Many of the place names came from the name of their tribes, for example, Biniatria belonged to the Atria tribe, where the prefix of bini or beni means “children”, so the name of the place is “Children of Atria”.
It was also during the Moorish rule, that many of Mallorca’s districts and present day municipalities arose. The Moors divided the island into roughly twelve districts, so-called “ajzà”, whereof Alcúdia and Pollença belonged to the district called “Bullansa”. The overall purpose of dividing the island in jurisdictions, was to make it easier to collect taxes for Madina Mayurqua.
The Catalan conquest
In September 1229, King Jaume I landed in the bay of Santa Ponca with his 150 ships and nearly 21,000 soldiers and horsemen. The mission was clear and simple; Take control of the capital and fight down any Moorish resistance. After just three months of battle, Madina Mayurqua was completely sacked, looted and painted in Moorish blood.
The following year, King Jaume I initiated another campaign to Mallorca, in order to conquer the rest of the island. About 20,000 Moors had fled from the capital during the first Catalan siege to the mountains and Menorca. Once the entire island was conquered, the king founded the private kingdom of Mallorca dividing it into about eight districts, some given to knights, counts and church, some he kept for the monarchy. Most of the area of Alcúdia the king kept for himself, while the area of Sant Martí, south of the town, as well as Pollença, he gave to the Knights Templar.
The foundation of Alcúdia
The first Catalan population center was established around the farmhouse of Guinyent, which became Sant Jaume de Guinyent. However, the Al Kudi farmstead quickly grew more popular and became the larger population center. In 1298, King Jaume II of Mallorca decided to move the parish to the Al Kudi, where he built the church, rectory and cemetery.
Following the death of King Jaume I in 1276, his successor, Jaume II, inherited the new kingdom of Mallorca. In order to bring new settlers to the rural areas of Mallorca, Jaume II promulgated a set of ordinances in the year 1300, that would grant every land of more than 100 neighbors the privilege of becoming a village. With this set of ordinances, new settlers could become landowners for an attractive amount of money, which they could rent out to smaller peasants who could then cultivate the soil and/or keep livestock, and sell their products at the local market.
Each settler had to purchase 3.55 hectares of arable land, 7.10 hectares of garrigue and a quarter of land (1,775 m2) in the new town, where he had to build a houses and move to live here within the next half year. For a possession like this, the settler would pay a tithe and a cash census (tax).
The ordenadors (the person in charge of effectuating the ordinances), were required to designate 355 hectares of land and 710 hectares of garrigue. The owners of these lands were then obliged to establish them to the new settlers, the so-called “acaptadors”, in exchange for a tax paid in metal determined by the ordenadors.
With the new ordinances also declared the premises of what should be included and the delimitation of the perimeter of the town and the affected areas. Previous design patterns of small villages and functional delimitation of the arable territory, as well as the extent of garrigues, determined the location of the town. This disposition of lands and population concentration was clearly based on a desire to achieve administrative efficiency and to be able to easily collect feudal rents for the monarchy.
This also introduced the “Lleuda”, a law which granted every a set of privileges such as rights to trade, lower and fixed taxes on imported merchandise and several other economical privileges.
In regards to the creation of the town, the width of the streets was set to measure 6.3 meters, the center of the town should be enforced by a protective wall or other fortified enclosure, and, the total perimeter of the town was expected to occupy no more than about 17.76 hectares.
It was also during this time, that the construction of the massive town walls and gates were initiated, however, these were not completed until 1362. The walls served to protect not only the people of the town but also the northern part of the island. Moreover, Jaume II ordered a military hospital built next to the church, this is where the present day monographic museum is situated.
The faithful town
In the middle of the 14th century (1348-1350), the Black Death was on a rampage through Europe. It too stroke Alcúdia with rats coming from boats anchoring in Port d’Alcúdia, this was how Mallorca was infected.
With plagues, droughts and famine, Alcúdia and the rest of Mallorca was under massive economical and demographic pressure, which eventually resulted in higher taxes.
At the same time, corruption among the noble classes was a recurring issue that kept most peasants and day-laborers out of influence in the towns causing a series of disputes. The corruption also meant that it was more difficult for small farmers to make money at the market, as the landowners charged more money in rent of land.
In 1450, King Alfonso ordered a so-called “capbreu” to be created, a declaration of all real estate of the island. Landowners were obligated to document their ownership of their possessions and real estate, to prove their rights to administrate it. However, what sparkled the first real societal conflict on the island was that many of the small farmers seemed to have lost their documentation of their rights to own land. Moreover, it was people from the nobility that were in charge of writing this capbreu, which of course was interpreted by the peasants as another corruption scandal.
Soon after, an angry mob led by Simo “Tort” Ballester, a peasant from Manacor, raged against the people who had written the capbreu, who were stoned and had to flee to the Ciutat de Mallorca (Palma). On July 26, 5,000 farmers from many villages gathered outside Inca to march towards the capital. The following day, they reached the city walls from where they cut of the water supply from the Font de la Vila (stream of the town), which supplied the entire city with water, and besieged the city. The siege lasted until August when the bishop of Urgell intervened and the governor agreed to talk to the farmers. The farmers handed over a script of 31 chapters stating their demands, most of these about erasing the public debt and put an end to the corruption.
The demands of the farmers were not met by governor, which led to a violent approach from the farmers who started damaging towns all over the island and plunder merchants. One of the most bloody battles took place in the marches between Sa Pobla and Muro, not far from Alcúdia, where Simo Ballester and 200 peasants clashed with the governor’s lieutenant Jaume Cadell and his men. In the years of the Revolta Forana, many people took refuge within the walls of Alcúdia, because the town did not take part of the revolt except a small group led by Miquel Renovard.
In 1453, the king intervened by sending Italian mercenaries to the island to put an end to the revolt once and for all. After the defeat of the farmers, all of the cities and families that had had anything to do with the revolt was sentenced to pay severe fines to cover for the damages.
After a period of exile in France for 3 years, Simo “Tort” Ballester first returned to Menorca before coming to Mallorca, where he was captured and imprisoned in the Bellver castle. He was executed in 1457, his dead body drawn and quartered.
But things got worse and a second civil war was a fact in 1520, a war knows as the “Revolt of the Brotherhood”. The outbreak of this war was essentially a continuation of the Revolta Forana, as it had it roots in the heavy tax loads and corruption, only this time it was led by the artisans guilds. This was actually a movement happening all over Spain, as the situation was the same for all. On the mainland, parallel communities were created with own laws, elected jurors etc. These parallel communities were simply called “Communidades” (communities).
One of the main figures of the Brotherhood in Mallorca, was Joanet Colom from the town of Felanitx, whom had traveled to Valencia to meet with other guilds to find inspiration on how they had done. The Brotherhood managed to siege Palma and several other towns on the island, which caused the nobility to flee and take refuge behind the walls of Alcúdia. The town managed to resist the many violent attempts of the Brotherhood to break through.
Eventually, after a bloody battle in the marshes of Sa Pobla, in November 1522, the Brotherhood was more of less defeated. King Carles V had sent his royal army to the island to end the revolt once and for all. The amateur army was no match for the highly skilled and trained soldiers, they were slaughtered, their body parts nailed to the tress and dead bodies hung from the palms along the main road from Alcudia to set an example.
In spring 1523, Joanet Colom was hung, dragged and quartered, his body parts were nailed to the city walls and salt was sown in the fields of his properties so that they could never again be used for irrigation.
As a reward for its heroic role protecting the nobility and all those faithful to the crown, Carles V awarded Alcúdia the title of “ciutat fidelíssima” (faithful town), which meant a series of privileges including tax exemptions. In the heart of Alcúdia, you can find the Plaça Carles V with a beautiful monument of an eagle which commemorate and testify the events.
The battle against pirates
The attacks of the Brotherhood had left the town of Alcúdia and its inhabitants in fear, and caused many to leave the area. Many nobles who had stayed in Alcúdia during the revolt returned to Palma and could not give employment to people, which caused a considerably decrease in the population.
During the mid-16th century, the Ottoman empire started to approach the Mediterranean. The first sign of the new threat was in 1535, when Ottoman forces brutally plundered and destroyed the town of Mahón in Menorca and took 6,000 slaves. The campaign was led by famous admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa, a ruthless but highly skilled man whom had been promoted by Suleiman the Magnificent.
In 1551, an Ottoman delegation landed at Cap des Pinar (Alcanada). Captain Bartomeu Maura and 150 Alcúdians confronted the Ottomans and came back victorious. Years later, in 1558, the Ottomans returned to Cap des Pinar in yet another attempt to invade the island, this time it was Captain Felipe Fuster and Captain Mateu de Pachs who led the town to victory, but was killed doing so.
In the time following these attacks, two watchtowers were constructed on the Alcanada peninsula; sa Talaia de Victoria (1567) and Torre Major (1602). The first was constructed in 400 meters altitude giving it the possibility to overlook both the bay of Alcúdia and Pollenca. Torre Major was equipped with a battery of four bronze cannons, it received signals from sa Talaia de Victoria and the ancient lookout of Penya des Migdia.
The industrial times
Despite of the stagnating attacks from the seaside, the economical instability continued to grow in Alcúdia during the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1779, King Carlos III and his government took action and made the port of Alcúdia a trading center for international trade in order to promote the economical activities and repopulating the town.
In 1870, the yellow fever arrived in Mallorca. It started in Palma, and afterwards spread throughout the island. Alcúdia kept itself safeguarded thanks to its walls and ability to close the gates, except for the Porta de Mallorca which was guarded, and who controlled every person entering or leaving the town.
However, it was not until the 20th century that the economy changed remarkably in Alcúdia, when the GESA electric power factory was inaugurated in 1957. The factory delivers power not only to Mallorca, but also to Menorca.
In the mid-1960’s, the tourism boom hits Mallorca and Alcúdia too. This new industry quickly became the main industry of the area, especially during the 1970’s the amount of hotels grew significantly creating new jobs in construction and service. Since the 1970’s, Alcúdia has been more or less completely dedicated to tourism, there are more than 50,000 hotels beds available.