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Alcudia, Mallorca

Medieval walled town in the north-east of Mallorca

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The medieval town of Alcúdia is the island's largest tourist hub in the north. Located on a peninsula that separates the bays of Pollença and Alcúdia, it boasts a beautiful medieval centre as well as an authentic local atmosphere.

The ancient town of Alcúdia, located about 5 minutes by car from the coast, is not to be confused with the beach resort of Port d'Alcúdia. Many of Mallorca's oldest settlements were built several miles inland to provide protection against marauding pirates, while their port and coastal areas were only developed in more recent times as tourism became a major source of income for the island.

Alcúdia is a perfectly restored walled city on the site of a Roman settlement, with remains of Roman houses and an amphitheatre. This is a gem of a place, a maze of narrow streets enclosed by medieval ramparts that have been carefully restored as part of Mallorca's new tourist image. A couple of new boutique hotels have sprung up, and modern gastronomic restaurants provide a really interesting dining experience.

Located two miles from the coast, Alcudia provides a real contrast to the more touristy beach resort of Port d'Alcúdia; with a wealth of history and charm, this town offers visitors an authentic Mallorcan experience. Traditional fiestas and fairs rub alongside classical music festivals, and it has one of the best markets on the island. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside, explorable by car or by bicycle.

History & Culture in Alcudia

The first human settlement in Alcúdia dates back to 2000-1300 BC - Pretalayotic settlers whose burial sites have survived to this day in La Cova de S'Hort del Rectoria and under the Roman theatre site. They were followed by Phoenician and Greek settlements, but the town reached its heyday in the 2nd century BC, when the Roman invaders made it their capital, Pollentia, meaning 'power'. 

Romans brought an end to piracy and built an ordered town, with well-maintained streets, sewers and drinking water. They built an impressive theatre on the outskirts in 1BC, which was capable of holding 2000 spectators. It was built into the bedrock and was likely used for plays and for acrobatics. The semi-circular seating areas are well preserved and the site is open to the public throughout the year.

After the Roman empire declined in the 5th century, Alcúdia was destroyed by Vandals in the 6th century. The town returned to greatness under the Moors, who built Al Qudya ('the town on the hill'). The narrow streets of the old town, especially Carrer d'en Serra, are resonant of its Arab past.

The walls you see today were added after the Spanish conquest in the early 14th century. You enter the city through one of the two town gates. The Portal de Moll, with two square towers and two massive palm trees standing guard, is the symbol of Alcúdia. Look for the classic 14th-century architecture of Ca'n Torro library, at Carrer d'en Serra. It opened in 1990 in a former mansion and hosts exhibitions and concerts.

Alcúdia was developed for tourism in the 20th century, with the first hotel built in the 1930's and new places opening after the death of Franco in the 1970's always keeping the authenticity of the old town intact.

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Also see: History of Mallorca, Spain

Sights & Attractions in Alcudia

Alcúdia's ancient history has left a rich heritage around the town. From the Roman remains of Pollentia to its town centre, boasting medieval and renaissance walls, 16th-century urban palaces ('casals') and the 19th-century Neogothic parish church of Sant Jaume. Contemporary art fans should visit the Sa Bassa Blanca Museum, where 16th to 19th-century paintings are exhibited alongside 20th-century sculptures.

The natural parks of S'Albufera and S'Albufereta are located near Alcúdia. These wetland areas perfect for birdwatching.

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Also see: Attractions in Mallorca, Spain

Beaches in Alcudia

Being so close to the coast, the beaches of northern Mallorca are only a couple of miles away. There are regular buses from Alcúdia to Port d'Alcúdia and the beaches beyond on Playa de Muro. The sea is a beautiful pale blue colour and is shallow enough that families can safely enjoy it. The beaches in this area are made up of fine golden sand; the further east you go, the quieter and better it becomes. All sorts of watersports are available, from sailing to windsurfing and parasailing.

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Also see: Beaches in Mallorca, Spain

Events in Alcudia

The town of Alcúdia has a thriving market on Tuesdays and Sundays from 08:30 to 13:30, which is centred in the old town inside the walls. All sorts of local produce as well as leather goods, linens and souvenirs are available. There are plenty of cafes where you can sit on the terrace and enjoy a drink whilst you watch the hustle and bustle of the stall holders.

Alcúdia also hosts many festivals throughout the year, including agricultural fairs at the end of April, the beginning of May and the beginning of October. Another popular traditional festival in Alcúdia is its nautical fair in April, which features the cuttlefish.

During the summer, there are plenty of al fresco events with dramatised tours of the town and theatre productions in the old Roman amphitheatre. The Festival of Sant Jaume is held in July, and the Alcúdia Jazz festival starts at the end of August and runs for a month. Sporting events usually take placed down the road at Port d'Alcúdia, including an IronMan, as well as a popular beach rugby tournaments.

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Also see: Main Events in Mallorca, Spain

Things to Do in Alcudia

Sporting treats around Alcúdia include cycling, walking and golf. Many of the hotels in the beach resort of Port d'Alcúdia have tennis courts and can be utilised by non-residents. There is a lovely nature reserve down this way too - S'Albufera Natural Park - renowned for its wetlands and bird watching, also popular with cyclists and walkers. Further away from Alcúdia to the north lies a peninsula which has a variety of walks and hikes through beautiful countryside and with amazing views of the sea and the coast, one of the most popular routes takes you to the Ermita de la Victoria.

Families will no doubt enjoy the water park in Port d'Alcudia, Hidropark. With a load of swimming pools and water slides, there is plenty of fun to be had in the water. The park also features mini golf, paintball and a selection of restaurants.

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Also see: Sports & Activities in Mallorca, Spain

Dining in Alcudia

Alcudia specialises in restaurants serving traditional Mallorcan food - hearty stews, stuffed vegetables, rice and fish dishes which you can find in places like Ca'n Costa. There are also establishments serving typical Spanish tapas, as well as some restaurants offering modern twists on the regional fare such as Sa Romana, or serving creative Mediterranean cuisine made with seasonal produce like S'Arc restaurant.

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Also see: Where to Eat in Mallorca, Spain

Hotels in Alcudia

The ancient town of Alcúdia boasts some of the island's most charming boutique hotels, installed inside beautifully restored historical palaces in the old centre such as Cas Ferrer Nou or Can Tem. Traditional 'finca' rural hotels are dotted around the surrounding countryside, perfect for those in the search of some peace and quiet. Families looking for large beach resorts with extensive facilities should head to Port d'Alcúdia.

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