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Calvia, Mallorca

Traditional rural town in the south west of Majorca

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Calvia, Mallorca

Calvia is like an old lady who has won the lottery and doesn't know how to cope with her success. Until recently an unassuming country town, Calvia hit the jackpot when tourists discovered the nearby beaches and it is now said to be the richest municipality in Spain. Founded in 1249 with 80 inhabitants, the town had a population of 3,000 in 1960 and 11,560 in 1980 all because of tourism.

The town is the administrative centre for the region and there are a few ostentatious signs of wealth, like the sparkling new town hall and sports stadium. With such a high number of foreigners choosing to live the area, the town hall runs regular Spanish language lessons - free for residents.

The town is dominated by the church of Sant Joan Baptsta, built in the late 19th century around the 13th century original. Nearby, a fountain and a ceramic mural tells the story of Calvia's history. Stand on the terrace looking out over almond and carob trees and it is hard to believe you are only a few kilometres from the teeming resorts of 'Maganova'. Thankfully, Calvia is a world away from the coastal developments and mostly life continues as before, with ochre-coloured houses, a handful of shops and bars, and chickens scrambling between the olive trees.

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