An easy five minute drive from the coast, Alcudia was constructed where it was in order to afford the town adequate protection from pirates. The beach resorts and towns are far more recent in construction and largely came about due to the increased demand for tourist attractions and income.
The city has been beautifully restored and preserved and retains so much of the charm and history of the original Roman settlement. In fact, remains of the amphitheatre and ancient homes still exist today. A true gem of the ancient world, Alcudia is a labyrinth of streets that are enclosed on all sides by awe-inspiring ramparts that have been perfectly restored to capture the original look and feel of the town. While a touch of modern has certainly been added in the form of restaurants and boutique hotels, the close link this walled city has with its ancient counterpart is undeniable and is part of the reason so many tourists flock to it each year.
When visiting Alcudia, one can’t help but notice the stark contrast between this medieval stronghold and the more touristy areas like Port d’Aludia, a beach resort. Full of charm, culture, and history, tourists can expect an authentic experience to include fiestas, fairs, and music. Surrounding it is a gorgeous countryside ready to be explored by either bicycle or car.
Mallorcan Culture and History
The settlement of Alcudia dates back thousands of years to between 2000 and 1300 BC, a time in which the Pretalayotic settlers arrived in the region. Their burial sites can still be seen today under the amphitheatre and in La Cova de S’Hort del Rectoria. This first settlement was followed by the Greeks and Phoenicians and then finally by the Roman invaders who arrived in the 2nd century BC and made the town their capital, known as Pollentia or “power”.
The Romans were the ones that secured the town, effectively ending piracy, and constructed the sewers and streets. They built the theatre near the edge of the town, where up to 2000 spectators could likely witness acrobatics and plays. This theatre remains well preserved to this day and is an attraction frequented by the public.
After the decline of the Roman Empire, the town of Alcudia was destroyed by the Vandals, but returned with vigor under Moorish rule. The narrow streets today are a carryover from the reign of the Arabs. The walls that can be seen today were a later addition by the Spanish in the 14th century. When arriving at Alcudia, you’ll enter through the Portal de Moll which has become one of the pillars of the town. Once inside, the visitor will be awestruck by the Ca’n Torro library with its classic architecture dating back to the 14th century.
Despite its ancient history, Alcudia became a tourist hub in the 20th century with the initial hotel constructed in the 1930s. However, there’s no denying that great effort has been made to keep the authenticity, mystique, and beauty of the town intact.