For decades, I had thought of Majorca as bikini- scattered beaches, noisy discos, much revelling and rampant romancing.
And, if that’s what you want from a holiday, as contestants on the new series of ITV2’s Love Island do, it’s certainly there — although the romance might depend on your luck and age.
But there is another, quite different Majorca that I’d never known about, but which, as we drove away from the airport at Palma, appeared almost immediately on the horizon.
Charming discovery: Port de Soller is a small resort near to the pretty little town of Soller
It’s the Serra de Tramuntana, a jagged mountain range that stretches along the entire north coast of the Spanish island.
At around 60 miles long and 10 miles wide, with valleys and slopes coated with holm oaks and larches, the Tramuntana seems to belong on a quite different island, given the neat olive and citrus groves found everywhere else.
In fact, it’s so different it even has a slightly cooler, damper microclimate — which is, of course, what makes it so green and beautiful enough to have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And that has been a godsend. Protected from the ravages of development, the area has remained a wilderness and now attracts mountain hikers and leather-lunged cyclists.
Being neither walkers nor cyclists, we set out for Port de Soller, a small resort around four miles on from the pretty, busy little town of Soller, which lies in the valley that leads down from the mountains to the sea and where every garden has lemon trees.
Had it been anywhere else, Port de Soller, with its lagoon-like harbour, might have been ruined by commercialisation.
But, although used for centuries to export the local citrus fruits, its remoteness and being locked out of the rest of Majorca by the mountains saved it from over-development.
Molly-Mae Hague from TV’s Love Island
The Romans got their shallow boats in here, of course, and the Normans, and, after they had conquered Spain, the Moors came, too. Then, in 1561, Muslims and Christians came together to fight off an attack by Algerian and Turkish pirates, with the townswomen laying a path of treacle and then taking pot-shots at the invaders using catapults.
Soller celebrates this event with the Es Firo festival, which takes place over three days in May — a commemoration that looked like a lot of fun, as children and teenagers with garishly painted faces dressed up to take part in jokey battles.
Palma, the capital of Majorca, is less than 20 miles away, but, until just over 100 years ago, the only road connecting Soller to the rest of the island was a tortuous, rutted switchback route through the mountains.
Then, in 1911, the entire population of the Soller region clubbed together (with outside help) to burrow a tunnel through the Tramuntana and lay a narrow-gauge railway line — and then a single-track tram extension link to the port.
Both train and tram are still operating, the train being a Thomas The Tank Engine-style wooden carriage. The one we travelled in displayed a plaque saying that it had been built in 1929. Heading south along the high coast road, we passed through the spectacularly pretty little village of Deia, where poet and author Robert Graves, of I, Claudius fame, had a home.
But, when we decided to visit the only other accessible beach at nearby Valldemossa, the drive down the cliff involved negotiating more than 20 hairpin bends. Plum, my wife, tells me the views were magical.
The only other road out of Soller is northwards, and slightly easier, but no less beautiful, with the views becoming almost alpine when we got above tree level.
The ancient monastery at Lluc was our destination, on a visit that caused us to step back slightly in time as we watched elderly Spanish women kneel and cross themselves before the 11th-century Black Madonna statue.
Travel in style: The quaint old-fashioned tram link runs from the town to the port
More adventurous guests in our hotel would strike out for the hills every morning, sturdy with their haversacks and walking boots.
But, apart from a day trip to Palma, to visit the biggest cathedral I’ve seen — and I’ve seen a few — we were content to idle away most of our holiday just watching people go by.
Not that there isn’t much else to see, from the tethered flotillas of yachts, to the quaint orange tram, like a cast-off from an old movie about San Francisco, on the traffic-free road.
And there’s always the sea, as it crashes into foam at the foot of the sheer, towering cliffs beyond the town.
As for the evenings, sitting in a different outdoor restaurant every night (£65 being the average price of dinner for two), we would watch, mesmerised, as the sun set directly between the two majestic lighthouses that once protected the entrance to the port.
It was good to discover how mistaken I’d been about Majorca.