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Here's why Mallorca is a corker for walkers ...  By Jenny Goad

Northern Mallorca around FormentorNOT looking down is tricky when you're marching along a cliff edge. Especially when down reveals an intense blue sea and an orange kayak school pootling round distant rocks.

To our right, limestone cliffs tower overhead; to our left, the Formentor peninsula is lost in a haze of heat.

On the edge of the narrow path are spiky bushes, the only barrier between our trainers and a scarily long plunge.

The hillside rustles with mountain goats and occasionally we get a whiff. We feel anything but nimble - especially when a German group coming the other way mentions a section of the walk where you have to grip on to chains.

Mallorca is known for glamorous bar weekends in Palma and not-so glamorous fly-and-flop package deals in Magaluf. It deserves to be more appreciated for hiking trails that criss-cross its jutting mountains and herb-covered terrain. This is a delightfully varied island, with fragrant pine forests that go right up to the sandy beaches and vertiginous roads cutting straight into the sheer rock so that even a drive offers spectacular views across coast and cliffs.

Cap de Formentor in MallorcaOne word of warning: you will have to share those roads with dozens of sweaty, sunburned men in Lycra pistoning their way up steep hills.

The views and bends are catnip to cyclists –Sir Bradley Wiggins described the terrain as being 'like a Scalextric track for bicycles'.

Sir Bradley trained for his triumphant 2012 Tour de France in the Tramuntana, the mountain range in Mallorca's north-west, whose incredible landscapes have UNESCO world heritage status.

We decide to explore the north-eastern corner of the island, where Sir Bradley goes on family holidays and which incorporates the striking peninsula of Formentor, and its lighthouse, basing ourselves near the Roman town of Pollenca, in one of the smart villas let by Mallorca Farmhouses. They offer 51 privately owned villas on the island.

Ours has lovely thick stone walls that keep it cool inside, a vine-covered terrace, a garden and a blissful choice of spots to sit for breakfast, lunch, tea, and evening fino and tonic. With a pool and plenty of space, it would suit a family or group of friends.

The kitchen isn't brilliantly equipped – why do villas never come with ice-cube trays? But there is a barbecue area, which catches the last rays of the afternoon sun.

Walking guidebooks for MallorcaTAKE a map and guidebook. Buy from our shop walking maps for Mallorca, and walking guidebooks for Mallorca.

In the baking summer, shorter walks, such as the terrifyingly vertiginous hike from Ermita de La Victoria hermitage along cliff edges to the point and back, can be slotted in during the freshness of the early morning, before a languid lunch and afternoon on the beach.

Cooler autumn holidays are the time for more strenuous hikes – the views from the Teix range, reached from Deia, come recommended. Our favourite beach is the sandy, restaurant and pine backed stretch at Formentor, a 25-minute drive from our villa.

More secluded coves on this peninsula can be reached if you are willing to scramble for 20 minutes. We spend a happy afternoon on the stony Cala Murta, where a large and confident roaming goat attempts to eat our towel, while modest gin palaces bob in the water.

Pollenca itself is full of squares backed by impressive churches with outdoor restaurants selling reasonable tapas as well as English fare.

Port Pollenca is best avoided – unless you are nipping in for a pedicure.

Most of us have varying (and sometimes rather specific) views on what makes the perfect holiday. But this island gets my vote.

This article first appeared in the Daily Mail on 20th August 2016 and was written by Jenny Goad.

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