The Mayor of Valldemossa Nadal Torres. | Joan Llado


Last week National Geographic hailed Valldemossa as “the most beautiful place in the world”, while King Charles III, in his book HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES WATERCOLOURS, in which there is a section dedicated to his favourite paintings of Mallorca, comments: “This village in Mallorca is one of the most attractive on the island” next to one of his many paintings of Valldemossa.

Apart from Frédéric Chopin and his lover, the pioneering French writer Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known by her pseudonym George Sand, having famously spent a winter in the village and Hollywood Oscar-winner Michael Douglas having owned a coastal estate in the area for over 30 years, the village has been, and still is, home to a host of famous people from all walks of life. All of these people are represented and cared for by the mayor, Nadal Torres, as he does for all of the local community, of which he is extremely proud.

President Clinton
Valldemossa was also where the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, and the First Lady Hillary, gave the global press pack the slip on July 5, 1997.
The Clintons visited Mallorca ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid as guests of King Juan Carlos and the former prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar. The official plan for the Clintons was to head out for lunch on the royal yacht Fortuna and then visit Petra in the early afternoon.

I was with the press pack with scores of US special agents in Petra. But as the clock ticked away, there was no sign of the president and his entourage, while the Majorca Daily Bulletin had a second special edition literally hanging in the wind.

Suddenly, word came through that the Clintons had decided to go to Valldemossa to visit the Charterhouse and have dinner in a local restaurant. So it was a case of getting up there as fast as possible to cover what turned out to be a momentous occasion because the president broke with protocol and went walkabout, causing chaos in the village and panic for his security detail.

Fifth term as mayor
At last year’s municipal elections, Torres won his fifth term mandate as mayor for the El Grup Independent de Valldemossa, an independent party which is solely concerned about the well-being of Valldemossa. And right now, his main worry is the lack of rain - not excess tourism.
In fact, the mayor is extremely proud of all the accolades Valldemossa receives year after year and claims its is “obligatory” for everyone coming to Mallorca to visit Valldemossa.

“It is the most beautiful village in Mallorca. We have the mountains and the sea, a very rich history, extremely important fiestas, excellent restaurants and of course the Cartuja, the Royal Charterhouse,” he said.

Since the 19th century Valldemossa has been promoted internationally as a place of outstanding beauty, largely as a result of the affection of distinguished traveller and cultural writer, the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvator. He designed Douglas’s S’Estaca estate along with other unique and historic buildings in the area.

Fame and challenges
But with all the fame also comes numerous challenges and Torres admits that being a politician today is much more complicated and time consuming than before.
“Right now, my biggest concern is the lack of rain and how we manage our natural resources as the tourist season begins to get under way.

“Never mind Easter being very early this year, we are in the middle of February and the village is already extremely busy with tourists and visitors. We expect a slight drop off after Easter, although that didn’t happen last year, and then we’re going to be full all the way through.”
“However, Valldemossa, like the rest of Mallorca, lives off and depends on tourism and as a village we manage it well both as a council and as a community.

“We are a friendly village, we’re very welcoming and we want people to come to visit.
“Yes, traffic can be a problem in the peak of the summer but when it’s too hot to go on excursions, most people head to the beach and then come up to Valldemossa when it cools off in later afternoon and evening, so we have a very lively and busy selection of excellent restaurants and bars.

“And when the fiestas get under way in July, that’s when the village gets very animated. But considering we have a standing population of nearly 2,500, we all manage the influx of visitors and second home owners extremely well and the latter are very well integrated in the local community and that goes for the likes of Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones.


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“Since Covid, they’ve been spending much longer periods of time here and while they like to keep themselves to themselves, Michael can often be seen wandering around the village popping into a restaurant or bar. We all just get along and get on with our lives,” the mayor said.

And testament to the respect the local community has for Valldemossa and the council is how it is currently complying with the recent water restrictions which have been introduced.

“We’re encouraging people not to abuse the water resources and have, for example, put a stop to swimming pools being filled up, cars being washed and lawns being watered with the mains supply. For that, water will have to be brought in by lorries and everyone understands and respects the need for this action to have been taken.

“We used to get periods of nine to ten days of nonstop rain, but yet again we haven’t had that this winter and I fear it’s starting to get a bit late for the heavy rain we all need in Mallorca.

“Last year we did have 30 centimetres of snow, which is very good for the natural water reserves and dampens the soil. But then we got hit by near hurricane-force winds which caused serious damage and did not help.
“So managing the environment, while being complicated, is extremely important for all of us in Valldemossa.

“We’ve also introduced a cap on new housing being built. Old fincas and estates cannot be expanded or built on, while no new builds are current permitted. We can’t continue to grow anymore,” he explained.

“So, politics has become increasingly complicated over the years and more time consuming.
“But now that I’m retired, I have the necessary time to dedicate to being mayor and complying with all the institutional acts and events.
“And once the elections are over, we lay our political stance to one side and do our best to make sure we have sound working relations with the Balearic government and the Council of Mallorca so that we can work in the best interests of the people of Valldemossa.

“We also collaborate with our neighbouring villages in the Tramuntana, which as a UNESCO World Heritage Site needs to be carefully managed. Some villages do face some serious problems,” the mayor said.

“But as I said, everyone is welcome to come to Valldemossa, they always have been. So many have come for a visit and stayed.
“But while I know we’re going to have no shortage of visitors this year, I’m more worried about the lack of rain.” he added.