Playa de Muro | J. AGUIRRE

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Muro town hall was naturally delighted that Playa de Muro had been ranked seventeenth in the latest TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice best 25 beaches in the world. The third best in Europe and the only Spanish beach in the 25, the town hall did slightly overstate the case - “currently the most cherished jewel in the Mediterranean’. Spiaggia dei Conigli in Lampedusa (Sicily) was tenth. (Praia de Falesia in Portugal was twelfth.)

The town hall was right to point out that there are five kilometres of beach, as these five kilometres mean that the beach isn’t all the same. Playa de Muro is sometimes referred to in the plural, a reflection of the fact that there are the contrasts. There is so-called urban and then there is the so-called rustic, that part between Alcudia Pins and Can Picafort that is backed by dunes and forest. While the whole five kilometres are splendid, it is that part which is the more splendid.

The TripAdvisor accolade is well-deserved. But one is bound to ask, as is the case with all these best-ofs, how accurate it is. In Mallorca alone, there would be rivals. Es Trenc would be just one. However, getting into a ranking with beaches in exotic locations such as the Turks and Caicos Islands and Andaman and Nicobar Islands is pretty impressive stuff. On this basis, then yes, well-deserved.

The town hall welcomes the choice, but one also has to ask how welcome it actually is. The rustic beach, Es Comú, used to be something of a secret. Popular at weekends, it was mostly empty during the week in summer. However, along came social media, to say nothing of official beach guides produced by the Balearic government, which increased the popularity immensely. So much so that there has been the inevitable “saturation”. This has led to all manner of problems with parking that never used to exist, and by never, I’m going back say fifteen years.

It is a double-edged sword. Favourable and unfavourable. The town hall has every right to be proud, not least because of its own efforts in, for instance, creating one of the most advanced beach safety and rescue systems in Spain. But when the area is overrun, having such an accolade is rather less positive.