As a result of Mallorca's long military history, the island has plenty of fascinating ruins to explore. One of the best ways to enjoy its castles is by hiring a car at Mallorca airport and hitting the road.
Castell de Bellver
You won't need to drive far to get to the Mallorca's most famous castle. Castell de Bellver - Spain's only round castle - is situated just 20 minutes west of the airport, overlooking the capital, Palma de Mallorca.
Despite being built around 700 years ago, Bellver is in excellent condition and visitors can walk around its moat and then climb onto the ramparts for one of the island's best vistas. The castle is very appropriately named - 'Bellver' actually means 'lovely view' in Catalan.
Formerly used as a prison, the castle today contains a museum of Palma's municipal history.
Heading inland and then north-east on the main Ma-15 road out of Palma continue for around 45 miles until you reach the small town of Arta.
There you'll find the largest fortress on the island, whose history dates back to Roman times. The Moors later enlarged it, before the Christians destroyed it and replaced it with their own 14th century version.
The castle is marked by its spiked stone battlements from where you'll get attractive views over the rolling hills beyond.
Just a ten-minute drive due east of Arta is the town of Capdepera. The castle there was built in 1300 to protect the residents of Capdepera from attackers and the fortifications still form a central part of town life.
Each year during the annual fiesta, residents remember the legend of Capdepera, which tells the story of when a group of invaders, who had laid the town to siege, were driven off by fog, reputedly as a result of them having placed an image of Our Lady of Hope on the battlements.
The castle is reached by steps from the market square, Placa de Orient. A small entrance fee is payable and the castle is open every day.
Castell del Rei
You can only get so far by car in your quest to find the ruins of the Castell del Rei.
Drive back through Arta and continue along the north coast, before veering inland to arrive in the town of Pollenca. From there you'll then need to take the small country road to Ternelles opposite the Roman bridge and drive until you reach the gates to an estate. It's then a 7km hike uphill through the pine forest to reach the ruins, which have been abandoned for around 300 years.
Visiting takes a bit of planning as you'll need to apply for permission from the town hall in Pollenca to cross the private estate - a process that can take up to four days.
This five-hour round trip will certainly imbue your trip with a sense of adventure.
(Photos via [ThinkStock - iStockphoto])