Real Cartuja de Valldemossa

Top choice in Valldemossa

This grand old monastery and former royal residence has a chequered history. It was once home to kings, monks and a pair of 19th-century celebrities: composer Frédéric Chopin and George Sand. A series of cells now shows how the monks lived, bound by an oath of silence they could only break for half an hour per week in the library. Various items related to the time Sand and Chopin spent here, including Chopin's pianos, are also displayed.

The building's origins date back to 1310 when Jaume II built a palace on the site. After it was abandoned, the Carthusian order took over and converted it into a monastery, which, in 1388, was greatly expanded. The monastery was turned into rental accommodation (mostly for holidaymakers from Palma) after its monks were expelled in 1835. Following the rules of the order, just 13 monks lived in this cavernous space. Entry includes piano recitals (eight times daily in summer) and Jaume II's 14th-century Palau de Rei Sanxo, a muddle of medieval rooms jammed with furniture and hundreds of years of mementos, gathered around a modest cloister.