Inca is one of Majorca’s largest towns, located about half-way between the capital Palma and Alcudia, on the island’s northern coast. It is an important cultural and commercial centre, and famed for the production of leather goods sourced from the many cattle farms of Majorca’s central region. Inca lies on the main highway from Palma to the north coast, and so it is possible to drive from Inca to Majorca’s international airport in just over half an hour, and to the popular beaches around Alcudia in less than twenty minutes.
Inca is known throughout Spain as as the “city of leather”, and several leather workshops in the city offer guided tours to visitors. Shoes, handbags and coats are particularly good buys, and the town is also home to the well known European shoe brand, Camper. Inca’s best shopping opportunities are found in the weekly market, held in streets around streets around the Placa d’Espanya in the historic city centre every Thursday. Traders from all over the Balearic islands visit Inca to sell their wares, and the result is one of the largest and most vibrant markets in Europe. There is always plenty of leather for sale, as well as jewellery, lace, carved olive wood, fresh fruit and vegetables from across the island. The stalls in Placa d Espanya specialise in cut flowers, and for a few hours the square resembles an open-air flower show. Several tour operators in other parts of the island offer weekly market tours to Inca, and visitors from Palma and the northern coast can easily make the journey by train.
From the 17th to the 19th centuries the Inca region was also a major producer of wine, until the local grape-growing industry was destroyed by an epidemic of phylloxera bugs that had spread from European vineyards. Today the many ancient wine-cellars in the town are historical features, and many have been converted into restaurants that serve traditional Majorcan dishes, such assopes mallorquines – a cross between a vegetable soup and a stew; tumbet – a baked dish of tomatoes, peppers and potatoes; and gató d´ametlles – a sweet dessert cake traditionally made from Majorcan almonds, and now popular throughout Spain. The town centre is also home to one of Majorca’s top pastry shops, the Ca’n Delante, and a stylish coffee house, the Cafe Mecantil.
The central Majorcan plain around Inca and the nearby Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range are popular with hikers and touring cyclists. To the east of the town, a small hill known as the Puig de Inca offers an expansive view of the mountains, plains and the northern coastline. The hilltop village of Selva, a few miles west along the road through the mountains from Inca to Lluc, features many remarkable medieval mansions, religious monuments and churches, including the 14th Century parish church of Sant Llorenc on the highest point of the hill. Lluc itself is the Catholic spiritual centre of Majorca, and the site of an ancient shrine containing the 14th Century image of the island’s patron saint, the Mare de Deu de Lluc.