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Nothing if not strategic, Alcúdia is the ideal base for exploring Mallorca's north coast, with the 13-km-long (8-mile-long) beach from Port d'Alcúdia to C'an Picafort and the adjacent Playa de Muro, the bird-watchers' paradise in the S'Albufera wetlands, and the spectacular drive along the corniche to Cap de Formentor. The charming little walled town itself is a capsule version of Mallorcan history: the first city here was a Roman settlement, in 123 BC. The Moors reestablished a town here, and after the Reconquest it became a feudal possession of the Knights Templar; the first ring of city walls dates to the early 14th century. Begin your visit at the Church of Sant Jaume and walk through the maze of narrow streets inside to the Porta de Xara, with its twin crenellated towers.

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