Discovering Mallorca: the Serra de Tramuntana mountains
The Serra de Tramuntana is a mountain range that runs along the northwest coast of Mallorca. With a length of 90 km and a width of 15km at some points, it includes 18 municipalities and covers about 30% of the island’s territory.
In 2011, the mountain range was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the cultural landscape category. The Serra de Tramuntana definitely deserves a visit during your Majorca villa holidays.
To declare a place “World Heritage”, UNESCO considers sites that present outstanding value to humanity: here, mankind has been able to adapt to a land devoid of water by engineering water-channelling systems of Arab origin, ultimately transforming the landscape. The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is a Mediterranean agricultural landscape; it is characterized by terraces, water mills and dry-stone buildings, and planted with olive trees, almond trees, oranges, tomatoes, and vines.
The MA10 road runs the entire Serra, from Andratx to Pollença, crossing vertiginous landscapes, where unexpected cliffs overlook the sea. The colours of the landscape change depending on the season; sometimes the peaks are covered with snow in winter, and the towns have the enchantment of a typical mountain village. It’s no coincidence that these views have inspired many internationally renowned artists in their creative work.
One of the best ways to explore is, therefore, by car. The beautiful capital of La Palma is a great place to start, but from any corner of the island you can reach the Serra quickly. Ideally, the trip can be done along the MA10 in three days, enough time to get to know the entirety of this wonder.
Andratx – Valldemossa (41.2 km)
You can start from Andratx, a town 28 km from Palma. Take a stroll through the narrow streets and dwell in the main square, where you can easily find a craftsman preparing baskets out of palm leaves.
The weekly market takes place on Wednesday morning and is ample opportunity to buy some Mallorcan delicacy. Climb up to the Sant Bartolomeu church and the cemetery, where you can see the almond fields.
At this point, take the MA10 and make your way through the Serra de Tramuntana. The road is winding, constantly overlooking the sea, a series of up-and-down hills, but it will give you very unique landscapes! The route to Valldemossa passes by two very picturesque villages: Estellencs and Banyalbufar. What is amazing are the houses: tall and narrow, stone, with traditional wooden shutters painted green, built on labyrinthine streets, and following the slope of the land.
This section also offers two splendid sights: the Mirador Ricardo Roca which you will come across just before arriving in Estellencs, and the Mirador de Ses Ànimes (otherwise known as La Torre de Verger), a surveillance tower a few kilometres from Banyalbufar. Both are great lookout points where you can admire the coast and scenery!
Once in Valldemossa, visit the Cartuja, a monastery of the fifteenth century, where Chopin and George Sand lived for three months in 1838. You can not leave Valldemossa without trying its pastry specialty: coques de patata (potato starch brioche). Among some of the best in the town are those of Panaderia Can Molines (via Blanquerna, 15).
Deià – Escorca (37.2 km)
Before arriving in Deià, always on the MA10 from Valldemossa, stop in Son Marroig, one of the properties that Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria bought at the end of ‘800 after falling in love with the landscapes of the north coast of Majorca. The most important author of the Balearic islands reformed the old house preserving the fortified tower and making enlargements of Italianate style. In addition, he built a small neo-classical temple with marble of Carrara, where you can see the tip of Sa Foradada. Today it houses the museum dedicated to his memory. Since 1978 it hosts the annual International Festival of Deià, dedicated to chamber music.
Be sure to explore Deià, a city that has charmed artists from around the world. Don’t forget to stop by the famous town of Soller, whose valley is known as the Valley of Oranges. Sa Fàbrica de Gelats in the Plaça des Mercat is a traditional ice cream parlor that processes more than 30 homemade ice cream flavors: try its yummy and authentic orange flavor!
You can then visit the Port de Sóller, taking the nice tramway. This port is the only area saved by the boats in this part of the Serra, often subject to storm surges.
Continuing on the MA10, stop for a moment at the Mirador de Ses Barques, to see the port of Sóller from above. Before arriving in Escorca, you can’t miss the two artificial lakes created by the construction of dams in the valleys Cúber and Gorg Blau, to exploit the water resources from the Serra and the highest mountain, the Puig Major de Son Torrella (1450 meters ).
Lluc – Cap de Formentor (40.9 km)
Once in Lluc, visit the monastery of Lluc, the summit of the Majorcan religion, since it houses the image of the patron saint of the island.
Pollença is the last town along the Serra de Tramuntana. It is also a beautiful place for you to stay in one of our Pollença villas. Regarded as the cultural center of the north of the island, it is the gateway to the peninsula of Formentor. You can get off at Port de Pollença and stop at one of the many bars or restaurants along the waterfront. From here, the MA2210 takes you to the very tip of the island, the Cap de Formentor.
The route is just 18 kilometers, but with the curves, it seems to be many more.
On the way, stop in the Mirador de la Creueta, from which you can admire the Port de Pollença in its entirety in one direction, and in the other, the islet of Es Colomer.
Right before leaving, you will see a small tower at the very top, known as the Atalaia of Albercuix (originally built as a lookout point against pirate attacks), to which it is worth going despite the winding road (though paved with two lanes). From there, you can get a complete overview of the Bay of Pollença and Alcudia and Formentor beach.
Back on the main road, just after the tunnel that goes through the mountain, you will see Cala Figuera de Formentor on the left. Here, you can park in the car park and enjoy the beach.
The last few kilometers to get to the lighthouse should be driven cautiously, as to avoid the goats that frequently cross the road. The view at the end is – again – well worth it.
Source: by Kira Sideroff
Port de Sóller
In recent years, the northwestern resort of Port de Sóller has undergone an impressive revamp – and become home to a global hotel brand – blending quaint and contemporary to highly pleasing effect. Discover everything that makes Port de Sóller a wonderful destination on Mallorca for holidays or a second home.
History & Culture
Inextricably tied to the Med, Port de Sóller has historically taken a dynamic seafaring approach to its isolated situation. Separated from the rest of Mallorca by the Tramuntana mountain range, past generations had to take to the water to make trade possible.
Had they lived to bear witness to the modern-day construction of the Sóller tunnel, the area’s residents would have marvelled at the possibility of wagons rolling into their village. Easy road communication, however, would have robbed Sóller of its rich maritime past; the necessity for exploration opening up this humble corner of the island to the world, bringing import and export of goods, most notably citrus fruits, and, less desirably, pirate invasion.
Fleets of Turkish and Algerian pirates landed on Sóller’s beach in 1561. Armed with only wooden swords and small stone catapults, the town’s inhabitants courageously defended their homes from the attack, causing defeat and earning them a place in Mallorca’s hero history book.
Thanks to its remote location, and the use of the area as a training base by the Spanish military, Port de Sóller was protected from overdevelopment when the tourists started arriving, helping preserve its natural charm and beauty.
Improvements in recent years to Port de Sóller and its road network have given this place a new glamour, making it a fitting location for a luxury Jumeirah-branded hotel, introduced in 2012. Set atop a cliff, the hotel overlooks the entire bay with its long, lively promenade, perfect for leisurely strolls.
The San Francisco-style tram shuttling between the town and Port de Sóller – its tracks passing citrus-filled gardens – was originally used to transport oranges, but is now a pleasant way to travel to the attractive horseshoe-shaped port.
As well as a working harbour, this is a seaside resort, with plenty of facilities, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops all geared to the needs of holidaymakers. Yacht charter and holiday rentals – from apartments to luxury villas – are widely available.
Things to do in Port de Sóller
Pleasure boat trips from the port follow the rugged coastline to Sa Calobra, where it’s a short walk to the spectacular Torrent de Pareis. The alternative route to this hidden gorge is the thrilling and incredibly engineered mountain road to Sa Calobra. With 12 hairpin bends and awesome views, it’s not for the faint-hearted!
Hikers and Nordic walking fans are in their element, with the Serra de Tramuntana’s GR221 long-distance path – the Dry Stone Route – passing through the port. Near Cap Gros lighthouse on the western edge of the port, the route passes the Muleta refuge on the way to the country estate of Muleta Gran and beyond. Walking in the opposite direction takes you through the port and town towards Fornalutx and Biniaraix hamlet. To walk with a guide, check out Mallorca Hiking or Tramuntana Tours (who also specialise in bike rental).
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