Deià

The small coastal village of Deià, on the northwest coast of Mallorca, is one of the prettiest villages on the island. Perched in a ravine at the foot of the Teix mountain, with views out to the Mediterranean below, Deià has long been a magnet for famous artists, writers and other creative people – most notably the writer Robert Graves.

More recently, acclaimed author Helen Walsh’s 2014 book The Lemon Grove was inspired by, and set in, the ruggedly seductive setting of Deià.

As one of the highest populated zones of the Serra de Tramuntana, Deià is part of a landscape awarded World Heritage Site status for the way in which nature, culture and traditions triumphantly merge. Here we provide all the information you want to know to make the most of a visit to Mallorca’s most treasured mountain village.

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History & Culture

The steep valley in which Deià lies has been populated since prehistoric times, when early settlers lived in caves in the hillsides, hunted game, and drank from the plentiful natural springs. In the eighth century, Arab rule established a sophisticated drainage and irrigation system – still used today – and gave the village its name, stemming from ‘ad daia’, meaning hamlet.

After the crusades, three Roman-Catholic monasteries were constructed in and around Deià in the early 1200s: Ca l’Abat, Son Rul.lan, and Miramar. The symbols of the former are seen today on Deià’s shield, and Miramar was the location of a missionary school founded by famous philosopher Ramón Llull, aimed at converting North African Muslims to Christianity.

In 1867, a member of Austrian nobility, Archduke Lluis Salvador, arrived in Mallorca, with the intention of producing an encyclopedia on the Balearic islands. Finding astounding peace and beauty in the area of Deià and Valldemossa, he bought up much property and land here, banning tree felling and hunting within his grounds in an attempt at conservation.

While living at Miramar, Archduke Salvador created many paths and lookout areas, making for wonderful walking and hiking. The marks of both he and Ramón Llull can be found today in the remains of the philosopher’s chapel at Miramar, and the palace of Son Marroig, which was restored by the duke.

English poet and novelist Robert Graves first moved to Deià in the 1930s, seeking respite after the nerve-shattering effects of the Great War, and finding love with American poet Laura Riding. A formidable literary pair, they left for England at the start of the Spanish Civil War; Robert returning after World War II, having a family home here until he died in 1985. Famous visitors who came to stay included Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov and Hollywood actress Ava Gardner. Robert Graves’ home, Can Alluny, is now an interesting museum.

Olive cultivation was key to Deià’s prosperity during periods of Islamic and Roman occupation, in addition to the cultivation of citrus fruits, fishing and farming. Now, the village and its inhabitants have added art, crafts and a relaxed style of tourism to the agricultural economy, with great success.

Major Attractions

Much of the Deià’s appeal lies in its laid-back vibe and blissful surroundings, making a stay here highly conducive to rest and relaxation amidst some very impressive views of the blue sea and stunning mountains. Visitors tend to opt for pleasurable eating and drinking experiences, with some enjoyable walks or hikes, and trips to Deià ’s small but very pretty cala.

The road through Deià is the main coast road and can be very busy, and parking in the village can be difficult during the summer, when the small public car park is often full. To the right of this road, on the Sóller side of the village, the Belmond Hotel Residencia is a haven of peace (with its own gated car park). Formerly owned by Sir Richard Branson, over the years it has attracted many famous guests: Princess Diana holidayed here, and singer Robbie Williams and his girlfriend enjoyed a pre-wedding stay in the hotel’s tranquil setting.

Things to do in Deià

There are a few interesting small boutiques, galleries and shops in the village, and plenty of places to eat and drink – including the Michelin-starred Es Racó d’Es Teix. It’s worth taking time to stroll around, admiring the sympathetically restored old stone houses nestling in narrow alleys. Foodies will love the village’s little central grocery store Es Forn, crammed to the rafters with local produce and gourmet treats.

Walk up to the church graveyard and you’ll find the simple headstone marking Robert Graves’ final resting place, appropriately set in the village he loved. To explore the interesting, unconventional life of the emblematic English war poet, take a trip to [La Casa de Robert Graves], the museum and former home which preserves his memory.

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Upon first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Deià is a characteristically quiet, unhappening place, given the permeating sense of peace. However, the village does have its moments, most notably at the eternally popular Café Sa Fonda. Located a few doors away from the pharmacy, up a flight of stone steps, this simple bar is the place to go for impromptu live music action, and a is favourite haunt of locals and visiting bohemian types.

Deià ’s rich landscapes make it a rewarding place to go walking. Ranging from easy to more challenging, well-established hiking routes include Miramar monastery, and Sa Foradada, a picturesque peninsula with a spectacular lookout point. Both are accessed off the Deià – Valldemossa road; more information can be obtained from Deià’s town hall.

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Many people combine the hike to Sa Foradada with a visit to the house of Son Marroig. Once belonging to Archduke Lluis Salvador, this superbly placed retreat is now an understated museum housing artefacts from his life.

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Those interested in the prehistory of the Balearics will make some interesting discoveries at the Deià Archeological Museum and Research centre. Housed in one of the oldest buildings in the village, a converted mill, the museum was founded in the sixties by the American archaeologist and painter William Waldren.

Enjoy a game of tennis to a backdrop of the beautiful Med at the municipal tennis court, Es Verger, or at Hotel La Residencia, which has two courts available for walk-ins to book. Players wishing to improve their game can book popular resident coach Shayne Tabb.

Deià Bay / Beach

A 30-minute stroll from the village takes you down to Cala Deià – a small rocky cove with a shingle beach, and two beach restaurants known for their fish. You can also drive down, taking the signposted route from the main road north out of the village. Deià’s other beach, Lluc Alcari, lying two miles away, is reachable only via foot or boat. Here you’ll find natural mud baths – and perhaps the odd naturist.

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Hotels in Deià

Acquired by Richard Branson in the nineties and now owned by the prestigious Belmond group (formerly Orient Express), Hotel La Residencia regularly appears in the ‘best hotels in the world’ lists, and for good reason. Known for providing gracious hospitality in a magical setting, it’s a little piece of Mallorcan paradise, with a great spa, and a fine restaurant. A favourite haunt of Hollywood A listers, models, and musicians, expect to see quite a pedigree of visitors lounging by the pool.

Belmond La Residencia Hotel & Spa

An exclusive hotels in the northwest of Mallorca in Deià is one of the most beautiful hotels on Mallorca offering excellent accommodation, a restaurant and spa. Highly recommended! […] Belmond La Residencia Hotel & Spa

Calm, traditional and full of charming touches, S’ Hotel D’Es Puig is well located in the centre of the village. You can’t help but be enchanted by the gorgeous mountain views, simple, tasteful décor, and serene atmosphere.

Perched on a hill with breathtaking views of Cala Deià , Sa Pedrissa is an adult-only hotel with nine rooms. This tastefully renovated 17th century estate, which belonged to an Austrian duke in the 19th century before its current incarnation as a luxury hotel, boasts immaculately-kept grounds.

Sa Pedrissa

This exclusive adults-only hotel is beautifully situated on the edge of the Tramuntana mountains. Its location provides stunning views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding countryside.  […] Sa Pedrissa

Slightly outside the village is Es Molí Hotel, with lovely tranquil stepped gardens above Deià, providing plenty of shady areas to rest. Guests can access the secluded rock beach at La Muleta courtesy of the hotel’s private shuttle service.

Restaurants in Deià

One of a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants on the island, Es Raco d’es Teix promises a very special dining experience in a cosily romantic setting. Situated up a steep hill from the main street, Es Raco offers high-end Mallorcan cuisine created with care and ingenuity by German chef Josef Sauerschell.

Restaurant Es Racó d’es Teix, Deià

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Just a stone’s throw away on the central road through the village, another German chef is working his culinary magic. Sebastian Pasch of much-loved restaurant Sebastian has established a firm reputation for mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes infused with a dash of Asian flavour. A candlelit meal in this former stable dining room is one of the highlights of a trip to Deià for a large loyal clientele.

Restaurant Sebastian Deià

A family run restaurant in the beautiful village of Deià offering Mediterranean food with a hint of Asian influence. Booking is highly recommended in season. […] Restaurant Sebastian Deià

Set in an elegantly refurbished olive press, El Olivo at La Residencia serves gourmet Mallorcan cuisine at its best. Many of Chef Guillermo Méndez’s dishes are considered timeless classics, and have remained on the menu for years.

El Olivo Restaurant Deià

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For many, no visit to Deià is complete without a trip down to rustic restaurant C’as Patro March, overlooking the clear blue waters of the cala. This unpretentious place draws quite a crowd of visitors for its deliciously fresh fish and tapas dishes, served in an atmosphere of informality to the sound of gently lapping waves.

Ca’s Patro March Restaurant in Cala Deià

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For some seriously jaw-dropping views, head to Mirador de Na Foradada restaurant at Son Marroig, on the coast road between Deià and Valldemossa. Perched atop a cliff overlooking the Sa Foradada peninsula, sunsets here are unforgettable.

Back in the heart of the village, El Barrigon Xelini does a wide selection of delicious tapas, in a laid-back, traditional atmosphere, with a pleasant terrace. A long running Deià restaurant with much character, this place has had its share of famous visitors over the years, proudly displayed in the many photos adorning its old stone walls.

 Events in Deià

The village gives its name to an important annual cultural event. The Deià International Music Festival takes place here every summer (usually May to September), with many concerts taking place at Son Marroig, between Deià and Valldemossa. Having grown surely and steadily since its inception, when a group of amateur and professional musicians got together to play concerts at the local church, the festival now plays host to an impressive array of international classical orchestras and musicians.

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Living in Deià

Opt to purchase property in Deià and you’ll have some illustrious neighbours, including Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Douglas and PR guru Lynne Franks. Property prices are high in this desirable location. Around half of the village’s 850-strong population are expats, amongst them the descendants of the bohemian group of artists and writers who first discovered Deià for themselves.

According to real estate agents Engel & Völkers, British buyers dominated the market here in 2014, with the average sales value increasing to 1.27M Euros. Owners can rest easy knowing their precious village is protected from dramatic change due to the Tramuntana’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status, though this was never the place for unsightly development.

Deià’s to-die-for views come not without their price, though, with winter temperatures feeling much cooler in the mountains than elsewhere on the island, and reports of snow in the Serra not uncommon. Indeed, in past times, snow falling here was preserved in ice blocks and used for medicinal purposes throughout the year.

Day trips to cosmopolitan Palma and the hustle-bustle of the city are fairly easy, with the journey taking some 40 minutes without tourist traffic, though caution is wise along the narrow, winding road to Valldemossa, especially in wet conditions.

Heavenly restored farmhouses, classic ochre-hued village homes, and beautifully-presented modern villas are some of the types of property on offer this once-humble village that is now something of a millionaire hideaway. However, Deià has kept its sense of local charm, lacking glitz and any hint of vulgarity.

Surrounding areas of Deià

Back towards Palma, the beautiful town of Valldemossa provides the perfect strolling experience with its narrow, cobbled, scenic streets lined with cafés and small boutiques. A visit to the town’s Real Cartuja monastery is a must.

Valldemossa

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The winding coast road down to Sóller from Deià , with its sumptuous glimpses of the sea, is a rally car driver’s dream, and an experience in itself. Visit characterful Sóller town, and you’ll discover many spots of interest, such as art exhibits, a natural science museum, and an abundant botanic garden.

Sóller

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With the recent fresh addition of the uber-luxurious, five-star Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, Port de Sóller has upped its game in recent years, and now attracts a super chic crowd drawn to its picturesque rounded bay and fine white sands.

Port de Sóller

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Source: https://www.abc-mallorca.es/

 

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