Definitely a trip to put on your bucket list!
Trip Start May 30, 2010
60Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The best way to reach Soller is on the historic railway, Ferrocaril de Soller. The Ferrocaril was completed in 1911 with the profits of the citrus trade. The train has been meticulously maintained and runs from its own track next door to the current train station in Palma. At the Palma station there is also a free art exhibit to enjoy. The hour long journey is very scenic and leisurely. The views are great and as you go over the mountains the train even stops so everyone can get out to take pictures of Soller in the valley far below
The Soller train station is said to be the oldest in the world. It was originally a house before later being converted into the train station and dates from the 1600's. An exhibit of work from Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso was on display at the classy station. Right outside is the Plaça Constitució which is surrounded by cafés and has plane trees and a fountain in its center. The church of Sant Bartomeu faces the east side of the Plaça. The original building dates from some time before 1236. The current main interior structure is now largely Baroque (1688–1733). The campanar (belltower) blends in well with its neo-gothic design. The remarkable facade is a 1904 construction by Joan Rubió.
I had purchased a package ticket that included the train to Soller, tram from Soller to Port Soller and a boat trip to Sa Colebra. I had some time to wander the quaint village of Soller (pop. 13,000) which was bustling with tourists. The main shopping street as well as the small market area were crammed with visitors but away from these areas it was quiet and peaceful. The old street plan of Soller is of Islamic origin, lined with historic houses of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Sóller is also notable for the houses built in the early twentieth century by emigrants who returned wealthy to the town, particularly those on the Gran Via which reflect the Art Noveau styles of France
The present-day economy of Soller is based mainly on tourism and foreign residents, in addition to the agricultural economy based around citrus and olive groves. I noticed the prices of homes for sale in the area and they were all millions of euros. The stores catered to women with shoes, clothes, perfumes and handbags popular. There were also some art galleries. cafes and markets but no tacky shops for the tourists.
After seeing Soller I went back to the train station to catch the tram, Orange Express, from Soller down the mountain 3 km to Port Soller. Many of the towns on Mallorca are a few kilometers inland and then have their own named beach or port on the coast which seems kind of odd. In some cases the town has grown to envelop its coastal partner while in others, like the case of Soller and Port Soller, the two remain distinctly different. The tram ride is slow with frequent stops as villagers get on or off.
Upon arriving in Port Soller I was struck by the perfectly shaped harbor and it's ideal size. It's too small for really big boats but is great for yachts and small pleasure craft. The bowl-shaped valley containing Port Soller in undergoing a big boom in construction and hopefully the development will be limited and consistent with the architectural style of the town
Next it was on to the boat trip to Sa Calobra. The boat was packed with hundreds of people so I figured this place must be good. The scenery along the coast was spectacular. There was an occasional villa (how they were built I have no idea) but for the most part the cliffs were pristine. The limestone rock contained plenty of caves and unique geologic features that made the trip very interesting. When we reached Sa Calobra I could see immediately why the trip was so popular.
Sa Colebra is an incredible place! It's like Yosemite and Big Sur combined. There is a narrow beach wedged between two mountain cliffs where the Torrent de Pareis river enters the sea. To reach the beach you had to walk on a path along the cliffs and then through a couple of tunnels built into the rock. In the summer the Torrent is pretty dry and basically stops right at the rocky beach. During its 15 km run down the mountains to the sea the Torrent has created awesome canyons where in some places the canyon is only 30m wide with walls 300m high
With the rocky coastline I figured snorkeling would be excellent so I went for a swim. The water was very crowded and churned up near the narrow beach so I swam further out enjoying excellent visibility and plenty of neat underwater life. Just like the scene above water, underwater there were huge cliffs, caves, canals and various other unusual features I could explore. It was amazing to me how the water color changed constantly from deep blue to turquoise and everything in between. I felt like I was in a snow globe swimming there were so many fish around. The small fish were everywhere and even the occasional larger fish. Then, ... intense pain!!!
I had swam (or swum) into a jellyfish! Where did he come from? I had not seen any on the trip so far. I got stung on my left shoulder and arm and if you've ever been stung you know the pain. Since I was right where cliffs meet the water I found a place where I could stand up and inspect the damage. It's very similar to a burn and there's really not much that can be done about a jellyfish sting. I've been stung before so it's more annoying than anything else. I was having such a great swim and enjoying the unbelieveable scenery only to have some totally useless creature ruin it
At this point I'm pretty far from the beach although there are plenty of boats anchored in the bay that are close to me. The water visibility was great so I started looking around in the water for other jellyfish. Sure enough every now and then I would see one and swim clear. The critters are essentially see-through but it's like something plastic floating in the water. I started swimming back to shore since I had not seen any jellyfish until I got pretty far out away from the other swimmers. Despite the pain I was still amazed at the many different varieties of fish I was seeing and the underwater terrain.
My goggles kept fogging up so every now and then I would have to stop, usually just standing on a rocky point in the water near the cliffside, to rinse them off. At one of these breaks when I plopped back into the water I immediately felt that same intense pain but this time on my nose!!! OMG, the words I was using. I wanted to squeeze the life out of that jellyfish although I didn't see the culprit. I got right back out of the water to let the pain ease and feel the damage. I could only imagine what I looked like. Fortunately I had goggles on so my eyes were protected and it felt like only my nose had been stung. I was really getting pissed now and managed to safely swim back to the beach.
When I emerged from the water I could just sense everyone staring at me (but they tend to do that anyway because of my limp). There was nothing I could do so I just laid on my towel for 15 minutes or so until I needed to leave to board the boat for the trip back
I would recommend everyone put Soller, Port Soller and Sa Colebra on their bucket lists! I filled up my camera memory card since there were so many incredible panoramas throughout the day. The natural wonders and unique settings just make these places you have got to see for yourself!!!