Hiking Mallorca - Serra de Tramuntana

Trip Start Apr 01, 2001
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Palma

We were lucky to find a fantastic hotel for a couple of nights in Palma - Hotel Born. 
http://www.hotelborn.com/english/home-eng.html
Great location, lovely atmosphere - our large room looked over the courtyard complete with palm trees and the staff were very friendly.








We spent a couple of days just walking around Palma.  One day we walked along the waterfront from the cathedral in the old town to the city's edge in the west. Starting in Passeig Sagrera, at the foot of Avinguda d' Antoni Maura by the statue of Ramon Llull.
The short tree-lined avenue, named after the architect of La Llotja, passes several interesting buildings. First, La Llotja itself, Palma's masterpiece of Gothic civic architecture; Porta Vella de Moll, the old gateway to the city from the sea; and finally Consulat de Mar, the former maritime court which houses the Baleares government.

At the end of Passeig Sagrera, cross the main road to reach the fishing port.
West of here, in a small garden, is the oratory of Sant Elm, designed as a navigators' chapel, later used as a tavern, and moved here stone by stone from Passeig Sagrera in 1947.
From here just follow the seafront west along Passeig Maritim, using the promenade between the road and the sea. A cycle path, also used by joggers, runs alongside the promenade.
Pass Reial Club Nautic, facing a section of city wall and a row of windmills; look up ahead to see Bellver Castle on its hill. As you walk on, turn around to look back at the cathedral, seen across the bay through a forest of masts. From a jetty opposite the Auditorium theatre, excursion boats offer tours of Palma Bay. Keep going, and eventually you reach Club de Mar with its luxury yachts. Just beyond here is the commercial ferry port, where boats leave for Barcelona, Valencia, Menorca and Ibiza.  We walked on further beyond this point, but there wasn't much else of interest to see. We then turned around and walked back - total time about 5 hours.


To Soller

Train from Palma to Soller - a tourist train - with rolling stock from 1912. Once out of Palma's residential sprawl we chugged slowly through some lovely countryside.  This proved to be an extremely easy and relatively cheap way to get into the Tramontana Mountains to start our hike.
Timetables: http://www.tramuntana.info/transport.html

We were in Soller over the Easter weekend and watched the Semana Sata processions. 



Soller, Fornalutx and Biniaraix




From Soller we walked to a couple of nearby villages - Fornalutx and Biniaraix - Both very pretty set in the hillside / valley surrounded by orange and lemon trees. The narrow cobbled streets and beautifully restored village houses in this area (and particularly in Deia) give the place an air of "Disneyland" - It all feels too clean, new and perfect to be real... We felt as if we were on a screenset much of the time.  Although there is no denying that it is beautiful. 

From Biniaraix you can do one of Mallorca's most popular hiking routes - the 13km Cornadors Circuit which takes about 6 hours and ends up back in Soller.

Port de Soller
One walk we would not recommend is from Soller down to Port de Soller - Take the old San Francisco tram (3€) as the walk is through a whole lot of dismal residential blocks.








Hike from Soller to Deia
A popular and easy walk of about 12 or 13 kms through olive groves and along the coastal hillside to Deia.
The walk is very well marked, follows GR221 and has a convenient place to stop mid way - buy a freshly squeezed orange juice, sit down in the shade and take in the views.



This walk has some fantastic view of Port de Soller:





Deia
Deia could have been just another pretty Mallorcan village had Robert Graves not decided to make it his home. The English poet and novelist first moved here in 1932 with his mistress Laura Riding and returned in 1946 with his second wife. Muses followed, friends came to stay, and before long Deia had established a reputation as a foreign artists' colony. Now it is on every tourist itinerary as the prime example of 'the other Mallorca' and this small village contains two luxury hotels. Rich foreign home owners alledgedly include some pretty wealthy individuals -  Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones,  Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Branson amongst others.  Property prices here reflect this fact - we saw several advertised at over the 3 million mark.

"Perfect Deia" - Andrew Lloyd Webber explains why Deia has become the "gastronomic capital of the Mediterranean"  http://www.sonjazmin.com/article.asp
... That's quite a claim!


Cala Deia
A pleasant 20 minute stroll from the village is Cala Deia - a beautiful shingle bay of clear blue sea.  In one way we were lucky - we had the entire bay to ourselves.... but that was because it was cold and raining!  We settled ourselves on the terrace of the waterfront cafe (wrapped from head to toe in Gortex rain-gear) and ordered ourselves a plate of chips and a cup of hot chocolate each.... just to keep warm!

From Deia the bus back to Palma only took about 45 minutes, then it was a quick change over to the airport bus - All in all, a very easy journey and highly recommended for a few days' break.
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