Dry Stone Route, GR221 Pt 2

GR221 Dry Stone Route Mallorca HikingToday we continue our hike along Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route (GR221). In our last post we covered the first three stages of this walk from Port d’Andratx to Esporles. The complete route spans from Port d’Andratx in the SW of Mallorca up to Pollensa in the NE and realistically is a hike you would need to take over several days. There are several hostels or Refugis at various stages along the way, charging a very reasonable price for bed and breakfast, and usually typically Mallorquin meals (if you don’t fancy hostel accommodation there are plenty of really nice hotels to choose from too…)

Today we’ll walk sections 4 to 6:

Stage 4 Esporles through Valldemossa to Deia and Can Boi refuge

Stage 5 Deia to the Muleta refuge and the Port of Sóller

Stage 6 Sóller through the Barranc de Biniaraix to the Cúber lake, and finishing at Tossals Verds refuge

As mentioned in our previous post, there are still some issues with rights of way and some poorly marked areas (and sometimes no way-marks at all!) in the early stages of this long distance walk. We’ve flagged up some of the problematic areas and we’ll update these posts when things improve. Section 4, our starting point for this post, also has a few problems…

Dry Stone Route Stage 4 map

Section Four stretches from Esporles through Valldemossa and on to Deia. This is beautiful countryside and involves a challenging hike of about 6 hours and a spectacular descent into Deia. It’s best you have some walking experience to complete this section. There is partial signposting, but no right of way issues.

Can Boi Refugi Mallorca HikingAs well as the three beautiful villages of Esporles, Valldemossa and Deia, you will also pass historic charcoal burning sites, bread ovens, and aged olive groves. You’ll need a good route guide for this section, as there are some fairly overgrown areas that can be misleading. Your destination is the mountain refuge of Can Boi in Deia. This hostel was opened in 2006 and has 32 beds laid out in dormitories.

Section Five runs from the fabulous village of Deià to the port of Sóller and the mountain hostel of Muleta. This is an easy hike of about 3 hours and it is fully way-marked. It is a delightful old Moorish footpath from the 10th century and has been restored in a number of sections. But before you leave Deià, be sure to have a good stroll around – it’s an enchanting village.

Port Soller to Cap GrosAlong this stretch of the GR221 you’ll enjoy walking through olive grove terraces, and you’ll see pretty country houses and the superb protected estate house of Muleta Gran. Other things to explore include the small 17th century chapel of Castelló and the lighthouse of cap Gros built in the 19th century, from which you get great views of the Port of Soller. It’s also worth a little diversion from the GR221 to visit the defence tower of Sa Pedrissa, a building dating back to the 17th century. You could also treat yourself to a gourmet meal at the famous Bens d’Avell restaurant…

Tossals Verd lodge Mallorca HikingOur final stage for this post – Section Six moves inland into the region of Escorxa via a steep uphill climb. This section should take around 8 hours and has some quite difficult sections – reaching heights of up to 1000m. From the Muleta refuge you pass through the beautiful valley of Sóller up to the Cúber through the ravine of Biniaraix (declared a Cultural point of interest in 1994 for its dry-stone heritage value) and on to Tossals Verds – views from here stretch down to the bay of Palma. Don’t forget to watch out for birds of prey when you’re in the Cuber and Tossals areas – these are excellent spots for seeing them.

Make sure you take some time to appreciate some of the lovely historic buildings in Sóller, and stop for a freshly squeezed orange juice in the picturesque village of Biniaraix.  You’ll also see orchards of citrus trees laden with fruit, olive groves, impressive estate houses, country cottages and casitas, an incredible water-channelling systems (fountains, washing places, channels, troughs, water mills…) including a complete modular concrete channel linking the lakes of Cuber and Gorg Blau. You will also notice the changing plant life as you enter into the mountainous area of the Serra Tramuntana – a whole new world of island flora will unfold before your eyes. It’s also not unusual to see cows wandering free around the lakes and woods, as well as groups of mountain goats and sheep.  Many varieties of birds also nest and flourish in this area including the impressive  soaring birds of prey.

The mountain hostel of Tossals Verds is your destination at the end of this section, and it will be a welcome sight after a long walk and a steep climb. This hostel has been open since 1995 and is roughly equidistant between Soller and Lluc. If you want to stay at the refuge you must reserve your bed in advance.

Here we will rest until our next post completing the final two sections and our destination, Pollensa. We have covered the equivalent of approximately 18 hours walking here, so it’s time to rest here – until the next time…

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