Wild Orchids of Mallorca

bumblebee orchid Mallorca Hiking There are no less than 60 species of Orchid growing wild in Mallorca and the Balearic islands. They grow in hedgerows, meadows, woodland and even wet-lands, as they prefer a damp atmosphere. These beautiful specimens are protected in Spain and it is totally forbidden to pick them. But the pleasure of “collecting” them pictorially is even more enjoyable as you can look back on your find forever, and the Orchid can continue to give pleasure to all who pass by.

The areas around the island where you’re likely to find wild Orchids are the Mondragó nature reserve near Santanyí, in the s‘Albufera near Alcúdia, Cabrera National Park and (the most prolific) in the Tramuntana mountain range.

Orchids are incredibly adept at attracting insects to pollinate them, and have many tricks to attract their flyingOrchid Pollination Mallorca Hiking germinators. The flower grows to imitate a female insect such as a bee or a wasp (see examples in our slide show below), thereby enticing the male to mate with it. The male may leave disappointed, but the Bee or Wasp Orchid knows this will ensure it’s pollen will be attached to him and passed on to the next Orchid.

Other pollination ploys include emitting scents of the female insect and producing a form of glue so the insect has to struggle to escape. The flower then bends sufficiently as the insect breaks free to ensure the pollen is in the right position for when the insect makes contact with the stigma of the next flower.

Self pollination is also possible with Orchids, meaning if all else fails, they can do the job themselves! The result of this is that all genetic mutations are passed to all offspring of the parent. This gives rise to many stable populations as we can now see throughout Mallorca.All these factors have helped create a growing and varied range of Orchid species for us to enjoy on the island.

Orchids can be found blooming from as early as February . The White Helleborine with its white to cream-yellow flowers and the Giant Orchid, which grows to a height of 60cm are two early bloomers. Other popular species are The Mirror Orchid and the Ophrys Balearica or Balearic Orchid (the only native orchid species in the entire Balearic islands). Below we have created a slideshow of many of the varieties of Orchids you can find around our beautiful island. See how many you can find, photograph and identify later. We would also appreciate it if you left us a comment with locations on the island where you have discovered wild Orchids.

For a sure sighting of one of these beautiful flowers why not come along on one of our Tailor Made Holidays – or if you are resident in Mallorca join our Resident’s Walking Club – we have regular monthly walks and will bring you closer to all things beautiful in Mallorca.

Click on one of the images to open a lightbox slideshow

Photographs all taken in Mallorca

Photographs courtesy of:

Orchi at Wikimedia Commons (www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Orchi)

www.thinkoholic.com

The Peaks of Mallorca

Es Teix Peak with Mallorca Hiking

Es Teix Peak

The Serra de Tramuntana is the highest mountain range and the most extensive area of natural beauty on Mallorca. In this stretch of highlands, which spans from Valldemosa to Pollensa, we find some of the most enjoyable and demanding walks. There are many peaks (or Puig in Mallorquin) and each has a magic of its own, and it is from here that we get the most spectacular views across the island. Let’s take a virtual tour (or viaje) through these magical Peaks of Mallorca.

Starting from the beautiful village of Valldemossa we have clear views of our first peak, which is easily accessible on foot. Es Teix (meaning yew in Catalan and so named because of the yew trees growing on the slopes) stands majestically above the villages of Deia and Valldemossa – the central point of a long ridge running from Talia Vella to Sa Gelara above Sóller. It’s highest point is 1064m and from here there are far-reaching views of both sides of Mallorca as well as along the main ridge of the Serra de Tramuntana. This is a popular peak to ascend, as combined with the Archduke’s bridle path it is one of the island’s classic hikes.

Tossals Verds Peak with Mallorca Hiking

Tossals Verds

Moving on in the direction of Sóller we come to the Puig de Tossals Verds, which is the highest of a group of peaks south of Gorg Blau, and east of the Cúber reservoirs. There are a number of good walks in the Tossals area, and one of the most popular is the circuit around the mountain via the Tossals Verds refuge. However, in this post we’re focussing on peaks…. and this is another easy peak to reach. Together with a climb to the top of nearby Morro d’Almallutx, it is a challenging – and very satisfying – day’s hike; by itself, it is a good afternoon’s work-out – see our fun video on Youtube!  The highest point is 1115m and again we get some spectacular views down to the Bay of Palma and across to Massanella and Puig Major (see below).

From Tossals we move on to Puig d’en Gallileu which looks over the monastery of Lluc. This peak can be reached from the reservoir of Cuber through woodlands and passing the watering hole of Font Des Prat. Our route now ascends again, moving into the mighty backbone of this mountain.

Two more easily accessible peaks in the  area are Sa Rateta at 1084m and L’Ofre at 1091m. Together they constitute a fabulous day’s hiking, starting at the Cúber reservoir. L’Ofre is a very distinctive cone-shaped peak and this walk is a high ridge walk between the two peaks with breathtaking 360º views. Get your binoculars out and watch for the birds of prey - we very often see them in this area. Alternatively we could descend into Sóller from L’Ofre via the famous Pilgrim’s Steps and the pretty village of Biniaraix.

The peak of Massenella with Mallorca Hiking

The peak of Massenella with Mallorca Hiking

The highest peak on the island is actually Puig Major at 1436m but this is military zone so it is not accessible by the public. The highest accessible peak is the Puig de Massenella (1367m) and it is a challenging but enjoyable hike to the summit. The route to the top of Massenella finishes at Ses Bassetes, where the atmosphere and views are truly breathtaking – this is definitely worth the effort and a very memorable experience!

The peak of Tomir with Mallorca Hiking

The peak of Tomir

Heading a bit further north now,  we come to Puig Tomir (1103m), another well known and popular summit to climb. It is very accessible and we can reach the top via a glorious climb in about 1 and a half hours from the Binifaldó road. This is an intriguing peak – bare and rocky with steep crags and a circular snowpit nearby – and gets a unique perspective of Pollensa and the Formentor peninsular. However, our views are saved right until the end when we reach the top and look down over the town of Pollensa. Stunning!

Puig Roig with Mallorca Hiking

Puig Roig

The last of our peaks in this post is Puig Roig (1002m) – a magical walk with smugglers paths and cave houses, makes this a classic finish in our mountain adventure. We’ll very likely see birds of prey circling in the sky above – a glorious sight. This is a stunning and very Mallorcan hike, which ends with the descent to the monastery at Lluc, a suitable destination to bring our post to a close.

Now enjoy a selection of stunning photos of these wonderful peaks – below. Why not plan your next walking holiday with us at Mallorca Hiking – and make this virtual tour a reality? We’ll design an itinerary just for you and your friends – see our tailor-made holidays. See you soon…

The Moors and the Christians

Moors & Christians1 Mallorca HikingThe second Monday in May (the 9th May in 2011) is a massive fiesta in the Sóller calendar. Much of the activity revolves around the annual re-enactment of the famous battle between the Moors and Christians originally fought on the beaches on 11th May 1561.

Celebrations commemorate a battle won by the bravery of the Pollença citizens who fought against 1,500 Moors led by the fearsome pirate Dragut. Probably the biggest pirate attack ever to be launched  on the island was thwarted primarily by the bravery of local hero, Joan Mas.  His warnings and  his heroic launch into battle, leading his local kinsmen to attack the pirates landing on the beaches, saved the day.

The initial “attack” comes by boats from the sea and onto the beach near the pier in Puerto de Sóller; the action then moves down the coast –  accompanied by Moors & Christians Mallorca Hikingtraditional Mallorquin music. The battles then move into the town centre, where historically both men and women rise up against the pirates.

The whole town of Sóller gets involved in some way in this fiesta. The two warring parties are easily identified as the Moorish troops wear dark make-up, but sometimes within the chaos and modern day enthusiasm for the fight it is hard to see who is actually winning. Needless to say lots of food and drink is consumed and everybody – both participants and spectators have a thoroughly good and very rowdy time!

As well as a huge street party, there is also an amazing fireworks display in the evening. From about 8 p.m. everyone who has taken part in the battle arrives at the Plaza. Here everybody joins in the biggest “fight” of the day and the noise is quite deafening – thick clouds of smoke fill the village square. Banks and houses are “robbed” by ladder-wielding pirates; bodies are strewn everywhere as the enactment mimics history with people hanging from trees, and blood-stained clothes adding to the dramatic effects. Finally victory is announced and the village joins as one singing La Balanguera – the hymn of Mallorca. Now all become friends again and the party really begins!

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Music and festivities continue late into the night.

Es Firó is the biggest and most dramatic fiesta that takes place in Sóller. It is well worth experiencing, so if you can get to Mallorca in early May it’s a great time of year to combine a walking holiday as well as some serious partying!

If you can’t take time off, take a look at our tailor made walking holidays – we can organise a walking itinerary especially for you and your group, exactly when you want it…

We hope to see you soon…

Under Mallorca’s Spell – From BBC to CB&B (Chic Bed & Breakfast)

Can Reus Fornalutx Mallorca HikingMallorca has a way of making you look at life in a whole different way. As I can vouch from my own conversion from London strife to country life – Mallorca has a way of making you appreciate a slower way of life.

Many expats complain about the mañana syndrome here in Mallorca. I still have difficulty accepting afternoon siesta closing times, queuing for meetings rather than telephone solutions, Sunday closing and more. But none of these “problems” would tempt me to return to the hectic life I left behind in the UK.  So it was with perfect understanding that I discovered another couple who made a similar escape – also due to a love of the great Mallorquin outdoors.

In the picturesque village of Fornalutx you will find a small rural hotel nestled between orange, lemon and olive groves. From theCan Reus 1 Fornalutx Mallorca Hiking garden of Can Reus there are spectacular views to the Tramantana mountains and endless hiking routes on the doorstep. Indeed the owners are keen walkers, and this is how they became the owners of this idyllic retreat.

The location of this lovely hotel made it an obvious choice for Mallorca Hiking and for a base for our Tailor Made Walking Holidays. The superb facilities and service would have you believe the hosts had been in this profession all their lives – but those of you familiar with TV news and current affairs programmes would be surprised to see Sue Lloyd-Roberts that formidable sleuth of investigative journalism greeting you from her “other job” here in Mallorca. And husband Nick Guthrie continues to produce and edit his weekly current affairs programme for the BBC, Dateline London (but he is back at his post at Ca’n Reus by Sunday).

Can Reus 2 Fornalutx Mallorca HikingSue recounts that they originally bought a holiday home in Fornalutx to have a quiet place to escape from the mayhem of London, enjoy the incredible walks in the Tramantana mountains and the relaxing Mallorquin country lifestyle. Then the boutique hotel next door became available, and against all the advice and protests of friends and family, Nick and Sue invested in their new venture.

My personal trajectory into Mallorquin life also involved taking on an agroturismo in the south east of the island, so I understand what Sue means (when she recounts in an interview for abc Mallorca) that it didn’t begin auspiciously. As somebody who took on a business with more sentiment from the heart than the head, I know the learning curve can be very steep – I’m sure strong nerves from all Sue’s reporting experience came in very handy to overcome some of the pitfalls of Mallorquin bureaucracy, and the very different ways in which things get achieved in Mallorca.

However, regardless of the inauspcious start, the result is a beautiful 9 room hotel with the Serra Tramantana mountains literally Nick Guthrie & Sue Lloydoutside the back garden. This is truly a place to escape and forget the world. Relax and enjoy one of Nick’s chicken casseroles with olives, or one of Sue’s fish specialities fresh from the local market – complete with organic vegetables and accompanied by the very latest world news and current affairs!!

Nick still commutes between Mallorca and London for his weekly news shows, and Sue confines her award winning documentaries to the low season for the hotel. Both return to Mallorca as soon as they can, ready to kick off the world and share their Mallorcan oasis with their guests at Can Reus.

We can highly recommend this lovely hotel as a base for a walking holiday…

The importance of Hydration

Hydration with Mallorca HikingWith the Spring weather upon us and perfect conditions for taking that excursion into the countryside – it is important to remember to carry sufficient water with you. Today’s tip from Mallorca Hiking concerns adequate hydration

Never underestimate your water requirements. The slightest bit of dehydration will cause a decrease in your physical performance. If allowed to deteriorate further, it can lead to much more serious problems. Start with easy walks to understand your body’s individual requirements. The average person should consume a minimum of 3 quarts of water per day especially when walking energetically (which is definitely the case on some of our hikes in Mallorca with peaks of up to 2000m above sea level). Also important to bear in mind is how much of your walking route is shaded – the more open and exposed, the more water intake you’ll need.

Hydration function in our bodies:

Our bodies are composed of about 66% water. Fluid and electrolyte balance is a major function of homeostasis (which is our body’s ability to maintain its internal environment as it adjusts to challenges and stress). If our bodies are able to adjust to these challenges a healthy balance is maintained. Proper hydration is important for cellular metabolism, blood flow and our physical performance.

Hydration bladder with Mallorca HikingLack of water can lead to muscle cramps, major headaches, fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke so it’s important to ensure this vital ingredient is always high on your preparation list for long walks.

For those of you looking to hike or take longer walks on a regular basis, there have been some superb accessories hydration bladder with Mallorca Hikingdeveloped for maintaining your hydration easily. Hydration packs have almost become a ‘must have’ accessory for hikers worldwide – we quite often pass fellow hikers with a tube running from their rucksack with a mouth piece clipped to their shirt. These hydration “bladders” fit conveniently into any rucksack pocket, as the bag adapts to it’s surroundings. A pipe then runs from the backpack and can be attached to your shirt or jacket collar. Regularly topping up your liquid intake is made super easy – no more stopping, unpacking, unscrewing, repacking etc – just lean forward and drink!

WATER BOTTLE TIP

If you take traditional water bottles as part of your hiking hydration system, invest in some good quality 1 litre bottles (Nalgene is a recommended brand). They have wide mouths and are easy to clean, secure lids that are attached to the bottle (lids don’t drop  in the dirt), and they are sturdy enough to take some abuse in your backpack.

How to calculate your fluid intake needs when walking

The best hydration strategy for hikers is to ensure you stay fully hydrated. This really needs to start about one week before your hiking trip. Good hydration is especially important for the two to three days prior to your trip. Two litres is the minimum daily intake, but remember hiking is a physical activity and through perspiration, exposure and climate you can become dehydrated very quickly.

HIKING HYDRATION TIP

Never pass up an opportunity to fill your water containers while hiking. Always start your hike with a full load of water and don’t depend on the availability of water at some future point on the trail – you may end up disappointed and heading toward dehydration…

Signs of Dehydration:

The following tell-tale signs of dehydration may help you react earlier and begin rehydrating sooner. As a rule of thumb if you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. Other signs include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Unclear thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Dark yellow urine

Try and remember these simple guidelines when planning your next hike – particularly as the weather is improving and temperatures are steadily increasing.

For further tips on preparing for a walking trip, read through some of our other helpful articles:

10 After Hike Recovery Tips

Practice Makes Perfect

Top Tips – Preventing Blisters

Wonderful Walking Facts

Happy (Hydrated) Hiking!

Soller to Lluc via the Pilgrim’s Steps

Monastery at Lluc MallorcaThe Pilgrim’s Steps are part of one of the most popular and enjoyable walks on the island of Mallorca – a 14 km hike from Soller to the monastery at Lluc, that continues on into Pollensa. The route passes through many different terrains, from mountains to valleys; woodland to spectacular coastal views; a limestone valley that descends into the canyon where the actual Pilgrim’s Steps are found – a cobbled pilgrims’ trail comprising almost 2,000 shallow stone steps.

Starting from Soller follow the road to the village of Biniaraix, which leads through groves of orange, lemons, figs and almonds. This is a picture postcard perfect Mediterranean village where each doorway and windowsill has been carefully tended with flowers, vines and bougainvillaea. Then moving on up to the Barranc (or gorge), the Pilgrim’s Steps lead us into the mountains. You can just imagine the work required to produce these steps and appreciate all the effort made by our ancestors to make our access to these mountains so much easier. More enchanting terraces of olive trees dropping down into the narrow valley of the Cornadors, and from here we move onto the Coll de L’Ofre. From the Coll there are spectacular views down to Sóller and in the other direction to the Cuber reservoir below and Puig Major above.

There are several routes leading to the Cuber dam from here, one passing over the L’Ofre peak and a testing ridge walk, which then leads down to Cuber – look out for the abundant birdlife around the lake, including many birds of prey (covered in more detail in our previous post).

From the Cuber lake there is a gentle incline up through woodland to the Tossals Verd summit and more spectacular views (see our Youtube video of the route to the summit). If you are hiking over several days, the Tossals Verd refuge is a perfect stopping point. Here you can enjoy a home cooked meal complete with vegetables from the garden, and stay overnight if you want to. There is a circular path around Tossals Verds mountain and the refuge is located on this route. You can therefore access the refuge via either direction. Both paths to the refuge are well marked – one runs through a number of tunnels via one side of Tossals Verds and the other via the canaleta which is a slightly longer route the other way around.

Continuing on to Pollensa from the refuge, the route takes you through holm oak woods and an ascent of Massanella, the highestThe Pilgrim's Route to Lluc Monastery accessible peak on the island. This is a fabulous experience you will remember – not least for the care you need to take over the last part of the route (good hiking boots required!), but ultimately the views from the summit are amazing.

From the top of Massanella, the route leads down through the woods of Comafreda to the road and finally, the pilgrim’s destination at Lluc Monastery. The Monastery is another great stopping place that takes on a wonderful silence at night time when all the tourists have departed. You will be transported back in time to the origins of this sacred place and the peace and tranquillity the monks sought for their religion.

This lovely walk from Sóller to Lluc monastery via ancient pilgrims’ steps is just one of the many routes we can offer you on a Tailor Made holiday with Mallorca Hiking. We can combine fabulous local hospitality – either in the rustic simplicity of the refuges (or mountain “huts”) or in delightful boutique hotels –  with wonderful mountain scenery, fauna and flora and all the other good things that Mallorca has to offer! We look forward to hearing from you….

Salt of the Islands – Flor de Sal

flor de sal mallorca with Mallorca HikingReturning to products Made in Mallorca, today we’re going to look at the incredible success story of Flor de Sal – naturally harvested sea salt from the beaches of Mallorca.

Flor de Sal is one of the highest quality sea salts in the world, and due to its scarcity it is also one of the most expensive. It is harvested by hand along the coast of Mallorca, and has become a popular ingredient in the kitchens of many of Spain’s top chefs. It is now produced in many flavours & combinations and exported from our little island around the world. The salt obtained is 100% natural without any modification (apart from the new flavoured salts that have, e.g. herbs & spices added to them).

The salt producing area of Mallorca is Ses Salines (named after its salt flats) in the south east of the island, and about 7 kilometers from the coast. Winter storms bring seawater onto the salt flats, which are then left to dry in the sun… The whole area has been designated an area of special scenic and rural interest, and it is a fascinating place to walk, as we observe its intriguing and unusual ecology. Watch this space – Mallorca Hiking has a few fabulous new guided walking itineraries in this area that we’ll be adding soon (and in the meantime of course you can take a look at some of our other fantastic walks)

Flor de Sal (or “Flower of Salt”) is extremely beneficial as it retains its natural moisture, many minerals and other essential elements from the sea – enhancing both its flavour and its health benefits. Because its crystals are so small, flor de sal dissolves faster than regular salt when used in cooking, so it’s best used by sprinkling it over food just before serving.

La Sal de la Vida with Mallorca Hiking

In the past salt was as valuable a commodity as oil is today. Many wars and treaties were declared over the trade of salt. Some even say the fall of the British Empire started when India objected to a tax on salt that escalated into a backlash against British rule.

Historically, the Egyptian’s were the first to discover the process of evapourating sea water to extract the salt and the Phoenicians brought the technology to Portugal where mass production and export was first started. The French introduced Fleur de Sel in around 1975 in Guerande, on the French Atlantic Coast. In Mallorca farming of Flor de Sal is relatively new with the first commercial production beginning around 2001.

The ancient process for harvesting salt is  still used today.  Seawater is left to evaporate in progressively smaller, shallower, and lower pools—or salt pans—until the salt is so densely concentrated that it can just be scooped out of the water. The salt is harvested every five to seven weeks, depending on the heat of the sun and the force of the drying winds.

Once harvested the salt can be enriched with other ingredients – this process has resulted in a star product of the Balearic Islands. Numerous awards have been bestowed on the companies now producing Flor de Sal from Mallorca. Flor de Sal d’Estrenc and Llum de Sal are the main producers here and have already earned an impressive list of awards.

Flor de Sal Awards with Mallorca Hiking

If you haven’t yet discovered this wonderful product, look out for it in the quality delicatessen outlets. If it’s made in Mallorca – you can be sure it’s a quality product! It’s great for a present when you’re travelling back home – but you’ll probably get hooked for your own use once you try it…

Don’t forget it’s always important to maintain your salt levels particularly when Walking and Hiking, so why not do it in style, with Flor de Sal…!!

Fiery Fiestas in January

Fiestas January MallorcaJanuary enjoys two of the most vibrant fiestas here in Mallorca, and both are deeply rooted in folklore. They are celebrated with bonfires, street parties, firework displays and live musical events throughout all the main squares of Palma and many villages.

The first fiesta is that of San Antoni Abat, the protector of crops and livestock, although this fiesta also has links to Mallorca’s ancient fertility rites. Celebrated island-wide (except in Palma) on the 17th of January – Sa Pobla, Arta and Sant Joan have the biggest celebrations and even make San Antoni an official public holiday.

On the 16th of January, the eve of the saint’s day, bonfires are started throughout all the villages. BBQs are lit on street corners where families and neighbourhoods come together to party and to eat sobrasada, grilled sausages and many other traditional Mallorcan foods. You’ll see many demonic characters fire walking and dancing in the streets depicting the devil and the temptations that San Antoni battled with in the dessert.

As he was the patron saint of animals, on the day of San Antoni many families with their children go to their local church to have their pets and livestock blessed in a charming ceremony, asking for protection from the saint.

San Sebastian is the patron saint of Palma, so it is the city Palma that hosts the main celebrations for the fiesta on the 20th. This is a major fiesta with a week-long itinerary of musical and other events throughout the week prior to the 20th (you can find a list of events on the web page of the Ayuntamiento de Palma). San Sebastain was credited with the “miraculous” end to the black death plague that struck Mallorca in 1523-1524.

The main street party during this week of festivities is on the 19th of January, when there is live music in most of the city’s main squares – famous names to local folk groups to djs perform throughout the night. The evening starts early at 19.00hrs with a procession of giants, which process through the streets from the Plaza Cort to the Plaza Mayor. Again, bonfires form the centre-piece of the night’s revelries in each square – the Mayor starts the first bonfire and then all the fires throughout the city follow the lead. The music starts any time between 20.00 and 22.00hrs and plays on until the early hours of the following morning…

The 20th is the actual day of the fiesta where morning mass is held in the Cathederal of San Sebastian the Solemn.

Then on the 22nd of January, there is the spectacular Artiafoc fireworks display where it seems that everybody on the island crams themselves into Palma’s Paseo Maritimo to watch the show. Cascades of colour from screeching rockets and vibrating explosions illuminate the whole of the bay of Palma – a night not to be missed!

Receive all the latest information about Mallorca, the fiestas, the gastronomy, the historic villages and beauty spots as well as the best walking tours and tailor-made holidays by following the Mallorca Hiking blog – see below.

Introducing the Mallorca Hiking Club – our new residents walking club

Mallorca ResidentsHiking Club Introducing Mallorca Hiking’s new residents* walking club

(Be sure to see the Special Introductory Offer at the end of this article – but read the article first!)

You may have been living in Mallorca for a short time or have had a home here for many years – but the reality is that you probably still haven’t seen even a small proportion of this beautiful island that we live on.

It is also true for many of us that we get very tied up in our work and family lives and we neglect the opportunity to switch off, relax and make the effort to explore the island on our door step, and just enjoy our surroundings. Well here is your opportunity to do just that, and at the same time to meet like-minded people, make new friends, and much more by joining our newly formed Mallorca Hiking Club.

Mallorca Hiking has been an established Guided Walking and Tailor Made Holiday provider in Mallorca for more than ten years. We’ve had many locals using our services and joining our walks through the years, and we know how much you enjoy “getting out there”. We now want to develop this into a local hiking community; a walking club that enjoys the social aspects of walking as well as the obvious benefits of discovering new places – and of course the physical and health benefits of a good walk.

The Mallorca Hiking Club will consist of walkers of all ages and levels of ability, so if you’re a beginner, you won’t feel like the odd-one-out as there are bound to be other beginners walking with you. Likewise, there will also be experienced walkers who can offer advice and useful tips. In due course, we’ll also have separate walks to suit different levels of ability.

Why  Join the Mallorca Hiking Club

  • Get outdoors, enjoy nature and discover more of our beautiful island – away from the madding crowd!
  • Meet a whole variety of new people with a common interest – gone will be the Sundays you would have liked to go hiking, but all your friends were busy or didn’t want to go with you…
  • If you don’t have your own transport, there’ll always be someone who can give you a lift to the start of a walk and back again…
  • If you’re a beginner, you won’t be the only one, and even if you are you will benefit from the support and experience of more seasoned walkers;
  • Share your knowledge and experiences of the island, and benefit from other member’s knowledge and experience – whether it’s places to walk, the best places to buy gear, great restaurants….
  • Experience something new and different, and meet someone new every time you come along for a walk
  • Discover fabulous hostels, country restaurants, bars and cafes where you’ll often benefit from club discounts
  • It’s a healthy activity that doesn’t require expensive memberships, equipment and a lot of time commitment to maintain your position
  • Bring along visiting friends and relatives – it’s an easy way to show them parts of Mallorca they would not have discovered (and you may not have known yourself!)
  • Enjoy lots of other fun events, outings and Mallorcan discoveries…

There will be a small annual fee to join the Mallorca Hiking Club and members will enjoy the following benefits:

  1. At least one guided walk per month – on a Saturday or Sunday or fiesta
  2. We’ll organise transport among members so that those without cars get a lift with other members to the start of a walk (and back)
  3. A varied schedule of walks in all parts of the island exploring mountains, flatlands, countryside, coves, historical landmarks…
  4. Club discounts from selected hiking/walking shops in Mallorca
  5. Hints, tips and advice on all aspects of walking
  6. Introductions to, and Club discounts at some of the best kept secrets around the island – restaurants, Agroturismo’s…
  7. We’ll organise regular, special outings such as hiking/boating combo days, wine tours, dinners…. as well as walking weekends away, for Club members and their friends and families
  8. Friends and Family Discounts for Mallorca Hiking’s walks and holidays, whether scheduled or tailor-made
  9. A fun, social element for those who want to join in Après Hike activities (why should skiers and golfers have all the fun?)

And the fee for joining the Mallorca Hiking Club? The good news is that this will be a very low annual joining fee (how low will surprise you!).

There will be a 5€ contribution payable to Mallorca Hiking for each monthly walk to cover the cost of organising the day, many ‘phone calls, logistics…

For members without a car, there is a 5€ contribution towards petrol etc. payable directly to the member giving you a lift. For members who have their own car and choose to share transport with other members, or “take it in turns” to drive, can sort out contributions (if any) between themselves!

The actual joining fee will be announced on the 20th of February – but for this week only you can get free membership to the Club by doing the following:

  • Publish the link for this article on your Facebook Wall (just hover your mouse over the Launch Offer image to the left and click Share)
  • Invite and join at least two friends to our Facebook Page
  • Leave a Comment on our Facebook Page letting us know you would like to be a “Founding Member of the MHC” (Mallorca Hiking Club)

Of course we would be even more excited if you actually shared our Facebook Page with all your friends – but to get free membership (just for this week) hop over to Facebook and complete those 3 simple tasks.

Following us on Facebook will keep you updated on all our activities; news; hints; tips; discounts and more – so if you haven’t already become a Fan here’s the link.

Imagine the fresh air in your lungs; the incredible changing scenery of each monthly excursion; lively conversation with new friends; magical historical and cultural discoveries; quaint restaurants and hillside inns for a local speciality lunch; views from the tops of Mallorca’s incredible mountains; learning about all the best equipment and techniques for all levels of hiking and most important of all a fit, energetic, healthy body and mind looking forward to the next outing…..

Mallorca Hiking Club – be a Pioneer Member – Join now!!

*Living on the island permanently or for a large part of the year is the only criteria needed to join the club. Official Spanish residency is not required.

The Allure of the Almond

Almonds in MallorcHistorically Almonds became popular in Mallorca in the 18th century at the expense of the vineyards. Almond trees were planted in their thousands to replace the grape vines that had been devastated by the outbreak of phylloxera.

Today Mallorca has close to five million almond trees and the island’s landscape is at its finest when the almond trees blossom. The incredibly picturesque scenes of the almond blossom attracts thousands of tourists each year. Almonds are now one of Mallorca’s main crops. They cover a surface area of over 60,000 hectares in the Balearics, of which 90% are in Mallorca, and produce around 14,000 tons of this precious dried fruit.

The Almond nut is highly prized by chefs for both savoury and sweet dishes. Mallorcan almonds are particularly sweet and have a high percentage of oil – sometimes reaching 60% – compared to almonds from other countries. Their low water content makes Mallorcan almonds a great source of nutrients with high energy and protein levels, similar to the protein contents of meat and fish. Thanks to these benefits, Mallorcan almonds have become a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. They are especially well suited to baking.

Almonds are eaten natural, toasted or as an ingredient in many of the islands’ typical dishes, especially pastries. Almond products packaged in Mallorca are sold under the brand name, “Ametla de Mallorca”. We now even have beauty products made with almond ingredients that can be found in perfumeries throughout Spain.

Popular Mallorcan Almond dishes include the Christmas delicacy of Turrón, Amargos (almond pastry), Gató (almond sponge cake), ice cream, marzipan, almond milk, biscuits and a typical almond liqueur Flor de Ametla. Traditional cooked dishes range from almond soup to rabbit, chicken & fish cooked in almonds.

For the ultimate Almond treat you need to visit the famous Palma café lounge Can Joan de s’Aigo. It  is Mallorca’s oldest ice-cream parlour. In the 19th century Mateu Jaume used to make an exquisite almond and pine nut “horchata”. The price for a cup was set according to the amount of sugar in the drink. Today the almond “horchata” (which originates from Valencia) can be found mainly in Valldemossa – it’s a cool, refreshing almond milk drink.

The Almond is now so important in Mallorca that the Baleares government are producing guides and web pages highlighting its nutritional benefits and the best places on the island to view the almond blossom, as well as describing the many different almond products and popular almond recipes. More information can be found here: www.itineraris.org or www.balearsculturaltour.com

Walking at “almond blossom” time is fabulous, romantic and unique. Hence many hotels, tourist offices and walking associations on the island all feature their own version of walks to take in the spectacular countryside in full bloom. Our very own Almond Blossom walk is featured in a previous blog article, as is our Blossom Fever holiday itinerary.

Make sure you stock up with some almonds before coming on one of our walks – they’re a fantastic high energy and nutritional snack and they’re light to carry too!