Sunday April 17th MHC Walk – Soller

fornalutx-to-soller-walk-mallorca hiking

Hello Mallorca Hikers!

If you are not already enrolled in Mallorca Hiking’s residents’ walking Club and would like to join, there is still the opportunity to sign-up with a special 50% discount (call Fiona – details below)

The next MHC walk is scheduled for Sunday 17th April. One of our members John Ballard has very kindly offered to lead this lovely circular walk –

Soller and surrounding villages

John is an experienced walker himself and has led many groups of walkers in the past. Please read the walk description carefully, consider the grade we’ve given it (moderate in this case) and make sure you are happy that it is a level you can cope with.

We’ll meet at 10.30 am at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens on the road to the Port of Sóller and we should be finished by about 4.30pm.

The programme for the day is slightly different to last time. In total we will walk about 3.5 to 4 hours (excluding stops): 2.5+ hours before lunch and then 1+ hours after lunch depending on the speed of the group. But you’ll be pleased to hear that the walk after lunch is easy and downhill all the way!

We’ve organised a delicious set lunch at the Es Turó restaurant in Fornalutx, which has a fabulous terrace (with even more fabulous views) where we’ll eat provided the weather is still good. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy some apres-hike fun and relaxation. Please note that for the main course there is a choice between roast pork and vegetables and fish with vegetables – please let us know when you sign up for the walk, which one you’d prefer.

The price for the day is:
* 5 euros contribution to Mallorca Hiking for organising everything
* 15 euros + service to the restaurant for 3-course lunch including wine
* If you’re getting a lift from another member please offer to contribute to their petrol and the toll for the Soller tunnel.

We’ll be limiting the number of people in the group to 20 + 2 guides, so if you’d like to join us please let us know as soon as possible! Friends and family are very welcome to join us if there are still places, but Club members are given priority. We’ve posted the walk on Facebook, and will post a reminder during the week, so if you can please respond via a comment on these posts. We need final numbers by latest 5pm Thursday 14th April please.

This time don’t forget to bring your cameras and take lots of snaps as we’ll be running a photo competition during the week following the walk. The winner gets to come on next month’s MHC walk for free (excluding lunch).

We’ll be posting the winner of last month’s quiz over the next day or so. Watch that space!

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th. Until then happy hiking!

Best wishes, Fiona

Fiona McLean
+34 635 393 402

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…

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…

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….

Welcome to a new walking season!

walking in Mallorca

Let's walk...!

We recently uploaded our new schedule of walks for every Wednesday – do take a look at the Calendar on our website for more details.

Click on any Wednesday and you’ll see a summary walk description below the Calendar. Click on the title of the summary, and you get full details of the walk scheduled for that day.

We’ve scheduled a walk for every Wednesday until the end of November so do come and join us. In December we have something different in store for you, so watch this space! Even better, please become a fan of our Facebook page – don’t forget to click the “like” button, and then you’ll be kept well up to date with all our activities.

Please remember, Wednesday walks cost:

walking in Mjorca

The beautiful Sóller valley

  • 35 euros per person
  • 25 euros per person for Mallorca residents
  • 20 euros per person for members of the Mallorca Hiking Club

From November we’ll be offering additional walks at weekends and on other days of the week.

And if none of the hikes we’ve scheduled fit in with your plans, then contact us and we’ll arrange a tailor-made day out especially for you and your party. For more details check our website: blog.mallorcahiking.com

Or join us on Facebook and Twitter

We hope to see you all soon!

Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, the GR221 – a sampler

Mallorca's Dry Stone Route, the GR221

The GR221

In October we’re offering a 3-day sampler of Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, the GR221. Many of you are already familiar with this hike and have seen our previous blog posts, but those of you who haven’t, do take a look at the following links, which describe the island’s first long-distance walking trail.

Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route

Dry Stone Route – GR221 – Part 1 and GR221 – Part 2

We’ll set off from Valdemossa with a small group of fun walkers on the 19th October, and we’ll cover 3 sections of this fabulous long-distance hike over 3 days. We won’t be walking the sections in the usual order, but then again we always like to do things a little differently! We’ve designed this trip to give you a “flavour” of the route – we’ll take it fairly easy, but there’ll be plenty of challenges along the way!

If you’re interested in joining us for some or all of this trip, please take a look at our detailed itinerary. For those of you who can only  join us for 1 day because of work commitments, that’s great. It is perfectly possible to come along just for 1 day, as there is a bus route that connects our stops. We would recommend you join us for the Wednesday 19th October to get the most out of your one day!

If you can’t join us on this occasion, remember we can always organise a trip especially for you on the dates that you choose – see Tailor Made Holidays.

We hope to see you soon, and in the meantime why not keep in touch and become a fan on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter

Happy hiking from the Mallorca Hiking team!

 

Looking forward to the almond blossom…

Almond blossom in Mallorca, Majorca

Almond blossom in Mallorca

Here at Mallorca Hiking we can’t believe it’s already November and that all the Christmas festivities will start soon! That usually means there’s not so much time available to get out and enjoy some walking :-(

But we’re looking on the bright side and plan to make up for a busy December with lots of good walks in the new year. We’re already looking forward to the almond blossom season, which in Mallorca is usually from the end of January to about mid-February – our short video will give you a general idea.

If that has tempted you and you’re looking for a sunny spot to enjoy a walking holiday, we can organise a tailor-made holiday for you and your group, which includes guided walks, accommodation, additional activities, hotel and restaurant recommendations… Just contact us for a chat and more information.

And if you’re just interested in a day’s walking, we recommend you to have a look at our 2 favourite blossom walks throughout January and February:

–  Rural wanderings – Es Capdella and the Galatzo Estate

–  4 Picturesque rural villages

Please contact us directly to reserve your place.

We look forward to seeing you!

A Summer day trip down the Torrent de Pareis

torrent de pareis

Our group

It was a hot dry day in mid-June when a small group of us set off early from Escorca to tackle the infamous Torrent de Pareis hike. There was a sense of excitement among the group as we had all wanted to do this hike many times before, only to be told “the conditions weren’t right”, or “there was too much water in the gorge”, “there had been heavy rains recently” ….. so this was our first time.

The temperature was perfect as we set off, the skies were crystal clear blue, and the views towards Puig Roig were stunning. Our guide Nina showed us the location of the concealed gap in the craggy rocks where the gorge carved by the torrent ran through the Tramuntana mountains. This is where we were headed. We admired the views.

The start of the hike is a gentle descent through masses of carritx grass, which is very typical of Mallorca’s alpine regions. We chatted animatedly as we zigzagged down to the dry riverbed and a point at which the paths of 3 different torrents met. Here we took a short rest and then continued, following the bed of the torrent de pareis. At first it was easy enough – we followed narrow paths along the edge of the riverbed; we scrambled over a few boulders and strolled along the pebble surface of the riverbed. But slowly and steadily the boulders got bigger; the scrambling got more strenuous; and there was no longer an inclination to cruise along chatting. This needed concentration; your wits about you. And at times even our guide had to stop and think and try and remember – which tiny gap between these massive boulders was going to offer us a way through. This was a real challenge.

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

Boulders, boulders everywhere…

As the sun rose in the sky, the temperature rose too, and so did the challenges we faced. We met a group of fun and noisy young Spanish guys – they were loving it; leaping among the boulders like mountain goats and sliding down the well worn surfaces. There are a few sections where you need to reverse down a crack in the rocks with the help of ropes – almost light abseiling. I think we all used every muscle in our body and not just the ones you’d expect to use for a “normal” hike! I for one, could feel every muscle for days after the hike.

By now we were deep inside the gorge, and it felt like another world. Slightly surreal. What a stunning landscape. At times the gorge is so narrow, that you can only see a slither of blue sky between the imposing rock faces on either side. It gradually becomes clear why this could be a very dangerous place to be when there is a lot of water flowing in the torrent ….

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

A chink of sky

And after about 5 hours of walking and mainly clambering, the gorge begins to open up and let some more daylight in.  We continue our walk and finally we’re greeted by a very normal Sunday scene in Mallorca – lots of happy laughing people relaxing with picnics on a beautiful pebble beach. This is Sa Calobra, our destination, and the scene is a very strange contrast to our day so far. Ed and Sean had run out of water way back, so they made a beeline for the bars along the coast. The rest of us couldn’t wait to get into our bikinis and dive into the cool, crystal clear water ahead. This was the best swim of the summer, by far!

This is an epic hike and well worth doing if you enjoy a bit of adventure – do take a look at the video we took on the day, as it’ll give you a more visual description of what’s involved! This is not the sort of hike to do on your own for the first time, so if you would like to hire a guide please contact us.

And if you’d like to know more about walking in Mallorca, please visit our website and our Facebook page for information and advice, as well as tips, photos…

A Swift Story

We found a tiny Swift one hot June day while walking the Barranc at Soller. (S)he didn’t look like (s)he was going to make it, but we gathered the little thing up and I took it home with me….

(S)he stayed with me for just over a week and kept me very busy catching the required 100 flies per day to feed him!!!!  It was with some relief that I finally coaxed him into flying free and now his fate is in the feathers of his wings!

Charming little creature, and I kind of miss him now he’s gone. He spent most of his days here perched on my shoulder eyeing the world around him warily! Apparently they can live in excess of 15 years, so I truly hope this little chap (or chap-ess!) lives on and brings many a young bird to our skies.

Jainie, Guide
Mallorca Hiking

Walking in Mallorca in June

So far, this June has been a fantastic time to be out walking in Mallorca. The conditions have been perfect – sunny, clear and not too hot.

We just completed a flurry of short walking holidays with some delightful Canadian, American, Austrian and Swedish walkers. It couldn’t have been better – great company, great walking and great weather…. and we just managed to finish before the rain began to fall (it had been forecast for days!). A day of refreshing showers and now the sun is shining again!

We walked some fantastic routes in the Tramuntana mountains: a couple in and around Sóller – see our website blog.mallorcahiking.com or our walks Ref. W-NW11, W-NW08, a circular route out of the pretty village of Valldemossa Ref. W-NW10 and one a little further down the coast from Esporles to Banyalbufar Ref. W-NW01.

Let’s hope the conditions stay like this for a couple more weeks… the forecast is good, so let’s get out there and enjoy some more fabulous walks, before the heat sets in!