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!

Discovering the East of Mallorca

 

Discover the East of Mallorca

Hiking on Arta coast

Many visitors come to hike in Mallorca atracted by its popular routes in Serra de Tramuntana. The breathtaking landscapes of Serra de Tramuntana are in fact a fantastic environment worth visiting, but there are other great hiking and biking spots which offer different and unique features. In particular, the East of Mallorca is a very attractive area for hikers because it has a varied offer of natural elements and a very accessible seashore. This area has many mountain summits with panoramic views over the sea and the island, coastal paths, forests, caves, historic buildings and remains, virgin beaches and lovely villages. Most of the walks in this area are very calm and go through well-preserved natural areas, helping us to get away from crowds and stress.

The Peninsula de Llevant comprises several municipalities (Artà, Capdepera, Son Servera, Sant Llorenç and Manacor) and has a long coastal shore that runs from Colònia de Sant Pere until Portocristo. From Colònia de Sant Pere until Cala Rajada there is a marine reserve, which means that it has a particularly rich marine flora and fauna. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to bring snorkelling equipment in order to enjoy a true Mediterranean experience during your hike.

Depending on the site of the Peninsula we can find different attractions in terms of outdoor activities:

  • Colònia de Sant Pere is a small village located by the sea in a coastal area running along the feet of the mountains of Serra de Llevant. It has a very long flat coastal itinerary (10km) suitable for walking, biking and Nordic Walking. The pavement has gravel and stones except for the sandy beaches, pebble beaches and urban areas. We think it is a perfect plan for families and elderly people due to its smooth flat paths. Swimming is possible (and recommendable) at many spots during the itinerary, both from the beaches or from the rocks. However it is important to not take any risks when it is windy and there are big waves.
  • Ermita de Betlem is a lovely and isolated hermitage built in the XIXth century, hidden in the mountains over Colònia de Sant Pere. It can be reached by car through a very narrow and complicated road or by foot both from Colònia de Sant Pere and Artà. In the surroundings of the hermitage there is a beautiful natural fountain, crops and mountain terraces with fabulous views over the coast. Several walks begin also in the hermitage, such as the route to the  summit of the stunning Bec de Ferrutx and the route towards the Natural Park. The place is very inspiring due to its pintoresque views, silence, fresh air and maritime atmosphere.
  • The Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant is the largest area in Mallorca with such an environmental protection and it is located in the mountains of Artà. Its mountainous terrain is mainly covered with bushes, carritx grass and stones, though there are some pines, oaks and other trees as well. Wild goats and predatory birds are the larger wild animals in this area, being easy to spot during your hike. In total there are 13 different signposted itineraries for hikers, nevertheless there are other interesting paths without signage. The difficulty varies depending on the length of the walks, but it is important to notice that reaching the virgin beaches takes at least 5 hours. The Park has a visitors facility which can be reached by car (same road to Ermita de Betlem), and it also features 3 well equiped cabins and a camping area for overnight stays.

    Coastal paths Llevant

    Watchtower of Albarca

  • The North coast of Artà and Capdepera has several interesting coastal walks in which it is possible to combine hiking and swimming when the weather allows it. There are several beaches with a special charm (Cala Torta, Cala Mitjana, Cala Mazoc, Cala Mesquida, Cala Agulla) and an abandoned but well preserved watchtower that can be visited. This side of the Peninsula is partly covered by pine woods which provide a pleasant shadow during the summertime.
  • Cala Rajada is a tourist seaside village located in the easternmost point of Mallorca. It has a long paved maritime promenade from Cala Gat until Cala de n’Aguait that passes the nicest part of the village and its pintoresque fishing port. In its surroundings we find several attractions such as the lighthouse, old tower ruins, a small lake (green lake) with salt water, the castle of Capdepera and several beaches. The summits of Puig de Son Jaumell and Cap Vermell have unique views over Cala Rajada and the Peninsula, being among the most interesting hiking routes nearby the village.
  • Punta de n’Amer, located in a cape between Cala Millor and Sa Coma, is a small coastal protected area with signed trails. The cape is partially covered by pines on sandy ground, though there are many open air rocky areas. Trails are not long but are particularly suitable for running, Nordic Walking or just walking.  We recommend to visit the castle from the XVIIth century and enjoy the sea breeze from the restaurant’s terrace.

    Head torch is always good to bring to a cave

    Exploring the caves

  • The coastal area nearby Portocristo is mostly composed by short cliffs (less than 30m), caves and narrow beaches. Nearby Cala Barques there are several cliffs suitable for Psycho-Block (climbing without ropes), which usually gather a few climbers and some audience as well. In Cala Magraner there are regular rock climbing routes of many difficulty levels, very appropriate for begginers.  The area is full of caves but unfortunatelly they are quite hidden and there are no signs to get there. Among our favourite caves there is Cova dels Coloms and Cova des Moro. The first one can only be reached from the sea and has a lot of inner lakes, with freezing waters, therefore a wetsuit is very recommended. The cave itinerary is long and features some amazing “halls” and rocky domes. The second one is a dry cave that used to be the home of ancient tribal human groups. The inner itinerary is shorter but also interesting as we find remains of the old human settlement integrated with the natural shapes.We really enjoy visiting caves due to their magic atmosphere, a combination of complicated and beautiful rock shapes, dark shadows and holes, humid and clean air, silence and echoes, etc.

As you can see, it is worth discovering the East of Mallorca. If you’d like to know more about walking in this area or walking in Mallorca, please visit our website and our Facebook page for information and advice, as well as tips, photos…

 

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (part two)

jamon serrano

In our last blog post we where talking about what to bring when you go for a walk and giving suggestions and tips on delicious local food and products. Here comes the continuation on the same topic.

Pa amb oli” is the way local people from Mallorca call a slice of bread with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. This is the local sandwich base, which can be topped with other food or eaten directly as the 4 ingredients are already very tasteful. The best thing to do while hiking is to prepare it during one of our stops: cut some bread slices with a foldable knife, cut some tomato slices (the tomato should be a big one!) and then add virgin olive oil (local gold) and salt. A fresh “pa amb oli” is something that all locals go mad about!!

Dry cured cuts of meat are among the best toppings to a “pa amb oli”. Typical dry cured meat from Mallorca is made of pork meat, salt and spices. The most popular types that are eaten without cooking are sobrassada (orange soft paste that can be directly spread on a bread slice or bread cookie), paté (orange soft paste made of pork libber that can also be spread on a bread slice or bread cookie) and camaiot (grey and white color, cut in slices). These are the fatty and “unhealthy” part of the meal, but in small quantities they are just delicious if you like meat. It is common to also complement the “pa amb oli” with other Spanish dry cured cuts of meat such as Jamón Serrano, fuet, chorizo, salchichón… We recommend you to buy from small producers in order to maximize quality and authenticity. Majorcan cheese

There are many cheese producers in Mallorca, bringing lots of different products to the market. Cow and sheep cheeses are the most usual, though there are some excellent goat cheeses as well. Native red sheep are farmed to produce excellent and original flavors. There are ecologic producers who use traditional methods and reach excellent results (normally a bit more expensive than bigger producers). Curing and aging processes directly affect consistence, texture and taste of each cheese. We do not recommend bringing fresh cheese when hiking unless you bring a well functioning/long lasting cold bag. Cheese is a source of animal fat, protein, vitamins from group A, B and D, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus (great for our bones). It must be eaten moderately, but when you are hiking it is always nice to cut some slices with your foldable knife and enjoy its fantastic flavors, alone or combined with a “pa amb oli”.

 

Bakery products from Mallorca, both salty and sweet, normally contain pork fat. They are not healthy products eaten on a regular basis but it can be interesting to bring some of them ‘cause they are delicious and provide a caloric boost that can be needed when you have a long way to walk. “Coques” (sort of cold pizzas with only vegetables on it) with paprika, onion, tomatoes or parsley are crunchy and oily. “Panades” are round pasties filled with cooked lamb meat or bacon, onion and peas. “Cocarrois” are long pasties filled with cooked vegetables, including raisins. These pasties use to be typical Easter food, but nowadays they are baked the whole year around; they are very convenient to bring to an excursion because they last more than other bakery products. If you like sweet stuff (or you are longing for a sugar kick), then you must bring some ensaïmada, a round spiral inflated dough powdered with sugar, sometimes filled with sweetened apricots or other ingredients (cream, chocolate, etc.). There are other typical sweet baked products like “coca de patata”, “bunyols”, “crespells” and “robiols”, but easy on the sugar and fat.

panades

In terms of drinking, we always recommend to drink mineral water (preferably from Mallorcan springs). Freshly squeezed natural orange juice can be sometimes acquired in some hikes as there are some rural houses which prepare them for you in the very moment.

Finally, we sometimes like to bring some local red wine to do a small toast and savor this traditional beverage during our lunch break. But the wine culture in Mallorca is interesting and rich enough to write another blog-post…