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!

 

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

What to pack for a 4 day hike… (With no bag transfers!)

How to pack for a 4 day hiking trip

Victoria

Hi everyone, I’m Victoria and I’m the newest member of the team at Mallorca Hiking.

Having recently returned from a trip to South America, mostly spent hiking around a handful of Patagonia’s National Parks, I like to think I have a few useful tips I can give to help you pack for a 4 day hike. The mountains of Mallorca may not be The Andean Altiplano, but there are a number of essentials any hiker needs when setting off for a few days hard walking.

It’s worth bearing in mind that although Mallorca has over 300 days of sunshine annually, temperatures can vary hugely between day and night-time. In the Autumn, the weather is a blissful 18-25 degrees Celsius during the day but nights can drop to 6 degrees. Winters are mild, with an average temperature of 14 degrees during the day and 4 degrees at night. I’ve therefore included a list of some warmer gear to take with you too.

The key is not to pack too much! A huge heavy backpack will not make for fun hiking- you don’t want to jeopardise your holiday for the sake of three spare pairs of shoes…

Many of the essentials I’d recommend may be obvious, but perhaps there’ll be a few surprises too. I’ve also included ‘specialist’ items, which I’d advise you to consider buying as they helped make my hiking trips that much more enjoyable!

Kit List:

  • what to pack for a 4 day walking trip

    Platypus / Camel Bak hydration system

    Backpack- For a 4 day hike, a 35-55 litre backpack is ideal. It’s not necessary to have a backpack any bigger than 55l, as all bedding and towels are provided at your chosen accommodation, even if you’re staying in one of the island’s refuges. I’d recommend choosing a backpack with a padded hip belt to ensure the majority of the weight is carried on the hips.

  • Fully-charged camera- It’s better to bring a fully charged camera, as a recharger just adds extra weight to your pack.
  • Spending money- For dinner each night as well as picnics and other irresistible local delicacies along the way…
  • Platypus Hoser/CamelBak hydration pack 1.5-2 litres*- My No. 1 item. It’s hands free, reusable, easy to pack, and most importantly it helps to keep you constantly hydrated- a major consideration when hiking in Mallorca. See our previous blog post on the importance of hydration.
  • Walking poles*. They help when climbing uphill but most importantly, they help take the weight off your joints when going downhill. Walking poles are available to hire for 5 Euros per day from Mallorca Hiking.
  • Head torch*- Just in case you get caught out in the dark; or to go to the loo at night if you’re staying in a refuge…

In the winter, if you’re walking at high altitude, you may be surprised to hear that a woolly hat and some light gloves are also really welcome.

Snacks:

what to pack for a 4 day walk in Mallorca

Trail Mix Bar

My favourites are:

  • Trail Mix- nuts and dried fruit. Trailmix is great to eat for slow-burning energy and it’s light to carry. My favourite mix includes almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. For a 4 day trip, I recommend bringing a freezer bag-sized pack.
  • Muesli bars. Also high energy and nutritious (and unlike chocolate they won’t melt!). Bring 2-3 muesli bars per day.

But the good news is that if you’re doing Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221, there are quite a few opportunities to stock up along the way, so you don’t have to carry supplies for the duration of the trek.

Toiletries and Basic First Aid:

Sun cream, 1 loo roll, plasters, blister plasters, insect repellent, ibruprofen, Imodium, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (for the head of the brush) miniature toothpaste, chapstick (including spf 15 is best), deodorant, feminine hygiene products.

I would also recommend packing ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper, and particularly if you’re staying in a refuge where you sleep in dormitories. You never know how noisy your fellow hikers may be!

Clothing:

  • 3-4 lightweight t-shirts*- (one can be used as nightwear).  Polyester/elastane-mix t-shirts are ideal as they are light-weight and quick drying. They can be bought at any good outdoor shop (see shop reference list below)
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking trousers* or sports leggings. Zip off trousers are great as when it warms up you can zip off the lower leg to convert into shorts.
  • 1 pair of shorts*- preferably lightweight, quick-dry walking shorts. Do not bring denim – it’s heavy to carry and takes ages to dry!
  • 1 pair of lightweight trousers/long johns/leggings – for nightwear

    what to pack for a 4 day walking trip in Mallorca

    Ready for the GR221!

  • 3 pairs quality walking socks*- Merino wool or merino/polyester-mix walking socks are ideal as you don’t have to wear two pairs which saves on space, and they keep your feet dry and cool.
  • 3 underpants
  • (Women) 1 sports bra – much comfier to wear when walking.
  • 1 pair of quality walking boots*, preferably worn-in prior to the holiday as new boots are more likely to cause blisters
  • Cap*
  • Sunglasses*
  • Rainproof/windproof jacket (and possibly also over-trousers depending on the time of year)*- Preferably Goretex. It’s always advisable to bring a waterproof, as even if it’s unlikely to rain it’s useful as an extra windproof layer.
  • Lightweight fleece* for layering
  • Flipflops/indoor shoes- For evening use, bring flipflops or a lightweight pair of shoes, e.g. canvas plimsolls. It’s heaven to shed your walking boots for a few hours in the evening!

NB: Sometimes, if you know you’ll be staying somewhere that you can wash out a few things overnight, you can actually get away with packing a bit less – always good news ;-)

Where’s best to buy the gear?

All the items above marked * can be bought at UK outdoor clothing shops, for example:

In Mallorca, the main place to buy good walking kit is Decathlon and of course Bestard makes some awesome hiking boots! Also good for outdoor kit is Es Refugi in C/ Sindicat, 21, 07002 Palma de Mallorca, Phone:+34 971 71 67 31. Sorry there’s no link but their site doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. Either leave a comment here or contact us by email. Also do take a look at our previous blog posts with tips and advice about kit.
Happy 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!

Walking the Road to Happiness

 

walking in Mallorca

The road to happiness

Walking the Road to Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a hot topic and for good reason, as living in our society today is deemed to be more stressful than ever before.

So what can we do about it? Exercise is a fantastic way to help us ‘switch-off’ but I want to show you why walking is particularly beneficial to our happiness and well-being.

Walking – a time to reflect…

As walking is not as strenuous as other forms of exercise, perhaps it is more conducive to reflective thought and relaxation. When hiking with a friend of mine recently, I recall asking him why he loves walking so much and he said, ‘because it’s like a form of meditation; it allows my mind to wander.’ My friend’s response resonated with a recent newspaper article tackling ‘Why are we so tired all the time?’ Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management, says ‘we don’t give ourselves time to reflect – no wonder we’re so tired. We are human doings now not human beings’. Research shows meditation and ‘mindfulness’- learning to live in the moment to quiet the mind – can help us feel more rested. We can apply mindfulness when walking outdoors, spending time ‘in the now’ and noticing the world around us, not only to combat stress but to be fully aware of, and appreciate our natural environment.

Exercising in a natural environment

walking in Mallorca

happy days!

When was the last time you walked in a green, wide-open space? In the woods? Or in the park? The impact that being in a natural environment has on the brain is significant. Mental health charity Mind recently looked at the role the environment plays on the effectiveness of outdoor exercise for mental wellbeing. Using 20 people in two contrasting walks, one inside and the other outdoors in a natural setting, they found:

  • 90% of people reported an increase in self-esteem after an outdoor walk verses 17% indoors.
  • 71% of  people experienced a decrease in the levels of depression after an outdoor walk verses 45% indoors.
  • 71% people stated they felt less tense after an outdoor walk verses 28% indoors.

The combination of walking and being in the outdoors appears to have a very positive effect on mental health: the endorphins released in the brain elevate mood and help prevent depression.

 How else does walking benefit our mental health?

Studies have shown how walking can heighten mental alertness and improve memory. Physiologist Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist at a London hospital, says exercise has a dramatic positive effect on the brain. A study of 6000 women in California found that those who walked regularly showed improvements to higher mental processes, suggesting long-term effects of walking on concentration and cognitive abilities could be profound.

So let’s get walking! If it can improve HAPPINESS and well-being, cognitive ability and concentration… What’s stopping you?

Why not contact us at Mallorca Hiking for more information on walking in the warm winter sunshine of Mallorca or join us on our Facebook page. We’d love to help you on your way to good health, wellbeing and happiness!

 

Tramuntana as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This week 2 big celebrity visitors to the island supported Mallorca’s application for the Tramuntana mountains to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (officially defined as a site with “special cultural or physical significance”).

Rock legend Patti Smith and her band were playing in the magical setting of the gardens of Palau Comtes d’Aiamans, in Lloseta, at the feet of the Sierra de Tramuntana (how appropriate!), and Michael Douglas – a long time ambassador to Mallorca and property owner in the Tramuntana – is on one of his regular visits to the island with wife Catherine Zeta Jones and family.

If you’d like to help preserve this fabulous natural resource for all outdoors and nature lovers, why not join the growing band of supporters for this application? Take a look at the following link on Facebook (it’s mainly in Catalan, which is a bit of a challenge, but you can get the general gist!)

PER QUE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA SIGUI DECLARADA PATRIMONI DE LA HUMANITAT. PARA QUE LA SIERRA DE TRAMONTANA SEA DECLARADA PATRIMONIO DE LA HUMANIDAD.

Happy hiking!

Highlights of modern art and architecture in Palma

You may or may not know that Palma is an absolute treat for contemporary art lovers – there are Joan Miró sculptures everywhere especially around the Cathedral in Parc de la Mar. In fact Joan Miro and Mallorca are inextricably connected (his mother and his wife were from the island, and Miro lived and worked here for 40 years), and many examples of his work are on display in the galleries. Es Baluard, the contemporary art gallery has an excellent collection, as does Palau March in the heart of historic Palma, where you can see works by Picasso, Miró and Dalí all in one room! This museum has one of the best collections of contemporary Spanish art you’ll find outside Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia…

Few people realize that there is a wealth of culture and history waiting to be discovered in Mallorca’s capital and this season we’ll be doing just that – discovering some of the cultural delights on our doorstep – on foot, of course!

see more details of the tour:

http://blog.mallorcahiking.com/en/p147/palma-excursion-art-architecture.html

and the dates we’ve scheduled the tour for:

http://blog.mallorcahiking.com/en/c3/walking-calendar-mallorca-majorca.html

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (Part 1)

When we go for a hike we need to eat the appropriate type and amount of food, due to the intensive physical exercise. Drinking is even more important especially if we are not used to the climate and to the type of terrain. Therefore, we must plan carefully our food and drink intake before, during and after the hike.

Mallorca’s hikes can be quite challenging, especially in terms of temperature and slope, as the mountain paths are often steep and with a limited amount of shadow. Temperatures at noon can go over 25ºC already in March-April, and until the end of October. From June to August temperatures can pass the 30ºC threshold, even reach 35ºC or more in extremely hot days. Many routes should be avoided when temperatures are so high up, while other routes (more shadowy and with sea access) can become a perfect option to enjoy an outdoor hot day.

Mallorca hiking food

Eating local food while enjoying the fantastic views

This article (divided into 2 blog posts) will try to introduce you to the typical Mallorcan food that can complement your hikes, while resuming the health benefits they have to offer. Since we are focusing on food that can be eaten during a hike, it must be raw food or previously elaborated food. Notice that Mallorca Hiking offers you the possibility to tailor made your activity and include local food, which we will select and bring in order to make your day even more special.

 

Fruit is a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), vegetable soluble fiber, water (fruit provides fast body hydration), and it helps the digestive system and the drainage of liquids. The typical seasonal fruits produced in Mallorca are tangerines (November-March), oranges (November-April), lemons (November-May), grapefruits (December-April), strawberries (February-May), loquats (April-May), cherries (May-July), apricots (May-August), peaches (May-September), nectarines (May-September), plums (June-August), watermelons (June-August), melons (June-September), figs (July-September), pears (July-November), apples (August-January), pomegranates (September-November), grapes (September-December) and kakis (October-December). The sunny Mediterranean climate combined with the traditional tree varieties and low air and soil pollution; provide the perfect environment to grow very tasty and juicy fruit. However, you need to know where to get it, preferably from smaller shops or directly from countryside producers.

 

Local and abundant nut

The healthy energetic snack to bring on excursions

Almonds are the main nuts produced in Mallorca, since the cultivation of almond trees became a main economic rural activity during the late XIXth century, after an epidemic stage in the grapevine that led to the end of the traditional wine producing sector. Therefore, it is usual to see almond trees during your hike, as they have been planted almost everywhere on the island. Almonds are rich in vegetable oils, meaning that they provide a great caloric kick to our body. Moreover, they contain proteins, vitamins (B and E groups especially), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc) and fiber. They are a great healthy snack (not salted), helping us to gain some energy to continue doing some body activity. And they are so delicious!!

The natural salty snack

Olives are very appreciated both for macerating and for pressing to get oil

One of the oldest symbols of peace and goodness is the olive tree which grows delicious olives. In Spain it is said that “the one who grows olives lives a long time thanks their nutritional properties”. They are not a great source of calories, though they have high quantities essential oils (omega 3 and omega 6) which are beneficial to our body. Moreover, they are a source of vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron and sodium, and fiber. Olives are easily assimilated by the body, being a perfect and tasty snack. Since they have been previously macerated, they are normally salty which means we should not eat lots of them while we are hiking. You can also bring a jar of the flavourful Majorcan olive pâté to spread on a bread slice or cookie.

Next week we will intrduce you to more elaborated Majorcan food that is also suitable to bring for a walk in the nature.