The History of Mallorca – Part 2

Today is a continuation of our previous post 10 Fabulous (Historic) Facts about Mallorca bringing us from 1600 AD to the present time. So here are some more fabulous facts about how our beautiful island has evolved:

1. The War of Succession – so called because spanish war of succession mallorca hikingthe winner would succeed the heir-less King Carlos II, and rule a united Spain. It was fought among several European powers, against the Spanish loyal to Felipe V, France and Bavaria over a possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. Such a unification would have drastically changed the balance of power in Europe.

As it turned out, it resulted in the recognition of Felipe as King of Spain but he was required to renounce any claim to the French throne and to cede much of the Spanish Crown’s possessions thereby breaking up the Spanish Empire in Europe at the time.

Mallorca was the last territory to be acquired by Felipe in 1715, and the following years saw many changes for the island. The new King introduced a new regime, which abolished the autonomy the island had enjoyed. The first among the “Nueva Planta” decrees (another twist in the battle for language supremacy) was the decree that Mallorca would now use Castilian as the official language instead of Catalan. In 1716 the new regime made Mallorca part of the new Baleares region.

Antonio Barcelo with Mallorca Hiking2. Famous sailors and navigators feature in our next stage in history. Due to continued problems with pirates, the King gave permission for established sailors to defend their homelands. One “corsair” noted for his bravery (and for lending his ships to the King!) was Captain Antoni Barcelo. Achieving the rank of Lieutenant General of the Spanish Armada was one of the rewards for his gallantry and support.

Another famous sailor is the missionary Fray Junipero Serra. In the mid 1700’s he sailed to the new Americas and helped establish the missions of California. He can probably be given credit for founding such US cities as San Francisco. Not bad for an island boy brought up in Petra!

3. More wars in the 1900s – this time the Napoleonic version. The comfortable lifestyle and relative peace that had prevailed was harshly broken with the influx of refugees from Catalonia escaping the fighting on the mainland. Although this caused much unrest amongst islanders the new business skills of the Catalan settlers established a new bourgeoisie society and many new trading initiatives. This included shipping routes, train lines and communication channels with the mainland. The other major change was the return of the Catalan language.

4. Economic Crisis (yes, there were others!) – Bad times return and the equivalent of our current phylloxera plague mallorca history mallorca hikingeconomic crisis for Mallorca. The vibrant wine producing industry was devastated with all the vines destroyed by phylloxera plague. At the same time the colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines broke away from Spain reducing significantly the local shipbuilding industry. There followed an exodus of islanders to the mainland and America to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

5. Enter the 20th Century and Two Giants in Mallorcan political history:

Born in Palma, Antoni Maura was a politician and spent most of his political life in Madrid as leader of the Conservative party. He was Prime Minister of Spain on five separate occasions during the early 1900’s.

Joan March Ordinas was a “rags to riches” financier who at one time was reputed to be the third richest man in the world. He was a Mallorcan businessman closely associated with the Nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War, and with Franco’s regime after the war. He was notorious for shady dealings and political influence, and in 1926 created the Banca March one of Mallorca’s largest banks.

Spanish Civil War as told by Mallorca Hiking

6. Spanish Civil War – General Francisco Franco succeeded in installing his military regime from a coup he mounted against the elected Republican party in 1936. He was backed by many conservative groups as well as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

When Franco assumed power, the country entered three years of Civil War during which 1 million Spaniards lost their lives. He managed to keep Spain out of the Second World War that raged just after the Spanish Civil war had ended.

Mallorca was seen as a Nationalist stronghold and in 1936 it had a decisive battle against Republican forces. Now known as the Battle of Mallorca, it was won by the outnumbered islanders supported by the Italian air-force. Mallorca then became a base from which to send raids to the Spanish mainland.

General Franco not with Mallorca Hiking

7. The Franco Regime 1939 – 1975.

Franco’s right wing, military regime was hard and alienated Spain from the rest of the world. Franco implemented martial law and local languages such as Catalan, Mallorquin and Basque were forbidden in public places, with Castellano again installed as the official language. When he died in 1975, the monarchy was reinstated and local languages and cultures began to flourish.

8. Tourism arrives in Mallorca – from the 1950’s the island was discovered as a fabulous destination forholidays-in-majorca mallorca hiking holidays, sailing and (originally) fairly exclusive and classy clientele. This has steadily declined with mass construction of hotels in key resorts around the island. All inclusive breaks are the latest point of discussion in the context of the future of the island’s tourist industry.

Thankfully, the building frenzy that has left massive derelict and waste areas on the mainland and the Costas has been controlled to a degree in Mallorca. The latest economic problems have helped curb any further expansion. There is much debate about the need to return to quality tourism – highlighting the other Mallorca e.g. Rural Hotels, the natural environment, history and culture here at Mallorca Hiking we are big supporters of this latest strategy.

9. In 1983 the Balearics became an Autonomous State – the Balearic islands now have their own governing body, and local elections started shortly after the Autonomous Statutes were passed. Today, Palma is the capital of the Balearic Islands and is the seat of government for the political and judicial system for the ‘Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands’.

10. Mallorca Hiking was founded in 2001 – probably one of the most significant developments in modern times for Mallorca (!!) offering everything required to show the wmallorca-hiking walking holidays mallorcaorld the natural beauty, culture, cuisine and history of this wonderful island. This includes Tailor Made Walking Holidays for those who want to escape with their own personal agenda within the great outdoors of Mallorca; Guided Walking Tours; walking and wine tours, gourmet tours and now a growing local Resident’s Walking Club and all are helping secure Mallorca Hiking’s footprint throughout the Mallorcan countryside – come join our party and help us spread the word about our wonderful island!

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…

Mallorca’s Wines

wines of Mallorca

Today’s post is by Martin Ward from Wine Educators International, our partner in Mallorca Hiking’s walking and wine tours:

So, as we are well into summer and it’s been very hot, dry and sunny… the last few summers have given us record temperatures; spare a thought for Mallorca’s vines as they bake, rather than bask or bathe, in the sun.

We might think that vines, like us, love nothing better than a long hot summer but this is not actually the case as they are fickle, demanding plants.  If you contrast the arid dryness of Mallorca’s Binissalem D.O. with some other, cooler, classic parts of the wine world, for example – Champagne, Germany or New Zealand to mention but a few, we can be perceived as simply too hot.  It’s the same in many places on the peninsula and in Lanzarote, where it regularly exceeds 40ºC.

Thank goodness we are a small island and we have some counterbalancing breezes to cool things down a little!  So, our temperamental vines like summer ‘warmth’, a little rain (at the right times and not torrential), cool winters, just a pocito of frost, breeze (but not high winds)…. you start to get the picture.

Having said this, it’s amazing that we have quite dramatic differences in the microclimates of our vineyard areas.  We have the two official D.O. regions of Binissalem & Pla I Llevant but also vineyards that do not fall into either of the demarcated, geographic areas, like the lovely Son Puig near Puigpunyent (where of course we offer a very special Walking & Wine Excursion – Puigpunyent).wine growing in Mallorca

This means that the harvest for the charming Isabel, her father Raimundo and family at Son Puig can sometimes be several weeks later than that of say, Bodegues Ribas in Consell where Araceli and her family often pick as early as the end of August or beginning of September (and here at Ribas, we can even arrange for you to spend a day helping with the harvest – hard work but a very enjoyable day and a fantastic experience!)

Mallorca’s grapes may sometimes reflect those of the peninsula in terms of style with Tempranillo; quite often they are international in flavour with Merlot, Syrah (Sira), plus Cabernet & Chardonnay BUT we also have the wonderful, indigenous varieties that make the island special.  Why not try some of the wines that showcase these – Mantonegro, Callet plus Fogoneu and Gargollasa for the reds and Premsal for the whites….. My favourite white for this time of the year is Son Puig Planco, which is Chardonnay + Premsal and it just happens to have won a Silver Medal in the prestigious Concours Mundial Bruxelles!

Better still, come and join us on one of our itineraries in the vineyards, taste the wines with us, and maybe even meet the winemaker…

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

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.

Don’t destroy what you came to enjoy!

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

… that’s Brad’s motto and we totally agree with him!

Brad and Bea are a passionate team and we’re happy to say that Mallorca Hiking is increasingly working together with them, particularly when it comes to activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling (as well as canyoning and rock climbing, but we’ll save those for another day!). Brad is a qualified and highly experienced PADI dive instructor and today’s post is his story:

“Another beautiful summer day in Mallorca, clear blue skies and a slight sea breeze…what an Island!

Txus is a good friend of mine and a non-diver but he asked me to take him diving for the first time….”Hombre!!! For sure…lets go!!”  We were about to see the largest concentration of rays that I have ever seen anywhere in the world… in Mallorca!

I had been told about a spot in Mallorca that has a large population of sting rays. Coming from Australia and having dived with rays there, I wasn’t expecting too much. People say there isn’t much to see in the Med… haha… this is so far from the truth.

We arrived at our dive site and unpacked the gear whilst I gave Txus a thorough briefing in my ever-improving Spanish. I explained to him the very basics of diving, what to do, what not to do and what to expect to see.  All of this was done whilst enjoying the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and crystal clear waters of Mallorca.

When we’d finished the briefing we slipped into our wetsuits and jackets, grabbed our fins, mask and snorkel and made our way to the water’s edge. I did my final checks on Txus and myself and in we went. The first thing we do before and at the end of any dive is to inflate our BCD (buoyancy control device) – a very simple and very important procedure.

The smile on Txus´ face spread from ear to ear and we hadn’t even gone underwater yet. As an experienced instructor I know that when someone is smiling like that at the beginning of their first dive, that the dive itself will be one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

As we exchanged signals that we were “OK to Go Down” we released the air from our jackets and Txus´ underwater adventure had begun. We were blessed with amazing visibility, and were welcomed to the underwater world by a curious yet cautious Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse. Txus was mesmerized.

Let the fun begin…

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

We were immersed in an underwater landscape of white sandy patches surrounded by lush Posedonia fields, small rocky outcrops and small underwater caves. We glided through channels of sand that were lined with Posedonia  – picturesque and calm… then all of a sudden from beneath the sand BOOM… our first ray, nervous of our presence, swam off into the distance at speed. Common Sting Rays bury themselves under a light layer of sand making them difficult to see, so when you unknowingly approach them, their lightning fast movement, flapping their wings, shaking off the sand and darting off into the distance, can take you by surprise.

As we dropped down to around 9 meters we approached another large sandy area, and this is where things were going to get very, very busy with Rays. Every meter we swam, there was another ray in front of us…Txus was over the moon, his mask letting in water through the creases in his super huge smile… (top tip: happy smiling divers must clear water from their mask regularly!)

We approached a few of the rays without disturbing them, so we could get up close and personal with these amazing creatures… within 30 cm I’d say – eye to eye with a common sting ray in Mallorca… just amazing.

scuba diving in Mallorca

Coris Julis Doncella-Rainbow wrasse

The next thing I saw was a very special moment – an Ornate Wrasse had befriended my student Txus, and whilst Txus was standing upright with his right hand held out in front of him, this very curious little fish was swimming from the palm of his open hand up to his mask and then back to his palm…. This continued for 2 to 3 minutes. In my experience fish from the Wrasse family are naturally inquisitive and this little guy was no different. Txus displayed the same level of curiosity… a true connection was made between fish and man.

We dived for almost 1 hour, returning to our entry point and greeting each other on the surface with huge smiles and a big man hug…what a dive! A memorable experience for new diver Txus and another memorable experience for this salty old diver.”   By Brad Robertson of  www.OndineEscape.com

Tempted?  Why not ask us to design a tailor-made holiday for you?  We will include all the activities you like doing most – fabulous guided walks, diving or snorkeling with Brad, boating, to name but a few. Please call or email us for tips, ideas and further information.

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!

Magical Mallorca

Natural Attractions that you must visit.

Mallorca is the island that appeals to everybody. The gem of the Mediterranean effortlessly plays host to Spanish royalty over the summer, as well as welcoming families of all demographics from Europe every year. Families have been coming and going for over 50 years, and they will keep on returning. During 50 years of booming tourism the natural beauty of the Island has often been overlooked, as the Island rapidly became a modern summer holiday resort. However, this natural beauty and the sense of adventure that Mallorca offers is slowly becoming more of a focus for holidays in Mallorca.

The local government in Mallorca are largely responsible for kick starting the renaissance of “natural Mallorca”. In recent years it has invested substantial sums in the development of hiking trails, giving holidaymakers better access to previously unseen views of Mallorca. The aim is for Mallorca to become a destination that delivers on active holidays and an all-year-round holiday experience.

The worldwide recession has forced many holiday makers to reconsider their holiday plans. They have less money available for holiday excursions and there is a need to cut down their holiday costs. This is where Mallorca has the advantage – the Island can showcase its natural wonders with an audience that wants to engage. Although Majorca holidays are becoming cheaper there is still a need for activities that are good value or free. For example, here are three attractions that demonstrate Majorca’s natural beauty but do not break the bank.

3- Tren De Soller – The Train with a View

Sóller train

the train arriving in Sóller

The Tren De Soller is one of the greatest and most unique ways to see natural Mallorca. In 1913 Mallorca’s first electric train was introduced in the quaint village of Soller, allowing local produce to be taken from the Port of Sóller to Sóller and then to Palma. With years of history, and a laid back hour long journey this train trip is a fantastic way to see north western Mallorca. The journey meanders through the natural landscape offering passengers fantastic views and a real taste of beautiful Mallorca. It is highly recommended that you stop off in Soller and then continue to the Port de Soller (via an old tram) for traditional Mallorcan Tapas and wine.

2- Cap de Formentor – Mallorca’s Best View  

Cap de Formentor, Mallorca, Majorca

Cap de Formentor

Mallorca’s Formentor peninsula is extraordinarily beautiful. The Cap de Formentor is the northernmost point of the magnificent Tramuntana mountain range in the north of Mallorca – its highest point is 384 metres above the sea and is referred to as the ‘meeting point of the winds’ by Majorcans. Looking out from this point, visitors are treated to breathtaking views of the Mediterranean sea and the beautiful Mallorcan coastline. If you follow the street below you come to the Faro Formentor which is a picturesque lighthouse, surrounded by protected rare plants and wildlife. Beware of the rocky terrain and high winds, but do take the opportunity to show off your photography skills!

Alcudia old town

Alcudia

1- Alcudia Old Town – All of Mallorca’s Natural Charm

Alcudia’s old town is a myriad of Mallorca’s charm, offering visitors a real experience of authentic Balearic lifestyle, historic buildings, small restaurants and the market place. If you are able to visit on a Tuesday or Sunday you’ll see the local market in full force… browse the stalls and barter with the local stall holders to get that true experience of this small market town. Holidays to Alcudia offer the opportunity to meander through the lanes of the old town, with a number of restaurants offering fresh local foods. Other attractions in Alcudia include the old Bull Ring and walled Roman ruins, both delivering a fascinating taste of historic Mallorca.

For further ideas and other low-cost things to do on your holiday in Mallorca, please contact us at Mallorca Hiking – we’ll be happy to help!

 

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…