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…

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!

Mushroom picking in Mallorca

Collecting mushrooms

Collecting mushrooms

One of the many things that we love about Mallorca is the island’s dedication to its traditions of foraging for local wild produce, such as mushrooms, asparagus and the like. When we’re out walking in the mountains at this time of year, we meet any number of Mallorcan families enthusiastically searching for setas, all equipped with their traditional wicker baskets to collect their mouth-watering harvest.

The Mallorcan mushroom season is usually late October to November, depending on the weather. The rains usually arrive in late August, but if like this year they’re late, the season tends to be a bit later.

 

Mushrooms or Setas in Mallorca

Mushroom varieties in Mallorca

Mushrooms are quite varied in Spain, with some very big varieties growing in the forest areas. Our weather is good for mushrooms – hot summers, high humidity and autumn rains all contribute to conditions that allow them to thrive.  Ceps, or porcini (in Spanish rovellos) are quite common, as are Chanterelles. Niscalos or lactarius deliciosus are also prolific, and are used in many of the local dishes. But here in Mallorca the real pick of the crop is the Esclata-sangs (Lactarius Sanguifluus – Bleeding Milk Cap) a large flat fleshy mushroom, which bursts with flavour when cooked…!

This island is not shy about promoting its local produce, and every year on the last weekend of November, the tiny Mallorcan village of Mancor del Vall comes alive with the Fira de l’esclata-sang i de la Muntanya. This delightful little place lies in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains and this autumn fair is one of its annual highlights.

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

This wonderful fair aims to show and preserve traditional mountain activities and island traditions, but the main attraction is their prized mushrooms, which are showcased over the weekend in a variety of dishes offered by local bars and restaurants. You can snack on mushrooms on toast, freshly made at one of the many stalls, or visit one of the cafes or restaurants to try one of the many specially prepared dishes featuring these delicious mushrooms.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about the varieties of mushrooms you can find here (particularly the edible variety!), there is an excellent online catalogue published by the University of the Balearic Islands in conjunction with the Balearic Natural History Museum.

And then, why not “go local” and join Mallorca Hiking for a guided mushroom foraging walk. Our expert guides will take you to the best areas, talk you through the various species and keep you safe by making sure you don’t pick the wrong ones!  If you’d like to book a walk just for you and your family and friends, we’ll organise a tailor-made day out just for you… you can then go home and cook a delicious meal with what you’ve picked!

Do contact us for more information – we’ll be happy to help…

 

The GR221 – with or without a guide?

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Signage for the GR221

We’ve had loads of enquiries recently from walkers wanting to complete Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221 or Dry Stone Route. And among the most frequently asked questions is – do you need a guide or can you walk it alone?

Well, the answer is that in theory you should be able to walk it alone but in practice it’s not quite as simple as that. The local government has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the route and way-marking it and for the best part it is clear and well-marked. But there are 2 stages 1) Esporles to Valldemossa, and 2) Valldemossa to Deia, that really do benefit from a professional guide. The first of these – Esporles to Valldemossa starts with a few signs, which soon dissolve so you have to rely on cairns and red dots on the rocks, and a few other bits of rustic signage to guide your way. If you miss one and take a wrong turning, it’s difficult to get back on track. The second tricky stage, Valldemossa to Deia is similarly lacking in way-marking (for some reason). Added to which, there are a number of different routes out of Valldemossa (of differing lengths) that connect with the steep path down to Deia, so for the visitor the choices can be baffling…

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route signage

Consell de Mallorca Info boards at the start of each stage

Another stage, Estellencs to Banyalbufar remains under a cloud of boundary issues so it is best to hop on a bus for this short section and avoid the issue, or if you’re determined not to miss anything, definitely use a guide for half a day.

In our view, the best holiday experience is a combination of guided and un-guided walks. There are so many more benefits to using a local guide than just route finding – a good guide will give you an insider’s view of the island, tell you about the plants and bird life you see along the way, tell you stories about the various characters who have featured in the island’s history, and take you to the best local bars and restaurants! So, if you take our advice you’ll use a guide for the tricky days (and at the same time benefit from all the other good stuff he/she can offer!), and enjoy the well-marked stages on your own. In fact, we’ve just completed exactly this kind of trip…

On the last day of February, a group of Mallorca residents set off from Es Capdella in the South West of the island to complete the GR221 over 6 days. This is how we did it:

On day 1, we walked un-guided with no path-finding problems, from Es Capdella to Estellencs. As it was our first day, we took a leisurely pace in glorious warm sunshine, and had time for a cool drink on our arrival in the tiny village of Estellencs, before catching the 5 pm bus to Banyalbufar (and therefore avoiding the controversial Estellencs to Banyalbufar stage!).

Day 2: another glorious day and we were feeling lazy, so we hopped on a bus from Banyalbufar to Esporles and started our hike from there. As I know the route from Esporles to Valldemossa (one of the tricky path-finding stages!) I led the group, but we met a couple of German girls who were lost and finding the path-finding very tough. If I hadn’t known this stage, I would have asked one of Mallorca Hiking’s expert guides to lead us.

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Nina telling us a few essentials before setting off on day 3

Day 3: Another tricky stage – Valldemossa to Deia – and today one of Mallorca Hiking’s fabulous guides Nina guided us and educated us in the flora and fauna of the island, as well as telling us about the island’s fascinating rural history and ancient rural industries. This was a stress-free and very informative day thanks to Nina, her knowledge and her guiding skills!

Day 4: As we weren’t able to stay in the refuges on this occasion (they were fully booked!) we had to cheat slightly and hiked from the town of Sóller to the Cúber reservoir via the Barranc de Biniaraix, and took a mini-bus back down to Sóller for the night at the end of the day. This is a very well marked trail, so no problems with path-finding today (even if we had been able to continue to the Tossals Verds refuge).

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Snow covering our path

Day 5: This was a challenging day. Even though this stage – Tossals Verds (or in our case the Cúber reservoir) to Lluc Monastery – is well way-marked, this year’s heavy snowfall lingered at over 1,000 metres and had covered up some crucial sections of our path. There were a few stressful moments but we succeeded, and reached our destination safely. However, moments like this are a sobering reminder that conditions on the mountain – snow, low cloud etc – can quickly and effectively impair visibility! Another good reason to have with you a guide  that knows the route well and can “read” the weather!

Day 6: Lluc Monastery to Pollensa is an easy end to this fabulous trek; well way-marked and un-challenging hiking, though we did (for the first time on our trip) have some heavy rain to contend with (a challenge in itself!).

As you can see, our 6-day trek demonstrated all the good reasons for hiring a guide for at least some of the stages of the GR221! For more photos of our trip, please go to our Facebook page.

If you would like more information on Mallorca’s long distance trail, the GR221 please take a look at some of our previous blog posts, such as:

Mallorca’s dry stone route – an overview

Dry stone route, part 1

Dry stone route, part 2

or contact us with your questions. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime 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…

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!

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…

Diverse Mallorca

Diverse MallorcaMallorca is a much misunderstood and often maligned Mediterranean island. It is so much more than a package holiday resort for low cost summer holidays in the sun – away from the high-rise hotels and manicured beaches of the mass tourist resorts (which incidentally cover only a tiny proportion of the island), there is another Mallorca – a far more alluring, varied and totally different world.

Thankfully, not all Mallorca’s beaches and coastline are throbbing tourist resorts. As well as long white sandy beaches, there are also lots of isolated rocky coves and deserted bays, so it’s still possible to find a peaceful spot by the sea if you’re prepared to make an effort and get off the beaten track. And the best way to do this is to walk or take a boat…

Being an island, Mallorca revolves around boats so there are any number of different boat trips you can take here, particularly in high season. The east coast of the island is relatively flat and the coastline is a long string of rocky coves punctuated by the occasional resort. Here it is fantastic for boating and exploring hidden away inlets and bays, many of which are impossible to access other than by boat or foot.

For a small island, it is extraordinary how diverse Mallorca is. Yes, there are fabulous beaches and sparkling blue seas, but beyond these there is also a dramatic range of mountains (the Sierra de Tramuntana), countless charming rural – and totally un-spoilt hamlets, cliff-hugging villages, monasteries, castles, meadows, orchards, olive groves, wetlands (yes wetlands!), and the chic sophistication and culture of the capital city of Palma.

The Serra de Tramuntana on the west coast of Mallorca – the ‘mountains of the north wind’, which run the length of Mallorca’s north coast are home to some of the island’s most spectacular landscapes, wildlife and birds. Pine-covered slopes lean into the sea, and higher up forested hills give way to barren crags and peaks. This is hiking country and by far the best way to get to the heart of this fabulous, and surprising, part of the island is on foot.

Dotted throughout Mallorca, and often located in dramatic hill-top locations, there are many ermitas, hermitages, santuaries and monastries, mainly dating back to Medieval times. Originally inhabited by monks, they were places of pilgrimage, and they still retain a sense of calm and tranquility – a serene reminder of an ancient world. Nowadays, they offer an excellent focal point to a hike, as many offer refreshments, and some offer (fairly basic) accommodation so it’s even possible to stay overnight and continue walking the next day.

But the diversity of the island is not limited to its natural beauty, culture and history. Palma – the island’s capital – is a big surprise to many people. It is stylish, sophisticated, intimate and yet bursting with life. Half of Mallorca’s population live here, enjoying the island’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife as well as a thriving arts scene and a lively cafe society.  Palma’s masterpiece is its Gothic cathedral, rising out of the city walls which once marked the edge of the sea. In Palma you can also find the old Arab quarter, fabulous architecture, a maze of narrow streets hiding museums, art galleries, palaces and exquisite courtyards.

This “other side” of Mallorca is distinctly up-market, and appeals to a very different visitor. As a result, a popular new hotel style has evolved – traditional “Agroturismos” and boutique hotels offer relaxed luxury in quality surroundings. These hotels are usually beautifully restored traditional Mallorcan buildings, often old country estates, fincas or townhouses, and offer the discerning visitor an excellent opportunity to experience Mallorca at its best.

We could go on and on… so this is just a small selection of things to keep in mind when planning your next trip – you don’t need to endure long flights to far-flung parts of the world to discover a fabulous holiday experience. Added to which, you could come back several times a year on a short break and continue discovering hidden treasures, great restaurants, relaxing walks or just disconnect from the world and relax… And if you need some help or ideas, take a look at our Tailor Made holidays

We can offer you a holiday that is exactly what you want , when you want it. With the benefit of our local knowledge and experience, everything will be arranged before you arrive. A worry free holiday with airport transfers, great accommodation, the best restaurants, excursions “off the beaten track” – as well as shopping trips and days to just relax. We guarantee Mallorca will become a regular place to visit.

If you’d like to read more about Mallorca and what it has to offer, why not sign up to Follow this blog …?

So much for our lovely GR221!

 

GR221, Mallorca, Majorca

GR221 route thoroughly blocked

This post is for everyone planning to hike the GR221, Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, in the near future. I just wanted to give you a quick update on some recent issues, which have arisen with the GR221 routing. I’m afraid the GR221 has been, and continues to be, beset with problems regarding rights of way over private land, and now there’s a new one to watch out for.

Don’t expect there to be any helpful published information along the way!

But please note the implications for your trip are:

  1. Estellencs to Banyalbufar: This section has been problematic for years and it is currently un-passable, so it means taking a bus for this relatively short section of your hike. This is a fairly longstanding dispute, which is taking years to resolve with the landowner.
  2. Esporles to Valldemossa: This is a very recent development and the landowner of part of this section has now erected signs, fences, and (ironically) a very solid dry stone wall to prevent hikers passing over his land, thereby cutting off the route to Valldemossa.

The really maddening thing is that the Consell de Mallorca has issued no warnings and provided no information regarding the sudden closure of the Esporles to Valldemossa section. These paths are ancient rights of way and have been used for hundreds of years as a link between the two towns and yet they think a virtually imperceptible notice on their website is enough to inform us that suddenly, this section is “in project” or under construction, again.

Many hikers come to the island solely to complete the GR221 – a fabulous long distance trek – and just this morning, in the space of about an hour we met 7 hikers heading off for Valldemossa from Esporles. None of them had any idea that there was an issue with the route. All GR221 way-marking is still happily in place, lulling unsuspecting walkers into a false sense of well-being – little do they know that only meters ahead they will be faced with a massive wall blocking their route!

So what are your options?

GR221, Mallorca, Majorca

GR221 signage all still in place!

  • To persevere notwithstanding these obstacles? But beware, the landowner has also destroyed many of the way-markers that considerate hikers have taken the trouble to construct over many years, so path-finding is even more tough-going than before. Also beware an angry landowner who prevents you from passing over his land – you may have to back down and return to Esporles.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer the easy option, make your way to Valldemossa from Esporles by taxi and continue your hike from there.

Thankfully, from Valldemossa on the GR221 route is a clear run with no further problems.

So, what’s the story, you ask? What’s going on? That’s what we asked the Consell de Mallorca, whose (unhelpful!) explanation was that the section was (now) “not open”! Ah that’s just great, thanks for the heads up, really useful (yeah right). Well I’m sorry to say that that’s all we know for the time being, but we’ll be keeping our ears and eyes peeled for some local gossip and we’ll keep you posted!
If you’d like to be kept informed about developments on Mallorca’s GR221 then please sign up to our Facebook Page and keep your eye out for further posts on this Blog. Please also refer to the Consell de Mallorca for the “official” situation!
And finally, if all this sounds far too complicated to tackle alone, why not contact us about our guided walking tours and take a look at some of our favourite walks – there are plenty to choose from!
We hope to see you very soon!

Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route Walk

Dry Stone Route Mallorca HikingOne of the longest walks across Mallorca is the famous Dry Stone Route, which spans the entire length of the Tramuntana from the Port of Andratx in the very south west of the island, to Pollensa in the north west. Officially known as the GR221 route, it is broken down into 8 stages:

  • Stage 1 Port d’Andratx-la Trapa
  • Stage 2 La Trapa-Estellencs
  • Stage 3 Estellencs-Esporles
  • Stage 4 Esporles-Can Boi (Deia)
  • Stage 5 Can Boi-Muleta (Port of Sóller)
  • Stage 6 Muleta-Tossals Verds
  • Stage 7 Tossals Verds-Son Amer (Lluc)
  • Stage 8 Son Amer-Pollença

In this post we’ll give you a general overview of the complete route, and subsequent posts will describe each stage in more detail. The beauty of this route is that you can complete one or several stages over a period of time. Walking the entire route over successive days is no problem, as there are a number of delightful rural, boutique hotels along the way (stay tuned, as these will be the subject of a future blog post!), and there is also a string of well-situated, government-run Refugis that offer excellent food & accommodation facilities (albeit in dormitory style!).

When fully completed, the Dry Stone Route will offer a refuge at the end of each stage where hikers can eat a good “home-cooked” dinner with local wine and stay overnight. At present there are five fantastic refuges already up and running: Tossals Verds, Muleta, Can Boi, Son Amer and Pont Romà and two others (la Trapa and s’Hostatgeria del Castell d’Alaró) will be restored in due course (though at this point work on La Trapa seems to have ground to a halt, and progress at Alaró has been extraordinarily slow!). However, recent news (see our earlier  blog post) that the Consell de Mallorca has ear-marked substantial funds for the renovation of the refuges (amongst other things) can only be good news for the completion of these refuges, and this fabulous long distance, linear hike.

The refuges of Son Amer, Tossals Verds and Can Boi (restored by Deià Town Hall) belong to the Consell de Mallorca. The rest are managed by the Consell de Mallorca thanks to agreements with several institutions and organisations. The refuge of Muleta belongs to Sóller Town Hall, the refuge of la Trapa to the ecologist group GOB (Balearic Ornithology Group), the refuge of s’Hostatgeria del Castell d’Alaró to Alaró Town Hall and the Bishopric of Mallorca, and the refuge of Pont Romà to Pollença Town Hall.

All the working refuges have been created from old, restored Mallorcan houses with the traditional architecture of the Tramuntana region in order to blend into the landscape and respect the area’s cultural heritage. So, they have plenty of traditional Mallorcan charm, but at the same time they offer ultra-modern, spacious shower and bathroom facilities – just what hikers need at the end of a long day. The rooms are spacious and dormitory-style with bunk beds. There is currently one refuge – Tossals Verds – that has a room just for 2 people. The food is simple, good and plentiful and all meals are available. They’ll even prepare you a substantial picnic lunch for your next day’s hike.

The refuges are well run and they are all manned by a permanent member of staff. Overnight bookings are managed centrally by the Consell de Mallorca, and reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance of your stay. They are limited to the number of reservations they can take in order to protect the environment, maintain standards and avoid overcrowding – so booking ahead is essential.

Whilst walking the Dry-stone Route you’ll discover the natural dry-stone landscapes of the Tramuntana mountain range as well as man-made dry-stone features, such as walls, terracing, fountains, shelters, snow houses, etc. Additionally the route goes through many interesting historic remains. Hikers will be enchanted by the traces of myths and legends; experience the traditions, customs, gastronomy, craft work and skills of the region; and above all, see the diverse and dramatic landscapes from the coast, bays and cliff faces to the rugged, remote terrain of the high sierra.

At Mallorca Hiking we incorporate several sections of this long-distance walk into independent hikes (albeit slightly adapted for the benefit of the hike), such as: the Tossals Verds Loop,  Deia to Puerto Sóller, Cúber reservoir and Biniaraix, the old Postman’s route etc. Alternatively, we can organise a complete long distance linear hike with bag transfer service, as one of our Tailor Made holidays – the ideal opportunity to discover the beauty and history of the island in one holiday.

Why not sign up for all our follow-up articles about each individual section of the route – all you need to do is register to follow this blog.

Dry Stone Hiking Route Mallorca Spain