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…

Tossals Verds Loop – Lakes Walk, Tramuntana Mountains

Lake Cuber Mallorca hikingThe lakes region of Mallorca has been declared one of the best walking areas of Mallorca by the Travel writer of the Times. Snuggled in a basin of the Sierra Tramuntana Mountains, this is one of our most popular walks. This is not only an area of natural beauty but it’s a favourite spot for the island’s birds, where falcons, ospreys and black vultures – with a near three-metre wingspan – and even eagles can be seen circling the peaks. The area also has a network of mountain refuges for backpackers and hikers. (We’ll be covering the refuge facilities in more detail in a future article).

As well as the facilities and range of walks for the seasoned hiker, there are also excellent picnic facilities including bbq areas for day trippers, and these areas are well frequented at weekends and holidays by the island’s residents.

This is an excellent and nicely varied circular walk around the Tossals Verds peak (at around 1,100 m high, it is the 3rd highest on the island). It is an energetic route, which takes us through 5 tunnels (so you’ll need a torch!), includes a couple of steep ascents and a well-located stop at one of the island’s beautifully restored refuges. Otherwise, the walk is along delightful paths, many formerly used by the charcoal burners.

We start at the car park to the north east of the reservoir, and follow the tarmac lane along the side of the reservoir before we branch off and descend the valley (with fabulous views of Tossals Verds). Here we pass through the tunnels and then continue down.

The climb up to the refuge is quite steep but we walk on an easy track and path, and the views from the refuge terraces are quite lovely. From here we continue to climb – steeply and then more gently. The path which circles around Tossals Verds is delightful, and eventually we get a view of the Gorg Blau reservoir before we return to the Cúber.

After Hike – the surrounding area includes the towns of Pollensa and Sóller – both have magic and charm and retain a lot of their historic roots. They are an ideal place to stop for a coffee or a meal after your walk and watch the world go by. The monastery of Lluc is also a must visit location in this part of the island, and if you get there around 5pm in the afternoon you can listen to the choir practice – magical.

Why not make a day of this great walking excursion, and combine our guided walk with a tour of some of the local towns afterwards.