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!

 

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…

 

Looking forward to the almond blossom…

Almond blossom in Mallorca, Majorca

Almond blossom in Mallorca

Here at Mallorca Hiking we can’t believe it’s already November and that all the Christmas festivities will start soon! That usually means there’s not so much time available to get out and enjoy some walking :-(

But we’re looking on the bright side and plan to make up for a busy December with lots of good walks in the new year. We’re already looking forward to the almond blossom season, which in Mallorca is usually from the end of January to about mid-February – our short video will give you a general idea.

If that has tempted you and you’re looking for a sunny spot to enjoy a walking holiday, we can organise a tailor-made holiday for you and your group, which includes guided walks, accommodation, additional activities, hotel and restaurant recommendations… Just contact us for a chat and more information.

And if you’re just interested in a day’s walking, we recommend you to have a look at our 2 favourite blossom walks throughout January and February:

–  Rural wanderings – Es Capdella and the Galatzo Estate

–  4 Picturesque rural villages

Please contact us directly to reserve your place.

We look forward to seeing you!

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…

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!

Find Your Inner Space through Hiking and Yoga on Mallorca this Summer 

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Yoga and Walking Holiday Mallorca Hiking

Yoga practitioners often talk about finding peace within. The most difficult thing (even if that can be hard enough) isn’t really to find a quiet place during our holidays where to roll out our mat, but to keep that quietness within, in middle of our daily rush. 

Nina and I have known eachother for many years. Coming from the colder northern Europe Nina is a dedicated Outdoor-guide, and I’m a Yoga Teacher, and we both have found our place and our peace here in Mallorca. We have practiced and hiked together, and we both agree that the sea and the island’s special light give an extra energy to our training and to our daily life. The nature, the peace and calmness, are one of the reasons that we have decided to settle here and that we see this as the ideal environment for our Hiking- and Yoga Retreats. Nina knows all the tracks and trails of the island, she always suggests new places where we may go to come closer to the wonderful and varying nature that this Mediterranean island offers.

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Yoga and Walking Retreat Mallorca Hiking

Sometimes we need to get away from our daily routines to be able to appreciate what is there right next to us, and also to find new energy and inspiration. I have just been away travelling for a few months in Central America, where I’ve found beautiful places to practice Yoga. Far away from my daily life, surrounded by dense rainforest, deep waters and volcanoes, it was easy to find stillness within. Later, in the crazyness of Mexico City, I had the opportunity to experience the total contrast; the deep forest was suddenly far away, the subway full to its limits, and making my way between people selling napkins, lighters and tacos in every corner, I was lucky if I reached my yoga class on time. There it was: a MiniAshram squeezed in between offices, bars and a dance studio, we had to close all the windows to get away from the noise. I took a deep breath and looked around me, I could feel my heart beating faster, but the faces around me didn’t actually reflect any stress at all. It looked like they had that deep calmness from the rainforest within.

I do think that we have a lot to learn. And learning begins here and now. We practice Yoga to learn and to share with others what we experience through our practice. And it is necessary to start with ourselves, to later see a continous change in our surroundings. First it is important to give us time and space for what we want to do. A shortcut to find out what that is, is to give yourself time for an intense practice, in a peaceful place, where your daily stress doesn’t reach you. Where your common worries and habits dont draw all your attention. A place where we withdraw from what normally distracts us, to come closer to ourselves. We create a quiet room, to give us the space to listen to our inner voice.

Retreat means to withdraw. Yogis have been doing that for ages. It doesn’t mean that we go away forever or that we quit our responsabilities or pleasures. It means to shirk all those things that draw your attention and energy, in order to be more present. In this way we load the batteries, and slowly we can find the route back to the essence within us that tells us who we are and how we want to live. It is easier to do this in a place that is not our home, a place in nature that reminds us of the human origin, far away from the rush. To walk in nature helps us a good bit on the way, and once we find and give ourselves those moments and places of tranquility, it is easier to find back here. The next time you are stuck in the metro or in a difficult situation, you will find it easier to resort to your inner peace, your inner space, maybe giving it the form and coulour of a Mediterranean landscape. This is the landscape that Nina and I want to invite you to, and at the same time, create together. The blue ocean, the mountains and the tranquility are already here; the sense of community and energy that emerge when we intentionally look within and practice intensely with others, will fill you with spirit and motivation.

During the hikes you will experience a new part of Mallorca, less known than its packed beaches. Nina takes you to the most unforgetable places. Walking is a moving meditation, when we are in closer contact with earth and nature, our body gets the opportunity to discharge and exhale all that may not serve us anymore.

To stay in a rustic farmhouse, enjoy the settings, and get healthy Mediterranean food with fresh ingredients, will be a special treat for body and soul.

The yoga classes will be adapted to each and everyone’s needs and experience. Beginners as well as more experienced Yogis are welcome. We will charge our batteries in the morning with a more activating practice, whilst the evening classes will be more of a restorative and relaxing type. Through Asana, Pranayama and meditation we will play with different themes, and again, our beautiful surroundings will help us to look deeper within and discover new ways and possibilities.

www.mallorcahiking.com

Hiking and Yoga retreat at rustic finca in Majorca.

We hope and believe that you after four days of hiking and Yoga in S’Alcadena’s and Alarò’s environs will feel renewed and relaxed, filled with energy and experiences that you can bring home with you and keep in your inner space, to bring forth in the more difficult moments, when you need it the most.

Nina Harjula is a professionell mountain- and outdoor guide (hiking, mountainbike, cycling and horse riding).

Maria Larsson (author of this article) is a masseus, art therapist and credited Yoga teacher (200 RYT, 120h Therapeutic Yoga, current Anusara studies).

If you are interested in participating in our retreat, please send us an email to: info@mallorcahiking.com, or contact us by filling out the contact form at our webpage. You can also call us directly on: +34 699 906 009.


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.

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!