Last time I was in Mallorca was for a traditional coming of age holiday; I was 18 years old with a large group of friends, the destination was Magaluff and our aim was to party hard for 7 days. When the opportunity arose to revisit the island and explore some of the lesser known areas, I jumped at the chance. I had heard rumors about another side to Mallorca and was intrigued to experience it.
The first thing that struck me as I landed into Palma airport was the sheer size of the airport: it was modern and efficient, very unlike any island airports. I later discovered that the airport infrastructure has been improved thanks to a generous investment from Air Berlin. You wouldn’t imagine it, but Mallorca is extremely well connected, with direct flights coming from all over Europe; the island is served by many low cost airlines.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Mallorca as part a blog trip organised by the Spanish Tourism Board and live blogging was on the agenda! One of my first thoughts was “How were we going to get online?” Wi-Fi wasn’t going to be everywhere and my Italian data allowance didn’t cover Spain. Fear not! Mallorca Tourism Board had it covered with help of Wi-fi Rental Travel. I was immediately handed a cute little device called Wi-Fi Rental Travel. It is an electronic device the size of small cellphone. Inside it has a 3G SIM card with the username and password and I was told I could connect like a Wi-Fi device. I was intrigued to see how it functioned in the more remote regions of the island, especially since the following day were heading to the Tramuntana Mountains.
The first night I stayed at the lovely Hotel Los Geranios, a great family run hotel which sits right on the seafront of Sóller. I woke early to the sound of waves lapping my opened room window, just in time to see the sun rise. Sóller reminded me of those old school seaside resorts, stretched along the lovely bay, with a wide promenade that links all the hotels and restaurants: a great safe place to chill out with the family, I would imagine.
I love sports that can be enjoyed in the great outdoors, surrounded by nature. This is why I was over the moon when I heard that our first full day of the blog trip would be spent trekking in the Tramuntana Mountain Range (a UNESCO world heritage site), which runs for 90Km along the entire Northwestern coast of the island. About an hours drive from the seaside resort of Sóller, we commenced our day trek with a warm welcome from the donkeys, ready and waiting for us at the entrance to the Park.
We followed the Barrance Biniaraix Trail, that is considered one of the most representative walks of the island. It used to be part of a 14th century pilgrim route which leads to the Monastery of Lluc. It was amazing to walk through such a peaceful place surrounded by nature and also to be able to see the remains of so much history. Our guide, Luis, explained us how the island had a rich historical background, having been under the Greeks in the centuries approaching the birth of Christ, to pass in Roman hands and after to the Arab world for four centuries. In the mountains we found a really peaceful and relaxing atmosphere – which was quite unexpected. At about half way, our group split and those of us who were feeling a little more energetic made their way up to the summit of Puid de L’Ofre. It was definitively worth the extra effort, since the views were stunning: from the summit we were able to look down on to the trail we came along at the beginning of the trek and we were able to enjoy spectacular views towards Puig Major, the highest mountain in Mallorca.
One of the most interesting sections of the trek was when made our way down to the Ca’n Silles Refugio, where we were having lunch. We entered a deep gorge and followed a steep stone path – built 600 years ago – down to the refugio. The landscape changed completely and we were surrounded by striking rock formations and olive trees; we even came across an old bull that was stealing some olives… Luis explained us that, in the past, bulls were often used instead of guard dogs to protect peoples’ plots of land and olive groves from trespassers.
We experienced another warm welcome at Ca’n Silles, with cold beers waiting for us and a hearty traditional rice and meat soup to eat: just what we needed, after a day trekking. We arrived just as the new supplies were being restocked. Things had been carried by donkey and only the most essential items: beer and toilet rolls were in demand!!
The only means of transportation to the refugio are obviously walking and donkeys, but this is what makes this place so special, the fact that is cut off from modern world. We would have loved to stay a little longer at Ca’n Silles the Refugio, it’s a real hidden gem. I’m sure I can speak for the whole group when I say that if we had had the opportunity to stay overnight, nobody would have decided to leave. *(In fact, if you book in advance you can stay the night at Ca’n Silles. There are also other small refugios in the park which can be booked and offer basic self catering facilities)*
We continued down along the 600 year old stone path and – as we walked into the valley – the landscape changed from yellowish rocks to lush green fields enclosed by dry stonewalls. We were able to see up close the detailed work of the dry stonewalls, that had been built all the way down the gorge, creating terraces for the olive trees. The art of dry stonewalling is an old artisan method, considered a dying art. However, it is now re-emerging, as some people want to learn it. Funnily enough, an American couple staying at Ca’n Silles, had come solely for the purpose of learning how to do dry stonewalling from a master craftsmen in the area.
Overall, the day was fantastic and surpassed all my expectations. I recommend to anyone this stunning area of natural beauty shrouded in rich history dating back to before Christ.
Where is Mallorca