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Driving in Mallorca: Serra de Tramuntana

Serra de Tramuntana is a mountain chain that covers the whole northern part of Mallorca. These steep slopes where wild rosemary smells make a striking contrast to the tourist-filled south and east coasts. And yet these mountains are just half an hour away from the beaches.

So each time I go to Mallorca I have to spend a day or two up in the mountains. I have to return to the Mallorcan countryside, the scenic coastline and those pretty villages with dry-stone houses. This post will show you what I mean. 

Serra de Tramuntana dry-stone building, Valldemossa

Serra de Tramuntana dry-stone building, Valldemossa

It’s not only me that likes the Serra: Serra de Tramuntana has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the cultural landscape category. It’s ancient agricultural land with terraced vineyards, olive and almond trees, oranges and tomatoes. And ancient villages with narrow cobbled lanes.

I will show you a drive in the western part of the Mallorcan mountains, from Andraitx to Soller.

 

Serra de Tramuntana Drive on the Map

 

The drive is 120 km and there is a motorway in the beginning and at the end, from Palma to Peguera and back from Soller.

The mountain road too is very good and the whole route is easy to drive. The road is not narrow or dangerous but that doesn’t mean that there are no curves. There are many of them, and real hairpins at times.

You will need a full day for this drive, depending on how much you stop. Or why not make two half-day trips, just return from Banyalbufar or Valldemossa and go back another day.

I marked the prettiest villages on the map and I will show them soon. But first some words about Serra de Tramuntana.

 

Driving in Mallorca: the road to Deia

Driving in Mallorca: road to Deia

Serra de Tramuntana

Serra de Tramuntana mountain chain, Mallorca

Serra de Tramuntana mountain chain, Mallorca

The Tramuntana mountain chain covers the western and northern parts of Mallorca, from Andratx in the west to Formentor in the north east. The chain is 90 km long and has Mallorca’s highest peaks that protect the island from northern winds. Serra de Tramuntana means Mountains of the North Wind.

In winter the mountains take most of the rain and leave other areas dry. In summer again mountain air is pleasant which makes wealthy locals spend the hottest summer in the mountains.

Tourists have found Serra de Tramuntana as well, but it’s not really a main bus tour destination. They are mostly individual travelers and they come for hiking.

La Ruta de Pedra en Sec

La Ruta de Pedra en Sec, Dry Stone Route

La Ruta de Pedra en Sec, Dry Stone Route

The Serra has become a favorite place for hikers, all year round.

Hiking tourism to Mallorca expanded after a hiking track network was created in Serra de Tramuntana. There are certainly hundreds of kilometers walkways, some of them medieval mule paths, others newly built tracks that connect the old paths. So if you want you can walk all the way from Andratx to Pollenca along the Dry Stone Route (GR221).

Most hiking routes are long and demanding so you need to be fit. They run up and down mountain slopes and from village to village. The paths take you to pine forests that smell so good and to mountain tops where the scenery is like from the plane.

The Mallorcans are also building a network of huts for overnight stay. Or alternatively you can stay the nights in small village hotels, depending on where you walk.

But there are short hikes as well some of which make a loop. That’s what I like most. It’s always easiest if the path takes you back to your car and you don’t have to think about returning by bus.

Some useful links, more information on hiking in Serra de Tramuntana:

Official website of the Dry Stone Route GR221 – Mallorca

Map of the Ruta de Pedra en Sec GR221 (Dry Stone Route)

But we are driving in Serra de Tramuntana, not hiking. Here are some views from the road:

Serra de Tramuntana from the Road

Clifftop view, Serra de Tramuntana

Clifftop view

Mallorca west coast cliff flowers

Serra de Tramuntana nature

Clear Mediterranean waters of Serra de Tramuntana

Clear Mediterranean waters of Serra de Tramuntana

Mirador de Ricardo Roca

Mirador de Ricardo Roca

Mallorcan wildflowers

Mallorcan wildflowers

Restaurante Es Grau Mallorca

Serra de Tramuntana restaurant: Es Grau

Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca

View after Deia

Mallorcan Villages

Narrow lane of Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana

Narrow lane, Estellencs

The pretty villages of the western part of Serra de Tramuntana are from south to north Estellencs, Banyalbufar, Valldemossa and Deia. I will show each of them in photos.

Andratx is quite pretty as well but it’s more like a big city and and not yet in the mountains.

Soller and its harbor Puerto de Soller at the end of the route are very beautiful as well but I don’t have any good photos on them… And Fornalutx just east of Soller has been voted the prettiest village of Spain. Definitely worth a visit that too.

 

Fornalutx street view, Mallorca

Fornalutx, Mallorca

But now back to our Mallorca mountains driving route, first Estellencs:

Estellencs

Estellencs must be one of Mallorca’s prettiest villages. It has a fantastic location towards evening sun. The village is all dry-stone houses, narrow lanes and tiny squares. And traditional green window-shutters.

It’s in the moutains but the 400 residents can walk down the hill to a small pebble beach.

 

View of Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca

Estellencs, mountain village in Serra de Tramuntana

Typical lane of Estellencs, Mallorca

A typical Estellencs village lane

Flower in the lane, Estellencs

Flower in the lane, Estellencs

Flower pot on the stony wall, Estellencs

Flower pot on the stony wall

Laundy day at Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana

Laundy day at Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana

Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana

Another village view

An Estellencs square

A pretty square

Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca

An old facade

Window in Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca

Green window shutters of Mallorca

Mallorcan cat

El gato, a cat

Banyalbufar

The next village in order is Banyalbufar. The name means vineyards by the sea.

Banyalbufar is surrounded by terraced fields, down to the sea. It used to be a Moorish village. The Moorish grew wine and built terraces for their vineyards. They also built stone hedges and water tanks and channels for irrigation. All that still exists.

Today there is less vineyards and more tomatoes. But never mind, the place looks nice.

 

Banyalbufar, Serra de Tramuntana

General view of Banyalbufar, Serra de Tramuntana

Banyalbufar and the Mediterranean, Serra de Tramuntana

Banyalbufar and the Mediterranean

Banyalbufar, Serra de Tramuntana

Banyalbufar houses

White wine with view, Banyalbufar

Sea view and Banyalbufar wine

Dry-stone buildings of Banyalbufar, Mallorca

Dry-stone buildings

Banyalbufar flowers, Serra de Tramuntana

Flower decoration

Plants on the wall, Serra de Tramuntana

Succulents on house wall

Typical lane of Banyalbufar

Typical lane of Banyalbufar

Pretty house wall and windows

Pretty house wall and windows

 

Valldemossa

Banyalbufar and Estellencs are not touristic, at least outside the main summer season (in May we had the villages almost to ourselves). – But Valldemossa is a tourist destination.

Busloads of tourists arrive at Valldemossa, mainly for the monastery Reial Cartoixa where Chopin stayed with George Sand. They made the place world famous but even without them Valldemossa is a sight in its own right.

Surrounded by high mountains, terraces and stone hedges Valldemossa has a very, very pretty setting. And the old town itself is like a postcard. Maybe I’ll rent an apartment here on my next trip to Mallorca. Valldemossa is less than 30 min from the beaches…

Look at all these small details:

 

Valldemossa, Mallorca

General view of Valldemossa, Mallorca

Iglesia de la Cartuja, Valldemossa

Iglesia de la Cartuja, Valldemossa

Dry-stone building in Valldemossa, Serra de Tramuntana

One of Valldemossa’s dry-stone buildings

Dry-stone building windows, Valldemossa

Stone building and windows, Valldemossa

Valldemossa roses, Serra de Tramuntana

Red roses in late May

Restaurante Bar in stairs, Valldemossa

Restaurante Bar in stairs

Bus tour to Valldemossa participants

Bus tour to Valldemossa 

Valldemossa street view

Another street view

Shady street with cafes, Valldemossa

Shady street with cafes

Valldemossa flower decorations

White flowers in Valldemossa 

Visiting Valldemossa, Spain

Visiting Valldemossa, Mallorca, Spain

The street to Esglesia de Sant Bartolomeu

Walking to Esglesia de Sant Bartolomeu

Valldemossa flower pots

Valldemossa flower pots

Valldemossa wall decoration

One more plant on the wall

Santa Catalina Thomas tile, Valldemossa

Santa Catalina Thomas tile

Almost every house in Valldemossa has this kind of tile on the wall. It’s an image of Santa Catalina Thomas. Santa Catalina Thomas is Valldemossa’s saint and the only saint of Mallorca. Se was born here in Valldemossa.

Valldemossa too is an inland town and has a separate fishing port, Port de Valldemossa. The port has good fish restaurants but the road down is a bit extreme. So go down only if your driver has good nerves, and the passengers need nerves as well.

 

Deia

View of Deia, Mallorca

 

Driving on from Valldemossa Deia is located on the other side of the high peak Puig des Teix. Deia is in a deep slope in a sheltered valley, it looks this village is really far from everything.

Deia is far away but not really isolated. The British writer Robert Graes lived for years at Deia and other artists followed, among them such names as Picasso. So Deia became an artist village, and later many wealthy people moved there. Many wealthy tourists prefer Deia and the exclusive hotels around it. Half of the people living at Deia are foreigners.

And this is what Deia looks like:

Hilltop village of Deia, Serra de Tramuntana

Deia deep in Serra de Tramuntana mountains

Hilltop village of Deia, Serra de Tramuntana

The upper part of Deia is on the hilltop

Typical home of Deia

Typical house of Deia

Deia stone house, Serra de Tramuntana

… with blue window shutters

One of the many Deia restaurants

One of the many Deia restaurants

Houses of Deia, Serra de Tramuntana

Houses on the banks of mountain river

A Deia restaurant

A sunny terrace

Typical Deia dry-stone building, Serra de Tramuntana

Typical Deia dry-stone building

Tile in Deia, Serra de Tramuntana

A Deia wall tile

Deia too has a harbor, Cala de Deia and it’s half an hour walk down. But we have to skip it, it’s getting late and we have to drive on.

 

Driving in Mallorca: Towards Soller

Driving from Deia to Soller

Driving from Deia to Soller

Scenery doesn’t get worse after Deia. You have the Mediterranean, the mountains and the olive trees. And nice manors where I would like to stay for a while and walk along the shoreline.

But like always we have been driving so slowly that it was already getting dark. We have to get back and come back another day.

When we got to Soller it was almost dark, that’s why I don’t have any photos from there. But I will do it next time.

So we took the motorway back to Palma.

Serra de Tramuntana evening

Bye-bye Serra de Tramuntana

More on Mallorca Travel

My other posts on Mallorca:

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