Serra de Tramuntana is the massive mountain chain that covers the whole north of Mallorca. We will show you a beautiful drive in the UNESCO listed mountains as we will drive from Andraitx to Soller.
Each time we go to Mallorca we spend a day or two in Tramuntana. We just have to get to the island’s lovely countryside, the rugged coast in the north. And see all those pretty villages with yellow dry-stone houses. After reading this post you will know what this means.
The steep mountain slopes where wild rosemary grows make a striking contrast to the tourist-filled south coast. Yet Serra de Tramuntana is only half an hour away from Mallorcan beaches.
A typical Serra de Tramuntana dry-stone building at Valldemossa
We are not the only that love these massive Mallorcan mountains: even UNESCO has noticed the beauty of Serra de Tramuntana and declared it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the cultural landscape category.
Serra de Tramuntana is ancient agricultural land, terraced vineyards, olive and almond groves, oranges and tomatoes – and ancient postcard-pretty villages with cobbled lanes.
Our Serra de Tramuntana Drive on the Map
Map of our Serra de Tramuntana drive. The prettiest villages are marked on the map.
Our Serra de Tramuntana drive is 120 km in all, with a motorway both in the beginning and at the end (from Palma to Peguera and from Soller to Palma).
The mountain road is very good today so the whole itinerary is easy and nice to drive. The road is not narrow nor dangerous but that doesn’t mean there are no curves. Definitely they exist, many of them, real hairpins at times.
You will preferably need a full day for the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, as you will want to stop. If that sounds a lot you can make two half-day trips, returning back to the coast from Banyalbufar or Valldemossa and returning the next day.
We marked the prettiest Serra de Tramuntana villages on the map and will show them soon. First some words about the mountain chain.
Driving in the Mallorcan mountains: the winding road to Deia
Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca
The Serra de Tramuntana mountain chain in the north of Mallorca
The Tramuntana mountains cover the whole west and north parts of Mallorca, from Andratx in the west to Formentor in the north east. The mountain chain is 90 km long and has Mallorca’s highest peaks. The mountains in the north protect island from cold northern winds. That also gave the mountains their name: 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 cool and pleasant which makes wealthy local families spend the hottest summer months in the cooler mountains.
Tourists have found the region as well, but it’s not a big bus tour destination. Those who come are mostly individual travelers and they come for hiking. Like hiking the Ruta de Pedra en Sec.
La Ruta de Pedra en Sec
La Ruta de Pedra en Sec, Dry Stone Route
Recently the Serra has become a favorite place for walkers and hikers, all year round.
Hiking tourism to Mallorca expanded after they created a hiking trail network through the Serra de Tramuntana. That means hundreds of kilometers walkways, some of which follow medieval mule paths, while others are newly built tracks linking the old paths. So if you want you can walk all the way from Andratx to Pollenca along the Dry Stone Route (GR221).
Most of the Serra de Tramuntana routes are long and demanding so you really need to be fit to do them. Fit enough to walk long stretches up and down mountains, from village to village. The paths take you to pine forests that smell so fresh and to high mountain tops where scenes are like from an airplane.
Even more, in Mallorca they are building a network of huts to stay overnight. The other option is to use small village hotels, depending on where you walk.
But it’s not exclusively long hikes, there are shorter trails as well, some of which make a loop. That’s what we like most. It’s always best if the path brings you back to the car and there’s no need to return by bus.
More about Serra de Tramuntana Hikes:
Some useful links for more information on hiking in the 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 should be driving, not hiking…. Photo galleries from the road:
The Serra de Tramuntana Mountains from the Road
Serra de Tramuntana nature
Clear Mediterranean waters
Mirador de Ricardo Roca
A popular restaurant in Serra de Tramuntana: Es Grau
Sea view from the road, after Deia
Mallorcan Mountain Villages
Narrow lane, Estellencs
There are pretty villages in the western part of the Serra, from south to north: Estellencs, Banyalbufar, Valldemossa and Deia. In the next we will show each of them in photos.
Andratx is quite pretty as well but more like a big city and and not really in the mountain region.
Soller and its harbor Puerto de Soller at the end of the drive are super beautiful villages as well but until our next trip we don’t have any good photos on them, so sorry! Then, the tiny Fornalutx just east of Soller has been voted the prettiest village of Spain. Definitely worth a visit as well!
Fornalutx, Mallorca, voted as the prettiest village in Spain
But now back to the Mallorca mountain drive where the first is Estellencs:
Estellencs, too, must be among 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!
The village is pretty high in the mountains but the 400 residents don’t mind walking down the hill to the sea where they have a tiny pebble beach.
Estellencs, a mountain village in Serra de Tramuntana of Mallorca
A typical Estellencs village lane
Flower in a hidden alley
Flower pot on the stone wall
Laundy day at Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana
Another typical village view
A pretty square
An old facade
Typical green window shutters of Mallorca
El gato means a cat
The name of next village in order is Banyalbufar, meaning vineyards by the sea.
Banyalbufar is surrounded by terraced fields all the way down to the sea. Originally, times ago, this was a Moorish village. The Moorish settlers grew wine and built terraces for their vineyards. They also built stone hedges and for irrigation water tanks and channels, and all that still exists.
Today there are less vineyards but even more tomatoes. Never mind, their wine tastes so good and the village looks lovely:
General view of Banyalbufar, Serra de Tramuntana
Banyalbufar and the Mediterranean Sea
Yellow Banyalbufar houses
Sea view and good Banyalbufar wine
Yellow dry-stone buildings
Succulents on house wall
Typical lane of Banyalbufar
Pretty house wall and green window shutters
Banyalbufar and Estellencs are not touristic at all, at least outside the summer peak season (visiting in May we had the villages almost to ourselves). – But Valldemossa is different, it is a real tourist destination.
Tourists arrive at Valldemossa in bussloads, mainly for the monastery Reial Cartoixa where Chopin stayed with George Sand. They made the place world famous but even without these famous people Valldemossa is a big 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 next time in Mallorca we will rent an apartment here and not on the coast. As Valldemossa is less than 30 min from the beaches anyway.
Look at all these small details:
General view of Valldemossa, Mallorca
Iglesia de la Cartuja, Valldemossa
One of Valldemossa’s many dry-stone buildings
Stone building and windows, Valldemossa
Red roses in late May
A Restaurante Bar in stairs
Taking a bus tour to Valldemossa
Another street view
A shady street with cafes
White flowers in pots
Visiting Valldemossa, Mallorca, Spain
Walking to Esglesia de Sant Bartolomeu
Valldemossa flower pots
One more plant on the wall
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, born here in Valldemossa.
Port de Valldemossa
As Valldemossa is an inland town it has a separate fishing port, Port de Valldemossa. The port has good fish restaurants but the road down is a bit extreme. So only go down if your driver has good nerves, and above all the passengers.
This post contains a hike from Port de Valldemossa: 4 Ways to Explore the Pretty Costa del Sol
Driving on from Valldemossa, the next village Deia is located behind the high peak of Puig des Teix. Deia sits in a deep slope down in a sheltered valley and it looks like this village is in the middle of nowhere, really far from everything.
Deia is so far away but not really isolated. When the British writer Robert Graes lived here for years other artists followed, among them such names as Picasso. Gradually Deia became an artist village and later on wealthy people started moving here. Wealthy travelers tend to prefer Deia and the exclusive hotels around it and today half of the people living at Deia are from other countries than Spain.
Look at the hidden village of Deia in the Mallorcan mountains:
Deia deep in Serra de Tramuntana mountains
The upper part of Deia is on the hilltop
Typical house of Deia
… with blue window shutters
One of the many Deia restaurants
Houses on the banks of mountain river
A sunny terrace
Typical Deia dry-stone building
A Deia wall tile
Of course Deia, too, has a harbor, Cala de Deia half an hour’s walk down. We, However, have to skip it, it’s getting late and we have to drive on. It will get dark soon.
Mallorca Mountain Drive: Towards Soller
Drive from Deia to Soller
The scenery doesn’t get worse after Deia, the oppposite! You have the Mediterranean, mountains and olive trees. And fantastic manors where anybody would like to stay for a while to walk and see more of the shoreline.
But what always happens to us, we have been driving so slowly that it’s already getting dark, and we would still have so much to see! No choice, we have to get back to our hotel and return another time.
When we got to Soller it was almost dark, that’s the reason we don’t have any photos from there. But next time.
Goo there was a motorway back to Palma!
Bye-bye Serra de Tramuntana! Wish to see you soon!
More about Mallorca
To learn more about Mallorca check out our other posts related to the holiday island and the Visit Spain website:
- What to See in Palma de Mallorca Old Town
- 5 Great Ways to Find the Old, Beautiful Mallorca
- Visit Spain: Balearic Islands