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
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: road to Deia
Serra de Tramuntana
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
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:
But we are driving in Serra de Tramuntana, not hiking. Here are some views from the road:
Serra de Tramuntana from the Road
Serra de Tramuntana nature
Clear Mediterranean waters of Serra de Tramuntana
Mirador de Ricardo Roca
Serra de Tramuntana restaurant: Es Grau
View after Deia
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.
But now back to our Mallorca mountains driving route, first 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.
Estellencs, mountain village in Serra de Tramuntana
A typical Estellencs village lane
Flower in the lane, Estellencs
Flower pot on the stony wall
Laundy day at Estellencs, Serra de Tramuntana
Another village view
A pretty square
An old facade
Green window shutters of Mallorca
El gato, a cat
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.
General view of Banyalbufar, Serra de Tramuntana
Banyalbufar and the Mediterranean
Sea view and Banyalbufar wine
Succulents on house wall
Typical lane of Banyalbufar
Pretty house wall and windows
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:
General view of Valldemossa, Mallorca
Iglesia de la Cartuja, Valldemossa
One of Valldemossa’s dry-stone buildings
Stone building and windows, Valldemossa
Red roses in late May
Restaurante Bar in stairs
Bus tour to Valldemossa
Another street view
Shady street with cafes
White flowers in Valldemossa
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. 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.
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:
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
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
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.
Bye-bye Serra de Tramuntana
More on Mallorca Travel
My other posts on Mallorca: