Walks in Serra de Tramuntana

The Serra de Tramuntana is an imposing mountain range that stretches some 80 kilometers in a southwest-northeast direction just inland from the coast. It is an area of staggering beauty with its imposing peaks and plunging cliffs above the rocky coastline interspersed with valleys of olive and citrus groves. The highest peak is Puig Major, which rears up to a height of 1436 meters above sea level.

The generally mild Mediterranean climate gives rise to an abundance of pine woods holm oak and much varied undergrowth such as strawberry trees, rosemary, wild lavender, cistus and lentrisca. Bird life abounds and in the skies above we may see black vultures, osprey and red kite near the reservoirs as well as many other birds of prey. Mountain goats, deer and wild pig are frequently seen on the mountains and in the forests.

The charming town of Soller nestles in the mountains and is a major gateway town for the region. It has a wonderful old train service connecting it to the capital, Palma. Soller provides all necessary facilities and makes an ideal base for hiking in the Traumantana. There is a tram service from Soller down to the Port of Soller, very popular with tourists but also a good base. Nearby is the popular town of Valdemosa as well as Deia, the beautiful little hilltop town that was the home of the poet and novelist Robert Graves. At the northern end of the chain the Monastery of Lluc (www.lluc.net) now offers excellent standards of accommodation in converted monks’ cells as well as a range of restaurants. This provides a convenient and delightful base for hiking in the northern end of the range.

Probably the best times for walking are spring and autumn but walking in the summer months is possible provided one avoids the hottest part of the day and, perhaps, the steeper climbs. In winter and spring weather can be changeable and there is likely to be snow on the higher peaks. There are many hikes available in the region, the majority of which are quite well maintained and signed. There are many useful information boards. The GR221 is the most well know route. In 8 stages it connects the Port of Andratx, near Palma in the southwest of the Island across the Serra de Tramuntana to Pollenca in the extreme northeast.

With frequent and well-priced flights to and from Mallorca, the Serra de Tramuntana makes a wonderfully varied and fulfilling hiking destination.

Sanctuary of Lluc
Located in the northern Serra de Tramuntana, between Soller and Polença, is the imposing Sanctuary of Lluc. This has been a place of religious importance for hundreds of years. There is a beautiful Basilica with a choir of local children that performs twice a day. There are also a museum of great interest and a botanical garden with flowers and plants typical of both Spain and the Balearic Islands. Surrounded by the majesty of the mountains of the Serra Tramuntana this is a truly imposing place.

Accommodation is available here at very reasonable rates (www.lluc.net) with English pages available.There are rooms and apartments all with en suite facilities; the latter having a fridge and a two ring cooker. However pots and pans and plates etc are not provided. There are 6 restaurants on site or nearby and there is a café. The hostal service is a little quirky – rooms are cleaned only now and again and sheet and towels are provided every few days. Your are supposed to make your own beds and clean!! There is a cash machine, chemist and some shops including a bakery cum food shop with a limited range available,

There is also a refuge called the Refugi Son Amer.very close to the Sanctuary (971517109) which offers cheap dormitory bunk beds and a breakfast for around 15 Euros per night

There is little other accommodation available between Soller and Polença and so for hiking in the northern part of the Serra de Tramuntana the Sanctuary of LLuc provides an interesting and convenient option. Booking is advisable and the place is very busy at weekends.

This is the local name given to small circular and flat pieces of land that you will frequently come across when hiking through the forests of the Serra de Tramuntana on Majorca. These date back to the times when the making of charcoal was an important forest industry to meet the need for supplying homes with this material for cooking and heating. Cut timber was stacked and covered with an earth or clay covering allowing a vent or chimney at the top through which lighted branches were dropped. A period of slow combustion followed which took several days to achieve the desired result. During this time the workers and often their families lived nearby in small circular stone walled huts, roofed with branches, so that the process could be closely supervised.You will often see the remains of these little stone buildings. Later the charcoal was delivered to market by mule and cart.

Limestone ovens
You may often come across the remains of these ovens as you walk through the forests of the Island. These often quite large circular pits were dug out and lined with stones. At the bottom was a small entrance for the removal of the lime. Once a extremely high temperature fire of branches had been started at the bottom of the pit, large limestone rocks were added. Over time these split and broke up. Later the small particles of limestone, once cooled, were removed and pounded into a powder. This was collected and transported to market. The powder was mixed with water to form a paste which was used for painting both the interior and exterior of the primitive houses as a means of reducing disease and reflecting heat.

Jim Arymar

Serra Tramuntana


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