With peaks up to 1370m/4500ft, the Sierra de Tramontana is a rugged limestone mountain range, which runs parallel to the NW coast of the island, forming one of the most spectacular coastlines of the Mediterranean. Mountain tops are bare, but lower slopes are thickly forested with holm oak and Aleppo pine. In the settled valleys there are ancient terraces of olive, orange and almond groves. A protected length of coastline includes an important bird sanctuary and you may see the rare European Black Vulture near Puig Roig. The villages of the mountains, such as Valldemossa, Soller, Deia, Biniaraix and Fornalutx are particularly attractive, with their mellow stonewalls and flower-bedecked balconies. Our carefully compiled route descriptions take you to the peaks of El Teix (1063m), along the 19th century "Archduke's trail" above Valldemossa, and the fine viewpoint of Massanella peak (1351m) near Lluc monastery. We follow the restored Pilgrims’ Way, which ascends a rugged barranco (gorge) from Biniaraix to Mirador d'Ofre. Also on our itinerary is the spectacular coastal footpath between Cuala Tuent and Mirador de ses Barques. Based at Soller for two nights you may choose to follow delightful footpaths to Deia, or take the vintage tram down to Puerto Soller for a boat trip to the beach of Sa Calobra (below the lofty cliffs which are the habitat of a wide range of seabirds including Eleonora's Falcon) or travel the vintage narrow-gauge railway to Palma and back. Our tour is based on three centres, the Santuari (monastery) of Lluc, the cathedral town of Soller and Valldemossa, famous for its Carthusian monastery and for its associations with Chopin and the Austrian Archduke Ludwig.
This holiday should present no difficulties to anyone in reasonable condition, and accustomed to moderate hill walking. Most of the walking is on well-defined footpaths, although there are a few stretches over rough ground. The ascent of peaks such as Masanella and Tomir are graded as challenging and can be awkward for people who cannot cope with rocky terrain with a bit of scrambling. Day stages: 5 to 7 hours walking per day on 4 days; shorter or optional walks on other days.
The Santuari de Lluc monastery and pilgrimage site is located in north-west Majorca. It is situated in a basin at 525m and is surrounded by a number of high mountains including Puig de Massanella and Puig Tomir. The sanctuary was founded in the 13th century after a Moorish shepherd found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site where the monastery was later erected. Lluc is considered to be the most important pilgrimage site on Majorca. There is choral singing in the monastery church at 19:30 on most evenings, which guests can attend.
Accommodation: Your first three nights are spent in well-furnished rooms with ensuite facilities. Clean sheets are provided but the monastic custom is that you make up your own beds. Rooms look either inwards over a peaceful courtyard or outwards to the surrounding thickly forested mountains. The Monastery clock is silent after 10pm. Meals are taken at an adjacent restaurant. The cuisine will be distinctively Mallorcan although with international overtones.
The walks can be switched around over days 2 and 3 depending on when you arrive. The circular walk around Puig Roig is only open on Sunday when the local farmer allows access onto his land. This is a longish day but not too strenuous and the way is a popular Mallorcan classic. It offers fine views of the rugged coastline and of the island’s highest peak, Puig Mayor.
Depending on the weather, there are a choice of walks to choose from today.
Option 1: The Ascent of Massanella (1352m / 4,435ft)
This is an attractive and rewarding walk, but it does require good weather and the absence of low cloud. The second highest peak and one of the finest viewpoints can be readily accomplished in about 5 hours. The lower slopes are thickly forested with holm oak, while above the Font de s'Avenc spring there is open heath land and bare rock up to the summit. Steep in places. There is a local entrance fee of 7 Euros.
Option 2: Explore Es Bosc Gran (The Big Wood)
Option 3: Take a bus down to the village of Caimari (20 minutes) and return by foot on the ancient pilgrim's trail to Lluc 8.10km / 5 miles, 3 hours.
Option 4: For those not daunted by a little scrambling Puig Tomir offers a challenging alternative, which the very fit and experienced hiker could attempt in less than a full day in clear weather. The ascent and circuit of the mountain, is 18.2km /11.30 miles and takes 7 hours, but offers some terrific views not seen from elsewhere on the walk.
In the morning you and your baggage are transferred by taxi (included in tour price) from Lluc to the small coastal inlet of Cuala Tuent. While your luggage is taken on to Soller by taxi, you follow the magnificently scenic coastal footpath to a view point at Sa Costera and beyond, where it turns inland through olive groves to Mirador de ses Barques. From here there is an afternoon bus to Soller. Note the cathedral designed in part by Antonio Gaudi in the main square of Soller.
Accommodation: Two nights are in a small 19th century hotel, only a few steps away from the main square. It has been recently renovated, while keeping its original Majorcan style. The hotel is now 4 star, and has a small spa with sauna and jaccuzi (free of charge).
A full day's walk, following a section of the old 16th century Pilgrims Trail which originally went all the way to Lluc Monastery. Starting from Soller walk to the small village of Biniaraix, from where the Pilgrims' Trail climbs steadily to the Mirador del Ofre and Es Cornadors (1009m), a magnificent viewpoint. From here you have a panoramic view over the great natural amphitheater of mountains, which makes up the valley of Soller. Looking up and down the range identify the various peaks of the range. As the direct return footpath from Mirador del Ofre down to Soller has now been closed by the landowners it is necessary to retrace our steps down the Pilgrims' Way, over Soller and it's port.
Today there are a number of options you may choose before your transfer by bus in the afternoon to Valldemossa.You can enjoy a boat trip along the coast from Puerto Soller to the fine, if busy, beach of Sa Calobra, take a scenic train ride on the narrow gauge railway from Soller to Palma and back, visit the fossil museum and botanic gardens at Soller, or walk to the beautiful village of Deia (11.6 km / 7.3 miles) which was for many years the home of the poet Robert Graves. You can then catch the bus on to Valldemossa from Puerto Soller, Soller or Deia.
Accommodation: Two evenings are spent in a 3 star hotel in the flower-bedecked hill village of Valldemossa. It is a superb renovation of an old house and has a spacious terrace with good views over the village and surrounding hills. Close by is the former monastery (now a museum) where Chopin and his mistress George Sand stayed.
The tour ends with one of Mallorca's most celebrated walks incorporating both splendid views and historical interest. Much of the path was constructed in the 19th century for the Archduke Ludwig of Austria who owned an estate at Valldemossa. Start off on a path, which zigzags up the Cairats Vaslley, before winding around the fantastic coast line, high above Deia. It roller coasts along to reach a wooded gully to descend to Valldemossa. This is a very popular route, and a quarter of the old route is now a nature reserve that has restricted access. There is a chance that some sort of payment system will come into play on this walk in the future.
After breakfast transfer by bus or taxi for your onward journey.
Per Person, Twin Share