An absolute must for anyone visiting Mallorca is a trip to Soller, a few miles from the coast, on the north of the island at the edge of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.
Whilst easily accessible by bus or car, the most popular method of travel to this town by tourists is via the narrow gauge railway which runs from the capital Palma, through the mountains arriving approximately an hour later at Soller’s beautiful and historic railway station.
Built using the proceeds of a vibrant orange and lemon industry, in 1912 the privately owned Ferrocarril de Soller (FS) began a rail service on a 3’ gauge railway running wooden carriages which are still in use today.
The line was electrified in 1929 and winds its way through almond, orange and lemon groves and stunning scenery, across viaducts and through tunnels as it crosses the mountains from Palma to Soller over a distance of approximately 27 kilometres.
During the journey the train stops to allow passengers to take photographs of some of the amazing scenery en route.
Between March and October the trains run seven times daily reducing to five times a day from November through February. For train times, which are subject to change, click here.
Ferrocarril de Soller has its own rail terminus in the centre of Palma just off the Placa de Espanya and next to the park which borders the Estacio Intermodel, one of the city’s underground railway stations. If travelling to the station by car there is a large car park close by at Joan March.
The station itself is relatively small and contains a museum detailing the history of the railway. On the exterior there is a large façade denoting the building as Ferrocarril de Soller so it is difficult to miss!
As well as single or return rail tickets the ticket office here also sells discounted tickets for the Soller tram which takes passengers the five kilometres from the centre of Soller to Port de Soller and back, a worthwhile purchase and deviation from the town itself.
The railway station at Soller is a converted 17th century mansion containing two rooms featuring works by Picasso and Miro. Just outside the station’s entrance is the start of the Tranvia de Soller, the heritage tram system which links Soller to its port and is run and owned by the Ferrocarril de Soller train company.
The tram system began operation just a year after the railway and from here the single track layout, which incorporates passing loops, travels through a further sixteen halts finally reaching the marina at the far end of the port.
From the port why not take a ferry to Sa Calobra and the Torrent de Pareis gorge which consists of two sand and pebble beaches set against the backdrop of the Serra de Tramuntana and is a beautiful place to swim or just soak up the sun?
The trip takes an hour each way and is very popular, particularly when the alternative method of transport is via a very steep, narrow winding road, not for the faint hearted! Tickets for the ferry trip can be purchased at the port or alternatively from the Ferrocarril de Soller station in Palma.
As a destination, Soller offers much to the discerning visitor including magnificent botanical gardens, a museum and art gallery, a beautiful church and wonderful urban architecture combined with narrow streets, charming cafes and restaurants and shops selling handcrafted Mallorcan gifts.