Those seeking a more active break away from home during springtime would do well to consider the advantages of choosing a rambling holiday through the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range on the island of Mallorca.
Mallorca has, for a long time appealed to those who enjoy walking and hiking. It is not only the lure of the beautiful mountains and passes of the Serra de Tramuntana that attracts visitors but also the wonderful natural parks and wildlife reserves that can be found around the island.
The reasons for walking are not confined solely to those seeking exercise and wonderful views but also for those wishing to explore the nature, history, culture and cuisine of this diverse area.
Serra de Tramuntana is the largest natural park and nature reserve on Mallorca and is famous for its beauty and spectacular scenery.
Stretching from its most southern point on the west coast at Sant Elm to the most northern point on the north east coast at Cap de Formentor, in 2011 the Tramuntana was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO and is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Balearics whose visitors leave inspired by the extraordinary landscape and culture.
The mountain range is host to some of the most beautiful towns and villages on Mallorca with examples being Valldemossa, Banyalbufar, Deia, Soller, Estellencs, Fornalutx and of course Pollensa.
The region covers an area of 1000 square kilometres and has many mountains over 1000 metres high, with the highest within the Balearics being Puig Major, which overlooks the Cuber Reservoir.
This reservoir is one of the main water supplies for the island as well as a major destination for bird watchers and hikers. Black Vultures, Griffon Vultures and Blue Rock Thrushes are commonly seen in the area.
The nature of the geophysical landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana means that it is suitable for those who are seasoned mountain walkers whilst more gentler routes throughout the range are ideal for the less adventurous!
For those wanting to ‘go it alone’ with just a guide book and a map, the Serra de Tramuntana is difficult to beat. GR 221, otherwise known as the ‘Dry Stone Route’, is an eight-stage walking route starting from Port d’Andratx on the far west coast of Mallorca and finishing in Pollensa in the northeast corner of the island nearly 56 miles away as the crow flies.
This is the longest hiking path within the Balearic Archipelago and keen walkers and hikers can spend seven days in the Tramuntana Mountains staying at a selection of refuges, hotels and guesthouses along the way or in one of the nearby amazing towns or villages. By visiting places of historical, cultural, scientific and natural interest along route GR 221 it is possible to cover a total distance of over 90 miles.
This rich culture and heritage has inspired many Spanish and international artists, musicians and writers, across the centuries, to leave their legacy. Famous examples include Chopin, who has a museum in memory of him in Valldemossa, Robert Graves who is buried at Deia and Agatha Christie who wrote one of her best sellers whilst staying in Puerto Pollensa.
This wonderful mountain range also includes miles of beautiful coastline surrounded by a natural environment which forms a unique maritime landscape with majestic cliffs, tranquil coves, crystal waters and stunning beaches. It is impossible not to be moved and inspired by the sheer beauty of this lovely area.
The region has a recognised culinary heritage created by the sea and the mountains. The people of the Serra de Tramuntana are great ambassadors of authentic Mallorcan cuisine.
They take great pride in selecting regional produce cultivated with ancestral wisdom on the agricultural terraces which often form part of the lower slopes of this inspiring range of mountains. Local oils, meat and seafood, in company with excellent wines means there is a huge selection of excellent Mallorcan restaurants to suit all pockets, many situated in iconic locations.
The local farmers are skilled in cultivating this diverse landscape by constructing terraces that divert water from the mountains into areas ideal for crop production.
Deià, a beautiful village in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, has a great selection of restaurants, including Es Racó d’es Teix, which has held a Michelin star since 2002. The beach at Deià has two fish restaurants, both offering wonderful views out to sea.
One of these, Ca’s Patro March, was used by the BBC for filming a sequence in The Night Manager, the hugely successful television series of a few years ago. The resort of Puerto Pollensa in the north of the Tramuntana offers an excellent choice of restaurants, many with great sea views. Whilst not all restaurants and hotels may have fully opened during the spring there are many that have and it is an excellent time to visit this charming Mediterranean island prior to the influx of sun seekers during the height of the season.
The luxury 5 star boutique hotel, Belmond La Residencia, is located in Deia and consists of 73 individually styled guest rooms and suites, a fine dining restaurant and a bistro. The hotel and restaurants will reopen after the winter on the 21st March 2019.
There are a number of other extremely good hotels spread out within the Serra de Tramuntana also containing fine dining restaurants with the only 2 Michelin starred restaurant in the Balearics, Restaurant Zaranda, located within the secluded 5 star Castel Son Claret hotel to the northeast of the town of Andratx.
Three other hotels of note located within the Serra de Tramuntana are the Gran Hotel Son Net, with 31 guestrooms and suites and two fine dining restaurants overlooking the village of Puigpunyent, The Son Brull Hotel and Spa three kilometres from Pollensa on the edge of the mountain range and the Hotel Valldemossa. This small hotel set in 17 acres of private grounds is in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana with spectacular views and a gourmet restaurant open to non-residents.
Whilst these hotels occupy the top positions in the list of accommodation and fine food for the area and cater for very discerning tastes, it should be remembered that both restaurants and hotels/guest houses catering for all tastes and pockets are common throughout the region.
For those who may prefer a more organised expedition into the area, local guides with extensive knowledge of the culture, heritage, flora and fauna of the region can be hired by the half day, day or longer periods with organised accommodation within the region.
Described as a guided tour around the real Mallorca, ‘Walking on Words’ is a government backed project which encompasses seven walking routes within the Serra de Tramuntana and beyond, specialising in promoting the culture, history, life and literature of the region.
Walks visit museums, architectural venues and countryside which have influenced famous authors and poets from the past. Full details can be obtained from Tourist Information Offices in Alcudia, Pollensa and Puerto Pollensa.
What ever your tastes or physical ability the Serra de Tramuntana has something for everyone so why not come and enjoy this beautiful region and explore its wildlife, history and culture?