Must-visit places in the Tramuntana mountain range
Some say the Tramuntana mountain range in Mallorca is like the Garden of Eden – only without snakes (there are no snakes in Mallorca). As I have yet to see the Garden of Eden (it’s on my bucket list though), I can’t really say if that’s true, but I do find the beauty of Serra de Tramuntana otherworldly. The Tramuntana mountain range covers 30% (11.000 sq km) of the island’s territory and forms the backbone of Mallorca. The landscape is wild, beautiful, unwelcoming, dramatic and utterly fascinating. And in 2011 Serra de Tramuntana was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO for its physical and cultural significance, shaped by millennia of agriculture in an inhospitable terrain.
The Tramuntana mountain range is 90 km long and rises 1,445 m into to air at Puig Major, the highest peak in Mallorca. It can be experienced by car, train, on foot, bike or from the seaside. In this post, I’ll guide you to five beautiful destinations hidden in Tramuntana.
Mirador Es Colomer
We have many names for the people we love, and I guess that goes for the viewpoint Mirador Es Colomer as well. If you google Mirador Es Colomer, you’ll find that it’s also called Mirador de Mal Pas and El Mirador de Sa Creueta. I don’t know why, but I do know that the viewpoint offers a spectacular view of Serra de Tramuntana and the shimmering Mediterranean. The Colomer viewpoint is located 200 m above sea level, and from it you see the great rocky outcrops of the Tramuntana mountain range plunging vertically into the sea. You also see the small islet of El Colomer, a symbol of the Tramuntana wild coastline.
When you arrive at Mirador Es Colomer, you’re welcomed by a monument made in favour of Antonio Parietti Coll. He was a Spanish road engineer and the mastermind behind the serpentine road to Cala de Sa Calobra and the road to Cap Formentor. From the monument, you follow the walkway and end up on a big platform from where you can see Serre de Tramuntana in all its beauty.
Parking: There is free parking very close to Mirador Es Colomer.
Facilities: A toilet and a café. Do not use the toilet unless you absolutely have to. The experience will haunt you forever. At the café, you can buy snacks and something to drink.
Is it fun for kids: Older kids can definitely have fun at Mirador Es Colomer. Just the thought of plummeting to the ground from the viewpoint will fascinate them – you know how kids can be a bit morbid. Our boys (aged 7 and 9) enjoyed the view, but what they really thought was cool was the walking stick insect, we found in the gravel.
Cap de Formentor
The 20-kilometre peninsula northeast of the port of Pollenca is called Cap de Formentor, and at the very tip of it, you find a beautiful lighthouse. Like a lot of other people, we made our way to Cap de Formentor, and we found it to be well worth the hair-raising drive.
The view from the lighthouse is absolutely stunning. Don’t go if you’re on a tight schedule as you’ll spend a lot of time climbing the hairpin roads in the mountains. Google Maps estimates a 25-minute drive from Mirador Es Colomer to Cap de Formentor. It seems a bit optimistic, but I guess it also depends on when you choose to go. The lighthouse is a big tourist attraction, and you’ll quickly end up in a tailback if you go at a time where everyone else is going as well. Usually, the crowds start to build up by midmorning.
Parking: Free parking close to the lighthouse (a limited amount).
Facilities: A café with sandwiches, cakes and drinks. And a public restroom.
Is it fun for kids: Well, not really. You can always bribe them with some cake, but they’ll get restless after a while as beautiful views don’t tend to hold children’s attention for very long.
The city of Sóller
Sóller rimes on citrus. Well, no, it doesn’t. But it should. You’ll agree with me if you go to Sóller and see the gazillions of lemons, oranges and limes growing in the bowl-shaped valley that is home to Sóller. Today, the city’s economy is based partly on tourism, but in the 19th century, the city of Sóller became rich trading oranges and lemons. The former wealth of the city is reflected in the beautiful architecture, and the oranges and lemons also paid for a railway line to Palma in 1912, and a tram from Sóller to Port de Sóller. The scenery is picturesque and very inviting, and walking around in Sóller is like walking around in a romantic movie.
Everything from the narrow streets to the popular ice cream parlour in the beautiful town square is just so…..picture-perfect. And everything seems to go at a slower pace in Sóller, so there is not really much to do other than relax, take in the atmosphere and have a drink while watching the tram make its way back and forth from the station to Port de Sóller. Sóller is the biggest city at the Tramuntana-coastline.
Parking: Well, I don’t really know as we came with the train from Palma. More on that later.
Facilities: Restaurants, cafés, ice cream parlours and some small shops.
Is it fun for kids: The number of lemons and oranges will impress any child, but other than that there is not much to do for a young child in Sóller. I think Sóller is the most fun for kids who are okay with relaxing a bit while watching life go by. We had a great trip, but if you have kids who enjoy being active all the time, Sóller is not the place to go.
Port de Sóller
The feeling of being in a romantic movie only gets more intense when you arrive in Port de Sóller. Hotels, restaurants and small shops encircle the almost round bay with clear, blue water, and there is a beautiful beach as well as a busy boat harbour located shoulder to shoulder in the bay. In recent years, Port de Sóller has become a preferred destination for hikers as the city is a very good starting point for going hiking in the Tramuntana mountain range. One of the more manageable hikes from Port de Sóller takes you to the tower Torre Picador on the north side of the bay. Torre Picada is a guard and defence tower from the 17th century when pirates were a very real thing.
How to get to Port de Sóller: By tram from Sóller. You can probably also go by car, but riding the tram is very much a part of the Port de Sóller-experience. It takes about half an hour to go from Sóller to Port de Sóller by tram, and it’s a really pretty ride. The tram is from 1913 and was the first electric tram line on Mallorca. 4868 m of tracks were laid from Sóller to Port de Sóller, and the initial electric power station was fed by a 65 horsepower explosive engine. Today the tram only carries people, but it used to transport fresh fish and coal as well. The three motor trams, numbered 1, 2 and 3, and their trailers 5 and 6, are the originals, dating from 1912. The open trailers called ‘jardinera’ were acquired from Palma trams in 1954.
Tickets: You buy tickets on board the tram. A single costs 4€, a return is 8€. And remember to bring cash. They do not accept any kind of credit or debit card on the tram.
Is it fun for kids: Port de Soller is a fun town for kids to explore. There are fish of all shapes and sizes swimming in the harbour, and with some bread you can almost make them jump. The beach is also a great place for kids to play. Our kids really loved the tram as well. We sat in one of the open trailers, and it felt kind of exciting to just sit there without any kind of safety precautions.
El Tren de Sóller
Going from Palma to Sóller with El Tren de Sóller is a must-do thing in Mallorca. It’s also one of the most popular excursions on the island. What makes this one hour trip from Palma to Sóller special is not so much the landscape (although it is always highlighted in every guidebook), but the old wooden crafted train passenger cars from around 1911, you sit in. The passenger cars are small by today’s standards, but they’re extremely charming. And you’re allowed to stand outside on the whole trip. Did Emil love that – oh, I think so. We didn’t see him the entire train ride.
Some facts about the Sóller railway: It crosses the 2,8 km wide and 496 m high Sierra de Alfàbia mountain range. To do that, the railway rises 199 m with an inclination of 23 mm and runs through 13 tunnels ranging in length from 33 to 2,876 m. The train also crosses several bridges and a viaduct with 5 arches.
Tickets: You buy tickets for El Tren de Sóller at the main train station in Palma. You can’t reserve tickets, and they only accept cash. When you buy the tickets, you also have to decide when you want to come back. Two kinds of tickets are available: One including the tram-ride to Port de Sóller and one without the tram-ride. Tickets from Palma to Sóller cost 25€ one way – a total cost of 50€ return. For 45€, you get a round ticket from Palma to Sóller, plus return tickets for the tram. Check the prices here – I think they change depending on the season. If you go by car to the train station in Palma, you should know that there is a big basement car park close to the station. Use that. In a lot of other parking lots, you’re only allowed to park for a couple of hours (it makes no sense).
Some thoughts and tips: We chose to go all in and bought tickets to the train and tram, which was quite expensive. Another time I would probably go by car to Sóller and only buy a ticket for the tram. But that’s just my opinion – Emil looooved the train ride from Palma to Sóller. See the timetable here: El Tren de Sóller timetable.
Torrent de Pareis
If you love plunging cliffs, clear water and destinations you have to struggle a bit to get to, you don’t want to miss the beach where the gorge Torrent de Pareis ends. You’ll find more info on the beach at the bottom of this post: Four beautiful beaches in Mallorca. Next time we go back to Mallorca, I definitely want to do the hike from Escorca, through the gorge to Sa Calobra. It’s said to be one of the most challenging hikes in Mallorca.
That was it. I hope you found this post useful. If so – why not pin it. You have to do the hover-thing.