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The Treasures of the Serra de Tramuntana

Map

Nine Stages of Hiking Joy

Situated in the northwest of the biggest of the Balearic Islands, the Tramuntana Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage site – and the GR 221 long-distance trail stretch across an area of 90 kilometres. The trail covers nine stages and leads through olive groves, gorges, and holm oak forests, from one idyllic mountain village to the next. We’ll introduce the most beautiful ones here.

Estellencs: Tradition Far from the Hustle and Bustle

If Estellencs wasn’t quite so small, you could easily get lost in its narrow, winding lanes strewn with stone houses featuring heavy wooden doors and lamella shutters. The village lies on the edge of the Puig des Galatzó and is one of the most traditional communities on the GR 221 hiking trail. The terraces built around Estellencs, with the help of dry stone walls, have been used to cultivate olives, wine, and vegetables for centuries. Constructed as a defensive tower, the bell tower of Sant Joan Baptista church once served to protect locals from pirate attacks.

Banyalbufar: Founded by the Sea

The typically Majorcan mountain village of Banyalbufar sits on a steep slope, surrounded by over 2000 terrace fields, which were set up by the Moors from the 13th century. The name is a mixture of Arabic and Catalan and means “founded by the sea”. This makes sense, given that the town – in contrast to most of the other mountain villages – was erected right by the coast. As a result, the paths leading to the little harbour and the beach of Cala Banyalbufar are short and steep. The ten-kilometre-long hiking trail to the fishing harbour Port des Canonge offers a family-friendly alternative to the GR 221.

Valldemossa: A Monastery with a Sea View

Hidden in a valley, Valldemossa rose to fame thanks to a visit from a celebrity couple: The composer Frédéric Chopin and the poet George Sand spent the winter of 1838/1839 at the town’s monastery. Sand raved about Valldemossa, calling it “the most beautiful place in the world” and the most beautiful in which she had ever lived. The monastery is open to tourists, and the old town itself is worth a visit, with its stone houses and steep alleys. From Valldemossa, the GR 221 takes hikers in a south-westerly direction to Esplores (9.3 km) and to the northeast to Deià (13.5 km).

Deià: The Artists’ Village

Robert Graves wrote poems here, Mike Oldfield played guitar at the bar “Sa Fonda”, and even Ava Gardner and Pablo Picasso fell for the village of Deià. Thanks to these well-known names, as well as other creative guests and residents, Deià earned itself the epithet of “Artists’ Village”. From here, hikers can embark on a 14-kilometre trek to Port de Sóller, while day trippers can make their way to the pebble-strewn bay of Cale Deià, just two kilometres away. But visitors can also extend their stay in this hamlet with a population of 600, built on a hill that towers above the sea at an elevation of 400 metres. It offers a breathtaking view down into the valley and beyond, over the Mediterranean and all the way to the Serra de Tramuntana.

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