Discovering a different Mallorca

Trish Burgess, 23 July, 2018
Blogger Trish Burgess took a trip down memory lane when she revisited Mallorca this May. Happily, that lane was even more scenic than she remembered…

There's an old, faded photograph of me, aged five, descending the steps of a plane after my first holiday abroad to Mallorca in 1969. I'm dressed in a poncho, a sombrero on my head, carrying a straw donkey.

Fast forward thirty years and I'm on the island again, this time with my own child as he joins in with the actions to all the songs at the hotel's mini-disco.

Now, as an empty nester, I've discovered a new Mallorca, one that's a world away from the typical tourist resorts I've known and loved. This Mallorca is lush and green, filled with flowers and citrus trees. It has soaring mountains and a rugged coastline. It's breathtakingly beautiful.

My husband Dougie and I are in the Tramuntana Mountains to follow some of the ancient cobbled paths that have been used for centuries to link the towns and villages of this remarkable western side of the island. We skirt past reservoirs, clamber down gorges and zig-zag around dry-stone walls. We catch glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea through branches of holm oak, step on countless black carob pods and marvel at the ancient gnarled olive trees.

Each walk rewards with a picturesque setting for our accommodation, giving us an incentive to get back to base in good time to enjoy it. Our first hotel is in the idyllic village of Fornalutx, said to be the prettiest in Mallorca, with its honey-coloured stone buildings and charming main square.

The Petit Hotel Fornalutx makes the most of the dramatic mountain scenery by providing sunbeds and a pool in the private garden. At breakfast, each table has its own basket of oranges for guests to do their own squeezing. An early morning hit of vitamin C doesn't come any fresher.

We then have three nights in nearby Sóller which is a bustling, colourful little town. There are Gaudí influences in the architecture of the main church and bank and, as we head to the train station, we're rewarded with free entry into a gallery showing superb examples of Joan Miró paintings and Picasso ceramics.

We sit in a café and watch the vintage electric trams trundle through the main square to Port de Sóller, a delightful harbour with a beach and a host of bars and restaurants that hug the curved bay, hinting at that other Mallorca of my past.

A short stroll from the main square in Sóller brings us to Hotel Ca'l Bisbe. This elegant former home of a bishop has large spacious rooms and balconies with spectacular views across to the mountains. Every afternoon we join fellow walkers, swapping hiking boots for flip-flops as we order a glass of Cava to be brought to the poolside.

If Fornalutx is the prettiest village in Mallorca, the competition hots up when we reach Valldemossa which Chopin claimed was 'the most beautiful place in the world'. Like its rival, this village is festooned with flowers: window boxes are overflowing and pot plants jostle for position outside every home.

In this chocolate-box location, we find the adorable Hotel Ca's Papa. Its white painted exterior is at odds with its natural stone neighbours, reminding me of a Cornish bolt-hole or a hip Scandi retreat. The hotel lounge features books, baskets of fruit, the squashiest sofas and an honesty bar.

There's a cushion on the sofa with the words 'Enjoy the simple things in life'. No wonder Inntravel chose this little place for its customers as it truly represents the spirit of Slow Travel.

At the end of the week we agree that walking in Mallorca is spectacular. It's wonderful to be up in the mountains and yet be so close to the sea; to begin the day in an orchard and end it at the beach.

Back home, I'm scrolling through my phone and find a photograph that makes me smile. I'm walking on a path just outside Sóller and a donkey has trotted over to say hello. It's a real donkey, not a straw one. I'm making more Mallorcan memories.

Mountains & Villages

Spend a week exploring the delightful north-west coast of Mallorca on our self-guided walking holiday from Fornalutx to Valldemossa, via the citrus-scented town of Sóller.
More about our walking holidays in Spain >
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