Yes, Mallorca does have beautiful beaches, but since the hinterland is not to be missed, follow my footsteps on some of the best – and at the time very easy – hikes.
- Nature’s Treasures
- What to Know Before You Go
- Easy Hikes
- On the Barefoot Trail of Puigpunyent
- From Port d’Andratx to Sant Elm
- From Felanitx to the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador
- From Sóller to Fornalutx
- A Circular Hike at Fornalutx
- Getting Around by Public Bus
- Pinnable Pictures
The island of Mallorca is the largest one of the Balearic Islands about 170 kilometers off the coast near Barcelona. The Balearics consists of Menorca, Cabrera, Ibiza, Formentera, and Mallorca, obviously. Yet, in addition to these five inhabited islands, there are also 146 uninhabited keys.
Like the other Balearic Islands, Mallorca belongs geologically to the Andalusian Fold Mountains. Because of their marine origin, the rocks are rich in limestone and contain many fossils. Also, the predominating limestone rocks are easily soluble in water.
However, Mallorca’s mountain regions, the largely unpopulated Serra de Tramuntana in the northwest and the less spectacular Serres de Llevant in the east, mainly contain dolomite. Yet, the Serres de Llevant also contains marl which causes faster erosion in the eastern part of the mountains. Consequently, today, this mountain range is much lower than the Serra de Tramuntana in the northwest.
In 2011, UNESCO has declared the Serra de Tramuntana a World Heritage Site. This way, they acknowledged the symbiosis between natural and human factors that over the centuries has had a strong impact on the traditions and culture.
Mallorca has a lush flora of over 1,500 species. The fauna, however, is less rich and includes only a few mammals. The only larger mammals living in the wild are feral goats. You’ll probably run into some of them on your hikes.
However, there are many bird species. In the Albufera wetland live purple grouse and crested coots as well as egrets and bitterns. Black vultures inhabit the Tramuntana mountains, and pink flamingos the salt flats in the southwest of the mesmerizing Calas.
During my trip to Mallorca, I stayed at the capital city Palma. It was the best gateway to the island’s many amazing hiking grounds. However, since Mallorca has an east-west extension of 98 kilometers and a north-south extension of 78 kilometers, you can follow my footsteps on all these beautiful trails no matter where on the island you’re based.
I’d also like to point out that I’m not driving. But since Mallorca has a pretty amazing, comprehensive network of public transportation, going everywhere I needed to go was a piece of cake.
But enough with all these general explanations – you’ll get more information and tips at the end of this post, anyway. Tie your hiking shoelaces properly and let’s hit those mesmerizing trails.
What to Know Before You Go
Exploring parts of Mallorca hiking, you will discover the picturesque unity of the sea and the mountains as well as the local flora and fauna. You’ll gain totally new perspectives of the valleys and mountain villages – literally and metaphorically.
Mallorca’s long-distance hiking trail, the so-called Ruta de Pedra en Sec, hence, the dry stone route, is certainly the highlight for passionate hikers. However, there is a whole lot to discover even for less experienced wanderers.
Mallorca’s Mediterranean climate makes hiking pleasant all year round. Yet, the island’s coolest and rainiest region is the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.
The best time to hike is actually during the almond blossom season from February to the end of May.
In Mallorca, you will rarely find well-marked hiking trails, even on the long-distance hiking trail GR 221. Although hiking routes are usually well developed, they often lead across private territories.
Nevertheless, many landowners allow individual hikers on their grounds. Yet, if you meet a landowner, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether you can cross the property: ¿Se puede pasar?
If you see signs saying something like Prohibit pasar or Prohibido el paso, trespassing is prohibited.
Many trails are marked with cairns, colored dots, or even wooden signs. Still, sometimes you have to look carefully to note the stones in the tall grass or in the rugged rocky terrain. Hence, it doesn’t hurt to have the hiking maps I’m adding below on you. Also, GPS is a useful tool on longer tours.
On the Barefoot Trail of Puigpunyent
How to Get There
The village of Puigpunyent is only 15 kilometers west of the capital. By car, you leave Palma on the Ma-0141 and get there in less than half an hour. If you take the bus, as I did, you can take bus #201 from the Estació Intermodal towards Galilea. After six stops and half an hour, you arrive at the bus stop of Puigpunyent.
During the week, there are nine buses per day, on weekends, there are only five. Therefore, if you go on a Saturday or Sunday, mind you that there is bus #201 in the morning at 9.15 a. m. You then arrive in Puigpunyent at 9.40 a. m. The first opportunity back to Palma is already at 1.15 p. m.
They say that the hike takes about three hours so you should be fine. Nevertheless, if you take a longer break or too many photo stops, it can get really tight, and if you miss this one, you have to wait for the next one for three and a half hours till 4.50 p. m.
Therefore, if it’s not too hot, I’d suggest you take the #201 to Puigpunyent at 12.45 p. m. so that you start your hike there at 1.10 p. m. This way, you have almost four hours to make it back by bus at 4.50 p. m. And even if you miss that one, the following one leaves at 6.15 p. m. so that your wait will be just long enough for a refreshment at one of Puigpunyent’s cute cafés or bars.
However, you’ll find a great system map, timetables, and further useful information on this website.
…a route of about ten kilometers in total with a net walking time of around three hours. I’m not a fast hiker and also wanted to take many pictures, therefore, I needed around 3.5 hours. I made it in time for the bus at 4.50 p. m. – see below – but it was really tight. The high difference will be approximately 400 meters.
During your hike, every time you’re in doubt which way to go, there will be either a red dot, a directional arrow, or even a real sign – it’s almost like magic.
The walk is quite easy and the trails are in good condition, hence, good sneakers with a profiled sole should do. Nevertheless, it’s always better to wear hiking boots with high shafts that also protect your ankles.
Ready, Steady, Go
The hike begins at the northern side of Puigpunyent at the Carretera Esporles. Here you can walk up the Ma-1101 road following the signs Es Grau and Esporles. In a left bend, you will turn right onto a stony footpath at the sign Es Grau. This leads slightly up to a larger property.
Follow a red dot straight ahead at the property and continue up the path through a sparse pine forest. Eventually, the route continues upwards partly on the road and on stony paths that branch off from the Ma-1101 several times – mind the arrows. Hiking on the road, be prepared for some really crazy drivers – that you normally can already hear coming roaring from far. Still, be careful.
Finally, after around 35 minutes past the property, you will reach the Coll des Grau. There you hike down about 100 meters and turn left at the sign Puigpunyent, Son Fortesa.
You enter the property through an iron gate and later you’ll also pass the entrance gate of the Sa Comuna de Superna. Now follow the sign Sa Campaneta and after about ten minutes, you’ll see the entrance gate of the homonymous estate. Don’t worry about the signs Propiedad Privada – private property – and Camí Particular – private road – access is allowed.
Hike with a View
This will probably be your first extended photo stop since the view here is impressive. On the right, the panorama sweeps from the Serra des Puntals over the Mola de Son Ferrandell the Talaia Vella near Valldemossa to the Teix massif. The Puig de Galatzó and the Puig de na Bauçà rise to the left. You can even spot the sea at Santa Ponça.
Continue on the wide slope which ascends moderately. At a bifurcation, follow the directional arrow, pass a wall passage, then an open iron gate, and turn left at the sign Puigpunyent, Son Fortesa. A little later, there is a left turn at a post arrow and a red marking.
A paved path now leads up to a larger plain on the right of the path and later to a wall passage.
Behind the breach, there is a forest path going downhill. A sign indicates that you are now in a hunting area.
At a bifurcation, follow the arrow, and about ten minutes after the breach in the wall you’ll get to a place where a stone pyramid and a red arrow point to a path to the left. This trail leads to the Ermita de Sant Onofre.
Remnants from the Past
The hermitage, which today is in ruins, was built in 1660. For about 30 years, monk Jaume Català lived at the Ermita. Eventually, farmer Francesc Llinàs lived here from 1917 to 1934 and worked the terraces around the Ermita with his parents.
Now go back to the main path and turn left. The slope then leads past a lime kiln. At a later fork in the road, turn left – according to the arrow – and you reach the Trescollet saddle.
There is a plaque on the saddle showing the old path from Estellencs. Until 1913, this Camí Vell d ’Estellencs was the only connection between Estellencs and Puigpunyent.
From the Trescollet saddle, continue straight on the wide slope that ascends into the valley. As you reach crossings, you follow the cairns, arrows, and red dots. You’ll pass a gap in the wall and then another wall passage. Here you continue straight, and a bit later you pass the former mountain Finca Sa Muntanya. Following the arrow, you’ll get to the old Sa Teulera brickworks.
An arrow shows you where to turn right onto a shortcut trail that leads back to the main path. Descending, you get to a fence, turn left. About 100 meters further, a slatted frame to your right serves as a gate. Climb through it and close it after yourself – yes, even a little sign tells you so…those Mallorquins are rustic yet thorough. Now you find yourself on the road to the Possessió Son Fortesa.
Keep on walking on the comfortable road and you’ll get back to the northern tip of Puigpunyent where your beautiful hike began.
From Port d’Andratx to Sant Elm
How to Get There
The hike begins on the outskirts of Port d’Andratx, a posh harbor about 32 kilometers west of Palma. By car, you leave Palma on the Ma-01 and get there in a bit more than half an hour. If you go there by public transport as I did, you can take bus #101 from the Estació Intermodal. This ride takes about 50 minutes. Between 6.46 a. m. and 9 p. m., buses go more or less hourly – even on Sundays.
If after your hike to Sant Elm, you don’t want to make it back walking, you can take bus #121 from Sant Elm to Port d’Andratx as well as Andratx. From there you take bus #101 to Palma. However, bus #121 circulates between 7.15 a. m. and 8.25 p. m.
You’ll find a great system map, timetables, and further useful information on this website.
…a route of about nine kilometers in total with a net walking time of around three hours. The high difference will be approximately 300 meters.
The walk is quite easy. Most of the paths are in good condition, hence, good sneakers with a profiled sole should do. Nevertheless, it’s always better to wear hiking boots with high shafts that also protect your ankles. The only a bit critical moment is when you have to get over the summit next to the broadcasting tower. The right spot is about 150 meters behind the tower and unfortunately not that easy to find.
Ready, Steady, Go
The hike to Sant Elm starts close to the yacht club at Port d’Andratx. Coming from the village on the Avinguda de Gabriel Roca i Garcías, turn right into Carrer Aldea Blanca Calle and at the next bifurcation left into the Carrer de Cala d’Egos. First, this asphalted road is winding uphill in serpentines. Later, it becomes a well-graded dirt road. This is actually the hardest yet least alluring part of the hike.
However, walkers can follow the marginally more interesting shortcut going straight up the hill.
Once you reached the top, turn right and follow a comfortable yet partly rocky wide path. You are now in the countryside from where you can enjoy many mesmerizing views.
Just continue on the trail. Keep your eye on the high broadcasting tower. Once you reach this mast, it gets a bit tricky since you have to find the right spot in a low stone fence. I was walking up and down like an idiot. One moment, I looked over the fence just to spot two free climbers. Nope, this was not the way I intended to descend.
Finally – and with the help of an Austrian hiker – I found the correct spot where I climbed over the knee-high wall to follow the trail over the Pas Vermeil, hence, the red path.
Descending to Sant Elm
As soon as you reach a dirt double track, you continue left towards Sant Elm. The trail then continues through some forests. There are cairns to guide you, but you really have to pay attention to spot them.
The trail towards St Elm eventually follows the coast and finally, you will reach the village over some long, steep stairs.
After a break at Sant Elm, you can go back to Andratx by bus – or walking, if you like. Or you continue to the Sa Trappa Monastery.
From Felanitx to the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador
How to Get There
Since Felanitx is on the route from Palma to Manacor, another important city, on weekdays, bus #501 goes approximately by the hour. The ride takes a bit over an hour.
There are two stops in Felanitx. The first one is Polígon Felanitx which is a bit on the outskirts. That’s where I got off and then I had to walk all the way downtown. You do not make this mistake and get off at the following stop Ernest Mestre which is right in the heart of the city.
If you don’t start your hike too late, you won’t have to worry about the ride back to Palma. As I said, it’s a highly frequented route with the last connection at 9.20 p. m.
You’ll find a great system map, timetables, and further useful information on this website.
…a route of about seven kilometers, five of those going uphill. The net walking time should be about two hours each way max. The high difference is a bit over 500 meters.
The walk is not too hard, however, you’ll be climbing up quite steep trails. Although good sneakers with a profiled sole should do, it’s always better to wear hiking boots with high shafts that also protect your ankles.
Ready, Steady, Go
The walk starts in the city of Felanitx at the Parc Municipal de la Torre. It’s called a park, but don’t expect any greenery, it’s rather like a concrete soccer field. Anyway, you have to cross the park and continue on Carrer de Rocabertí eastwards. If you don’t have enough water on you, you can purchase some at the Park Café Restaurant. Your next opportunity to quench your thirst will be way up high at the Bar San Salvador.
Continue on the Carrer de Rocabertí and as you reach the first crossroad, just keep on walking straight ahead. You’ll get to an old factory and one of the old mills close to La Teringa dels Molins. Here you bear left.
Pass the old factory Can Farineta, the old mill, and some orchards. Every time you get to a crossroads, you go straight.
On the Road to Sant Salvador
This way, you advance eastwards between small farms and large, at that time of the year quite dry fields. The street veers gently to the right until you finally reach road PMV-4011. From now on, you can basically just follow the long and winding main road.
However, as you are hiking, you don’t have to walk up in serpentines as cars and bikes do, but you can take quite steep shortcuts and ‘goat tracks’.
Halfway up the mountain is the Mare Déu del Bon Pastor chapel, short Sa Capelleta. According to legend, here, a shepherd found the statuette of the Mother of God.
Opposite the chapel, you’ll spot the stairs that are the beginning of the old way of the cross. From here, you’ll pass 13 milestones with azulejos from the 16th century.
A couple of curves above the chapel is your first milestone, namely the Creu des Picot. As a matter of fact, this stone cross is on the summit of the Puig des Milá, a mountain about 250 meters from the plateau of the Puig de Sant Salvador.
A short, narrow footpath leads up to the cross. The stone cross is 14 meters high and was erected in 1957.
From here, you can either continue uphill on the road so that your next stop will be the iconic monument of Christ Pantocrator or Cristo Rei. The entire monument is 37 meters high as a 30 meters high base carries a 7 meters high sculpture of Christ made of blackened bronze.
Under the base of the monument, there is a chapel for prayer and meditation. It contains the remains of Canónigo D. Mateo Alzamora, who had commissioned the monument, as well as five hermits from the Santuari de Sant Salvador. Unfortunately, the chapel is not open to the public.
Another option is climbing up a dirt road straight up to the summit and visiting the Cristo Rei monument on your descent.
On the summit of Puig Sant Salvador, you can visit the Santuari de Sant Salvador, a former monastery and pilgrimage site, founded in 1348. Or you just sit outside the Bar Sant Salvador, enjoying a drink and the overwhelming views.
If you are an early riser or don’t depend on the last bus back to Palma which leaves downtown Felanitx at 9.20 p. m., you’ll even have the option to enjoy the sunrise respectively sunset over Mallorca from the summit of Sant Salvador.
From Sóller to Fornalutx
How to Get There
There are two direct busses between Palma and Sóller, #203 and #204.
#203 crosses the mountains, hence, the trip is more scenic, but it also takes longer.
On weekdays, the first bus #204 leaves Palma at 6.30 a. m. and reaches Sóller in less than an hour. Until 9 p. m., buses are going every half an hour respectively after 6 p. m. by the hour.
…a route of about 7.5 kilometers in total with a net walking time of around two hours. The high difference will be approximately 370 meters.
This walk is rather an extended stroll than a hike. Therefore, good sneakers with a profiled sole should do.
Ready, Steady, Go
The walk begins at Sóller‘s centrally-located Plaça de la Constitució. From there, walk down Carrer de la Lluna and then turn left into Carrer de la Victòria de l’Onze de Maig. As you reach the soccer field, turn right into Camí de Murterar. At the Can Rave bridge, turn left into Camí de Ses Moncades.
After about 50 meters turn right, following the signs to Fornalutx. After just a few meters. turn left to climb to Sa Capelleta. The path ends at the shrine Santa María de l’Olivar. The olive groves that you pass on your way were one of Sóller‘s main sources of income in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Santa María de l’Olivar started out as a small chapel, built in 1917. It is in the shape of a Greek cross with a dome over semi-circular arches.
To continue your hike to Fornalutx, you go down the path you came up.
Here, you walk towards Fornalutx on the GR 221 dry stone route. As you reach the next bifurcation, you turn left and follow a cobbled path. This trail leads you between orange and olive groves to the little village of Binibassí.
Binibassí consists of a handful of houses built in the 16th Century. Also, there is a defense tower and the impressive Binibassí estate. A signpost is indicating the way to Sóller, Fornalutx, and Biniaraix.
If you don’t mind extending your hike a bit, you should definitely visit the latter settlement. Actually, it is an old Arabic farmstead that belonged to Count Hug d’Empúries after Mallorca was conquered by Jaume el Conqueridor in 1229.
As you take the route toward Fornalutx, the landscape is peppered with watermills from the 15th and 16th centuries. Slowly, the ascent begins and the views are getting more and more spectacular.
Finally, you get to Fornalutx’s cemetery.
To go back to Sóller, first, take the Ma-2120 road. As you reach a bifurcation, turn right following the sign “A Sóller a peu per Binibassí”. At the end of this road, turn left and just follow the path to Binibassí and then continue to the Plaça de la Constitució where your hike had begun.
A Circular Hike at Fornalutx
How to Get There
There is no direct bus between Palma and Fornalutx. Nevertheless, the connection is easy and reliable at Sóller respectively Port de Sóller. On weekdays, the first bus #204 leaves Palma at 6.30 a. m. and reaches Sóller in less than an hour. Until 9 p. m., buses are going every half an hour respectively after 6 p. m. by the hour.
You have to take the significantly smaller bus #232 from either Sóller or Port de Sóller. Once you’re on the winding hill roads, you’ll understand why bigger buses had no chance.
…a route of about eight kilometers in total with a net walking time of around two and a half hours. The high difference will be approximately 450 meters.
The walk is not very difficult and is mostly on good trails. Nevertheless, it’s always recommendable to wear hiking boots with high shafts that also protect your ankles.
Also, there are parts where you have to walk alongside the road, hence, beware of the traffic.
Ready, Steady, Go
The hike starts basically right at Plaça d ‘Espanya from where you walk up the staircase on the west side of the parish church. This leads into a long, narrow street to the left called Carrer Tramuntana. Keep going until you’ll get to a sign Camí de s’ Alzina Fumadora, Sa Comuna.
The Camí de s’ Alzina Fumadora now meanders steeply upwards along terrace walls, citrus trees, grapevines, carob, and olive trees.
After another five minutes, you will reach the freeway Ma-2120.
Out of Fornalutx
As you cross the freeway, a stepped path continues very steeply upwards in tight bends. To the north, there is a magnificent view of the colossal south face of the almost 1,400-meter-high Penyal des Migdia, the Coma de n’Arbona valley, as well as the Serra de Son Torrella mountain range. You can even make out the Serra d ‘Alfàbia and the Teix massif near Deià.
At a green iron gate, you reach a wide path from where a stepped path continues to the right. After a steep ascent, you reach a bifurcation. From here you continue straight ahead in very steep serpentines – just mind the wooden post arrow. To your left, you will notice a group of holm oaks overlooked by a 20-meter-high tree. This magnificent example of a holm oak is the Alzina Fumadora.
The slope continues up in steep curves. Eventually, you’ll reach the freeway Ma-10 at kilometer 43. Turn right and walk alongside the road before you short turn left at the sign Pla de sa Bassa, 25 min.
A path now leads left after to a small square with a stone cairn and from there again left onto a wide path.
A moderate ascent leads to a picnic area with holm oaks and pines and from there straight on to a green water reservoir. After a few meters, you will reach a bifurcation with a wooden post arrow pointing right.
This route leads in the direction of the mountain Puig de sa Comuna and the plain of Pla de sa Bassa. To continue on the circular route, however, you turn left. After a few minutes, you get to a saddle. From here the trail meanders down into the valley in a few bends. You stay on the main path so that you get to an open gate and the Ma-10. Unfortunately, from here you have to walk about one kilometer alongside the road to the Mirador de ses Barques. Be careful as there might be some traffic.
From the Mirador de ses Barques you have a wonderful panoramic view of the valley of Sóller, the harbor bay with its two lighthouses, the beach of Platja d’en Repic, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Right from the Mirador’s parking lot begins the descent to Fornalutx. Posts and cairns will guide you along the trails and wide slopes. Therefore, you cannot get lost, nevertheless, you’ll have to cross the Ma-10 three times. Finally, you turn into the Ma-2120 road. At the first bifurcation, you turn right into the Camí de Balix which leads you all the way to the old town of Fornalutx.
Getting Around by Public Bus
Mallorca has a truly amazing comprehensive network of public transportation. It’s not only easy moving around in the capital Palma. You can get to almost every small hamlet by public bus. There are various connections per day from early morning till night.
To have a schedule on hand, you can download it from the bus company’s website. Transportes de les Illes Balears – short tib – have a very informative website in five languages.
However, for a quick check, also google maps is really great. It doesn’t show you only the best, next available bus but also the following ones.
Saving Time, Saving Money
Depending on the distance you’re travelling, single tickets are between 3 and 9 €uros. You can buy the ticket from the driver. However, he’ll accept only bills of up to 20 €uros.
Also, if you pay with your NFC-equipped debit or credit card, you don’t have to worry about small change, and more importantly, you’ll get a remarkable discount.
In case your card is not equipped with Near Field Communication – short NFC – you can simply obtain a so-called intermodal card for instance at the Estació Intermodal in Palma and just charge and recharge it as needed. This way, you’ll get the same discounts. These discounts depend on the fare – the cheaper the ticket, the smaller the discount, i. e. if your fare is 3 €uro, you get 10%. For a long ride that normally costs 9 €uro, you get 60% which you have to admit is pretty amazing.
These hikes were only some of many amazing tours and activities during my nine days on the island of Mallorca. To read more about my stay, go to the main post and take your pick! There you’ll also find valuable general information that will make your own trip much smoother and more enjoyable.
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