The Ryanair Sale got to me! At €50.38 return it was a super price for a return fare to Majorca. We did a lot of research as we were going on holiday for adventure and outdoor activities, we would spend the majority of our time close to the mountains. However, we also wanted to see the city capital Palma so in the end opted for 2 nights in Palma and 5 nights in Sóller.
We arrived in Majorca and hopped on a bus from the airport to the city centre at €5 one-way. We checked into our hotel and dashed out for some local beer and tapas. It was about 18 degrees, and the evening was dark – it was a real holiday feeling! The next morning, we got up early as it really was our only full day in Palma. We walked leisurely around the city and then headed for the main attraction the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma that had restoration ideas from the famous architect Gaudi but never fulfilled as he had an argument with the contractor. After this we decided to get lost in the narrow streets and ended up following signs for the Arabian Baths. The so called “hammams“, was a bathing house during the Moorish period in Mallorca (902-1231). Before it became a hammam, this place is believed to have been the property of an Arab nobleman. The architecture of the Arab baths, is typical Byzantine! It is not a very big place, but it’s an important place because it tells you a story of a Palma that once was. Here, we decided we had so much more to see and so little time. We googled a city bike tour and soon after we were cruising the city on electric bikes. There were plenty of stops and the guide spoke English, Spanish and French. We then made our way onto a purpose made cycle path next to the beach that continues along Palma Bay, it is 30km out and back but you can go as little or as far as you want. It is a flat and family friendly route with fantastic views and lots of free water stops. The tour can be done via Electric Scooter or Segway alternatively. During the tour, our guide recommended Bazaar Tapas restaurant so later that evening we went there and were not disappointed. We definitely would share the recommendation – the presentation and colours of the dishes were so beautiful and couldn’t resist taking a few pics.
Next morning, it was the start of our adventure section of our holiday. The journey to Sóller takes in one of the main tourist activities you can do in Majorca, which is “The Wooden Train”. The vintage train was built in 1912 originally to transport citrus fruit from the Sóller valley to the capital. The journey soon takes you through spectacular scenery, involving viaducts, bridges, and 13 tunnels. Some services include a ‘photo stop’ en route where you can view the amazing valley below. One minute from the train stop you arrive at the beautiful bustling main square of Sóller. Here there are craft markets and lots of seating from the nearby restaurants. Just off the square is a “commercial street” full of quaint shops and more restaurants. From here you can experience another vintage journey to Port de Sóller via a vintage tram. This journey is fascinating and cuts right through the square on route. You are literally a metre away from someone’s table and everyone can’t help but wave. The tram journey to the Port is recommended as it’s not only a shipping port but it is thriving with beachgoers and lots of water sport activities. We sussed out bike rental there for later in the week and it was our go-to place for most of our stay. We returned to the square for dinner and drinks and back to the hotel for an early night as we had a brand-new activity to try in the morning.
After breakfast, we headed back to Port-de-Sóller but took a bus this time. The tram was €7, and I think the bus was €1.60 and it brought you within 5 mins walk of the pier. We met with “Rock and Water Mallorca” our activity provider on one of the piers to embark on a boat to try Deep Water Soloing. This activity is famous in Majorca, and it was on my bucket list! I was very impressed with the communication from the organisers as originally, I was going to be paying for a private tour as they had no other takers but as the trip was getting close, they got 2 more people interested so for the 4-hour trip per person it was €85. For me, it was worth every penny. So, the boat brings you to the foot of a cliff and you have to climb up as far as you can, you can go horizontal either. It’s very much like Rock Climbing but no helmet, harness or ropes, if you fall – you fall into the sea below. The excursion brought us to beginner cliff sites with my favourite being Sa Calobra. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and was actually on the list for later in the week. We docked beside a cliff that faced this most magical beach and really has to been seen in picture to create any justice. The water of Sa Calobra is crystal clear and turquoise blue. It’s a tiny 30 metre beach but has really large canyons each side of it. It was just amazing to climb on the rock here with these views. A few onlookers in yachts nearby were enjoying the spectacle.
Next day, we would see it all again from the other side, but this time we were going to cycle to it. This was not going to be an ordinary cycle. In fact, the route we took sees throngs of cyclists daily. There are even 2 resident photographers on top taking pictures of everyone. Their shirts say Mallorca Cycling Photos so when we got back, we googled them and proceeded to buy a picture of ourselves cycling on the top of the mountain. It was a 37km journey from Port-de-Sóller with a height gain of over 1000 metres. In fact, you are transiting more or else across Majorca’s highest mountain Puig de Major. The cycle is gruelling but not for us. We had electric bikes and were probably the only cyclists with them, I can’t imagine if we could have completed the route on racers. We even took a detour to Fornalutx. This authentic mountain village is nestled high up the Tramuntana mountain range overlooking Sóller. Often referred to as the ‘Prettiest village in Spain’, the stone buildings and red tiled roofs combine with the scent of the surrounding orange and lemon groves to provide a traditional rustic charm. After some local desserts we then made our way back uphill and continued our route to Sa Calobra. We were really put to shame when we seen people on roller skis striding up the hills. Later, we found out they were probably elite skiers getting practice in for Winter Skiing. We finally got to the top and had amazing views of the countless zig zag roads below. There was also a restaurant and a place to recharge electric bikes though we didn’t need to. So, what goes up must come down – we were freewheeling forever and finished up next to the Port at Sa Calobra. From here we locked the bikes and took a small hike through tunnels to arrive at the canyons on the beach of Sa Calobra. This was the view we had seen from the water the previous day. IWe returned to the Port and enjoyed refreshments from one of the restaurants at the port that were all doing buffet-style meals. After, we boarded the ferry with the bikes and had a well-earned Sangria on the journey back to Port-de-Sóller. We returned the bikes and took the bus back home.
Next day, we had a hiking trip booked to a mountain named Puig de Teix. We sourced a guide ‘Fernando’ on Air B&B Experiences and hopped on a bus to Valdermossa. The hike was about 5 hours with a summit of 1064m. It was a handy enough hike and some of it was on forest paths. We got to the trig and were offered an extension to another summit, but we had a famous restaurant booked in the village of Deià so we needed to be down to catch the 3pm bus. We did by the skin of our teeth! The bus from Valdermossa took us to Deià where we had a further 30 minute hike to Cala Deià, this was on a well-marked trail and were just in time for our booking. Ca's Patro March was the restaurant, it is perched at the side of the rocky coast of Deià surrounded by the Tramuntana mountains. Apparently, it has always been a place where you might spot someone famous enjoying lunch (or dinner during July and August). In 2016, its popularity skyrocketed, thanks to a TV thriller. Ca's Patro March was the location of some scenes in the internationally acclaimed mini-series 'The Night Manager', based on the John Le Carré book and largely filmed on Mallorca. The outdoor seating area is magical and the turquoise waters beckons. The menu is primarily local fish. As a vegetarian I settled for salad and washed it down with prosecco. It was a celebration of a great day but also relief that we made the bus!
Thursday was our last full day, and the October sun was strong, so we decided to go back to Port de Sóller and take part in another activity and soaked up some rays. We were going to get the electric scooters up to the lighthouse on the hill but there was only 1 left when we got there so instead hired a SUP board. It was my first time supping at sea and it wasn’t long until I completely fell off backwards and lost my sunglasses in the warm Mediterranean Sea. It was so much fun, and we happened to catch the fall on camera which we cried laughing at throughout the day. We returned back to Sóller for our last evening meal with some local beer from a craft beer bar and went back to pack.
Friday, we packed up and got a direct bus from Sóller to Palma. This brings you to the main underground station. From here just go up to ground level and cross the busy road to catch the airport bus.
Our flights were booked with Ryanair from Ireland West Airport from 15th -22nd October at a cost of €50 return per person. Flights operateon a weekly basis from April to October.