Soller, Mallorca, Spain | Three Mountain Tops with Incredible Vistas over the Serra Tramuntana and the Island.

Jerome’s favourite hike over three mountains and a long descent back to Soller.

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Last year was the first time we attempted to hike the route known locally as the “Three Peaks”, which is high up in the Tramuntana Mountains. The hike is known for being rather strenuous, my parents had walked it many years before without any younger ones in tow, but we were always keen to try new walks in the area and with Jerome older it seemed a good adventure.  The previous year not only did we climb the three mountaintops, we also took the long scenic route home. Instead of heading back to the Cuber water reservoir and the car park there we added the trek down along the famous Barranc de Biniaraix to the ordeal. Jerome had clearly enjoyed the adventurous route a lot. In the time leading up to our trip to Mallorca this year he had constantly asked, “Are we going to do the Three Peaks again?”. I believe part of the motivation is to test his limits and hike the maximum for a boy of his age.

The hike up to the three mountaintops is not very well sign posted, unlike many other walks on the island. However it is one of the most visual stunning hikes, with incredible views over the whole island and the sea beyond. Due to the lack of signposts, the hike must only be attempted on a fine, sunny day with no chance of clouds, fog and rain! Without a clear line of sight finding the right path in mist could be a big problem, if not really dangerous at some points. If you are planning to go anywhere on the upper reaches of the Tramuntana Mountains always check the local weather forecast the day before and on the morning of your planned hike again, to make sure that you will not be surprised by clouds and showers during your day! In most places the path can only be found by spotting the stone cairns ahead on the mountainside and top, or the occasional red dot on a stone. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to have a clear view of your surrounding area. If you do embark on the walk and you can see mist rising or low clouds form turn back to the start to avoid getting lost or even hurt.

The way starts from the car park by the Cuber reservoir. It is a lovely drive from Soller or Lluc direction, with amazing views of the mountains and the sea in the distance. You also have the option to take a taxi or the bus from Soller to the start of the hike if you do not have a car or want to make it a one way walk back to the Soller valley. The hike is usually recommended as a circular tour and therefore using your own car is a good way of reaching the start point.

The drive up into the mountains takes around 30 minutes and we always play a game of counting the cyclists that pass us on the way. Jerome chose to count the cyclists riding up the mountains, while my Mum looked out for the ones coming downhill. When we parked our car on the roadside, next to the entrance to the Cuber lake, Jerome had won with a narrow head count more, and we had passed nearly two hundred bikes! The reservoir, thanks to the heavy rains over the winter months was full again after last year’s drought and makes a beautiful vista. The lake is surrounded by mountains to all sides and a dam was built years ago to serve as a main water reservoir for Palma and the other villages and towns on Mallorca. Lake Cuber is a popular starting point for many other walks in the Serra Tramuntana so the car parks nearby can get busy. It is also a great spot for bird watching and we could see a few bird watchers in the grassy fields with their equipment on their stake out.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre donkey

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre puig major

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre cuber reservoir

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre dam

We first walked along the gravel road towards the dam, from there we could already see the first of our three mountains, SaRateta, to the right side of the dam on the south side of the Lake. Just before the dam we turned left onto a narrow hiking trail, which runs through the long, scraggly pampas grass. Here, you will not fail to notice the constant humming of the water rushing down the pipeline towards Palma. The pipe has been encased in concrete above ground and you will come across it a short while later. First the path leads you up to the left side of the narrow valley then, once the path drops downhill, you might notice a tunnel to your left. This is one of the tunnels used for the water pipes of the lake. There are a few more, further down the mountain, however you will not pass these on the walk to the three peaks. They are part of a different walk that we can highly recommend as well. The first tunnel to the left is sometimes used as a stable for the sheep and whilst it is accessible to curious hikers the amount of sheep’s poo might scare you off.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre valley

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre path

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre water pipe

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre mountainside

After the col near the tunnel you will descend for a few meters, be careful here as part of the rocks and gravel are rather slippery. At the bottom you will notice a pipe running across the mountain stream and the pipeline below. Jerome and I usually balance across this pipe, just for the fun of it. The hiking trail then runs alongside the water pipe, you might even notice a valve on your climb up the next stretch. Close to the valve you need to keep an eye out for the stone men and blue spots that indicate where the trail to the Three Peaks turns off. If you have reached the top of the hill and the trail descends again you have already missed the signs and need to turn around.

Once you are on the trail you will be able to see where other people have trodden on the path before you. It is still advisable to constantly keep an eye out for the signs or the trail ahead as the path cross rocky patches and in places the way can be a little unclear but the foot wear marks from other walks give a good guide, and occasional cairns and blue spots lead you up the steep hillside. From there on you will quite quickly gain on height, walking through a forest of Mediterranean oaks and the rocky mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana. Keep an eye out for the majestic black vultures that circle high above in the sky and are known to nest in the area. Jerome and my Dad always bring their binoculars along to watch these rare birds in flight.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre rocks

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre trees

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre uphill

As you approach the end of the oaks at a col watch out for the sign where the hiking path divides, the left leg would lead you to Orient, it is the right trail you want to take heading up hill through the last clump of larger trees. Shortly after you will leave most of the trees behind and you will have the rocky mountainside in front of you. If you concentrate your eyes you will recognise some of the path, winding itself up to the top in a set of zigzag lines. You might wonder why anyone would make trails going up the mountains of this height, so far away from any civilisation with no trees or anything in sight. Men made these tracks to access the snow huts, which were built high up in the mountains, where snow was kept in order to turn it into ice. The ice would then be used to keep food from being spoiled by the hot summer temperatures on the island and to keep the richer folks cool in centuries past.

You will pass the ruin of one of these snow huts on your way to the first mountaintop, also the highest of the three, the Puig de Sa Rateta at 1113m. Be aware that near the hut you might find deep caves, it is important to keep away from these holes as some of them are more than a few meters deep. Stop frequently on your ascent to take in the ever changing, amazing views over the south side of the island. If you know the geography of the region, you will be able to see Mount Alaro, Inca and eventually Palma and Alcudia, plus the sea in the distance. Once you have passed the snow hut to your left you will have to find your way through a plain of pampa grass and rocks before you finally reach the last slopes of Sa Rateta that heads up to a lonely tree and the back right towards the peak across a sea of stones and rocks punctuated by the odd small cairn.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre view alaro

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre mountain goat

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre sa rateta

Pick a spot near the highest point and take a break to enjoy the incredible views over the Serra Tramuntana in all directions. We found a comfortable rock for us to sit on, protected from the wind and unpacked our lunch. Down below we could see the Cuber reservoir glistening in the sun, behind to the north the second reservoir Gorg Blau, a much deeper blue and across to Puig Major, the highest mountain on the island. You will not fail to notice the zigzag road leading to the Spanish military base at the top of this biggest peak and the radar on top. Sadly Puig Major is off limits to non-army personnel and cannot be hiked. To our surprise another family with two boys, similar age to Jerome, turned up. They came from of the opposite direction and had already climbed the other two peaks. They did not seem to linger for long and left shortly afterwards.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre orient valley

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre Alcudia bay

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre water reservoirs

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

We packed our backpack and left for the second mountain, Puig de Na Franqesa, 1067m. The descend is an easy one, only 200 meteres downhill where you will pass through a grassy area and you might notice the remains of the occasional log fire. It seems that people spend the night here sometime, wild camping in the mountains. The path up to the second mountaintop is partly protected by the shade of some stunted oak trees and you might encounter some bigger boulders that need to be crossed but none that prove to be of any major difficulty. The climb is not as hard as the way up but it does stretch the muscles again. The hike then leads you along the top of the ridge of Na Franqesa for a while, not for the faint hearted or someone with fear of heights, before descending again. This downhill section is much more difficult than the last one and you should carefully consider your route down the slippery rocks and rubble keeping an eye on the route up marked here and there by cairns.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre wall

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre pause

At the bottom, take notice the wall to your right, with a gap in its midst, this is one of the main ways back to the reservoir. Just to the left is the entry point for the track up to the third and last mountain, the L’Ofre, which peaks at 1091m. This is one of our favourite mountains as it looks like the ideal image of an imaginary mountain of a child, when seen from Soller – an almost perfect rocky triangle surrounded by trees. The path up to the top is easier to spot as there are more hikers climbing L’Ofre on average than the other two, plus the way is less rocky and has more stretches of earth. The first part of the path is fairly easy but as the summit is approached the way leads off the left (south) side and the sharply right and steeply climbs to the last run in to the peak. At this sharp bend another way up from the south side joins. Be aware that the top is very narrow and has drops on three sides. I could imagine if it is very crowded it can get claustrophobic to stay too long but if you are lucky with us it a great place of a pause and a view. The vistas are among the finest on the island, you can see the town of Soller down below and the stunning surrounding landscape.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre downhill

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre soller

There are two ways to walk down L”Ofre, either the way you came and then through the gap in the wall, and along the path which ends back at the reservoir. Or instead take the right hand track at the sharp bend just below the summit and walk the route that is slightly longer round the mountain past the Coll de L’Ofre to the reservoir which provides a pretty, if rather steep decent.

We took the right track and descended the steep path down through the trees, then at the col where a path comes up from the Orient valley we walked back right to the Coll de L’Ofre. The col is the joining of several ways, the one up we had just come from, another leads back to Cuber and the third was our planned way forward – and we followed the sign for Barranc de Biniaraix to Soller. Luckily for us my parents had taken the shorter route back skipping L’Ofre so we did not need to worry about getting back to the collect the car.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

The Barranc de Biniaraix is an old pilgrim path that leads right across the Serra de Tramuntana from Valldemossa to Lluc. The section down to Biniaraix follows the side of a steep valley, almost a gorge cut by the torrent with hundreds of stony steps through dry stone terraced olive groves. Every hiker should at least once hike up and or down the Barranc. I have followed the route a few times and I am still amazed at the steps, there are so many of them and cannot imagine how long it must have taken for men to build them. You will notice some small casitas and olivars (huts used to gather the crops) among the olive groves, locals come and stay there during the warmer months of the year. Imagine all the food, drinks and other necessities they have to carry up the mountain for just a few days…

I could definitely feel my feet on the way down the many steps, even the best of hiking shoes at some point make your feet ache. The sun was just setting behind the mountains and the light was that magical, early evening light that gave everything around us a golden glow. The three of us were all a bit weary. We had left my parents behind to walk back to the reservoir and to drive the car back to Soller, but at least we knew we would soon be getting a hot meal in front of our noses the minute we walked into the door. Jerome still seemed to have the most energy left and he mostly ran ahead, he would wait for us to catch him up every now and then, even moaning when we were a bit slower.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain three mountain tops hike lofre barring de biniaraix

Eventually we reached the old water channel built between the path and the torrent. It must have once carried the water downhill, past some of the huts, into the valley of Biniaraix below. Jerome and I balanced on it for a while, the curves of the tiles made it quite difficult to walk on though. The torrent next to it was empty except for a few puddles where the sunlight rarely penetrates. We crossed the streambed of the torrent a few times, before we finally reached the old washhouse of Biniaraix. From there it was another 2 kilometers along the road back to Soller, reversing part of the route we had walked as a warm up to Fornalutx earlier in the holiday.

We arrived back at Soller exhausted but happy to have accomplished the hardest walk of our holiday. Jerome was especially very proud of himself to have walked this long hike for a second time in his life. He has already said, that he wants to do it again next year, but we will see…

This strenuous hike has a total length of more than 12 km if walked as the original circular route and takes at least 5 to 6 hours if you are fit. Our addition of the walk down the Barranc de Biniaraix adds a further 8 km or more to the hike. The total ascend and descend is around 700m from Cuber, and if walking back to Soller the descend adds more than a 1000m to the total. The route should only be attempted in good, sunny weather, it is dangerous to hike in bad weather conditions, even with a GPS, there are many sharp drops and the path can be hard to find in good light let alone bad. Never set out without all the critical hiking provisions and a clear plan. Make sure you have a detailed map and description of the route with you. Take plenty of water, food and warm, wind proof clothing, as the temperatures on the mountaintops can be considerably colder than in the valley, plus may change sharply. There are no opportunities along the way where you can buy drinks or food, so take more than you will need just in case. Wear proper hiking boots and carry a mobile and first aid kit with you at all times. It is advisable to do this tour only in groups of two or more in case something happens. Children under the age of 10 should probably not be taken on this hike, it is definitely not a casual walk, being really a route for more experienced mountain walkers.

Raixa, Mallorca, Spain | The Raixa Estate is Still a Hidden Gem Among Sights on the Island

A stroll through the magnificent water gardens and house of the Raixa estate.

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Following our hike along the coast we needed a break from walking and had decided the evening before that we would visit the beautiful Raixa Estate near Bunyola. My Mum had always wanted to go and made several attempts for a visit but always arrived at closed doors as they are not open every day and in the past were often closed for renovation. We wanted to make sure this would not happen again and therefore checked the website to find their new regular opening times now that all the repairs are complete.

It was a short drive to the estate from Soller, and it can likewise be easily reached by car from Palma. We followed the sign posts after Bunyola and parked the car in the public car park at the end of a bumpy and dusty drive, along the dirt track right from the main road. Outside the main entrance gate we found a sign post with a short description of the history and the map of the estate. Raixa lies at the foot of some hills of the Tramuntana Mountains and dates back to the 13th century, when Mallorca was under Moorish rule. The large estate first was a country home to a family who wanted to escape the city while their peasants farmed the land. The vault of the chapel and the porch in the courtyard are the only remains from that period.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate stone wall

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate grounds

A few hundred years later the first count of Montenegro took over the estate and developed it into a small but profitable agricultural business and beautiful family home. Houses were renovated and extended, and the pleasure gardens were created. A local Cardinal took over in 1800 and as an avid collector of art he created a museum of classical sculptures in Raixa. Many of these sculptures can now be seen in the Bellver castle in Palma. They also transformed the houses into a villa of neoclassical style. Unfortunately, the cardinal died in Italy before the renovations were barely started and his favourite nephews took over to make his wishes come true.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate castle gate

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate faces

Once we had strolled through the gate we noticed the house among the orange groves. The main feature that immediately stuck in my mind was the stunning, south facing gallery and balcony with its sand coloured pillars and arches. The entrance path led us up, along the right side of the estate and through a gate that looked like a children’s castle with its two little towers to either side of the archway. Ahead we could see the entrance to the courtyard of the large house but first we walked through the entrance garden that abuts the original main drive. A fountain with water trickling out of the mouth of a grim looking, bearded face was built into the wall to our right. Opposite we found a statue of the cardinal and next to it a small, overgrown pond.

The main entrance to the estate was not reached from the courtyard but through the house. The friendly lady at the desk informed us that it was free to enter the house and gardens and gave us a free leaflet with some information. To our surprise we could choose from English and German, not only Spanish and Catalan as we had expected. The house has been completely renovated by the Mallorcan government but I have to say that most of the original features, like floor tiles and windows have been removed and exchanged for new replicas. This was a huge disappointment, not only for me, but the rest of my family too. There are many old photos of the rooms and whilst the décor was never sumptuous like Italian palaces it clearly had many rich local features such as terracotta tiles on the floors that have been lost to time.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate loggia

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate balcony

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate loggia garden

They have made it interesting to wander through the house though, with plenty of history, and displays of plant and animal life in the area on show. Even Jerome found the large number of films and interactive displays interesting and we had to drag him out of the kitchen where he was cooking some local dishes of the day from a hundred years ago on an ipad interacuve learning display. Even the kitchen was moved and changed, it did feature some of the original features though and a window looks into the old original olive mill, which was rather interesting to see. A walk onto the balcony to enjoy the view over the orange grove and the Loggia garden with manicured buxus and fountain is a must and perhaps the highlight of the house tour.

Once we left the house to the back door we immediately stood in front of the magnificent garden stairs dedicated to the god Apollo. The eye-catching lions at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the statue of Apollo are sadly closed to the pubic but even if we could not wander up and down on them they were definitely among our favourite feature of the garden. Unlike the house the original garden features have been preserved and the layout and plants must be like the original times it was built. Water plays an elemental part in the gardens of Raixa and we could see water running down either side of the steps from lion’s faces and into the basins below before overflowing and running down the walls. The water had left algea and stains from years of uninterrupted flow, but I thought this just added to its charm.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate apollo stairs lion

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate apollo stairs

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate water way

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate false ruin

The upper gardens were structured around the stairs and the route led along a landscaped path, past smaller fountains, a waterway on the ground that feeds the gardens, a false ruin (a common feature for this period) and several ponds. We passed the statue of Apollo to the top of the stairs, which gave us a beautiful view down towards the back of the house.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate pond statue

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate stairs

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate apollo fountain

Shortly after the path divides and the woman had advised us to go up the narrow, steep path through the hillside garden, to the little pavilion and viewpoint. Before we reached the pavilion we found a little grotto that was made to look like a limestone cave with fake stuck on remnants of stalactites and stalagmites. Jerome sat down on the concrete seat built into the cave’s wall for a while, enjoying the cool air of the grotto. Other people started to come into the cave and space was sparse so we moved on to the pavilion.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate cave

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate cave

The round, pavilion is built onto a point that sticks out over the flat land that runs all the way from Raixa to Palma, which can be seen from one of the windows in the distance. I was less taken by the view than the colourful windows, every window was a different colour and one was made up of four coloured panes. The afternoon sunlight shone though and created a dreamy pattern on the floor and walls. It reminded me of the Bahia palace that we had visited in January. The boys quickly moved on while my mum and I stayed behind to take some photos and enjoy the play of light.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate stained glass widow

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate pavilion windows

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate colourful windows

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate pavilion

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate view

Once back down the hill, we finally saw the famous water reservoir, the largest of its kind on the island. The turquoise water looked very inviting, especially in the afternoon heat. The water comes from the estates own well in the hills above Valldemossa and without it the creation of the gardens would have been impossible. The original tank was too small leading to them creating this huge one, more than 80m long.

We stepped onto the Italian style terrace protruding over the pool to watch the carps swim in the deep water. At the far end we spotted the water gushing into the pool. The water from the pool also fed the watermill, which could be seen in one of the houses to the back of the pool. The mill was used to grind grains in the olden days and we were able to see some of the millstones in the ground through a window.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate large pond terrace

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate water well

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate large pond

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate large pond fish

Back in the house we walked down a flight of stairs and ended up in the sunny courtyard. The house was built around this courtyard, a common feature of many larger mansions on the island and Spain. To the right, next to the entrance archway we found the little chapel and there also was a traditional well to one side of the courtyard. We exited the courtyard at the opposite end, where a few steps led us down to the manicured garden. More interesting though was the little vegetable garden to its right. The field was planted with local fruit and vegetables in neat rows.

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate courtyard

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate fountain

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate cacti

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate vegetable garden

travel with kids children mallorca spain raixa estate fountain loggia garden

I have to say that we really enjoyed our visit to Raixa and will return again on one of our frequent visits to Mallorca. It is a marvellous place to spend a few hours wandering through the house and along the paths in the gardens. To make the most of a visit and to see the full beauty of the garden it would be advisable to visit in Spring. Please also note that the gardens are closed in Winter and only open again in March, again check the website to make sure you will not encounter closed doors.

If you like gardens you may also want to drive the short road up to the Soller tunnel and also visit the Jardins D’Alfabia. The house and gardens there, are just as stunning and still a among the lesser known the sights of the island.

Soller, Mallorca, Spain | The Coastal Walk from Ben’s D’Avall to Cala Deia via Lluc Alcari

A coastal hike through the pines with stunning scenery above the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea.

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The hike along the Mallorcan north coast from Ben’s D’Avall to Deia is always one of the highlights of our stay on the island. Jerome loves the walk along the coastline through the pines, with the stop for an ice cream and orange juice by the beach in Cala Deia.

To get to the start of the walk we drive to Ben’s D’Avall a small urbanization on the coast over the col from Soller and famous for it’s Michelin starred restaurant of the same name. There is parking for cars in the car park next to the restaurant, and the trail leaves the car park near the start of the parking spaces. It drop down and crosses the dried out mountain stream bed and then heads downhill, along a dirt track which is used by the owners of the houses that live besides it. Soon the clear blue waters come into view with a perspective across the rocky coast below. One of the attractions of the walk is the little coves and bays reached by scrambles down, and some of which provide the perfect place for a swim in the refreshing sea if the day is hot.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia signs

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia coastline

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia boat house

Instead of heading down to the sea the path to Deia is sign posted left into the pinewoods after the road barrier, which prevents cars from driving any further down the track. The walk first leads through the pine trees, the path is soft underneath the feet from a sea of fallen pine needles. On our walk that day the sea, was constantly below us with an intensely beautiful turquoise colour, it was totally calm with no ripples or waves in sight.

The trail on this first section of the walk until Lluc Alcari is not as well sign posted as many other hikes in the area. For some years when we first visited the way was barely passable due to a lot of fallen trees and storm damage, but in the past few years these have been mostly cleared and now it makes for an adventurous hike along the coast. There are still points where the path is not yet fully clear and there were times when we all had to keep a sharp look out for signs of the route where others had trodden before. We also kept an eye out for the blue dots and stone cairns that mark the trail.  Jerome and I like to build the stone men higher if we think they are not visible enough between the underbrush or trees.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia trail

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia sea

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia crystal clear sea

Leaving Bens D’Avall behind the path climbs through the pines and then after a while it heads higher into an olive grove. At this point we had to cross a fence on one of the ladders that farmers put into place for hikers like us to avoid opening the gates. Jerome has always liked climbing across these stiles, making it more like an adventure for him. Following the path onwards this first part of the hike even felt like an adventure, as in places we had to scramble over fallen tree trunks or duck underneath them, which can be quite challenging for tall people like Chris, especially when carrying a backpack. There are two large rock outcrops that must be negotiated between Bens D’Avall and Lluc Alcari and the path descends then rises over the back of them before descending again.  The reward is several amazing views from the top of the rocky outcrops.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia ladder

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia tree trunk

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia stone marker

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia rocks

Between the rock outcrops a torrent needs to be crossed, with towering rocks further below. Here it is important to find the right spot in order to guarantee a safe passage across. This might sound like it could be too dangerous for children, but it is not, as long as you have the right footwear and follow the proper hiking trail. We saw other hikers who were off the right route and maybe dared to be adventurous or perhaps they could not find the right place, anyway they struggled to get from one side to the other. If you follow the well trodden route and look for the markers the way can be found.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia horizon

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia sailing boat

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia break

Having accomplished this challenge we moved on and found ourselves walking on the trail above the turquoise sea. It winds itself slightly up and down, before we got to the second difficult part of the track. Just after climbing across another fence there is a steep climb up a headland ridge, which is rather dusty and has a zigzagging stony route up.

The ground underfoot is not ideal and is probably easier for the nimble children than the heavier adults. The route looks easiest up the fence but has several scramble points and actually the best line zig zags across the tree roots. My advice, if you try this walk is to take the section slowly, each step at a time and if you have a child with you help them along, but they might find it easier than you though!

At the top the view open up and then the way passes underneath a huge rock, which is lined with crystal veins, and for us they were shimmering in the bright afternoon sun. Jerome always loves taking a closer look and he would love to take a piece of rock home with him. From there on the path is much easier to find and more a walk than a hike along the coast.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia fence path

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia trail

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia stone wall

Soon enough we spotted the many stunning coves of Lluc Alcari and on that day we could see surprisingly many sunbathers on the rocks in the unseasonably hot weather. There even were some brave swimmers in the fresh sea. Even if you are not going to swim in the sea, the area is a great spot to stop for a break and to take in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery and maybe consider a snack.

At the back of the beach before a rustic holiday house the paths divide, there is a scramble down to the cove, the left trail would leads up to the charming village of Lluc Alcari (in my opinion the most beautiful village on the island) or the third option heads straight ahead for Deia. We took the latter and left the few houses that have been built this far below the village, behind. The scenery changes slightly, Euphorbia (wolf’s milk) plants are ever present next to the path, which winds itself through the tall pine trees.  Sadly many of the huge pine trees that used to cloak the walk when we first made it are now gone, lost to a big storm ten years or so ago.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia swimming spot

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia walking trail

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia landscape

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia coastline

The track winds round a series of headlands, rising and falling with each little cove and indent. In places there are spectacular views along the coast from the tops of the points with sheer cliffs to the blue sea below. In between the path descends and curves around the back of inlets, some have steep tracks down to the remnants of old traditional boat houses on the rocks, others are inaccessible inlets with the waves below. The hiking trail along this section is much better sign posted and laid out, there are wooden fences along the more difficult parts of the path, which makes progress much faster. However there are some steep drops and it is worth keeping younger children in sight.

Close to Deia we have a special rock, that sits on one of the cliffs protruding into the sea with amazing views, where we always stop there and take a break. We had a bite to eat from our backpack, olive baguette, local cheese and sausage accompanied by cucumber, tomatoes and carrots. It is important to drink a lot while hiking and we usually bring a large bottle per person.

After our short break the last stretch of the hike passed quickly and we could soon see the entry to Deia and spotted a sailing boat just leaving. Once we reached the top of the bay we could see the stunning cove with its stony beach and the mesmerizing, turquoise water below. The two restaurants were packed to the brim with guests, enjoying a late lunch or coffee on the gorgeous, sunny day. Neither restaurant can be praised for their food, but if you are hungry and fancy a relaxing lunch with views towards the sea they are a possible option.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia sailing boat

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to deia stony beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia cafe

Jerome had run ahead to go and find a table in the restaurant facing the beach and the sea. He was very keen to get his promised ice cream while we enjoyed a cup of coffee. We were very lucky to get front row seat, thanks to a couple that were just leaving. In front of the café there were surprisingly many people lazing on the beach and even some swimmers in the water. Still quite a contrast to the summer time when it is extremely hard to get a spot to sit or lay down on the beach at all unless arriving very early or late afternoon.   Jerome enjoyed his ice and then headed down to the pebbled beach. He started looking for flat stones, perfect for skipping over calm, clear sea. Unfortunately there were not many flat ones, but he tried and succeeded a few times anyway.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia beach

For the return journey it is probably best to choose the same route back as on the way over to Cala Deia. The other option to walk up to Deia, along the road and pick up the high route back to Soller is much longer. Heading back we passed less other hikers and the beach and coves were nearly deserted. Some teenagers had set up a camp in the hills near Lluc Alcari and were obviously planning to spend the night. They seemed in a jolly good mood, sitting on some rocks while enjoying a can of cerveza (beer).

The only two places we had to look out for and take slowly were the ones mentioned earlier, especially just before the torrent it is advisable to look out for the right path to cross. We almost went too high up and had to walk back a few metres to get to the right spot to cross. We were much faster hiking back, maybe because Jerome was running ahead, he was keen to get home and play card games all evening, another tradition of our times in Soller.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia ruin

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain coastal hike ben's d'avall to cala deia olive tree

We picked up our car at Ben’s D’Avall, the car park was still empty, if you are in the area and fancy a romantic dinner, watching the sun set over the sea and enjoy some of the best food on the island this is where you should go.

The hike from Ben’s D’Avall to Cala Deia is one of our favourite walks on the island. It is a popular hike if you want to experience the stunning coastline and mountains while walking just above the sea. The round trip takes us around 4-5 hours, each leg is about 6 to 7 km long with lots of up and down stretches. It is possible to also start the walk from the main road at the turning to the little village of Lluc Alcari in case you want to cut it short almost halving the distance (this involves a 20 minute trek down and back up to the village on your way back). Children from the age of about 4 to 5 used to walking should be able to manage the hike, as it is not too strenuous and there are no long climbs involved. We have seen plenty other families on our hikes to and from Deia. As mentioned above, there are some tricky parts in the first half of the walk and I would advise against starting from Ben’s D’Avall if you are not experienced hikers, with or without children.

I will say it again on this post as I have on my last few as it applies more than the previous walks. It is imperative to have proper hiking boots or stout footwear, a decent map/guide and to not venture off the marked tracks! This is a hike not a stroll and needs respect – there are points where you will be on narrow steep paths with loose footings, you may need at points to crouch or use hands, and others where there are cliff edges. Should you want to hire a guide for hiking in the area I can recommend Tramuntana Tours in Soller. As always take enough water and food with you to last the whole way plus some spare. The restaurants in Cala Deia are open from April to October, but opening times can vary on the mood of the owners so do not rely on them.

There are a few points along route where you may access the beach or coves for a swim. However, this usually involves climbing down over a few rocks or scrambling up or down a steep bank. Please also note most of these swimming spots are frequented by nudists, and the coves are clothes optional – in case this might make you feel uncomfortable.

Soller, Mallorca, Spain | A Hike from Soller to the View at Mirador de Ses Barques

A hike through olive groves, past sheep and horses to the view point of Mirador de Sea Barques

One day before we had walked to the pretty village of Fornalutx as a warm up for the week of walking ahead, and for our next day, we decided on the somewhat more strenuous walk to the Mirador de Ses Barques. This is a viewpoint with restaurant, high above in the hillside of Soller on the road over the mountains from Soller.

We started our ramble from the market hall, a great place to get fresh fruit, vegetables and locally caught fish and to get an impression of the local colour. Keep in mind though the market hall is only open in the mornings, until about 13:00. We picked up some fresh fruit to take with us and moving on we passed the Gran Hotel to our right. The hotel is in a building of outstanding traditional architecture, which was turned into the most luxurious hotel in town a few years ago. Unfortunately inside it lacks the same traditional style and anyone staying there might feel they are more in a business hotel rather than a stunning holiday hotel on Mallorca. Shortly after the hotel the route passes the main car park of central Soller ands turn right to cross the towns mountain stream, which can be like a torrent after heavy rain. Jerome enjoys coming there to feed the many ducks which breed along the riverbed and we have admired little chicks a few times during our visits over the years.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques lemon grove

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques hike flowers

After having turned right and crossed the bridge the way turns immediately left along a narrow street until it reaches the local football pitch. From this point There are several hiking trails leading up to reach the Mirador de Ses Barques, giving a choice of ways up and down, any of the signposts marked Cala Tuent/Sa Costera, will all first lead to the view point Ses Barques. Our chosen route that day led us right in front of the football pitch, following the road next to another mountain stream for one block before turning left again. There the path led straight up and anyone who will have done the walk from Fornalutx to Soller I wrote about previously will recognise this as the last part of the return road. However, instead of turning onto the road that leads to Fornalutx we took the steep incline, which after passing the last few houses of the outskirts of Soller ends in a narrow hiking trail up into the fields and woods.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques walls

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques fincas

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques horse

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques hiking path

Having left civilisation behind we found ourselves surrounded by nature. Jerome and my father were listening out for bird songs and were soon rewarded with the hoo-hoo call of a hoopoe. Jerome had stolen my Dad’s binoculars and together they kept an eye out for the bird in the branches of the trees. To me it just sounded like a cuckoo, but then I am not even close to the bird expert my Dad is or even Jerome is. After the call had stopped for a longer period of time we were able to walk on.

A thick pine forest soon surrounded us, which provided us with shade and cooler air, the day had already turned out to be surprisingly warm for the time of year. At the end of the forest we had to cross a loop of the main mountain road that winds its way up into the high mountains of the Tramuntana range, past the two main water reservoirs until it eventually ends at the other end of the northern coast at Pollenca past the LLuc monastary.  It is also the route by car to the viewpoint that was our objective that day, but walking up is far more rewarding. We carefully looked and listened for cars and motorbikes but actually had to be more aware of the cyclists that use this road as a race track on the way downhill.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques bird watching

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques gladiolus

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques cacti

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques cycling

On we went, climbing higher on the stony path and steps. We could see wild pink gladiolas on the paths edge, more ancient olive trees, with their twisted trunks and sheep grazing between. There were also some lovely houses or huts, built into the hills with amazing views of the landscape that surrounds them. At several points we had to climb across the stiles that make it possible to cross the fences without having to open a gate and risk the sheep escaping.

Every time we walk through the hills of Mallorca I have to admire the dry stonewalls, which have meticulously been built hundreds of years ago to make the land more accessible for humans and animals.  The terracing has been built up over more than a thousand years and it is a shame to think the decline of agriculture may put these traditions at risk. These walls can sometimes collapse after long and heavy rains and then need to be repaired by a skilled worker. This year there seemed to be rather a lot of walls that had fallen down as Mallorca and especially the area around Soller had some of the highest rainfalls over the winter ever.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques olive grove

travel with kids children roller Mallorca Spain hiking dry stone walls

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques hiking trail

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques sign posts

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques wooden gate

It was getting hotter and our legs started to ache from the long hill climb. We knew it was not going to be much longer before we would reach the highest point of the hike, and soon enough, we could see the crash barriers of the next loop of the road and we had arrived at Mirador de Ses Barques. Due to the Easter break the car park was almost full, but we did not have trouble to get a free table at the restaurant. Normally we would sit on the terrace to enjoy the incredible view over the valley, all the way to the Port of Soller, its bay and the dark blue sea in the distance, but the wind was blowing rather strong up from the coast making it preferable instead to take a more protected table by the stairs with views to the mountains.

We ordered some coffee, orange juice and pa ambo li. Pa amb oli is a local speciality, usually two slices of bread, with a few drops of olive oil, tomatoes rubbed over it and topped with cheese or Spanish ham making a basic but delicious snack. Jerome went off to look over the viewpoint on his own and returned excited to tell us that there were lots of cats everywhere. He asked us to come and see them but we all wanted to stay and enjoy our drinks.  The cat whisperer in him is clearly enchanting.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques restaurant cake time

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques port view

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques view

Refuelled, we got back onto our feet and while we could have walked back the way we came we took the dirt track opposite the café to commence our return hike. The sun had completely disappeared behind thick clouds during our break and we actually had to put our jumpers on as the temperature had suddenly dropped considerably, showing how variable weather can be on mountains. After walking for about ten minutes we reached the entrance to a narrow path with the signpost for Port Soller to our left. Turning onto this path we immediately lost on height, walking down stone steps.

The white blossoms of the asphodel were all around us and among the olive trees. They seem to like the mountainous and rocky soil of the valley and had turned the stone terraces into a sea of white blossoms. Jerome and Chris walked ahead, while my parents and I were walking at a much slower pace and chatting, the way down being much less strenuous than the ascent. We stopped now and again to admire the ever-changing views of Port Soller and the Soller valley. At some point we got to a sign post where the trail divides into two, one side leading right to the port and the other back left towards the main Soller village. We followed the signs left towards Sa Capelleta, a path we had never taken before.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques path

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques horse riding

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques olive tree

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques hiking trail

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques port view

We crossed the main mountain road again and shortly afterwards we noticed a church, set back from an empty car park. To our right we could see a large cross next to a gate. My parents and I went through the gate, expecting a small cemetery but after a short walk we found a tiny chapel. Luckily the door was unlocked and we went inside to find a peculiar room. It was made to look like a limestone cave with a statue of Holy Mary as the centrepiece behind the altar. We were excited to have stumbled onto this little hidden gem that is not well know, we had been coming many years but this was the first time we had discovered it.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques capeletta

travel with kids children soller Mallorca Spain hiking mirador see barques sa capelleta

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques sheep

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques

We rejoined the boys again and commenced our hike downhill into town. The path descends through some lovely flower filled meadows just beyond the chapel with views over the village. The way down ends on the road that we had walked back from Fornalutx the day before, near where Jerome had petted the cat, but we had never noticed the sign on previous visits – it was hidden behind a tree and not visible unless you come from Soller direction. We strolled the short section back into town, this time all the way to the main plaza, Placa de la Constitucio for our daily dose of ice cream at Can Pau, as the perfect end to our walk.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques view

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain mirador ses barques pink flowers

This walk is more strenuous than the one I described in my previous post, but is ideal with children that like to walk but verges on a real hike more than a stroll. The paths are a little rougher and there is a significant gain in height (around 350m) compared the other stroll I described. However, it is a rewarding challenge with the advantage of the stop at the Mirador for a view and some refreshments in the middle of the 4-5 hours it takes.

As mentioned before, I recommend investing in a map and guide to the area – especially as there are a number of routes up and down. Plus I would ensure you are prepared for mountain walking with suitable footwear, clothing and a pack with water and snacks before setting out.

Soller, Mallorca, Spain – The Best Place to Stay on Mallorca

A holiday off the beaten track in Mallorca

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Mallorca, especially Soller and the Tramuntana mountains have been a special place for my family for a long time. I started coming to Soller over 20 years ago. The first few years it was just my Mum and I, we would spend a week in a hotel overlooking Playa de Repic at Port Soller, and go hiking in the area. Later on Chris joined me, he had been to other parts of Mallorca, Pollenca and Cala St Vincent, but like me he fell in love with Soller the first time he visited. Jerome had his first holiday here when he just a few weeks old and to him and us it has become a third home.

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain welcome

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain town architecture

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain olive groves

The combination of the surrounding mountains with the terraced olive groves, vales of citrus groves, old houses and the close distance to the sea give it a charm other spots on the island are missing out on. Palma and the airport are less than 30 minutes drive away, while other parts of the island can be reached in less than an hours drive. It is also mostly devoid from the horrible concrete hotel blocks found in so many other towns and seaside resorts like a Balearic disease. Soller especially still feels like an authentic Mallorquin town, with its narrow lanes and alleys and the traditional stone town houses.

The Placa Constitucio is surrounded by little cafes and restaurants and shaded by plane trees. The fountain at the centre of the plaza, in front of the amazing cathedral, Sant Bartomeu is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists of all ages. The church and the Banco de Soller to its left are iconic buildings, dating back to 1904 and were designed by a pupil of Antoni Gaudi in the modernist style. The cathedral can be seen from many parts of the Vall de Soller (the surrounding valley).

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain town alleys

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain alleys

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain streets architecture

Jerome’s favourite part of Soller, besides the delicious home made ice cream parlour at the entrance of Calle Lluna (the little local main shopping street) is the Tranvia (tram) that runs from the train station through the Soller town centre and later on past orange groves to the Port de Soller. The tram dates back to 1913 and is one of the smallest and oldest working tramways in Europe. Some of the cars have been imported from Lisbon and Bilbao and are all beautifully restored to their original condition. Ever since Jerome was little a ride on the tram was a must at least once during every stay there. He would stand outside on the back platform, holding tight to the rail, with a big smile on his face as the tram wriggled its way along. The ride takes just under 30 minutes and now costs a rather touristic expense of 6€ one-way, but it is mostly full.

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain tranvia tram ride

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain tranvia tram shed

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain tranvia tram ride

El Tren de Soller is a another popular tourist attraction. The train started to put an end to the isolation between Soller and the rest of the island, when the train line connected Palma to Soller in 1911 after years of planning and construction. It was one of the earliest electric routes in Europe. A ride on the train is also a must, when either visiting from Palma or taking a day trip to Palma from Soller. The train winds itself up the mountains and trough many tunnels before reaching the other side of the mountain range at Bunyola and then on through the almond orchards towards Palma as the end stop. The train rolling stock also dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and is an attraction in its own right, with the wooden benches and outside platform at each end of the carriages.

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain ferrocarril de soller

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain ferrocarril de soller

One of the main reasons for us to return to Soller again and again has been mainly the many hiking tracks and walks in and around Soller and in the higher mountains. Hiking in the area is possible from October to the beginning of May, the other months of the year are rather too hot for more than an evening stroll. February to April are the most popular months for walking tours. The almond blossoms in February are to Mallorca what Sakura (cherry blossom season) is to Japan. The white and pink blossoms are a beautiful sight that can be seen, either by walking trough the orchards, cycling and driving across the island. Orange blossoms appear in the late winter months and are much harder to be seen but the smell is incredible. There is no better way to experience the fragrant scent of the flowers than by walking on one of the many trails through the orange and lemon groves of the valley.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain almond blossom

travel with kids children soller mallory spain orange blossom

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain lemon tree

The great advantage of the hiking trails in and around Soller is that there is a wide array of hikes for all abilities. From shorter strolls to several hour long walks, or more strenuous hikes with long climbs and descends. Jerome first started to come along on a backpack and then from the age of two we would take walks with him along the shorter routes. Walking is such a great activity, for young and old to enjoy the wildlife, nature and of course the views. Jerome has always liked the challenge of pushing himself up along the hill, usually running ahead. There have been moments when he did not want to walk any further, but I guess he knew that unless he would walk on we would have to stay there forever….

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain hiking with little ones

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca olive tree

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain hiking with little ones

You as a parent should know your child well enough to know how far and long they are prepared to walk. Take enough food, snack and drinks with you and make as many breaks as you need to, even in spring it can be very warm so lots of water is essential. Make sure you have proper hiking boots or at least stout shoes suitable to the path you plan to take, basic trainers might not be enough on some of the trails especially in the higher or rockier parts. Most important invest in a good guide and map to ensure you do not get lost and can both plan and help follow the many way marked routes. We used to play games on the walks to pass the time, inventing stories and spotting games, once he was older we played word association games.

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain hiking exploring nature

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain hiking exploring nature

travel with kids children soller mallory spain hiking l'ofre

Port de Soller also offers two beaches, protected by the natural bay, with shallow water and low waves even on rougher days. The water in July and August has a pleasant temperature of around 25ºC. There are lifeguards, plenty of shops and restaurants, playgrounds and even pedalos for rent, another one of Jerome’s favourites.

As mentioned earlier, Soller and Port de Soller have mostly been spared the building boom of the 1970’s and 80’s that spoilt some parts of the islands. There is a wide range of accommodation on offer to suit any budget. If you prefer to stay in a hotel, you can choose between a hotel in the port by the beach, one in a country surrounded by olive and orange groves or a town hotel in and around Soller. We prefer to stay in a house or apartment, there are plenty of options on Airbnb or similar websites.

travel with kids children soller mallorca port view

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain playa de repic

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain port de soller

Most restaurants will offer children’s menus and are child friendly. I can recommend Es Passeig, a long standing favourite of ours. It overlooks the beach and the entrance to the bay. Children can run around as it is on a pedestrian area but most important is that the food is just so delicious. It is very popular now so is advisable to reserve in advance to get a table for lunch or dinner.

We would recommend to hire a car for your entire stay as it makes your life so much easier to get around and explore the stunning countryside. Leave your pushchairs at home, navigating the narrow streets of the towns and villages can be difficult, and I speak from experience, unless you only want to stroll along the beach promenade in Port de Soller.

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain baby on the beach

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain port beach playa repic

Port de Soller still has an active fishing community and it is an amazing experience to watch the fisher boats return from their day at sea in the afternoon followed by swarms of screeching seagulls. It is also worth watching them sort though the different kinds of fish in their catch and then unload the fish in boxes. You may buy the fish either in the market hall in Soller or eat it in many of the local restaurants.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain port fishing boat

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca port fishermen

travel with kids children Soller Mallorca Spain port fishermen unloading

As it is a regular destination for us and we  recently were in Soller, I thought I should share it with you. My next few posts will contain our favourite walks and hiking tours in and around Soller. I hope you will enjoy them…

Menorca – Treasure Island In The Med

Weekend away in Menorca, Spain

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Day 1

Bank holiday weekends are always a great option for a trip abroad, even though if one doesn’t book ahead it can get quite expensive. We got lucky and secured a deal with British Airways to go to Menorca. We stayed in Cala Galdana which is a beautiful cove in the southern part of the island, about 30 mins drive from the airport. We got a beautiful room in Melia, with a little balcony overlooking the sea and beach. The beach is great for small kids as the water is shallow and being located in a bay the sea is calm enough for even little one to go in.

On our way from the airport we went for dinner at a lovely little restaurant tucked away in a side street in Es Mercadal, Ca’n Olga. I can highly recommend this little gem, Chris wanted to go back the second night but we went to a local restaurant instead.

Dinner Restaurant C'an Olga Menorca

We woke up the next morning to a beautiful sunny day. Our room was overlooking the beach and we could hear the waves all night, which was very relaxing.

There are also plenty of Villas and apartments about if you prefer to have a place to yourself. I usually book through airbnb.

Villa menorca architecture

menorca-coast

Hotel melia cala galdana menorca

Rather than spending the day in Cala Galdana we walked to the next beach along, Cala Macarella. The walk is well sign posted and it took us just under an hour. When we got to the cove we saw that the beach and sea was covered in lots of seaweed and decided to head for Cala Macarelleta which is another 10 mins further on the Cami de Cavalls, an a historic bridlepath dating back to 1683.

It was well worth the extra walk, the sea was turquoise and clear and much calmer.

One could almost think you’re in the Caribbean not the Med.

If you don’t feel like walking, you can easily get to the bay by driving, it takes almost an hour though but might be the preferred option with smaller children, especially in the summer heat.

menorca-walkThe boys always running ahead…

menorca-field

The Camino leads you past fields full of purple thistle and other flowers,

camino cavalls hiking trail menorca
and through pine forrest which provides some shade.
Once you get to Cala Macarella, we headed left on the other side of the beach to Cala Macarellata.
menorca-water
Cala marcaletta menorca beach
Cala Marcaletta menorca beach
Cala Macarellata has fine white sand and clear turquoise water. Pack your lunch and lots of water as the closest cafe is on Cala Marcella. You might want to bring a parasol along as well.
 seagull cala marcellata menorca beach
cala marcellata menorca
camino cavalls menorca cala marcellata
Cafe Susy cala macarella menorca
On our way back we stopped for well deserved ice cream and cold drink at Cafe Susy which is located on the back of the beach in Cala Macarella.
cala galdana menorca restaurant menu

In the evening we enjoyed our  dinner at Restaurant Cala Mitjana, located on Passatge Riu, which served delicious mediterranean food with a twist and also has a great kids menu.

Day 2
The beach in front of the hotel has plenty of loungers with parasols for hire, but there’s also lots of free space for those who prefer to lie on the sand or don’t want to pay the hire fee. Restaurants and shops line the promenade so you have access to almost anything you might need during your beach day or stay at Cala Galdana.
cala galdana hotel melia menorca beach
parasol cala galdana hotel melia beach
cala galdana sun loungers melia hotel
Another glorious day lay ahead of us. We made up our mind and decided to spend the day at Cala Turqueta. One can walk there from Cala Galdana but as we were heading for the airport in the evening, we went by car, which is  about an hours drive from Cala Galdana. Once you get to the car park(fee), it’s about a 10 mins walk to the beach down a country lane, one could take push chair but the last bit would be hard over the sand. I recommend to bring food and drink as there are no facilities right on the beach. The pine trees provide some shade but if you have children with you it is advisable to bring your own parasol. There is a little cafe by the car park, which also has a toilet and shower.
cala turqueta beach menorca
Cala Turqueta is divided into two parts, we stayed on the left hand side which was much quieter.
cala turqueta pine trees
The beach is perfect for small children as it is well protected and the water shallow.
cala turqueta menorca sand castle
Jerome built a sand seal, seals are one of his favourite animals.
sunset menorca airport
We were sad to leave Menorca already but we will be back soon. The hotel was great, even though we didn’t use all the facilities on offer. It’s the perfect place to stay with children of all ages.
Other beaches to go to with children: Cala Mitjana, Son Parc. Cala Pregonda and Cavalleria are both outstandingly beautiful but are further to walk and have no facilities or life guards.
Minorca (as the locals call Menorca) really is mostly a beach destination for many but there are other thing one can do.
Both Ciuatadella and Mahon are worth a visit, for architecture, history and food. Local souvenirs to buy include cheese and sandals. Hiking is also popular especially in the colder months and horse riding is on offer throughout the island. There are also pre historic sites, dating back to Bronze Age, 2000 BC. You might just pass them by accident on the main road and they are all worth a visit and of interest to teach kids about our history.

Bilbao, Spain – Exploring Art For Big And Little Ones in a Town full of Modern Art

Weekend break in nothern Spain

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Day 1

Bilbao had always been on our list of cities to visit, particularly for being famous for the Guggenheim museum with it’s crazy architecture. So off we went on a Friday evening for our weekend away in the Basque country. We arrived quite late due to technical problems with the plane but once we had checked into our room at Hotel Miro we were ready to enjoy our short break.
bilbao guggenheim museum spain
The hotel’s location was perfect, just a short walk away from the Guggenheim.
bilbao architecture art spain
bilbao fountain guggenheim museum spain
As if it wasn’t wet enough already…but I guess it was very tempting! It must be great in the summer heat,  I’m sure all kids would love to run around between the fountains to cool off.
guggenheim museum bilbao scuplture
anish kapoor sculpture guggenheim bilbao spain
Amazing artwork everywhere, this one is called TALL TREE & THE EYE
 by Anish Kapoor and one of my favourites.
maman sculpture louise burgois guggenheim museum bilbao
 Unfortunately there were constant rain showers, which is apparently normal for     Bilbao but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. Just remember to bring an umbrella!
street art under the bridge bilbao

bilbao architecture river

 Our next destination was the Funicular to see the town from above.

funicular bilbao spain

Up we went and halfway we met the other funicular coming down. Jerome liked to stand right behind the conductor’s cubicle, pretending to be the driver, while we enjoyed  the view.

puddle bilbao park

bilbao hills view

We got lucky, it stopped raining and could enjoy the view over the mountains in the distance,

guggenheim museum

the town and Guggenheim museum.

sculpture bilbao spain

The two boys hid behind a sculpture in the park.

bilbao skateboard park

Right next to the station was a fun skate park, wish I would have known that before. I’m sure Jerome would have enjoyed having a break from exploring.

funicular station bilbao

funicular bilbao history

funicular bilbao spain

funicular bilbao spain

On our way back down.

sweet shop bilbao

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bilbao donut

We strolled through alleys, passed little shops one can’t seem to find in London anymore and had some sugary treats. We had never seen such a huge doughnut before, it literally was the size of a cake.

fish monger bilbao

postcard bilbao spain

brutalist architecture bilbao

We passed reminders of the industrial past (myself a huge fan of anything concrete or brutalist, the boys less so),

modern architecture bilbao spain

modern architecture,

train station bilbao

 and grand old buildings like the train station and opera house.

restaurant bilbao

restaurant txoko bilbao

We stopped for lunch to feed our moaning stomachs at Txoco Restaurant  with some local tapas.

washing bilbao

I guess if it rains even the washing needs an umbrella.

bilbao jimmy choo boots saint laurent bag streetstyle

 I’m glad I brought these boots with me, otherwise I would have wet feet by now and  that would have totally spoilt the day. After walking for hours through the old town we headed back to the hotel to rest  before going out for dinner. Sadly our dinner reservation was cancelled but we got seats on the bar in  Txcook to taste more of the local food.

Day 2


Guggenheim was the first thing on our list for today. On the way to the entrance we passed Jerome’s favourite exhibit, the flower Puppy dog by Jeff Koons. In fact there is a lot of art that can be engaging for children and adults alike, even for those who don’t have a lot of understanding of art in general.

puppy jeff koons bilbao spain

Guggenheim museum architecture

andy warhol exhibition guggenheim museum bilbao

The current exhibition was by Andy Warhol “Shadows”

Jeff Koon tulips guggenheim museum bilbao

Jeff Koon tulips guggenheim  museum bilbao

art guggenheim museum

shadow games guggenheim museum

Jerome had fun playing shadow games.

giant maze art guggenheim bilbao

It was a lot of fun to get lost in these massive maze and was unlike anything we had ever experienced before in a museum.
pintxos bilbao
Time for some pintxos at Bar el Globo, a local form of tapas, consisting of generous portion of food speared on a toothpick. Vegetarians might have trouble finding some without meat, but they were all rather delicious.
pintxos bar el globo bilbao

Jerome has always shown a huge interest in any kind of transport vehicle and therefore we headed for the Puente Bizkaya (Vizcaya Bridge), the first transporter bridge in the world and an UNESCO heritage site. On the way we passed the suburbs of Bilbao, all the way down to the seaside towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas. If you don’t have a car, you also have the possibility to go by train or metro, only a 30mins ride from the centre of Bilbao.

portugalete bilbao spain
Vizkaya bridge Portugalete
Gondola bridge vizkaya
The first glimpse of the bridge from the outskirts of Portugalete.
architecture portugalete spain
band stand portugalete
puddle portugalete bride
bridge vizkaya portugalete bilbao
The bridge spans over the Nervion river connecting the two towns. We went up in the lift to the walkway which goes from one side to the other. Chris being scared of height was unable to walk across, but Jerome was brave enough to do so.
cars gondola bilbao
We waited with our car to go across on the gondola to Las Arenas. There were passenger sections on both sides and space for 4 cars at a time. It was a very smooth ride to the other side.
gondol portugalete
We still had a few ours left and decided to find a cafe along the beach near Getxo. Wish the weather would have been better as I would have loved to explore this little seaside village with it’s cute houses and fishing boats.
seaside village bilbao
rainbow motorway bilbao

Despite the weather we had a great time in Bilbao. We would love to come back and stay in San Sebastian next time. Bilbao is a good place to come with kids of all ages, getting around is very easy, everything can pretty much be covered by foot or if the weather is warmer and less rainy by bike. Having a car was very cheap, less than two taxis into town from the airport.
Some useful links:
Metro
Guggenheim
My hotel wish list:
Hotel Astoria 7 in san Sebastian
Hotel Maria Cristina