Torrent de Pareis, Mallorca, Spain | Hiking the Torrent de Pareis with a Child

Our experience of hiking through the finest gorge on Mallorca.

As a blogger and travel writer I had to think long and hard about whether I should include this hike through the Torrent de Pareis, perhaps the finest walk on Mallorca, on my blog. After discussing it with Chris, I decided to write about our experiences for the main reason, that I should make people and that includes parents, aware of the dangers of this hike, especially as it features in a number of guides and on some of the maps.  Before you read further be aware that this is not a hike in the normal sense, it borders on scrambling and canyoning in parts and it would be dangerous if undertaken un-prepared. Every year, casualties and accidents happen on this decent, these are usually caused by people who over estimate their own abilities or choose to set out without planning and preparation. The hike is not a walk in the park, it is the most strenuous hike on the island! To consider attempting it you must be a fit and experienced mountain hiker, not scared of heights, be steady on your feet, flexible and able to squeeze through gaps in the rocks, and be able to climb down larger rocks and boulders.

Planning and preparation for the route is essential – NEVER venture onto this hike if it has rained in the last 10 days and only if the weather forecast shows dry conditions, with zero chance of rainfall. Rain not only makes the rocks treachery and slippery, if large amounts of rain fall, the torrent turns into a dangerous, raging mountain stream and will sweep away everything in its path including you. Recommended for a hike are the months of May to October. Having said that, in dry years we have hiked the Torrent de Pareis once in March and the second time in April and we did not encounter any water in the gorge during our hikes. You should never attempt this hike on your own, always go in a group of 2, ideally 3 or more people.

When preparing make sure you have the right provisions and equipment. It is absolutely essential to take a rope with you, ideally around 5m in length. Take a phone for emergencies but keep in mind, there is no mobile reception in the gorge! Take plenty of water, 1.5l per person, more during the hot summer months. Food and snacks are essential, plus a first aid kit and a hiking map and ideally a guide book with detailed descriptions of the route down.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis view

Finally, inform someone, that you are going on this hike, this can be a friend or family member or even your hotel reception, and check in with them when you have finished. Leave early in the morning to have enough time to enjoy the beauty of this incredible hike and not be in danger of missing the last bus or boat at Sa Calobra.  My advice is to plan at least 6-7 hours for the hike, plus more if you want to include the detour into the most difficult gorge on the island, Sa Fosca.  The entire way is only about 8km with 680m descent but the difficulty of the terrain will mean that progress is much slower than you expect.

Having read all that and those warnings you maybe surprised to learn that the first time we hiked the Torrent de Pareis, Jerome was just 5 years old and he walked the whole way. Bear in mind not every five year old could do that, he was already an experienced mountain hiker, and he has been on walking holidays every year since he was born. He himself wanted to hike the torrent after he had seen photos of the gorge and heard stories about it from his grandparents and friends on the island. One dry spring after a lot of talking it through with my parents and Chris, we decided that we would attempt the walk with him. A local friend had told us that he had done the walk with his sons a few times and considering how much Jerome had hiked before he should be fine.

That first time, we took a taxi from Soller to the start of the hike and came back by boat. On our second attempt five years later we drove to the start, and used a taxi to collect the car. The main starting point for the hike is just before you reach the Restaurant Escorca from Soller, at km 25.5. There you will find an information board, which details and warns about the difficult parts of the hike. To the left is the entrance to the hiking trail that starts around some sheep fields. Shortly after you will pass through a gate and walk through a field, following a wall. On the morning of our hike the sun was only just reaching the top of the surrounding mountains and the morning air was still fresh with dew on the grass and the sheep in the field looked as sleepy as us. Both Chris and my Dad carried full backpacks with our equipment and food, we had taken a special rope that you normally would use to lift and deliver large sacks of sand, plus some normal climbing rope too. The special rope we used later to lower Jerome down some of the larger rocks and boulders. The climbing rope came in useful at a few points, even for the adults.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis start point

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis rope

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis puig roig

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis cave houses

About fifteen minutes into the walk, we had left the woods behind and were on the zigzag path through the fields, where we found a sunny spot to sit down. We had breakfast of freshly baked croissants from our favourite bakery and hot tea and coffee from our flasks. Down below we could see the gorge with its sharp cliffs, still pitch black, the sun had not yet reached this part of the Serra Tramuntana. Keeping an eye on the time we moved on after a brief stop, slowly downhill, through the tall clumps of pampas grass, some of the leaves were taller than Jerome and we had to keep an eye out to not miss him among the green. To the other side of the gorge we could see Puig Roig with the old police halt to stop the smugglers and the cave houses of Escorca, that were built into the mountainside eons ago.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis rocks

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis rocks

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis cliffs

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis stream bed

The stony path, winds itself downhill following dry stream towards the main riverbed that cut the gorge. When we had reached the streambed we got our first glimpse into the torrent. Still shady inside, the sun was not high enough to reach into the gorge. Reaching the riverbed we walked left along the Torrent de Lluc until we got to the junction at the Torrent des Gorg Blau, this is where the real Torrent de Pareis starts. It is also possible to take the longer route in via the riverbed of the Torrent de Lluc but that takes far longer and misses the impressive views on the descent.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis sunshine

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis stream bed

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis stream bed

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis shade

Entering the deep gorge, it is there that the real beauty of the torrent becomes visible. 300 metre tall cliffs to either side, towered above us, with just a narrow opening where we could see the cloudless, blue sky high above. Until there, the hike had been a fairly normal hike, the gravel and stones in the river bed meant that we could not walk as fast and had to watch our steps, but there had been no difficult sections yet. We all gazed at the immense beauty and Jerome was very excited that he was able to join us on the walk.

At the junction of the canyons and if you have enough time for the little detour to Sa Fosca (plan in another 1h) walk up along the torrent des Gorg Blau to your left, until you get to some slippery rocks, which will make your passage more difficult. Past these rocks you will find Sa Fosca, the most difficult gorge on the island, some parts never see the light of day and at the narrowest it is only one step across the top. We did not venture to Sa Fosca on our first hike with Jerome, however, the second time we made the detour and we all agreed it was definitely worth the extra effort and time. Brave souls do descend this canyon from the top but it is one only for the canyoning experts.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis gorge blau

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis sa fosca

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis moss

After leaving the junction of the two torrents and heading into the entrance to the Torrent de Pareis we had to walk to the right side of the streambed. If you keep an eye out, you might be able to see a cave up in the cliffs. Some 15 minutes later you will encounter the first difficult part of the hike. A massive stone blocks the canyon base and must be negotiated. Carefully find yourself a way around two pools, they might be filled with murky water and then down the “steps” or ledges, which someone has carved into right side of the boulder. It is there that we first used our rope, we slowly lowered Jerome down the side of the boulder, when he was five years old. Last time he found his own footing and we did not need the help of the rope, we just gave him some advice on where to put his feet.

The hike goes on winding along the riverbed, make sure to stay on the right path, this might be indicated by where people have trodden before or by coloured markers and stone cairns. The next difficult places are some narrow sections where you will have to lower yourself with the help of the ropes that have been fixed to the rocks, we found having some extra rope here useful. A little while later a pool follows, which needs to be passed on the right. Jerome was always eager to be the first one for the next challenge ahead, however, usually it would be my Dad or I, who would test the waters and give Jerome some help from down below in case he needed it. My Mum would go next and Chris would follow last to make sure everyone was OK.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis obstacle

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis plants

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis boulder

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis hold on

At some points we could see where the water level would be when the gorge is filled with water, in parts green moss had grown on the smooth rocks along the riverbed. It is a sobering thought to realise that after a storm that water will rush through the canyon as much as 6 metres or more deep. About half way into the hike we found a flat rock where we could all sit down and enjoyed our packed lunch, being sure to keep some food and water for later.

At some point we had to leave the riverbed on the left side and shortly afterwards we passed another cave. There were still a few more tricky passages to come though. We had to squeeze ourselves through a narrow gap and then our last ordeal, which used to be even more difficult, until someone made an opening into the rocks.  The last difficult point is called in Spanish “fat men get thin” and involves descending 2 to 3 metres down a small hole in a massive rock. I think the name says it all.

Having mastered all the treacherous sections, it is possible to enjoy the last spectacular stretch of the gorge before it ends. On the last section it is usual to find some curious ill equipped tourists coming towards you on the flat stretch from Sa Calobra, they probably read the warning sign at the entrance to the gorge and want to find out what it is like for themselves. Few get further than the last big obstacle thankfully.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis narrow passage

DSC_3956

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis boulders

The gorge finally opens out, the large rocks turn into a field of gravel and there is a small lake that is normally filled with murky, green water to the right. The impressive view of the sea between the rocks and the beach at Sa Calobra will come into view, giving a spectacular end to the hike through the Torrent de Pareis.

We always have to accustom ourselves at this point, to the many tourists around, after barely meeting anybody for the whole day. Most tourists visit Sa Calobra to experience the hairpin road that descends from the mountain pass, to see the secluded beach, relax and go for a swim. A large number of them are not even aware of the beauty that is hidden behind the sheer rocks and cliffs further behind their backs.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis warning

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis sa calobra

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain torrent de pareis sa calobra

I always have mixed feelings after ending this hike, for one I am relieved we made it, unharmed and safely down the gorge, on the other hand I wish I could have savoured the beauty of it for longer. Straight after finishing the hike we always say never again but I know, possibly not next year, or the year after but for sure we will attack the hike again, the next time we have a dry spring.

With our legs weary and our feet sore we walked the last stretch through the man made tunnel to the port of Sa Calobra. On the last occasion we still had some time spare before Jerome and I would take the boat back to Soller. My parents and Chris called a taxi that would take them back up the road to the car at Escorca, but as the taxi would not take five, so it gave Jerome an excuse to enjoy the boat again. There is a bus service that goes from Sa Calobra past the restaurant but it only runs at certain times of the year and it was only scheduled to start a few weeks later. I wonder at the patience of the drivers of both buses and taxis that ply the twisty road down and up to Sa Calobra.

While waiting for our transport we went down to one of the cafes overlooking the little, stony beach in the port to have our well-deserved coffee and ice cream. There were surprisingly few tourists around, despite the Easter holidays and many of the cafes and restaurants were still closed up. Once the boat arrived we left my parents and Chris behind, they were still waiting for the taxi, while Jerome and I boarded the boat back to Soller. We both enjoyed the calm ride, past Cala Tuent and the beautiful coastline back to Port de Soller..

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis restaurant

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis port

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis sa calibre beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking torrent de pareis happy child

There are some hikers that say it is easier to hike up the gorge than down. We have twice hiked it downhill and I can say that the view and option of a hot coffee and an ice cream is more appealing to us than climbing for 7-8 hours straight up the hill.

I will finish this post not on the joy of the adventure but with a final warning. This is not a hike for everyone, the route is tough and needs planning and preparation. There are also experienced guides that will take you through the gorge, I can recommend Tramuntana tours in Soller. It helps to have someone with you, that knows the in and outs of the Torrent de Pareis. Remember if you are having any doubts about whether you are fit and experienced enough for this hike, it might be better to say no I am not, and do not set out – better safe than sorry later. No one wants to be rescued by the mountain rescue or even worse not make it out. Having written all that, I will finish by saying that after both our hikes Jerome had a big grin on his face and we were rather proud that he achieved such an incredible adventure.

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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.

#wanderlustexperiences | Anne and David of horseaddict.net

Travel tips for other mums and dads from real life experiences.

My name is Anne Leueen and my husband’s name is David. Our children are Breanne and Perry.  They are now adults.  We come from Ontario Canada just outside Toronto.

My blog website is: https://horseaddict.net/

My Facebook page connected to Horse Addict is : Horse Addict Leueen

David and I are both retired now but travelled with our children often when they were younger.  We now go to Florida for the winters to escape the cold in Ontario.  I also ride, train and compete with my horse and the winter season in Florida is a busy time for that.  David and I have done some travelling on our own to Europe and also to Vietnam and Cambodia a few years ago, but now I find that with going to England twice a year and  having a competition horse we are travelling less than we did with a younger family.  I am so glad we always took our children with us on all of our travels. There are many stories we still talk about and have wonderful memories to share with our adult children.

Perry now lives in London, England.  He went to university in the UK and never returned, which gives a good excuse for David and I to go there twice a year.

Breanne lives in Ontario and travels quite a lot to western Canada and the US for work.   This year she has also been to London and Paris and will be going to Barcelona and Madrid also for work.

wanderlust experiences anne leiden horse addict guest post first flight
Perry on his first flight to London on British Airways. Cheery little traveller!

How old were your children the first time you flew/went on holiday with them and where did you go?

Perry was a month old for his first flight which was from Toronto to Vancouver BC.  His next flight was Toronto to London when he was about six months old. Breanne was six weeks old for her first flight from Toronto to London.

Perry was 4 and Breanne turned 2 when we were on our Australian trip.  They continued to travel with us to England each year as my family is from there, and I lived there when I was in my 20s, so I have a lot of friends there too.  The trips to Mexico were on school holidays as was the trip to Kenya. We made trips to Italy during the March break school holidays.

What important items do you always take with you on your travels?

When they were too young to read I always took books to read to them, puzzles and crayons and paper.  Also a backpack filled with disposable diapers, two sets of extra clothing for each child, and when they were babies and eating solid food some dehydrated baby food.  For a really long trip, like Los Angeles to Fiji, I wrapped all the little toys in paper and tied it with string so it gave them something to do to get them open and they could only have one at a time.  Breanne always needed to have her stuffed bear with her but Perry did not have a favourite stuffie.

wanderlust experiences anne leiden horse addict guest post australia
Perry and Breanne and I crossing Australia on the Nullabor.

What was your favourite destination and why?

Favourite destination? Hard to say. The trip to New Zealand and Australia, when we rented a camper van and travelled in NZ for seven weeks and in Australia for six months was a wonderful experience that remains top of the list for David and I.  For the kids, they loved trips to Italy, England and also Mexico.

Do you usually travel on your own, with other family members (e.g. grandparents), friends or nanny?

We always travelled on our own. No friends or other family or nanny.

wanderlust experiences anne leiden horse addict guest post equator
At the Equator in Kenya. The man showed them how water funnels down in different directions depending on which side of the equator you are on.

What do you think travelling abroad teaches your children?

Travelling abroad is an invaluable education. C hildren can see how other people live.   They can see people of different races, different levels of poverty or wealth, different customs.  When we arrived in Nairobi the guide asked Perry if he had been to Africa before and he said no.  “Well,” the guide said “The first thing you will notice is that everyone here is black.”  After our first visit to Venice, Perry who was 10, said:  “Next time we come here we should stay for two weeks because there is so much here to see.” This was in large part because we had used a walking tour guide ‘Venicescapes’ and the guide had taken us to a lot of very interesting places not always open to the public and he had made it interesting for the kids as well.  So, there is history lessons and life lessons, lots of things to be gained from travel.

Do you have any tips or hints for other parents that make your travelling easier and more relaxed?

Travelling with a baby; always have something to get them to drink when taking off or landing in a plane to help their ears adjust to the pressure changes. If you are not absolutely fluent in the country you are going to and do not have friends there make sure you have access to English speaking medical help.

How long in advance do you book a holiday?

We would book in advance for only a few weeks to go to England.  About a month to go to Mexico to a resort.  Europe maybe six weeks.  The Australian trip was planned several months ahead as we were gone for seven months.

wanderlust experiences anne leiden horse addict guest post venice
Perry and Breanne are given some instruction into the making of a gondola in Venice by the gondola maker and the guide from Venicescapes.

Do you plan all the activities and sight seeing in advance?

We planned the walking tours in Italy in advance, but we did not plan the Australia trip other than booking the campervan.  I did have maps and made decisions about where to go but basically, we just drove the whole way around the continent and en route we found people who would suggest things to us and we would follow that.  For example, I had a friend in Sydney who was the manager of a 3-million-acre sheep station in central Australia.  She suggested we stop in to see him as we were going across the country.  We drove across the Nullabor and then up a dirt road alongside the dingo fence to stay at the station.

Are you still one of those people that uses a travel agencies for all your holiday bookings or do you plan everything on your own?

We did use a travel agent to make our flight bookings and then I did the hotels etc. myself.

wanderlust experiences anne leiden horse addict guest post flying doctors
At the sheep station in central Australia the Flying Doctor had to be called for a sheep shearer who was ill. Perry and Breanne were invited to have a look inside the plane.

Thank you Anne for sharing your experiences, the trip for seven months sounds like it was very adventurous and it must have been a fantastic opportunity for the family.  I am sure travel was much harder to book and arrange before the internet was ubiquitous.

I hope you, my readers, enjoyed our short interview and if you have travel experiences and tips you would also like to share please let me know at wanderlustplusone@gmail.com.

Soller, Mallorca, Spain | A Walk past the Orange Groves of Soller to the Pretty Village of Fornalutx

Wandering through the little villages of the Soller valley.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The walk from Soller to Fornalutx is more like a longer stroll than an actual hike but it is a great way to experience the valley and villages along its path, the stunning scenery and the majestic Tramuntana Mountains.

We usually start our walk (it is something of an annual ritual to limber up for harder hikes) at the Placa de sa Constitucio in Soller. Jerome would always love to stop immediately for an ice cream at C’an Pau at the entrance of Calle de sa Lluna, which is by far the best place to have an ice cream anywhere that we know. We always also tell him he has to wait until we get back on the way home after some exercise, you would think after so many times he would have got the hint by now! We stroll along Calle Lluna, the shopping high street of Soller. The street is still lined with little shops, the perfect place to shop if you forgot to pack your swimsuit, need a dress for dinner or want to get some authentic Mallorcan souvenirs like espadrilles, woven baskets or olive oil and local orange marmalade. The local butcher, bakery and fruit and vegetable shops have also survived unlike in some other places on the island.

Even if you are just in Soller for a short visit you should take a stroll along Lluna, but bear in mind that most shops will be closed during siesta, from about 13:00 to around 16:30. Keep an eye out for the moon (luna) on one of the houses (tip it is on no. 50) and the old yellow post box at one of the Tabacos. This year we ignored most of the shops, my mum and I had already made plans to come and have a look on the following Saturday, when the town has a weekly market on the square and adjoining streets.

travel with kids children soller malloca spain hiking fornalutx calle lluna

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx post box

Once the shops ended we were mostly on our own, most tourists do not venture past this point. The street is still as narrow past the shops, in fact most roads in the centre of Soller are barely wide enough for two cars to pass. The beautiful stone houses with their signature green wooden shutters line both sides of the street out of town. Most of these houses are over 100 years old, and if you are lucky you might be able to get a peek into the inside. What most people do not realise is that the houses of Soller are built around gardens and each has its share of the plot or they contain little courtyards and roof terraces.

If you want to get an insight into one the houses in Soller you should visit C’an Prunera which you will pass on your way to Fornalutx if you follow this walk. Inside it is a stunning modernist villa, dating back to 1911 and houses a collection of art works by local artists including Miro and Picasso who both spent some time in Soller. The tiles and décor have been restored to their full splendour and I can recommend taking time to visit there.

travel with kids children soller malloca spain hiking fornalutx can prunera

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx calle lluna

Continuing our stroll, the constant row of town houses stops after a while and we found our selves on the outskirts of Soller. The sign indicating the village start is hidden amongst a large cactus next to one of the streams filled with water that comes rushing down the mountains after any rains. Still heading straight on we now passed gardens filled with seas of flowers, jasmine, bougainvillea and many other colourful blossoms.

The orange groves were also in fill bloom and the fragrant, sweet scent surrounded us. The orange blossoms are quite small in size and they look incredible next to the deep green leaves and ripe oranges. There are many orange groves in Soller, together with the olives grown on the higher slopes, they used to be the main income for the locals who would export the ripe fruits, over the sea to France from the port, as the valley was shut of to the rest of the island by the high mountains. To some ears the local dialect has many French links and sounds as a result. Mixed into the orange trees are some lemon trees as well, these flower all year long and always have new fruits among the braches.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx sign

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx lemon grove

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx orange blossom

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx flowers

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx bougainvillea

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx flowers

At the start of Cami de Biniaraix we crossed a bridge over the mostly dry mountain stream instead of heading further straight on along Carrer d’Ozones and continued along the road past some houses and more orchards.

The road starts to incline slightly and once we entered the little village of Biniaraix, here, instead of walking along the road we turned left up some steps and through the little, cobbled alley towards the village centre. Jerome used the water fountain at the corner to refresh himself while we strolled on, past pretty flowerpots outside the houses and the two cafes at the tiny plaza. Further up the road we made right at the old public washhouse to the entry of the Barranc de Biniaraix, the start of one of the major hiking routes into the Tramuntana Mountains. There we stopped a little way up the track and sat down on the wall to have a snack from our backpack and a cool drink. The view over the valley towards Soller and up to the mountains from this spot is incredible.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx biniaraix church

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx public wash house

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx orange valley

Jerome seemed keen to move on quickly and we returned to the main road, but instead of walking back into Biniaraix we headed right just beyond the washhouse towards Fornalutx joining the road from the village centre that bares left after leaving the plaza. Strolling on again we passed many orange groves before we ending up at the road that connects Soller and Fornalutx. Unfortunately this is one of the less nice parts of the walk as the only way is to follow the road for a while and we had to step aside to let cars pass quite frequently. Shortly, we crossed another bridge, this time there was water running down the riverbed and lots of slimy green algea had formed under the sun’s rays. At an orange grove with a little chicken hut within we took the footpath up the hill into the village of Fornalutx.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx orange grove

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx mountain stream

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx chicken

If you do follow the walk keep an eye out for the intricately painted roof tiles, there are few houses that feature them on this stretch. The last part winds through tight alleys, too narrow for cars to drive along, until it eventually ends up at the town’s Placa Espanya.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx roof tiles

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx stairs

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx alley

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx courtyard

We chose a table underneath a parasol in the Café Sa Placa at the far end, below the village church and next to a mini market. There we enjoyed a cup of café con leche, fresh orange juice and a slice of almond cake. If your hunger needs something more substantial and savoury try the Pa Amb Oli. Many people say Fornalutx is the prettiest village in Spain, and while it certainly has its charm with views and is worth a wander through the alleys, for us Lluc Alcari further long the coast hold’s this precious title.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx church

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx cafe sa placa

For the way back to Soller we choose a different route out of the village on our now traditional walk, it runs along the hillside via the tiny village of Binibassi. Leaving the village towards the west, along Cami de Binibassi, we pass the local football pitch and playground. The road turns into a narrow hiking path once it has passed the pretty cemetery on the left. I always have a peek into the cemetery. I find the Mallorcan graves rather fascinating with the glazed, porcelain flowers and the photos of the deceased on the stones. On that day Jerome had run on ahead, looking for the small cave under a wall that we always pass on this walk. When he was younger he used to imagine that Totoro lived in it and we would keep an eye out for the Cat-bus… The path winds itself through olive and orange groves, it crosses a little stream, which was bursting with water when we were there in February, but had dried out since then.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx cemetery

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx cemetery

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx wooden gate

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx hiking path

Further on someone had put out two clay Easter bunnies to mark the upcoming Easter weekend. We walked through a wooden gate, which we encounter on many of our walks in the area and always normally close them as they keep the mountain sheep in the pastures. Following the track we slowly descended into Binibassi with views over the valley. Once we have reached the few houses that make up this tiny village Jerome always lets some leaves or small twigs float down the stream that surfaces at this point and runs besides the path before it disappears again into the cistern at the houses. In Binibassi we turn right and follow the path until it meets a tarmac road that leads into the outskirts of Soller.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx easter bunnies

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx binibassi

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx binibassi

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx view over soller

Along the country road and opposite a small farm with sheep on its pasture, Jerome spotted the cat we had met during our last visit 2 months before. The cat immediately walked up to Jerome and let him stroke it, It had bright blue eyes and looked well cared for. Jerome has a passion for cats and whenever we encounter one he would love to take them home. I call him the cat whisperer as all cats seem to be drawn to him. Eventually I managed to tear him away from the cute animal and we strolled the last few hundred meters before entering the town of Soller again. There our path follows the signs into town and returns to Placa de Constitucio where Jerome traditionally finally gets his ice cream at C’an Pau. We usually sit on the wall of the little square, savouring our gelato, and watch the local children play around the fountain.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx cat

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx cat

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking fornalutx sheep

Although this walk is perfectly possible without a map and the paths are well sign posted throughout with arrows and signs, I would still advise you to get a walking map and guide with detailed routes and information to all the hiking in and around the Soller valley. It will save confusion at the junctions and make it easier to spot turnings. We use Walking Paradise Soller, which has the most detailed maps available, but there is a selection of similar ones in several languages.

This route is easily walkable with even younger children, it takes between 2-3 hours to walk the round tour of about 7km in total without breaks depending on your pace and ability. There are plenty of opportunities for stops at cafes, but it is always advisable to carry some water and snacks too. The hike does not require proper hiking boots, a pair of stout trainers would suffice.

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

A holiday off the beaten track in Mallorca

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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…