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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Soller, Mallorca, Spain | The “Sa Costera” Hike along the Remote and Picturesque Coastline from Mirador de Sea Barques to Cala Tuent

A strenuous coastal hike to a remote beach.

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The Sa Costera walk from Mirador de Ses Barques to Cala Tuent is one of the finest hikes on Mallorca. The walking first leads through the many terraced olive groves, into a remote valley behind the mountains and then runs parallel to the stunning azure Mediterranean Sea. The end is at one of the most beautiful coves on the island and the way back allows for a boat trip, which adds to the experience. Having said this, bear in mind it is certainly quite a strenuous hike and needs preparation. Jerome first walked this hike from the age of 4 without being carried, but it does take around 6-7 hours in total with a younger one, maybe an hour or so less with just adults or older children. Before setting out in the morning double check with Barcos Azules whether the boat from Cala Tuent at 16:55 (March 15:45) back to Port Soller will actually be departing. Double check the departure times as they change depending on the season. In case of high winds or rough seas the boats will most likely be canceled and I would advise against embarking on the hike, as you will have trouble getting back from Cala Tuent. A taxi would mean a long wait and be expensive, around 90€, or another long hike back are the only options. You also need to plan how you will deal with linear walk as if you leave the car at the viewpoint the boat returns you to Port Soller, meaning either a hike up, the bus or a taxi.

On the day we chose for the hike we had seen online that the sea was going to be too rough that day but we still planned on walking the first half of the hike to towards Tuent despite this.   Our plan was to then turn around halfway along the coast and return to our start, missing the last stretch to the cove. After breakfast we drove to Mirador de Ses Barques, where we parked our car, more energetic hikers can even consider walking up (or perhaps cheating with the bus), hiking up extends the way by several hours, but avoids the logistics to retrieve the car later. We had enjoyed a lovely lunch at the restaurant a few days before on a different hike. That morning we got a beautiful view of Port de Soller from the viewpoint next to the restaurant. Even from there we could see the waves came crashing into the port and knew that no boat was going to go out that day to Sa Calobra and Cala Tuent along the coast.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent port soller

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent track

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent sheep lamb

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent olive grove

At first the hike takes the same path we took on our walk a few days earlier day around Soller. Jerome was quite interested by a group of sheep with new little lambs in one of the fields we passed. The sun was already high above the olive groves, the strong wind still made us feel rather cold. In between the trees were lots of Asphodel flowers, many more than in other years, probably due to the heavy rains in the winter months.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent olive tree

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent road

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent mountains

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent well

The dirt track runs through a high plain with a farm and some arable land, the earth still churned up and of an unusual, red-brown colour. We walked through a gate and suddenly could see the mountain range that we will need to cross in order to be able to get along the coast. We would have to climb up to the saddle, which is the hardest, most strenuous part of the hike, rising perhaps 300m in elevation. First we would need to take the path down into the bowl in the mountains, this leads into a remote valley behind the islands highest peak and is only accessible by dirt tracks. To the right we took the stony path, which is signposted with by small arrows on wooden poles and headed downhill. Water trickled across the path from a well in the hillside at one point. This made the path slippery, especially on the smooth, rocky steps. It helped that we wore our proper hiking shoes instead of normal trainers, which would be inappropriate for this walk.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent olive tree trunk

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent flower field

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent steps

The path down into the valley alternates between stretches of dirt track and hiking trail paths that cut the corners from some of the big turns in the dirt road.   The zigzag path descends all the way until it reaches the finca of Baltix D’Avall, parts of the building are over 1200 years old. This old olive mill was turned into one of the Agrotourism hotels a few years ago and serves orange and other drinks juice on the terrace. It must be a great place to stay for a few nights if you want to get away from it all, to be in a place of absolute serenity miles from anywhere. We always make this one of our stops for a juice, before attacking the hard hike up through the light forest to the col at the back of the valley, the most strenuous part of the hike.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent finca baltix d'avall

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent baltix d'avall old mill

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent baltix d'avall entrance

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent baltix d'avall chapel

Leaving the estate we took a quick look into the pretty, little chapel that belongs to the Finca. I have always admired the stunning ceiling, painted a dark blue hue with tiny stars. The way up crosses the mountain stream, empty on our walk, and shortly after the end of the orange grove it turns right onto the terraced hillside. We slowly ascended, at some point we had to take our jackets off as the wind did not seem to reach that side of the mountain and the afternoon sun was beating down on us from the cloudless sky. On this stretch of the climb in the past we always had to slow down and adapt to the speed of Jerome’s walking pace, these days he runs ahead from us and we have to stop and wait for his grandma every now and then instead.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent baltix d'avall orange grove

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent grassy path

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent baltix d'avall path

After about half an hour of hiking up the path it joins a forest track again. This part can feel a bit annoying, as it is the last haul up to the col and it is on a dusty, winding road. It is hard to imagine that anyone would actually be able to drive up the steep bends even with the most powerful four wheel drive. After seven more bends we could see the saddle up ahead, and once we reached it, we got our first glimpse of the azure blue sea between the treetops. From there the path is downhill, through a forest of Mediterranean oaks, until it eventually levels out at about a 150 meters above sea level and contours along high above the sea on the back side of the mountain range.  The path is sandwiched between the sea below to the left and the highest parts of the Traumuntana Mountains. At this point the nearest real road is several kilometres away so the remote wild feeling is atmospheric and adds to the adventure.

Shortly after we had left the forest and started contouring along the side of the mountain, Jerome spotted the rock, where we usually have our lunch break. The rock sits right next to the hiking path and is the perfect spot to have a break and enjoy the views of the coastline, the sea and horizon with the mountains rising behind. The sea on the day of our walk was rather rough and we could see the waves crashing in below and the water was very murky, not like the crystal, clear turquoise a few days before on our walk to Deia. The views are beautiful no matter what the weather and we thoroughly enjoyed our packed lunch of local bread, boiled eggs (left over from Easter), cheese and vegetables, high above the sea.

Normally we would walk along the coastal path all the way to the Tuent cove and while we did not do so on that day, turning back after about another kilometer of enjoying the views, I will still explain here the route to Tuent that we have walked many times. It is a shame we had to turn back but the rough sea meant that the boat back would not go so there was not the time to go the whole way and walk back that day.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent coast

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent rocks

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent rough sea

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent coastline

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent waves

On calmer days the part of the walk from the picnic rock to the pretty cove at Tuent is our favourite part, with its changing views of the coastline and the sea. During spring, when we are usually hiking there, many of the alpine flowers are in bloom and the sweet smelling yellow broom bushes that look like yellow polka dots on the otherwise rocky hillside are also flowering. The other ever-present plant is the grass that sometimes reaches a height of 1.5m. Jerome always likes to pick one of the long flower stems and chases after us with it. To one side is the sea, on the other the rocky mountainsides. The path is easy to find and moves roughly at the same level sometimes higher, sometimes lower heading towards a rocky outcrop in the distance.

About half way along the coast, you will find a narrow trail to your left, heading down towards the sea. This is a little detour to an ancient spring and well, if you look out for it you might notice the basin where the water collects just above the sea. We have never attempted this little detour, which takes around an extra 1.5 to 2 hours for the trek down to the shore and back up, so unfortunately cannot give you any advice if it would be worth the extra time and exercise descending 100m nearly to the sea and climbing back up.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent calm sea

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent boat

Before reaching the other end of the coastal path, there is a slight ascent to reach the top of the rocky headland that sticks out into the sea before the bay of Cala Tuent cuts into the island. After the headland the path leads through a pine forest and the trail leads down into the bay. At some point you will get views of the pebbled beach and the stunning water through the trees. If time allows it is worth making a stop at the Restaurant Es Vegeret for a drink, snack or ice cream. If you do, find yourself a table on the back of the terrace and enjoy a café con leche and a slice of their yummy almond cake. Jerome always has an ice cream before we go down to the beach. The beach is a good spot to wait for the boat to come in, you will not be able to miss the queues of other hikers on the small jetty, before the boat is due to arrive usually around 16:55 (March 15:45).

The pebbled beach at Tuent might not be the most comfortable place on the island for a lazy day but the stones are smaller than Deia so make it a good spot for a picnic.  The lack of sand means the water here is always clear and unless the sea is too rough it is a great spot for a safe swim and makes brilliant snorkeling, if you bring some goggles.  Jerome likes building stone towers or houses, so it is can also make a change from a day trip to a sandy beach even for smaller children. Even during high summer season the bay is never crowded. The long drive over the mountain road (which is a stunning, sometimes hair raising, hair pin drive) keeps most tourists away from this magical place.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent beach

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent flower field

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent beach

The ride back to Soller on the boat is always Jerome’s favourite part of the day. He likes to sit outside on the deck, next to the rails or go to the captain’s cabin to watch him steer the boat. Once the boat has left the bay of Cala Tuent behind it will make a left turn and for the first part of the ride you will be able to see the coastline you have walked along a few hours ago. Before long the towering rocky cliffs take over until you finally notice the houses of Port de Soller. The boat will veer left again into the bay, with the lighthouses at either side of the bay’s entrance and the hotels along the back of the beach. At this time of day depending on the tide many of the fisher boats maybe return into port with their catch and you might be lucky to be accompanied by the screeching of seagulls.

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain hiking cala tuent bay

travel with kids children soller mallorca spain cala tuent boat ride

If you left your car up at the viewpoint you have the chance to get a taxi to collect it, but we often take the little tram back to Soller and then retrieve our car with a hike up to the viewpoint on the following day.

As I have mentioned on my other posts this is a real hike and not for a casual walk. It needs logistics and planning especially as the route is linear, requiring transport and the boat is just once a day back. Allow extra time if you are not sure of your own pace, there is nothing worse than missing the boat back. We allow 5 hours walking with also time for breaks now that Jerome is older, but younger children or less fit adults will need more.

Always plan ahead and have the right equipment in your backpack: money for the fares, a good map, guide, spare clothes, first aid kit, lunch, extra food and plenty of liquids before setting out. Take taxi phone numbers and a mobile just in case, although the reception is patchy behind the mountains. Stout hiking footwear is essential as this walk is rocky underfoot, has around 500m of climbs and approaches 10km in length. Having said all that the remoteness, the views and the beauty make it one of the best walks on the island when well planned.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lamma Island, Hong Kong | A Hike along the Island’s Family Trail … continued

Our walk across the island with a break on the beach and sunset view on the ferry ride back into town.

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For the first part of our walk across Lamma Island please read here.

From The top of the hill, we could see the sandy beach at Hung Shing Yeh. Jerome could not wait to get there and almost ran ahead, down the hill. Considering the last few days in Hong Kong had been a pleasant temperature of around 20C but certainly not warm enough to go for a swim in the sea, we were lucky that on this day the actual temperature was much higher and warm enough for us to change into our swimming costumes and laze on the beach. The beach was equipped with changing rooms, showers, toilets and a convenience store. The boys played in the water, while I watched them and the other people on the beach. The beach had a different designed lifeguard tower in a happy go lucky pink, with a stripy sunshades, a contrast to those on our previous walk. No lifeguard in sight though, most local people would probably not consider it swimming season yet.

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travel hong kong with kids children lamma island hung shing yeh beach sand castles

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travel hong kong with kids children lamma island hung shing yeh beach lifeguard tower

There also was a man with a straw sunhat and a rake pulling a basket behind, raking up the dirt and rubbish from the sandy shores. I went to put my feet into the water, which was pleasant, but not warm enough to tempt me to rush in. To the left side we could see the huge power station, which is responsible for illuminating Hong Kong and the outlying islands. Some people might be concerned about coming to an island that is home to a coal power station like found on Lamma, but checking websites and forums, everyone agrees that the pollution is pretty much the same everywhere in Hong Kong. The water quality on the beaches of Lamma is also always rated as very good and if you fancy a beach away from the tourist trap of Hung Shing Yeh, head to Lamma Power station beach only a few minutes walk away. Lots of locals come here to avoid the tourists or to walk.

After our time lazing we went for lunch at the restaurant behind the beach. We luckily grabbed some free seats on the terrace, overlooking the walking trail and the beach with the sea shining through the trees. The restaurant does not deserve to praised in any kind of form for the taste of its basic food, but it surely must be in line for the longest French fries in the world.

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Leaving the beach behind we wandered on towards Yung Shue Wan. The trail winds its way along, beneath the shady canopy of trees and past the lush green hillside. There was the odd residential house perched in between. We reached the outskirts of the village fairly soon and the path turned into a wider road. Children on their bikes passed us, there were locals returning with shopping bags and woman hanging their washing out onto the line in the sunshine or on the balcony. There are no cars allowed in the village, which makes it a very pleasant stroll but watch out for some crazy cyclists rushing around the corners.

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Hung Shue Wan village itself is slightly bigger than Sok Kwu and in the street behind the seafront we could see a selection of shops selling daily essentials and there also were plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from if anyone wanted to stay on for dinner. We made a little detour to the village temple, Tin Hau, with its two stone lions and the signature incense spirals slowly burning under its roof. Opposite the temple was a playground and sports field and we watched some of the kids playing football for a while.

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Walking back down the main street that follows the curve of the bay to the other end we found the pier for the ferry. The walkway to the pier was decorated with red Chinese lampions and colourful bunting. There were bikes upon bikes parked all the way down the pier, which was no surprise as this is the easiest and fastest way for locals to get around the island.

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Some people might consider returning to Sok Kwu Wan for dinner, which is definitely a possibility, as the return four kilometre walk would only take about an hour or so if you just keep on walking non-stop. The other option is to take one of the ferries to Hong Kong Island.

With children in tow Lamma makes a great day out, away from the city, especially if it is warm enough for a swim in between. The Family trail is paved the whole way and there are no steps which would make it possible to take a pushchair, but I personally would advise against it as it is not too far for little legs, but that is just my personal preference.

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The ferry came shortly after and there were plenty of people disembarking, returning home from a day of work in down town Hong Kong. I have to say the island feels like being in a different world and yet it is so close to this vast city. People living here, surely must have a better way of life than being cramped into one of these huge tower blocks on the main island. We enjoyed our ride back on the ferry. The sun was just setting behind the skyline of Sheung Wan and Central, which made the window fronts of the buildings glow like gold. The perfect ending to a beautiful day in the city state.