We’re doing a tour of the Central and Northern parts of the west coast today which will take us to Port de Valldemossa, Valldemossa , Deia, around Puig Major, Gorg Blau and down to Sa Calobra.
Port de Valldemossa is a sleepy little harbour town accessible via a steep cliff-hanging road. There isn’t much more to it than a few houses, a restaurant and some boats, but it’s quiet and pretty. The water is crystal clear and two ladders into the water make the inlet an easily accessible swimming spot.
Valldemossa is a short drive back up the cliff away. Free parking spaces are available in the outskirts of the village – no more than a 5 minute walk away. Valldemossa is very touristy. However, tucked behind the main roads you’ll find gorgeous litlle back alleys with views towards the mountains. Lots of plant pots decorate the facades of many houses making perfect postcard like picture opportunities.
Valldemossa has its own saint – quite the thing to have isn’t it? Every door around the city has its own little hand painted tile depicting Santa Catalina right next to it. How many different versions will you find?
We have lunch at a tiny hidden gem called Quita Penas. There are no menus but a board behind the counter tells you the prices of drinks and the daily pa amb oli prepared with locally sourced specialities such as sobrassada, salami and cheese. Simple but absolutely delicious. Probably the best open sandwiches you’ll find in Mallorca. The wine available on the day was Sang de Bou from Binissalem – a stunning fruity red wine that has made it on my “things I want to take home with me” list. I usually like a full-bodied dark ruby wine, but this fine wine just proved that a medium body can have just as much or even more depth of flavour when it’s done well.
Leaving Valldemossa behind our next stop is Deia, another quaint hilltop village. A lot less busy – probably because there aren’t any parking spaces for coaches. We park outside the city free of charge and walk along the lemon and lime tree lined pathway and up the hill to the church and cemetery where the writer Robert Graves is buried.
The Ma10 takes us further up north towards Soller. Soller again is a lot busier, has numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s not as picturesque as Valldemossa and Deia, but pretty enough to stop by for an hour or two. Parking is available for free outside the city centre along the main road, a ten minute walk away from the main square. The Banco de Soller and Esglesia de Sant Bartomeu, both designed by Joan Rubio, are adjacent to the main square and show rather striking modern facades. We stop at Cafe Scholl just in time to get some cover from the rain.
Soller has its own microbrewery called Sullerica. We try two of their craft beers Blanca Cervesa de Blat Cru Mallorqui (raw wheat beer brewed with lemon peel) and the Original Cervesa amb Flor de Taronger (quite golden in colour with orange blossoms). Neither vowed me to be honest. The Blanca is hazy in colour and apart from some citrus finish there isn’t much else going on. The Original is slightly more flavoursome, but not overly exciting.
The last stretch of the tour takes up high up into Tramuntana up close with Puig Mayor. It’s an amazing drive with beautiful scenery and decent roads. There are plenty of cyclists about but unlike other mountain roads there is enough space to overtake them.
The view towards the Puig Mayor at the top of the road is magnificent and really worth the drive.
Our next destination is Sa Calobra – a small touristy beach place at the bottom of what is one of the best scenic and adventurous drives in Europe. The route downhill this steep and curvy bit of tarmac is simply breathtaking. We got there just after 5pm, so the road was relatively quiet. I wouldn’t even want to imagine what it would be like navigating the narrow road in the height of summer when tour operators navigate the narrow road with huge coaches and you have to try and squeeze past those monsters.
At the bottom of the road there are a few self service restaurants of doubtful food standards but a further 350m along is a beautiful beach surrounded by rocky peaks. It’s not of the soft sandy variety, but the waters are crystal clear and deep blue. Unfortunately, we arrived quite late so never managed to catch the light well enough.
Completing the circuit back to Esporles we pass more amazing landscapes and rocky hill formations proving that Mallorca really is one of the most beautiful and diverse islands in Europe.