Mallorca Stories and Tips

The North West Coast Area

Beautiful coves Photo, Mallorca, Spain

The mountainous north-west area of Majorca always usually escapes the worst of the crowds. The area is a walker's paradise - trails wind through pretty hill villages, tumbling at intervals to rocky coves.

It is Majorca at its most spectacular - dominated by the Tramunta mountain range and its breathtaking scenery, it is also home to some of the most historical and picturesque towns on the island.

We hired a car to explore this area fully. The amazing, windy, coastal road stretches the full length of the north west coast, climbing high to reveal dramatic sea views and dropping into picture postcard views. If you decide to drive this route, it will probably be added to your shortlist of best drives ever. The journey is only 88km long, but small winding roads mean it takes a lot of time.

We left Pollensa and drove first towards Cap Formentor. It only takes about 15 minutes and is spectacular - right at the northernmost part of the island. Its highest point is 384 metres above sea level. The headland has quite a few lookout points with stunning views - look down at the cliffs below really does make you feel queasy.

The drive from Puerta Pollensa to the beach at Formentor is as dramatic as any you could wish for. We did it ourselves, and also on a local bus - a bit hairy and not for the faint hearted. The beach is worth a visit. There is a hotel there which opened in 1929 and has been pampering the rich and famous ever since. The sandy beach used to be reserved for hotel guests, but is now open to everyone - it is beautiful.

Our next port of call was the monastery at Lluc. This is Majorca's most sacred site and nestles high in the mountains. There is plenty of free parking and a few bars and cafes nearby.

The monastery is popular with day trippers, but an air of spiritual calm still manages to prevail. A good time to visit is when the choir is singing at 11am and 3pm daily or on Sundays at 11am.

Pilgrimages to the Lluc monastery have been going on for many years. Lluc comes from the word lucus - Latin for sacred wood. You see lots of cypress and oak trees on the journey up. The story goes that an Arab shepherd boy, newly converted to Christianity, discovered a dark wooden statue of the Virgin Mary in a cleft in the rock. The image was placed in a local church, but three times it returned miraculously to its cave, whereon the villagers recognised a message from God and built a church to house it.

The monastery is still a centre for sacred pilgrimage and many come to see the statue of the Virgin Mary. It is now encrusted with precious stones and sits in a chapel decorated with the arms of every Majorcan town. The original Renaissance Baroque church is still there - built in 1622-84. There is a notable school choir based here - Los Blauets. They wear blue cassocks (hence the name), and the choir dates back to 1531 when it comprised 40 boys - "natives of Majorca, of pure blood, sound in grammar and song."

After our stop at Lluc, we headed towards Soller. Be sure to look over to your right as you approach the Gorg Blau reservoir and you will see Puig Mayor - Majorca's highest peak at 1,445 metres.

We were constantly taken aback by the wonderful views on this drive - rocky, craggy coast; crystal clear bluish green seas and one picture postcard scene after another.

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