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Nature and culture in Mallorca: 5 unforgettable hikes

25/03/2021

Nature and culture in Mallorca: 5 unforgettable hikes

 

Mallorca is a natural, historical and cultural treasure trove. Today we present 5 hikes for when you plan your next trip to Mallorca with Inturotel. Being in touch with nature makes life more beautiful, and of course it makes us happier… We recommend you look for routes and maps on an app such as Wikiloc. Off we go!

 

 

Santuario de Sant Salvador

 

This 15th-century sanctuary, located 500 metres above sea level, affords spectacular panoramic views of Mallorca. The origins of the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador go as far back as 1348, and today it consists of an 18th-century church, a small chapel from 1910 and a monument to Christ the King, dating from 1934.

 

This hike runs along a quiet, pleasant path, suitable for the whole family. Along the way you will encounter a 19th-century Via Crucis, with different stations representing experiences lived out by Jesus on the day of his crucifixtion. You will also come across “el macolí del gegant” (or “the giant’s pebble”). According to legend, one day a “pebble” fell from the shoe of a giant who terrorised the local people. Even today, there is still a custom among inhabitants of Felanitx of throwing a stone at this boulder, which is about 10 metres from the trail, and making a wish.

 

The ascent takes 1 hour. The Sanctuary of Sant Salvador is located in the municipality of Felanitx, just 20 kms from the beautiful Cala d’Or, where you will be able to stay at one of our Inturotel hotels next to the sea.

 

 

The forest of Lluc and its monastery

 

The Sanctuary of Lluc is Mallorca’s most important place of pilgrimage, and indeed one of the best-known in Europe. It lies in one of the island’s most beautiful natural enclaves, hidden amidst the woods and mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is hardly surprising, then, that the name Lluc derives from the Latin place name Lucus, meaning “sacred forest”.

The first we hear of the establishment of a chapel in Lluc is from the year 1268. Inside the present-day monastery, one can pray to “La Moreneta”, Mallorca’s most popular Virgin who, legend has it, was found by a shepherd boy.

If you love plants, don’t miss a visit to the Botanic Garden here, with over 200 varieties of plants from the Balearic Islands, some of which are endemic and endangered, and only found in the Puig Major area.

And don’t forget to indulge in a restorative hot chocolate accompanied by an ensaïmada or a tasty coca de patata before bidding this natural and spiritual refuge farewell!

 

 

Camí des Correu

 

A trail with medieval roots connecting the lovely villages of Esporles and Banyalbufar, the Camí des Correu runs along classic paths of the Serra de Tramuntana, surrounded by holm-oak woods and marvellous views of the coast and the Mediterranean.

It dates back to the year 1401, and until the 19th century was the only road communicating the village with the rest of the island. It forms part of the walking route known as Pedra en sec (dry stone walling), an ancestral technique by which stones are set on one another without using cement, making terracing that allowed crops to be grown on the sides of mountains, walls to delimit properties and fields, and paving for paths and roads.

 

 

 

The starting point for this hike is at the church of Esporles. It takes approximately two and a half hours, and once again is a walk that is suitable for families, as it is easy and well signposted.

 

 

Puig des Teix via Camí de S’Arxiduc

 

Valldemossa is one of the most beautiful villages on Mallorca. Located in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, one of the peaks that overlook it is Puig des Teix, with its extensive holm-oak woodland. One great attraction of walking up Puig des Teix is to discover the “Camí de S’Arxiduc”, a path constructed on the ridge in the 19th century at the behest of Archduke Ludwig Salvator, a member of the Austrian imperial family and one of the most relevant figures of recent centuries on the island. From 1867 to 1915 the Archduke spent long spells of time at his properties between Valldemossa and Deià.

 

 

On one of his numerous research trips around the Mediterranean, the Archduke mapped the south-eastern coast, where the Inturotel hotels are located, stopping at Cala LLonga and exploring the coves in the area, and leaving a written testimony of this visit:

 

“Farther along we see the natural arch called Es Pontàs, the antechamber to Cala Mitjana cove. A sea cave, the domain of wild pigeons, stands out in the reddish cliff, along with a watchtower up high and a headland with flat summit followed by Cala Ferrera. To the left is Caló de Ses Dones, whose sandy beach is populated by pine trees, and, at the back, we see Castell de Santueri and Sant Salvador”.

 

 

Barranc de Biniaraix

 

A two-hour walk amongst ancient stone terraces, with memorable views of Mallorca. The gully of Barranc de Biniaraix, located near the delightful village of Sóller, was declared an asset of cultural interest in the monument category in 1994, due to its impressive scenic, environmental, historical and cultural value.

 

Since time immemorial, the gully path was the main route of communication for the valley of Sóller and Fornalutx with those of L’Ofre, Cúber, Orient or the Lluc monastery.

   

 

The estimated time needed to walk this route is about two hours, but it all depends on your pace and the stops you make along the way. Ideally this beautiful hike should be completed unhurriedly, as you relax and enjoy the scenery and nature.

 

Have a great trip and magical experiences!

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Mondragó natural park, a true paradise
10/06/2022
Mondragó natural park, a true paradise
Mondragó Nature Reserve is one of the island of Mallorca’s finest natural treasures. It combines a wide variety of scenery with idyllic beaches of white sand bathed by turquoise waters and a diversity of flora and fauna.  In 1992, it was declared a nature reserve after calls by society to prevent its development. It has also been declared a Natural Area of Special Interest  (ANEI according to its Spanish acronym) and it is included in the Red Natura 2000 network, given its importance as a Special Protection Area for Birdlife (ZEPA) and a Site of Community Interest  (LIC). Located in the municipality of Santanyí, on the south-coast of the island, it covers an area of over 700 hectares, 95 of which are publicly owned.   The nature reserve can be very easily reached from any of our Cala d’Or hotels and it is just 7 km away. We suggest that you travel there by bicycle or on foot rather than by car so that you can fully appreciate the trip past  Cala Llonga, Portopetro and its charming bay, and other rural areas. In the summer months, you can also take a no. 521 bus from the bus-stop just a few metres from your hotel.       What to do at Mondragó Nature Reserve   Mondragó Nature Reserve can be visited on foot or by bicycle. There is an information point at the entrance, with visitor information and details of places of interest and hiking and bike routes. They are short, easy routes that can even be done with children. On these routes, you can enjoy a trip into the countryside or around the little lagoon and breath-taking coastline. The nature reserve’s landscape has been defined by centuries of farming and livestock activities, and it stands out for its multitude of dry-stone walls and barraques de roter (stone shelters used as accommodation for people and animals or for storing farm equipment), with either beamed or conical roofs.   You can also come across sitges (stone bases for charcoal furnaces), charcoal makers’ huts, lime kilns, and other features like boathouses, sandstone quarries, small defensive buildings and smugglers’ hiding places.   The flora As the singer-songwriter Raimon sang, “la genista florece y en el campo hay rojo de amapolas...” (the broom is in flower and the countryside is dotted with a red mantle of poppies...). In spring, the nature reserve is at its most splendid, thanks to the wide variety of flowers that bedeck the countryside, with orchids, poppies, daisies and brambles and flowering shrubs, such as  grey-leaved cistus bushes (Cistus albidus), Mallorcan brooms (Genista lucida), and rosemary plants (Salvia rosmarinus), in addition to flowering trees like common tamarisks. Buzzing around these plants are a multitude of insects that play an essential role as pollinisers in bringing natural cycles full circle. At the nature reserve, lots of environmental awareness raising workshops are organized, one within the framework of the EU www.life4polinators.com programme, which we recommend you to take part in.   On the seabed of the nature reserve, meadows of Neptune grass (Posidonia oceanica) guarantee the transparency of the waters, nourishing and acting as a shelter for a multitude of different species. The Balearic Islands are one of the Mediterranean sanctuaries where this underwater plant is in the best state of conservation and counts on the most protection. According to a publication by Greenpeace, Neptune grass has 7 outstanding characteristics. Here are just a few of them:   1) It is the oldest living organism on the planet, living up to 1,000,000 years old. 2) Meadows of Neptune grass are a breeding ground and refuge for fish, crustaceans and molluscs, fostering biodiversity.   3) Neptune grass protects beaches and helps to prevent coastal erosion.   4) Neptune grass contributes to the formation of beaches of white sand. 5) Neptune grass helps to combat climate change and acts as a lung for the Mediterranean.       The fauna Mondragó Nature Reserve has been declared a Special Protection Area for Birdlife. Amateur birdwatchers can enjoy splendid sightings of birds in unique natural surroundings. This is why visitors are advised to keep the noise down and to take binoculars with them. Some of the birds that can usually be seen in the nature reserve’s skies include common swifts (Apus apus), turtle doves (Streptopelia), Eurasian hoopoes (Upupa epops) and cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae). In places with stagnant water, Eurasian coots (Fulica atra) and common moorhens (Gallinula chloropus) can be found. Other species that can be sighted include examples of Eleanora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae), blue rock thrushes (Monticola solitarius), and Balearic shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus) close to the coast, as well as red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa), European goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), and red kites (Milvus milvus) in the countryside.  Harder birds to sight include European bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) and common kingfishers (Alcedo atthis). (You might see them as you paddle surf at quieter times).     Some other animals that you might come across include tortoises, hedgehogs, pine martens and hares. Please do not disturb them and never try to touch them.     Mondragó Nature Reserve’s coves Although it is not an on-land and maritime nature reserve like the Cabrera Archipelago (which we also suggest you visit: see our post about Cabrera, ‘A day in Paradise’ 31/05/2021), its entire length does run alongside the sea. The nature reserve contains several coves, three in particular that are worthy of mention: Cala Mondragó, S’Amarador and Es Borgit, with crystal-clear waters and a superb natural backdrop. With their white sanded beaches and waters filled with life, they are idyllic places to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that nature offers.   Cala Mondragó, also known as Caló de sa Font de n’Alis, is the closest to the nature reserve’s information centre and the easiest to reach. It is perfect for families, thanks to its easy access and the availability of a restaurant. It is considered to be one of Mallorca’s top 20 beaches and although it can be a bit busy in the summer months, we are sure that you will fall in love with its turquoise waters.     S’Amarador is a lovely, totally unspoilt beach with fine sands and vegetation made up of a dune system that is currently being renewed. It also has a pond fed by water from a torrent that leads into this cove, where tortoises bear their young. The name   S'Amarador refers to a former use that was given to ponds, when bundles of flax or hemp were submerged in them for a time to obtain plant fibre or trunks of wood were soaked in the water until they were resistant enough to build boats or to use as beams in houses. The cove is just 400 metres from Cala Mondragó and it can be reached on foot by walking along the coast.       Caló des Borgit –the smallest, quietest cove– is a bit more complicated to reach, but this is the one for you if you are looking for peace and quiet and fewer people.  It is a small cove with a V-shaped inlet, a leafy pine grove and fine sands, lending it a particularly unspoilt charm. It is also surrounded by low cliffs, with a restful, soothing air thanks to its distance from the local tourist resorts. It is easy to reach by road, following the signs to the cove. When you reach a sort of car park, park your vehicle and continue on foot for the last 300 metres.   If you wish to spend a few days away from the madding crowd, surrounded by nature, this is the place for you.   Inturotel invites you to discover this Paradise. We’re sure you’ll love it!            
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