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To the south west of the Balearic Island of Mallorca are Palma de Mallorca, the island’s major city, and notorious Magaluf, as well as several other resorts. This is a densely populated and highly visited part of the island – many visitors do not make it far past the bright lights and clubs to be found here. To many, this is Mallorca.
Other visitors know that there are many other sides to this beguiling island. They have taken the time to seek out quieter, more reflective and peaceful places, or set off in search of wilder, more rugged landscapes. If this sounds like you, then you wish to explore the coastline further up and away from these busy hubs, to set a course winding northwards along the beautiful west coast of the island.
The best way to do this is by car hire Mallorca. The island is fairly large, and even just this section can take some time to explore. Driving along Mallorca’s scenic roads is a joy, with glorious views around every corner and unexpected twists and turns along the way.
The west coast of Mallorca is so impressive largely because of the presence of the Tramuntana mountain range. The mountains, snaking their way along the coastline, lend a very different character to this area – it is wetter than the rest of the island, with lush foliage, and the beaches are pebbly coves rather than golden expanses. The range, recognised as an important natural reserve, is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Along the way are traditional villages, perched upon rocky outcrops overlooking the sea below, and numerous farmhouses and converted agroturismos – boutique farmhouse hotels. Staying in the area can be a far more rewarding experience than staying in one of Mallorca’s better known resorts, both for the hospitality and natural scenery.
If beaches overlooked by towering cliffs are your thing, you will not be disappointed with Cala Deia. The village of Deia itself sits high above the surrounding area on the side of a mountain, with views tumbling down the citrus groves to the sea itself. A stream winds its way from the village through the terraces and fields down to the beach. Cala Deia is a small, picturesque cove, with fishing huts and a couple of restaurants.
If you want to stop in a town along the way, you can do little better than Soller. A beautiful town set amidst orange groves, Soller is an ideal rest point for travellers wanting to soak up the atmosphere at one of the many charming tapas bars and taverns. Stroll down elegant streets and plazas, admire the Art Nouveau architecture along the Gran Via and you will see a very different side of Mallorcan towns – this is the real Mallorca, far from the busy resorts to the south. Vintage trams run from the town to the port and sights include the botanic garden and newly opened art gallery.
There is a network of well maintained trails in the mountains surrounding the town, and for those wanting to explore the area more a number of small villages dot the landscape, including the beautiful, multiple award-winning village Fornalutx.
Leaving Soller, and continuing north, you will come to one of the most spectacular beaches on the west coast, or indeed anywhere on the island – Sa Calobra. Located at the end of the Torrent de Pareis gorge, and reached via a narrow downhill road, complete with hairpin turns, the beach itself is fairly small, but the stunning surroundings, with the cliffs of the gorge to either side and crystal clear aquamarine waters in front, continue to lure adventurous visitors.