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Elmartellama

Mallorca on your own | Soller train & walk to Fornalutx

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Hello all,

 

I intend to write some threads about interesting activities and sights you can do while your ship docks in Palma, the capital of Mallorca island. English is not my mother tongue, just one of the languages I speak, so forgive me in advance for any mistake I might make.

 

You can do these excursions on your own, like I will show you, or by other means. We love to organize our ports days on our own, so I thought it would be a nice idea to offer some help to those travellers about to visit our beautiful island. Just bear in mind that you are responsible for checking and verifying that you have enough time in port to undertake them successfully.

 

Today we will start with a Mallorca classic excursion: the Soller train! but with a little variation that will take you a bit off the traditional tourist spots while enjoying the charming countryside of the Soller valley.

 

First of all, a bit of background about Soller. The island of Mallorca has a 100Km mountain range "Serra de Tramuntana", that is located along the the northwestern coast of the island. This whole area is declared a Heritage site by Unesco (http://www.serradetramuntana.net/en/), because of its beauty and its unique human-nature balance. Soller is in a valley surrounded by Tramuntana mountains ranging 1000m to 1400m high.

 

Due to it's historical isolation, Soller was always like an island within an island. In the XIX century, thanks to its orange commerce with France and the wealth of the "Indians", that is citizens returning to its home towns after making a fortune in the Americas, the town experienced an economic boom that ultimately led to the private construction of the Soller train and the Soller - Port de Soller tramway.

 

The Soller train was opened in 1912, it was an electric train (since 1929) that covers the 27km that separate the town from Palma, the island capital. The train runs through 13 tunnels and viaducts crossing the mountains and entering the Soller valley. In 1913 the Soller - Port de Soller tramway was also opened.

 

Nowadays the train operates as a tourist attraction (http://www.trendesoller.com/en/) with original or restored wooden rolling stock. It makes you feel like going back in time. I super love it :D It costs 19,50€ return from Palma. If you take the train in Bunyola, which is located midway it costs 12,50€ return.

 

All stations along the route are just as they where back in the early XX century, and have been restored. The train foundation provides free art expositions in both Palma and Soller simple art-nouveau stations.

 

Once you arrive in Soller, you can continue your trip with the also historic tramway between Soller and Port de Soller (about 5km more). We did not do this, but if you have little time it is a very good choice.

 

Port de Soller is a charming seaside town with a nice promenade, enclosed bay and beach, a marina and 2 lighthouses. It was even a submarine base once upon a time. It's nice for a walk and a drink in a terrace. The boats to Sa Calobra also depart from Port de Soller

 

More info on Soller: http://www.visitsoller.com/en

 

And a nice video:

 

[YOUTUBE]ExIDoA7setg[/YOUTUBE]

Edited by Elmartellama

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Ok, let's do this!

 

Now you're all decided to go to Soller. Well, the first thing to do is check in which berth will your cruise ship dock. You have the info here introducing the date of arrival: http://www.portsdebalears.com/25.php3?idioma=eng

 

You have two options:

 

PONIENTE / PERAIRES / Estacio Maritima

DIQUE DEL OESTE

 

Poniente / Peraries / Estacio Maritima is very close to the town and the bayside promenade, most cruise ships dock there. Dique del Oeste is further away, and it is used mainly by cruiseships based in Palma, like Aida. Next year Allure of the Seas will also dock there.

 

In both cases, if you want to go to the train de Soller station, you need to get to Plaza de España, the main square of Palma and also the public transport hub for the city and the island:

 

Mapa_palma.jpg

 

You can take many buses, but the easiest way is to take the number 1 bus, that you can pick up at both berths:

 

Mapa_port.jpg

 

The 1 Bus costs 3€ each way. You can check a info of the line here:

 

http://www.emtpalma.es/EMTPalma/Front/lineas.ct.svr?accion=entrada&cod_linea=1

 

And the timetable here:

 

http://www.emtpalma.es/EMTPalma/Front/imgdb/264317.pdf

 

Just ask the driver for "Plaza España", or read the electronic indicators inside the buses. They are new and have a/c.

 

You can see that Plaza de España is the main transport hub. You can also visit the Gothic square before or after the Soller trip from there and take the bus back to the ship from another location:

 

Mapa_centre%20palma.jpg

 

Once you get off the bus just cross the main avenue and find the "Tren de Soller" station. It's an old building at street level. Do NOT go into the underground station, since that is where the regular trains / underground and intercity buses are.

Edited by Elmartellama

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Once you arrive to Plaza de España Station you have 2 options:

 

- Take the Soller Train. Check out schedule here: http://www.trendesoller.com/en/

- Take the regular TIB 211 bus, that runs frequently between Palma and Soller. Costs around 4€ each way. New buses, also with A/C

 

Of course I recommend taking the train, because it's just worth it and more authentic. But if you have no time to do everything, or you've already travelled with the train, you can combine the two means of transportation. Since the buses run more frequently, this way you have a bit more flexibility if you have little time in port.

 

Also, if you can, take the train on the trip Palma - Soller, and not the other way round. Because on the way to Soller the train stops for 5 minutes at a very nice location to take pictures.

 

Anyway, here you have the 211 TIB Bus webpage:

 

http://www.tib.org/portal/web/ctm/autobus/linia/211

 

 

And these are the scheduled services from april 2014:

 

http://www.tib.org/portal/documents/10286/113206/L211%2C%20des%20de%202014.04.01.pdf

 

Wathever you decide, both options depart from Plaza España. The Soller train is at street level. For the TIB buses (intercity) you have to go to the big underground station and when you are inside, go to the bus Terminal.

 

A little bit of orientation:

 

estacio%20palma.jpg

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Thanks for this excellent guide :)

 

We have done the Soller train a few times and can recommend like you say to get the train to Soller and the bus back.

 

I would recommend the 210 bus if you have the time as this goes through the lovely villages of Valldemossa and Deia, and has wonderful views of the coast.

 

For those that have already explored Palma I can heartily recommend the trip to Soller, but watch your timings to get back onboard.

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You are right, the 210 bus has awesome views!

 

I did not mention it because it takes much longer, it is not as frequent, and also because the road is a bit "curvy". And mostly, I will make another "Mallorca on your own" with Valldemossa and Deia day trip, by using that bus.

 

We love that area of the island, and there are endless possibilities, plus nature is at its best there. If you have already done the Soller trip and you are fit enough I recommend going trekking between Deia and Port de Soller, which is quite easy and a nice experience. There is a path that goes by the sea and another one that goes a bit higher, so you can do both or just continue towards Port de Soller. You can make several combinations with the 210 and 211 buses in order to do some spectacular excursions, the bus service is reliable :)

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Hello back!

 

Like I was saying, we took the train from the Bunyola station. We did so because we live in the centre of Mallorca, so taking the train from Bunyola suits us better since it is cheaper, closer to home, and you can park for free.

 

You should only do this in case you had previously rented a car, which I doubt. Anyway, the Bunyola - Soller part is the real deal. If you skip the Palma - Bunyola part you don't miss that much.

 

2014-03-21%2010.37.57.jpg

 

The train station is quite simple, yet I think it has some cool features. There's a bar quiet by the tracks in summertime.

 

2014-03-21%2010.41.32.jpg

 

Here comes the train!

 

2014-03-21%2011.03.21.jpg

 

Everything is made out of wood, except the chairs that are not (to be more comfortable). I took this picture when we were leaving, the train was full actually. The lamps are pretty "retro", and are always on since there are so many tunnels.

 

2014-03-21%2011.39.19.jpg

 

The landscape changes as you approach the mountains

 

2014-03-21%2011.07.31.jpg

 

After the tunnels, you emerge into the Soller valley. It was a bit hazy, and my mobile camera it's not the best, but the views are breathtaking :-)

 

2014-03-21%2011.22.36.jpg

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Then the train stops at a terrace in between two tunnels for about 5 minutes.

 

2014-03-21%2011.21.54.jpg

 

And you can see Soller from there:

 

2014-03-21%2011.20.43.jpg

 

Then you start descending into the valley

 

2014-03-21%2011.28.33.jpg

 

You start seeing the old Fincas along the way. Once we got lost during an excursion and ended up here, nice property!

 

2014-03-21%2011.29.10.jpg

 

Since the train has to descend into the valley you zigzag a bit, you can see the sea at one point

 

2014-03-21%2011.31.17.jpg

 

After a while, you reach Soller

 

2014-03-21%2011.40.57.jpg

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Can you tell I love old trains?

 

2014-03-21%2011.40.47.jpg

 

At the Soller train station you encounter a kiosk where they sell you fresh orange juice, like most bars do.

 

To take the historic tramway to Port de Soller, just go down the stairs, both inside and outside stairs are fine.

 

2014-03-21%2011.41.15.jpg

 

If you go through the station you can see the little art exhibit by Miro and Picasso, we'll talk about that later.

 

2014-03-21%2011.45.56.jpg

 

You are in Soller now. It is time to decide if you are up for a little walk! We chose to go to Fornalutx that day because it was a lovely March day with 21ºC (70ºF), and we wanted to move a bit.

 

It takes a bit less than 1 hour to walk from Soller to Fornalutx via Biniaraix. Say 1 hour more to come back, and another hour to wander around the cobblestone streets of those towns. You can do this excursion if you have a minimal physical condition. The road is very easy and it's all paved.

 

In Mallorca you can do excursions any day of the year, as long as it doesn't rain or a storm makes it too windy. Winter day temperatures are mild, but summer day temperatures are very high, so you might want to avoid this excursion in late June / July / August if it is too hot.

 

So, here is a map for the excursion. You can google map it: Soller - Biniaraix - Fornalutx. Directions are very easy, and the road is a narrow road for the most part, so little traffic. There is a 1km strip where you go via the Fornalutx - Soller road, but again quite safe to walk.

 

Mapa_soller.jpg

 

So, out of the station, just go down the street until you arrive to the main square (where the church is)

 

2014-03-21%2011.53.09.jpg

 

You will see these buildings. The church façade was designed by a disciple of Gaudi, the famous architect. Like I explained the place was quite wealthy so thy built a lot of modernist buildings, there was even a Soller Bank, as you can see:

 

2014-03-21%2015.28.47.jpg

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To go to Fornalutx and Biniariaix, just go to this street on your right, where many shops are located:

 

2014-03-21%2011.55.55.jpg

 

You will pass by the Ca'n Prunera Museum (http://canprunera.com/) if you have time enough, it might be worth the 5€ it costs. It's a modernist house nicely restored and you can see the original furniture and a lovely patio, aside from several paintings:

 

2014-03-21%2012.00.11.jpg

 

The venetian blinds are quite unique, butterfly style!

 

2014-03-21%2011.59.56.jpg

 

From the museum webpage:

 

museo_big_1.jpg

 

museo_big_2.jpg

 

accesibilidad_big.jpg

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After passing by the museum just continue walking the same street

 

2014-03-21%2012.05.28.jpg

 

At one point, there will be many fincas with oranges plantations all around, many houses are quite old and restored. On the contrary to other Mallorca towns, the affluent residents moved out to build spacious houses in the countryside. They where quite visionary at the time with their sprawl model.

 

2014-03-21%2012.13.25.jpg

 

The landscape gets dramatic as you approach Biniaraix

 

2014-03-21%2012.14.56.jpg

 

Biniaraix is know for being the starting point of the "Barranc de Biniariaix", which is an amazing cobblestone path that goes all the way up to the mountains. It was built mainly by Muslims, since they ruled in Mallorca until the XIII century and at the time they knowledge and technology was better that the western civilizations.

 

Barranc de Biniaraix is part of the walking route GR221 (stage number 6) that crosses the mountain range from north to south. If you love trekking, you should do theses excursions at least once in your lifetime!

 

Along the path you find the terraces, which are levelled terrain contained with dry stone walls to cultivate the mountain slopes. It's a true work of art, take into account that there might be more kms of dry stone wall in Mallorca than in the Chinese wall! The chinese wall is a bit higher though :b

 

More on the GR221 route: http://www.conselldemallorca.net/?&id_parent=271&id_section=3198&id_son=4002

 

This is what the Biniaraix path looks like, there are several little waterfalls along (during the wet season)

 

barranc_gent_WEB.jpg

 

You can see orange and lemon trees everywhere

 

2014-03-21%2012.16.00.jpg

 

I just love the views

 

2014-03-21%2012.18.23.jpg

Edited by Elmartellama

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One interesting thing that you discover along the way, is the simple and pretty decorations that the town inhabitants put in front of their houses. Also, you can tell they take pride in the beauty of their towns since everything is very clean.

 

2014-03-21%2012.22.04.jpg

 

Biniaraix is nothing more than a couple of streets

 

2014-03-21%2012.24.17.jpg

 

Before turning to the left (Fornalutx), walk a bit more towards the path. You will find the place where back before the invention of the washing machines the women washed the clothes. Part of the wealth of these places came from a natural flow of water coming down the mountains. This way they could irrigate their orange plantations and other fruit trees.

 

2014-03-21%2012.24.49.jpg

 

If you walk a bit more your detour towards the path (remember to turn afterwards) you can see this magnificent properties. (I would convert the tennis track to some more green if you ask me xD). Most of this houses belong to other nations wealthy Europeans, Soller is quite cosmopolitan in that sense.

 

2014-03-21%2012.25.36.jpg

 

Then you see Biniraix, and can turn back towards Fornalutx

 

2014-03-21%2012.26.29.jpg

 

Springtime it's a nice season to visit

 

2014-03-21%2012.31.29.jpg

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The road continues, you can see that it's a very safe environment. You can take your kids if you want to, just take care when a car comes your way, they drive slowly anyway.

 

2014-03-21%2014.59.42.jpg

 

You will see Fornalutx in the distance. I found it really strange to find this little torrent with water, since it hasn't rained for several weeks. Mallorca soil is Karstic, so when it rains it filters down to underground natural reservoirs that slowly release water until they dry.

 

2014-03-21%2012.43.44.jpg

 

Soon you reach the first houses, everything is a bit steep!

 

2014-03-21%2012.50.12.jpg

 

Some people hate Cypress trees (since they are usually placed in cemeteries), but I love them. Good for them to plant them!

 

2014-03-21%2012.55.20.jpg

 

Hands down to this house owner, rural chic!

 

2014-03-21%2012.59.10.jpg

 

Such a peaceful place

 

2014-03-21%2012.57.40.jpg

Edited by Elmartellama

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We then decided to have lunch, and I felt just as if I had discovered a true treasure. We went all the way up to the town, to the "Es Turo" restaurant. http://www.restaurante-esturo-fornalutx.com/

 

I can't really describe the pleasure of having a meal with the love of my life while enjoying these views on a free day. There are moments in life where you feel fulfilled, when everything is perfect and when all your troubles and work stress seem to disappear. It was just like that to me :-)

 

2014-03-21%2013.59.30.jpg

 

The restaurant has a not so big terrace where you have these views, but it is best to get there early. The rest of the views are not bad, but nothing can compare. It cost us 27€ per person for a full meal including an excellent seafood and fish paella, without wine. Most customers were Germans, maybe that explains why so many plants? They keep it super cool anyway!

 

2014-03-21%2014.40.19.jpg

 

I can't help posting the views once again!

 

2014-03-21%2013.14.59.jpg

 

If you are looking for alternative options, the pizzeria down the road looks quite good

 

2014-03-21%2014.42.47.jpg

 

And there's also a new restaurant next to them, and some others in different parts of Fornalutx

 

2014-03-21%2014.42.55.jpg

 

That's it for today! I will post the rest of the pictures tomorrow

 

2014-03-21%2014.46.00.jpg

 

I hope you have liked the pictures, feel free to drop a comment or make questions!

Edited by Elmartellama

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Thank you for all the wonderful pictures. We will be visiting your wonderful island on Monday, April 21, aboard the Wind Star. Our port will be Porto Soller and I had been planning a relaxing day including lunch at Es Turo. Do you recommend making reservations?

 

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and if you have any of the Porto Soller area I would love to see those also. Open to any other suggestions you might have.

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Thank you for all the wonderful pictures. We will be visiting your wonderful island on Monday, April 21, aboard the Wind Star. Our port will be Porto Soller and I had been planning a relaxing day including lunch at Es Turo. Do you recommend making reservations?

 

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and if you have any of the Porto Soller area I would love to see those also. Open to any other suggestions you might have.

 

Hello!

 

Well, that monday used to be bank holiday in Mallorca (the monday after Easter) but it is not anymore this year. Even so, many tourists might be in the area. Also late April is closer to high season.

 

When we went there the restaurant was not full, but the part with the views was. I recommend making a reservation and ask specifically to be seated outside, with good views, in the terrace / outside (weather permitting). Tell them you will be in a cruise docking at Port de Soller. I do not know if they will be able to meet your request. We were just lucky and there was still room at 13:00.

 

I did not do any Port de Soller pictures this time, I'll search a few. Port de Soller itself is very easy to navigate, you will always see the trams and where they stop.

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I'm back!

 

Before going back to Soller we wandered around the charming streets of Fornalutx

 

2014-03-21%2012.59.20.jpg

 

There are many cats, this one was called "Lucy" :-)

 

2014-03-21%2013.00.40.jpg

 

This is another place where they washed their clothes in the past

 

2014-03-21%2013.00.06.jpg

 

Some details

 

2014-03-21%2013.00.21.jpg

 

This lantern was truly impressive! It must be mystical at night

 

2014-03-21%2013.02.11.jpg

 

You can walk down until you reach the little torrent

 

2014-03-21%2013.03.03.jpg

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This is the church, above the main square

 

2014-03-21%2014.44.51.jpg

 

And the views from above

 

2014-03-21%2014.45.46.jpg

 

More cats, this one's name unknown

 

2014-03-21%2014.47.58.jpg

 

You can walk in the city hall

 

2014-03-21%2013.07.34.jpg

 

And its patio with yet another palm tree

 

2014-03-21%2013.06.04.jpg

 

Then it was time to go

 

2014-03-21%2014.49.34.jpg

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To go back to Soller, just take the same path

 

2014-03-21%2014.52.01.jpg

 

In Biniaraix someone was drying Camomile at their front door

 

2014-03-21%2015.06.24.jpg

 

In a while you'll be back in Soller

 

2014-03-21%2015.23.01.jpg

 

You can take an orange juice at the square

 

2014-03-21%2015.26.35.jpg

 

Or shop a bit, in this street there's a souvenir shop that sells good quality oil, wine and other products from the land

 

2014-03-21%2015.23.21.jpg

 

I forgot to tell you. In front of the station there's an information desk inside a real parked tram!

 

2014-03-21%2015.37.58.jpg

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Should you take the bus back to Palma, the bus stops at another location: number 35 Cetre Street:

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Carrer+de+Cetre,+35/@39.7674564,2.7099289,163m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x1297e8b9cb2c0f2f:0xcd8ece5a7166768f

 

If you come back with the train, there are two little expositions on Picasso Ceramics and some paintings from Miro. They are free.

 

I liked the Picasso ceramics exposition, and mostly its smilies plates!

 

2014-03-21%2015.39.31.jpg

 

2014-03-21%2015.39.44.jpg

 

Smile! I guess they are the sun and the moon

 

2014-03-21%2015.47.43.jpg

 

These ones are from Miro

 

2014-03-21%2015.42.05.jpg

 

2014-03-21%2015.44.16.jpg

 

That's all folks!

 

2014-03-21%2016.32.59.jpg

Edited by Elmartellama

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Thank you for all the wonderful pictures. We will be visiting your wonderful island on Monday, April 21, aboard the Wind Star. Our port will be Porto Soller and I had been planning a relaxing day including lunch at Es Turo. Do you recommend making reservations?

 

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and if you have any of the Porto Soller area I would love to see those also. Open to any other suggestions you might have.

 

Here you have some pictures of Port de Soller. If you walk towards the western side of the bay, there's a road that goes up the hill until you reach a lighthouse. It has some nice views. The path to Deia along the coast starts from there.

 

In this picture the Jumeirah Hotel (opposite side of the bay) was under construction

 

Foto3972.jpg

 

Foto3975.jpg

 

2012-12-22%2011.23.53.jpg

 

A view from the beach (in winter time)

 

2012-12-22%2011.01.56.jpg

 

Foto3986.jpg

 

There's a silver tree that we like :-D

 

Foto3991.jpg

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You can take a boat to Sa Calobra from Port de Soller

 

Boat company: http://www.barcosazules.com/

 

Sa Calobra pictures: http://www.platgesdebalears.com/caplaibFront/playa_galeria.en.jsp?cPla=31501&cMun=11&cIsl=MA

 

ima_foto2547.jpg

 

The boats depart from here, which is the same place where your tender will drop you.

 

Foto3988.jpg

 

If you come from Soller the Tram leaves you there

 

Foto3994.jpg

 

Foto3984.jpg

 

They have improved the promenade pacifying the traffic some months ago, and now it's semi-pedestrian. You can street-view it at maps.google.com

 

01.jpg

Edited by Elmartellama

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Thank you for the additional photos of Port de Soller. I'm sure we will have a wonderful day visiting no matter what we do or where we end up going. It looks beautiful.

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Thank you so much. We will be there forts week of nov and this looks like a great way to spend our day! Keep it coming

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Have fun! The first week of November it's usually mild, it can be rainy though, just wear proper clothing and enjoy :)

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Thank you for all the wonderful pictures. We will be visiting your wonderful island on Monday, April 21, aboard the Wind Star. Our port will be Porto Soller and I had been planning a relaxing day including lunch at Es Turo. Do you recommend making reservations?

 

Looking forward to the rest of your pictures and if you have any of the Porto Soller area I would love to see those also. Open to any other suggestions you might have.

 

It turns out that the 21st of april will be bank holiday in most towns of the island (including Soller). Even if it's not regional bank holiday it will be a local one. So my advice is to make reservations :)

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