PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range sprawls for approximately 90 km, from the southwest to the northeast of Mallorca.

With more than a dozen peaks at altitudes of over one thousand metres, these mountains form one of the most emblematic areas on the island. The predominance of calcareous stone in these mountains and constant interaction with the surrounding water have given rise to a unique landscape with endless karst formations.

Menut, Binifaldó, Son Moragues, Cúber, Sa Coma des Prat, Mortitx, Ses Figueroles, Míner Gran, Sa Coma den Vidal, Gabellí Petit and Planícia are among the many public estates that belong to the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands and form part of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area. Together, these estates have a total surface area of approximately 4000 ha.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Allowed uses and activities:

  • Gathering asparagus, wild mushrooms, esparto, fan palm, fruit and other items for personal use, except in some areas of the site.
  • Gathering non endemic snails for personal consumption, except in some areas of the site.
  • Traditional agricultural and livestock activities.
  • Small family allotments for personal consumption in the immediate surroundings of existing properties.
  • Hunting in the reserved grounds and controlled areas.
  • Non-competition recreational and sports activities, except in some areas of the site, as long as these do not imply excessive noise and are not cross country.
  • Recreational fishing from boats.
  • Recreational and sport diving in the sites marine area.
Uses and activities that require written authorization:
  • Professional filming or photography, especially of an advertising nature, as well as video recordings for the television.
  • Exploitations and concessions for privative use of water.
  • The use of plant protection products to treat plagues.
  • Gathering asparagus, wild mushrooms, esparto, fan palm, fruit and others for a commercial use.
  • Gathering non endemic snails for a commercial use.
  • Changes to the natural ground covering.
  • Non-traditional agricultural and livestock activities and uses.
  • Climbing, abseiling, free flight, descents into ravines, canyoning and other high risk activities.
  • Caving.
  • Scientific projects and investigations.
  • Underwater fishing
  • Catching slipper lobsters (Scyllarides latus).
  • Mountain refuges.
  • Improvement of lanes, forest tracks or other types of paths and roads available for public use, or the elimination of residual forest biomass.
  • Non hunting shooting competitions in some areas of the site.
Forbidden uses and activities:
  • The destruction of minerals, rocks and remains.
  • Activities that modify embankments, grooved limestone, gullies and other areas and karstic moulded morphology.
  • Alterations to underground cavities.
  • Actions that could lead to significant degradation of the marine environment, or that of the aquifers, torrents, ponds and springs.
  • Sport circuits.
  • Recreational and sporting activities in some areas.
  • Trawling, seine and long line fishing
  • Collecting mother of pearl Pinna nobilis.
  • Anchoring over meadows of Posidonia oceanica and maërl beds.
  • Cross country wheeled transport apart from what is essential for carrying out agricultural and forestry tasks.
  • The use of shortcuts.
  • Introduction of non-native species of flora and fauna that have invasive characteristics into the natural systems.
  • Use of plant protection products in some areas of the site.
  • Use of specimens or populations of laurels, yews, boxwoods, maples and other species belonging to relictual communities.
  • Lighting fires in forest areas.
  • Recreational and sport sailing as well as the use of any type of boat or floating device whether sail or motor, in the designated swimming areas.
  • Divers cannot have, in their personal possession or on their boats, instruments that can be used for fishing or the extraction of marine species.
  • Feeding the marine species.
 

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

The main objective of the classification of a protected Nature Area is the conservation of its natural and cultural value. The Serra de Tramuntana received its status as a Nature Area through the Balearic Islands Government Resolution of 16 March 2007 (BOIB, No. 54 EXT). With a land zone of 62,403 ha and a marine zone of 1,123 ha, this is the largest protected nature area in the Balearic Islands. In fact, its borders cover parts of the municipal areas of Alaró, Andratx, Banyalbufar, Bunyola, Calvià, Campanet, Deià, Escorca, Esporles, Estellencs, Fornalutx, Lloseta, Mancor de la Vall, Palma, Pollença, Puigpunyent, Santa Maria, Selva, Sóller and Valldemossa. The Natural Resources Management Plan of the Serra de Tramuntana, which was approved by Decree 19/2007 (BOIB No. 54 EXT), aims to serve as a general structure for the management of natural resources and values. For such purpose, this plan has divided the area into zones (exclusion, limited use, compatible use and general use) and regulated its use (permitted, authorised and prohibited). The Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area includes the Natural Monument of the Torrent de Pareis, Gorg Blau and Lluc (which received such status by virtue of Decree 53/2003, of 16 May) and the Natural Monument of les fonts Ufanes (declared such by Decree 111/2001, of 31 August). Moreover, the Nature Area either partially or completely encompasses different zones that are also included within the Natura 2000 Network (Sites of Community Importance and/or Special Protection Areas for Birds), protected oak forests and urban protection legislation, such as the Serra de Tramuntana Natural Area of Special Interest (ANEI de Tramuntana), among others.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Located in the northern part of Mallorca occupying the municipalities of Alaró, Andratx, Banyalbufar, Bunyola, Calvià, Campanet, Deià, Escorca, Esporles, Estellencs, Fornalutx, Lloseta, Mancor de la Vall, Palma, Pollença, Puigpunyent, Santa Maria, Selva, Sóller and Valldemossa.

MAPA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

The landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana is noted for its diversity. The many different wooded, shaded and sunny areas, shaped by oak forests, pine forests, Mauritania Vine-Reed and other species, alternate with agricultural fields, where olive groves are particularly common. One of the most significant aspects of this mountain range is the vast wealth of its plant life. The countless endemic species include some extremely rare plants and others with very extensive populations, such as the Balearic St. John’s wort (Hypericum balearicum). The Serra de Tramuntana is also a refuge for animal species such as the Mallorcan midwife toad (Alytes muletensis), and accommodates numerous endemic invertebrates, birds, cave-dwelling species, and more. The coastline of the Serra de Tramuntana boasts abundant Posidonia oceanica prairies. Along with the maerl beds and coralline communities, these algae species are particularly worthy of note for their beauty and good state of conservation. Human activity has been connected with the Tramuntana Mountains since time immemorial. Proof of this can be seen in the stone wall borders and terraces, icehouses, watchtowers, fortifications and water deposits, which embody an important part of our history.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Managed by Espais de Natura Balear, the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area has the following facilities: -Nature Area Information Centre-Ca s’Amitger (Lluc). Ctra. Lluc a Pollença s/n. Telephone: 971 51 70 83 / 971 51 70 70. -Binifaldó Environmental Education Centre. -Mountain refuges: At El Gorg Blau, Cúber, Son Moragues, Coma de Binifaldó, Lavanor and the comuna de Caimari. -Campgrounds: Es Pixarells and la Font Coberta. For reservations, call: 971 51 70 70/74 -Recreational areas.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

For information about shelters, please visit the following link to IBANAT (catalan version): www.caib.es and if you prefer Spanish language at the following link: www.caib.es To reserve a shelter: Reservations are made online or throught the web page of IBANAT, in catalan/Spanish at the following link: www.caib.es For questions you can call 971177652 (Monday to Friday from 10am to 14 pm)

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

People who are unable to access the area due to any physical or mental difficulties, can request to do the routes in a Jöelette chair. For more information see leaflet www.caib.es To choose between the itineraries on offer, you can contact the Estate Information Point, they will suggest various options. (Contact phone number for the park: 971 18 10 22) To set a date for a visit, please contact the Red Cross volunteers, at least three weeks beforehand. (Red Cross helpline telephone number 971295000, 24hrs). The visit can be set as long as there are volunteers available. The loan of the chair is totally free. The Project is fully financed by “La Obra Social de La Caixa”. What are Jöelette chairs? They are a kind of all-terrain chair with just one wheel that allow people with reduced mobility to take part in excursions over rough terrain with the help of three or more people to lead the chair. Protected natural areas made more accessible The protected natural areas in the Balearic Islands offer many opportunities for us to enjoy nature, but access to them is impossible, in many cases, for people with reduced mobility. Now, the Jöelette chairs will allow people with reduced mobility to have first-hand contact with nature. An offer of 12 chairs. We have 12 Jöelette chairs that can be used in the protected natural areas of the Balearic Islands: eight chairs in Majorca, two in Minorca, and one in Ibiza and another in Formentera. And a group of volunteers has been formed to lead the chairs. Who can go on an excursion in a Joëlette chair? Any person, whether resident of the Islands or not, who cannot access the natural areas due to physical or mental difficulties can request an excursion in a Joëlette chair in the protected natural spaces of the Balearic Islands. The use of the Joëlette chairs is limited to people who weigh under 120kg. What itineraries can be done? The protected natural spaces of the Balearic Islands offer a wide selection of routes. Check which one is best both for its features and difficulty level as well as for the time of year. The staff of the protected natural spaces can give you extensive information in this regards. Requests In Majorca: Tel. 971 29 50 00 (24h), Red Cross in the Balearic Islands. In Minorca: Tel. 971 17 77 05 from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday. In Ibiza and Formentera: tel. 971 30 14 60 from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday. The request must be made at least three weeks before. Depending on the availability of the volunteers a date will be set for the excursion. If you have a team of people trained in driving Joëlette chairs, the availability of the chair/s will be confirmed when you put in the request. Education centres that book activities from those offered as educational resources by the natural protected areas can request the chairs, making a note in the inscription form of how many they will need. The use of the Joëlette chair is subject to availability of the drivers. The loan of the chair is totally free.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

       
  • Camí de les cases de Planícia
  •    
  • Itinerari de la font de s'Obi
  •    
  • Itinerari de l'aljub dels Cristians
  •    
  • Camí dels Ribassos
  •    
  • Camí de la cometa des Morts
  •    
  • Volta a sa Moleta de Binifaldó
  •    
  • Puig de Galatzó per Son Fortuny
  •    
  • Camí de la coma des Cairats
  •    
  • Pujada al puig Tomir
  •    
  • Camí de la coma de Binifaldó
  •    
  • Itinerari de Cúber a Biniaraix
  •    
  • Camí de ses Basses de Mortitx
  •    
  • Camí des Pixarells
  •    
  • Camí de Binibassí
  •    
  • El camí Vell de Caimari a Lluc
  •    
  • Pujada al puig d'en Galileu
  •    
  • Castell d'Alaró
  •    
  • Camí des Correu
  •    
  • Pujada a la mola de s'Esclop
  •    
  • Pujada al puig des Tossals Verds
  •    
  • Camí Vell de Lluc a Pollença
  •    
  • Volta des General
  •    
  • Itinerari de ses Sínies
  •    
  • Les fonts Ufanes
  •    
  • Camí de cala Figuera
  •    
  • Volta al puig des Tossals Verds

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de les cases de Planícia

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:3 km (one way)
Duración:75 min
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:Comfortable shoes
Temática:Landscape, flora and fauna

Color:   

The Cases de Planícia Trail is signposted as “Camí de les Cases de Planícia”. This itinerary goes through the public estate of Planícia, which forms part of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area, in the municipal area of Banyalbufar. It starts at the entrance to the estate, which is located at kilometre 90.2 of the Pollença-Andratx highway (Ma-11) and finishes at the estate’s houses. This trail can connect with other itineraries, and particularly with those of Font de s’Obi and Aljub dels Cristians.

Etapas

Before you begin the hike, you may like to know a bit about the history of the estate. Planícia was documented as such as in the 14th century. Owned in the 15th century by the brothers Jaume and Gregori Johanm, the farmstead made its way to the hands of Francesc Sunyer Colomines, a knight and a minister of the Inquisition. In 1732, it was owned by the Marquis of Campofranco, apparently marking the beginning of abundance for the estate. During this period, the estate facilities included houses, an olive oil mill, an animal-driven mill, a still to produce liquors and a cellar. There was a vegetable garden, as well as olive groves, carob bean groves, fig groves, vineyards and grain fields. The grapevines, which were sown in different places around the estate, produced up to 20 somades of grapes (a somada is a measurement based on the load that could be carried by a mule, which was ususally 4 sacks). In 1938, due to the great social changes and the progressive decline of the Marquises who had gradually sectioned off the estate, the Balle family purchased Planícia and continued with agricultural production until the 21st century. In February 2009, the estate was purchased by the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands and the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, and ever since, it has been administered by the Regional Ministry of the Environment of the Balearic Islands.
The path leading to the estate’s houses begins at the estate entrance gate, which is located on the highway. Please keep to the asphalted road at all times. You will come to the first bends in the path beneath the shade of a holm oak and pine forest. At the crossroads with the GR (long trail) from Estellencs, the landscape changes and you will begin to see the first olive tree groves. In the past, olive oil was the most important product made by mountain estates. Hundred-year-old olive trees are found virtually everywhere in the nearby area. In fact, it is said that the Carthaginians taught the islanders the art of grafting the wild olive trees that grow in all of the island’s scrublands. As you continue down the path, you will see the starting point of the Font de s’Obi Itinerary. A bit further down the road, you will come to the Es Camp Gran (large field). According to the elderly generations of Banyalbufar, this flat plane or prairie lends its name to this estate, which is nestled in the mountains. The largest cultivation area in Planícia, this was the site of the estate’s oldest olive trees. While in the hands of the last owners and coinciding with the decline in olive oil production, those trees were removed to create pastures for the sheep. On the left, you will see the porch structure known as the Porxo des Camp Gran, which is open on one side. This dry wall construction can serve as a shelter in case of an unexpected rainstorm. Once you have passed the Es Camp Gran, just past the starting point of the Aljub dels Cristians trail, you will see three stone pines (Pinus pinea), which were listed on the Balearic Islands Catalogue of Singular Trees in May 2004. A pair of long-eared owls (Asio otus) has built a nest in the crown of one of the trees. Along the line between the cultivated fields and the forest area, at an elevation of 420 metres, you will now arrive at the houses, which offer a spectacular panoramic view of the coastal areas of Banyalbufar, Estellencs, Andratx and Sa Dragonera. Near the main building of the houses, you will see other buildings that were designed for agricultural purposes. Sitting a bit further away, in the Camí des Rafal trail, is the Casa de les Collidores, a house that was built to accommodate the olive harvesters who came from the nearby towns.
The estate houses are located in a privileged spot on the north side of the plateau of Planícia. Still in good condition, they comprise one of the best remaining examples of estate houses in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. In 1636, the distribution of the houses was as follows: olive oil mill, kitchen, sitting room and olive oil cellar. The number of rooms and the quality of their furnishings are indicative of the original humble nature of these houses. Today, Planícia’s buildings are complex, with an elongated layout, the main façade of which faces the northwest. The buildings consist of two floors, with the exception of the main entrance area, which has a single floor, crowned by a balustrade. The main door bears a segmental arch that is flanked on each side by a window. This door opens to a hall that in turn leads to a small and well-proportioned courtyard. Covered in grapevines, the courtyard separates the more modern house of the owners, on the right, from the older house of the tenant farmers, on the left. Sitting in the left rear corner of the courtyard is the rainwater cistern.
With an olive oil tradition dating back to among the first in Mallorca, Planícia in fact has its own mill, which continued to produce oil for market distribution until just a few years ago. The left wall bears the construction date of the olive oil mill, 1724, which is the same year that the tenant farmer houses were built. At the time, this was considered to be a modern oil mill; its two beams giving it still more prestige. In the 20th century, while owned by the Balle brothers, the system was mechanised to expedite the olive oil production process. During the 1944-1945 season, this mill produced 12,794 litres of olive oil, an amount that can be considered normal or perhaps even a bit low. According to an informant, one year the harvest was so good that the mill put out nearly 72,000 litres of olive oil. The oil cellar, which is attached to the mill, still contains the oil storage tank and the built-in basins where the water was separated from the oil.
Once the damaged olives and the unwanted impurities were removed from the batch, the oil production process began. Below is a brief description: The first step was to crush the olives and form a paste. The olives were poured into an inverted-pyramid-shaped wooden silo known as a tremuja. The tremuja was in turn connected to a circular stone, which acted as a base. Rotating on top of the base was the rutló, a large conic-shaped milling stone that crushed the olives as it went round. The movement of the trull, or mill, required the strength of an animal, which was thus attached to it and walked in circles, moving the gears. Pressing the olives was the second step of the process. The olive paste resulting from the initial milling process was then collected by an olive mill worker and placed in circular straw trays known as esportins. Once these containers were full, they were stacked on a large coarse stone plate known as a bassi and then pressed beneath the wooden beam, which was formed by a long and heavy tree trunk. Two men would lower the beam, using a large stone known as a quintar, forming a sort of pulley mechanism. The straw trays were placed under pressure and constantly doused with boiling hot water from the caldron, which was always on the fire. The oil and the hot water that dripped out of the trays were collected on the bassi and then channelled into the sorting basins. The last step of the process involved the separation of the hot water from the oil, which floated on top. This was done in the sorting basins. Once the process was complete, the oil was stored in a room known as the oil cellar. This cellar also served as a storage room for the oil measurement utensils. The oil was stored in metal jugs known as odres until sold. Olive oil production could be reinstated at the Planícia mill in the future.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Itinerari de la font de s'Obi

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:1.100 m (one way)
Duración:55 min
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:Comfortable shoes
Temática:Landscape, flora and fauna

Color:   

This itinerary goes through the public estate of Planícia, which forms part of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area, in the municipal area of Banyalbufar. From the estate entrance, follow the Cases de Planícia trail, and 815 metres down the road you will see the head of this trail, which will take you to the Font de s’Obi spring and bring you back to the Cases de Planícia trail. A part of this itinerary runs along the old Camí Reial, or Roman highway, which connected the towns of Banyalbufar and Estellencs and today forms part of the GR-221 (long trail) that connects Andratx with Pollença. There is signposting all along the trail.

Etapas

Just a few metres down the trail you will enter a holm oak grove. Holm oak (Quercus ilex) forests limit the passage of light and create a cooler environment beneath the trees. Despite the lack of light, there are a number of plant species that typically grow in the holm oak forest, which you will see all along the itinerary. These include the butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus), with its well known fruits that look like bright red balls, and the frequently found Balearic sowbread (Cyclamen balearicum), which is unmistakable when in bloom. This species is also easy to identify by its leaves, which are dark green on one side and reddish on the other.
Throughout virtually the entire itinerary, you will see traditional stone retaining walls along the hillsides and the slopes of the mountains. Known as marges, these walls retain the soil, creating terraces that make crop cultivation possible. The results are terraced cultivation fields locally known as marjades. The terraced areas are an identifying feature of Banyalbufar and one of the best examples of traditional engineering. Bearing witness to thousands of years of agriculture, the terraced fields are predominantly used for the cultivation of dry farming orchards, such as carob, almond and the majestic olive trees. Today, these retaining walls are a superb example of the island’s heritage. They also play an important role in nature as the habitat of many plant and animal species, while contributing to the conservation of the area’s biodiversity and the survival of species of limited distribution.
After a small climb, you will come to a fork in the trail, where you will veer off to the right, to reach the spring, Font de s’Obi, which emerges through the cracks of a rock. The water is channelled to the trough that lends the spring its name, as an obi is by definition a “stone or wooden container that is used to feed animals or to provide them with water”. In fact, S’Obi was a watering hole for livestock animals until just a few years ago. In recent years, however, cattle have been in decline in the Serra de Tramuntana, making this trough a stop for other types of animals. Here, it is not uncommon to see a greyish bird with a pale breast and belly, known as the spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata). This bold bird can be seen everywhere in the summer, standing tall in hedges, on branches and on walls, with a watchful pose. Attacking the insects within its reach in mid air (often flies, as its name indicates), it then returns to its perch, occasionally letting out a short call, like the sound of a tree branch as it breaks. Also frequently sighted here in the winter is the unmistakable robin (Erithacus rubecula), a robust bird with a muddy green colour and a red breast that serves as a territorial “signal”. Finally, we have the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris). Whilst the males of this species are dark green with yellow spots on the sides of the tail and wings, the females have a paler plumage. Though a bit shyer and harder to see, we know that the mammals in the area also stop here to drink. These include the pine marten (Martes martes), the genet (Genetta genetta) and the common weasel (Mustela nivalis).
Located next to the spring is a dry stone shack. As a rural construction system associated with farming and ranching activities, many of these dry stone structures were originally conceived out of the need to clear the soil of stones for better cropland. Once removed from the soil, the abundant stone was then used for different types of buildings and infrastructures. Thus, many different auxiliary structures of vast ethnological and constructive interest were erected around the farms, including porches, wells and threshing floors. The small house next to the Font de s’Obi spring is an example of these types of farming constructions. This edifice was essentially designed to house the men who made the terraced fields. Equipped with a rainwater cistern, the house still bears the remains of a bar that served to sustain the bunks. A bit further down the trail, you will see the remaining foundations of what was once the storage room for the tithe, a ten percent tax that was usually paid in kind – and specifically in olives – in this area of the island.
One of the most noteworthy plants that grow along this trail is the European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), the only indigenous palm in the islands. This species grows rather erratically in the Serra de Tramuntana. Found in the southernmost and northernmost areas of the mountains, it is completely absent in the central mountain areas. Traditionally, the long leaves of this plant have been used to make brooms, hats, olive oil pressing trays, fans, baskets of all types and many other goods. Once dry and treated with sulphur for greater pliability, the leaves of the fan palm are woven. Here on the island, this craft is known as llatra. Today, the European fan palm is a protected species and has been listed in the Balearic Catalogue of Endangered Species and Special Protection. Thus, its collection for commercial purposes requires authorisation from the Balearic Regional Ministry of the Environment.
Once past the Font de s’Obi, the vegetation completely changes. You will now see that you are passing through abandoned cultivation fields. With the tourism boom of the 1960s, agriculture and its associated structures (terraced fields, shacks, roads, etc.) were gradually deserted. Following the abandonment of the crops, the pine forest progressively took over, colonising the terraced fields. The pine groves are very bright environments with a shrub understory up to two metres tall. These pines can reach heights of eight to fifteen metres. Common along this itinerary are the white-leaved rock rose (Cistus albidus), heather (Erica multiflora), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and the spiny broom (Calicotome spinosa), among others. In other words, you will see small-leaved and often resinous, aromatic and pilose shrubs, with relatively large, vividly coloured flowers. These are typically bee-pollinated Mediterranean species that have adapted to the dry summer climate. In the sunnier areas, you will see a few orchid species. Orchids are one of the most highly valued plant families, thanks their immensely diverse their shapes and colours. Given that many are rare and limited in our region, they are protected species.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Itinerari de l'aljub dels Cristians

Dificultad:Medium
Distancia:2.9 km. (round-trip)
Duración:85 min
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:Comfortable shoes

Color:   

The Aljub dels Cristians Trail runs through the public estate of Planícia, which forms part of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area. This estate is noteworthy for its natural value – particularly its magnificent holm oak forests – and its heritage elements, which are associated with the use of the forest and the traditional activities of wood colliers and lime burners. Examples of these ethnographic structures are found all along this trail. The entire trail is signposted.

Etapas

This itinerary starts at kilometre 2.3 of the Cases de Planícia Trail. The first few meters of the path run through an olive grove that has now been invaded by a pine forest. On the left, you will see some large strawberry trees. The large, toothed, glossy leaves of the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) are easy to identify. In the autumn, the tree bears white flowers and red fruit, which is edible. Yet it is said that eating too much of this fruit can lead to a feeling of drunkenness and a headache. Just past these strawberry trees, you will enter the holm oak forest.Both of these trees are cited by Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria in Die Balearen, as follows:“The forest is magnificent, one of the most beautiful in all Mallorca, with its colossal old moss-covered holm oaks and giant strawberry trees, which indeed are trees by their own right, probably the most robust in Mallorca”. Like the other holm oak (Quercus ilex) forests, the Bosc Gran, is shady and damp. The lack of light beneath these trees determines the species that can live among them. While walking through the Bosc Gran, it is not uncommon to hear the song of the red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), the “ki, ki, ki” of the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and the loud and monotonous “tu, tu, tu...” of the wryneck (Jynx torquilla). The holm oak groves were traditionally used for charcoal production. They were also pastures for the pigs that ate the acorns and the roots of the undergrowth plants. Thus, these plant communities have been subjected to a great deal of human pressure. In the Bosc Gran, the vestiges of charcoal production are everywhere.
As you continue further into the holm oak grove, and after passing by the remains of a lime kiln and a few stone bread ovens, you will come to the cistern known as the Aljub dels Cristians, a stone water deposit with a more or less rectangular layout, covered with a dry stone vault. This structure collects both, runoff water and the water from the Font des Bosc, a spring that emerges several metres above the cistern and which used to supply the houses via a small channel. A prime example of functional architecture that is intimately tied to forest life and use, this cistern traditionally served both the wood colliers and the thrush hunters of the Bosc Gran. The austerity of this structure, which stems from its functionality and the use of stone as a raw material, make for its perfect integration into the surrounding landscape.
Not far past the Aljub dels Cristians, you will see an old thrush hunting area. Net hunting is a hunting model that dates back to the Roman era. First, the hunter selects a spot with a narrow distance between the trees. Next, he/she builds a seat by piling flat stones on top of one another and covers the area around his/her back with tree branches, so as not to be seen by the birds. At the crack of dawn and at sundown the hunter sits down, holding up two rods to form a “v”, with a net between them. Finally, the hunter waits patiently for the thrush, who spends the night in the forest. When the bird flies into the net, the hunter pulls one rod over to the other, closing the net. Thus, it is very common for the right-hand rod to be lighter than the left-hand one. A common practice in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains between the months of October and March, this activity continued until recently within the area of the Mola de Planícia. Today, however, the estate is a fauna refuge.
Have you noticed the round flat areas of land surrounded by stones? They are charcoal production floors, known as rotlles de sitges. Planícia’s Bosc Gran boasts one of the largest collections of charcoal production floors and wood collier huts on the island. Though it seems impossible to inventory them, some researchers speak of over one hundred fifty such floors, with their sheds and different stone bread ovens. This was one of the last places in Mallorca where charcoal was produced this way. The charcoal remains can still be seen at the last of these floors, towards the end of the path. And who made these charcoal floors? Wood colliers locally known as carboners or sitgers. Indeed, these classic characters from our rural past came to play an important role in society at a time when there was neither gas nor electricity. The wood collier would make plant charcoal in the middle of the mountains, where the holm oak abounds, spending the long summer months there. The life of the wood collier was tough and marked by hardship. They would begin around Easter and return for Sant Mateu, around 21st September, during which time they would only come down from the mountains on an occasional Sunday. One of the first tasks entailed selecting the spot to set up the sitja or charcoal production floor, which was usually a clearing in a holm oak grove or at least close to one, for easy access to the necessary wood. Another task involved building a shed to live in for the wood collier and his family. The bottom floor was made of stone and the tops were covered with treetops and branches, which were then covered with a very thick layer of Mauritanian grass, to keep water out, in case it rained. The door was a bundle of wood, which was placed at the entrance at night to keep animals from coming in. At lunchtime, the stew casserole was always virtually licked clean. Sopes mallorquines (brothy vegetable and bread casserole) or noodles and broth, flatbreads or cocarrois (vegetable-stuffed empanadas), if vegetables were available, along with cheese and occasionally a bit of sobrassada, were the staple foods of the wood collier family.
This proverb literally reads, “He who makes lime goes barefoot”, evoking the arduous life of the lime burner. If you have seen any cylindrical stone structures sunken into the soil, they are undoubtedly lime kilns. Here, lime burners worked for days to make quicklime out of calcareous rock, cooking it over the fire. Among other uses, the quicklime served to whitewash houses. The forests of Planícia still boast as many as seven lime kilns, some of which even have names, as are the cases of the Forn des Pinaret and the Forn de sa Barrereta. The end product, the quicklime, was later sold, and if in fact the above proverb is true, lime production was not a particularly lucrative business. All along the trail back, you will see other vestiges of the area’s past mountain life.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí dels Ribassos

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:2 km (one way)
Duración:1 h
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:Comfortable shoes

Color:   
Folleto: http://www.caib.es/sacmicrofront/archivopub.do?ctrl=MCRST34ZI79504&id=79504

This itinerary runs from the town of Deià to Cala de Deià, the beach cove locally known as “Sa Cala”. As you walk alongside ribassos, or tall stone retaining walls, amid hundred-year-old olive trees and the murmuring rush of the Torrent Major stream, you will discover the architecture and the charm of a Mallorcan mountain town. This itinerary begins at the Can Boi refuge in the town of Deià. Taking the road that branches off to the right, a few meters down you will come to the road Camí dels Ribassos, which forms part of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area. This road will take you directly down to the beach, Cala de Deià. With a duration of approximately 60 minutes, this entire itinerary is hilly and must be followed on foot. This trail is also signposted as an alternative to the dry stone trail.

Etapas

The starting point for this itinerary is the town of Deià, located in one of the smallest and most beautiful municipalities in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. The natural conditions of the terrain, the steep incline – which starts at Es Teix and extends down to the beach cove – and the abundance of water have together created a very special landscape. Here, the habitability of the area and the cultivability of the land owe themselves to the stone wall terraces. A stroll through the centre of town reveals one of Deià’s most interesting features: its traditional architecture. Stone is the basic material for all construction in Deià: façades, doorways, windows, cobblestone streets and an occasional irrigation ditch are just a few such examples. The town has become one of the greatest tourist attractions in Mallorca. Unlike what has occurred in most of the tourist areas of the Balearic Islands, the luxury hotel sector has found its niche here with little impact on the landscape. Moreover, far from generating an imbalance in the traditional customs, this model of tourism adapts to the social life of the town and actively takes part in it.
Commonly found in Deià near a running streambed or a year-round spring, are community sinks, the washing places (known locally as llavadors). These were and continue to be the site of the weekly or biweekly laundry wash, traditionally coinciding with the change of the bed linens. In the past, the local women, donning wide aprons and wearing their sleeves rolled up above their elbows, would gather here to scrub away at the family laundry, while singing, laughing and of course, discussing the town’s latest news. As you walk down the street Carrer des Clot, which will take you to the Can Boi refuge, you will see a good example of a washing place on the right-hand side.
In recent years, the town of Deià has become a source of inspiration for painters, poets, novelists, musicians and other artists. Having visited the town of Deià, you will now continue on to the Can Boi refuge, where the descent down to the beach begins.
In the first section of the trail, while still walking through the town of Deià, you will see different plant species growing between the joints of the stones in the walls. Particularly common here are the southern polypody (Polypodium cambricum) and the common ivy (Hedera helix). Small in size, the maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) seeks the shadiest and dampest spots to live. Thus, it is not surprising to see it in the areas around gutters, springs and water leaks. Running along the right-hand side of the path is the Torrent Major, a stream abounding with species typical of damp environments, including the giant reed (Arundo donax) and the elm-leaved bramble (Rubus ulmifolius), which form impenetrable hedges. In the spring and winter, you will also see the soft blue flowers of the periwinkle (Vinca difformis) in the stream area. Further below, once you have passed a wooden barrier on the way out of the garden area, the landscape is far drier. Abundant here is the false brome (Brachypodium spp.), the wild madder (Rubia peregrina) and the wild asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius), along with Mauritanian grass, which grow beneath the shade of wild olive (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) and carob bean trees (Ceratonia siliqua). The reddish colour of the tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides) is unmistakable during the months of May and June, just before it loses its leaves with the arrival of the warmest months of the year. Finally, at the beach, you will often see piles of Posidonia oceanica leaves. This is a superior marine plant popularly known as “seaweed”, which covers and protects the sand and the pebbles from the winds and storms.
Having reached Cala de Deià, you have come to the end of the trail. This is the largest beach in the municipality of Deià and one of the main beaches in the Serra de Tramuntana. It is located between the capes of Deià and Son Beltran, and serves as the mouth of Deià’s Torrent Major. Though it is essentially a pebble beach, there are a few sandy areas. First documented on the map of Cardinal Despuig (1785), this beach was traditionally used as a shelter for fishing boats. In fact, there are still some typical fishermen’s houses (uninhabited today), as well as a whole structure of escars, or traditional slipway-type shelters for boats and tackle. In the past, the fishermen who lived there also made use of the neighbouring terraced fields to grow grapes and vegetables, and to keep their sheep and goats. Today these escars are still used by amateur fishermen, though several of them were badly damaged in a storm and have yet to be repaired. There are also a few nearby restaurants, where you may enjoy a pleasant meal, overlooking the sea.
As was the case of most of Mallorca’s coastal towns, Deià’s coves and hidden nooks and crannies were the ideal places to carry out one of the riskiest and most lucrative businesses in the islands: smuggling. A “highly regarded” crime among Mallorca’s inhabitants, this activity emerged in response to a stifling tax system, a general lack of means and an impoverished rural environment. Smuggling flourished, thanks to the easy access to a coast full of small coves and hidden spots. For a long time, this activity was conceived as a “family business” of utmost importance for the Mallorcan economy. Tangiers was the main supplier smuggled goods, which traditionally consisted of tobacco. However, in the post-civil-war years, the activity became known as contraban de sa fam or roughly, “starvation smuggling”, and included flour, sugar, and all sorts of grains. It comes to no surprise that the figure of the smuggler would become a mythic character in popular culture and the inspiration for countless literary writings and legends.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de la cometa des Morts

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:3.6 km (circular itinerary)
Duración:1.5 h
Requisitos:You will need a torch if you plan to go inside the cave
Recomendaciones:Be very careful when going down to the cave

Color:   

Lluc indeed invites visitors to take a walk around. Among the area’s main attractions are the striking calcareous rock formations, which have been shaped through time. This itinerary will give you a glimpse of the spectacular world of karst erosion. Two excellent examples are the Es Camell formation and the Sa Cometa des Morts cave. The trail is signposted. One section of this trail runs along the highway. Please remember to be very careful when going down to the cave. You will need a torch if you plan to go inside.

Etapas

Your itinerary begins at the Lluc Monastery, the spiritual centre of the island of Mallorca. Located at an altitude of 470 m, in the municipal area of Escorca, which sits in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area, the monastery is sheltered by some of Mallorca’s highest peaks: Puig de Massanella (1367 m), Puig Tomir (1102 m) and Puig Roig (1002 m), among others. Lluc is the starting point for countless trails and mountain hikes. This valley, covered with a plush holm oak forest, is a magical place. Etymologically, the area of Lluc takes its name from the Latin term lucus, signifying “sacred forest”. The meaning of the word suggests the primitive worship of a pagan god by Lluc’s first settlers, who left behind countless prehistoric remains around the sanctuary, including the ones found in the Cometa des Morts area.
Starting beneath the porxets (pilgrims’ cells) of the Lluc Sanctuary, you will come to an arched doorway. Go through it and take the asphalted path alongside the stream. A few steps further ahead, you will veer off to the left until you come to the football field, which you will cross. From there, you will see a small wooden bridge that straddles the Lluc stream. Once past the bridge, be sure to stop and look up at the Puig de ses Monges, a hilltop that takes its name from the “nun-shaped” karst formations that preside over the forest below. At this point, the straight trail will run uphill through a rocky maze amid a lush, shady holm oak (Quercus ilex) forest. These woods accommodate some extraordinary mock privet (Phillyrea latifolia) specimens, and the springtime is always accompanied by the reflecting twisted white-petal flowers of the Balearic sowbread (Cyclamen balearicum).
The term “karst” comes from Kras, or Karst, the German name of a region that extends from the southwest of Slovenia to the northeast of Italy. It was in this area where the calcareous stone formations sculpted by the rainwater were first defined and studied. By extension, the word “karst” or “karstic region” denotes an area of stone predominantly consisting of calcium carbonate that is slowly dissolved by the abrasions of water, generating a distinctive landscape both on the surface (exokarst formations) and underground (endokarst formations). Most of Mallorca’s mountain ranges are formed by folded units in a sort of overlapping tiered arrangement consisting of calcareous and calcareous-loam materials, which makes them particularly prone to the processes of karstification. The four exokarst shapes most widely found in the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana are large karst depressions, small ones known as dolines, karst canyons (like those of the Torrent de Pareis and the Torrent de Gorg Blau streams) and the most abundant formations, the “lapies” (locally known as rellars and esquetjars), with stones bearing grooves (that look almost intentionally sculpted), striations, tubes, holes, basins and hollows, among others. The Serra de Tramuntana also has two very characteristic endokarst formations: chasms and caves. The chasms are found at the top of the calcareous massif and drain the waters that run vertically down to the subsoil. Caves can also be found in the upper sections of the calcareous massif, as well as in the phreatic zone, where the underground water accumulates and tends to drain horizontally through the inside of the karst system, until it finally surfaces in the form of springs and upwellings.
On the right-hand side of the path just before you come to a charcoal production floor, you will see a small sign indicating a detour to “Es Camell”, a singular rock formation that you will discover just two minutes from this point in the trail. As it happens, this camel-, dromedary-camel- or tortoise-shaped stone-depending on your imagination – was not shaped by a sculptor. Rather, it is the product of water erosion. This process can be explained as follows: the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combines with rainwater, forming carbonic acid. The then slightly acidic rainwater falls on carbonate rocks, transforming carbonates into bicarbonates, which are more soluble and therefore transportable. Hence, each time it rains, the water dissolves a part of the mountain range, in a slow yet steady process. The rocky formations that shape the landscape of this area were initially moulded by the rainwater, whilst the karst massif was covered by soil. Erosion processes then led to the loss of soil, leaving the stone exposed to the elements, which gradually reshaped them through the different climate changes that Mallorca has undergone in its recent geological past. The results were striations, grooves, hollows and other shapes. A few metres from Es Camell, you will see a viewpoint overlooking the mountains of Lluc and the Valley of Josafat, from Son Amer to Ca s’Amitger. This is definitely worth a stop.
From Es Camell, head back to the main trail, where you will immediately come to a round flat area formerly used as a charcoal production floor. This floor bears witness to the traditional use of the forest. For many years, the sitges or charcoal kilns, were used to make charcoal from the wood of holm oaks and other trees. Five minutes past the charcoal production floor, you will come to a fork in the trail. Whilst the path to the left leads to Es Pixarells, you will take the path to the right, which will bring you to the Cometa des Morts cave. You will soon pass beneath a pine tree (Pinus halepensis) with an odd deformed shape of unknown origin popularly known as “Witch’s Broom”. Here, the leaves are closely clustered together, forming a spherical shape that sometimes serves as a nest for bird species such as the long-eared owl (Asio otus) and the European scops owl (Otus scops). The trail heads slightly downhill and flattens out into a small valley known as the Cometa des Morts. Geologically, this place is a doline. Dolines are relatively shallow oval or circular funnel-shaped depressions typical of karstic landscapes and produced by either the dissolving of the calcareous massifs near the surface or by the collapse of the roof of a cave. Hidden in this valley are countless natural prehistoric caves. In fact, this site takes its name, “des Morts” (meaning “of the dead”) from the Talayotic burial remains that were discovered inside one of the caves in the deepest section of the valley. Years ago, this doline was used for olive orchard cultivation. Today, however, the abandonment of the olive orchard has led to the occupation of the pine grove (Pinus halepensis). More open and sunnier than the holm oak grove, the pine forest accommodates plant species such as the spurge olive or escanyacabres (Cneorum tricoccon), the heather (Erica multiflora), the mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) and the omnipresent rockrose (Cistus monspeliensis) amid vast communities of Mauritanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica). These plants provide birds with an abundant supply of fruit, seeds and insects.
To find the Cometa des Morts cave, you will have to follow the signposts, which at one point will lead to the left, bringing you along a narrow path that in turn will take you into the holm oak forest and up to the entrance of the cave. Geologically, this cave is the sinkhole of this doline, where the rainwater seeps through. Discovered in the 18th century, this cave was excavated in 1945 and 1948 by Father Cristòfol Veny. Two burial phases were found inside the cave. The first dated from the Bronze Age and was located in the end chamber. The second, which consisted of lime-covered human remains, was found in the middle of the cave and dated back to the Iron Age. These vestiges are currently on display in the Lluc Sanctuary Museum and the Museum of Mallorca. To continue the itinerary, you will need to return to the path that you have momentarily left. The trail will curve several times until you come to the highway. Go on to the right and approximately fifty metres down the road you will see a wide road that runs down along the old Pollença – Lluc highway. Follow this road, which will take you back to the football field, bringing you to the end of this trail.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Volta a sa Moleta de Binifaldó

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:9.185 m (circuit itinerary)
Duración:3 h
Requisitos:This itinerary must be followed on foot

Color:   

The circuit around the Moleta de Binifaldó is signposted as “Volta a sa Moleta de Binifaldó”. Here, you will walk along an age-old Camí Reial or Roman highway, enjoy striking karstic landscapes, relive the traditional life of past generations in the forests alongside lime kilns, charcoal kilns and wood colliers’ sheds, and take in the beauty of a lush pine and holm oak forest.

Etapas

Once you have passed beneath the Porxets, (pilgrims’ cells) of the Lluc Sanctuary, you will take an asphalted road alongside the stream. A few metres down the road turn off to the left until you come to a football field. Passing by a wooden bridge that will be on your left, you will continue along the old Roman highway that once connected Lluc with Pollença. Camí del Rei or Camí Reial were the terms used to refer to the main thoroughfares during the medieval period. The earliest documented reference to this particular road, between Lluc and Pollença, dates from 1337, appearing in the records of the Knights Templar Military Order. In 1914, the former bridle path was replaced by a carriage road. That said, you may be wondering exactly what the difference is between a bridle path and a carriage road. Bridal paths are also locally known as camins de tres pams (three-hand-width paths), alluding to the narrow width of the roads, which measured approximately 60 cm. These paths admitted the passage of people and draught animals carrying loads on their backs. Carriage roads, on the other hand, were wider, with a minimum width of 2.5-3 metres. And, as their name indicates, they allowed the passage of carriages.
You will come out at the Andratx-Pollença highway and turn left until you reach an asphalted road with welcome signs to the public estates of Menut and Binifaldó. On the left-hand side of the road, just before you arrive at the houses of Menut, you will see an old lime kiln that was restored recently. The technique of making lime by cooking calcareous stone is an age-old custom. In fact, the Romans were known to use lime kilns following the same process. Traditionally, the resulting quicklime was used as a paint to whitewash the walls of houses and as a construction material, as well as for therapeutic and hygienic purposes. The site of the lime kiln largely depended on the nearby availability of the raw materials necessary for the process, namely calcareous stone and lumber. After ten to twelve days cooking process, the stones would finally turn to lime. The work of the wood collier was tough, arduous and dangerous.
A few metres further down the road, you will turn off of the asphalted road to see the Cases de Menut. These houses were built around a central courtyard and defence tower, which has been officially listed as an Item of Cultural Interest. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the fear of pirate attacks led to the construction of defence towers as a means of protection at different country estates. This tower, which probably dates from 1599, is characterised by an almost perfectly square layout (6.40 m x 6.30 m) and a sloped base. Today, one of the buildings of the houses serves as an indigenous plant seed bank. There is also a forest nursery that produces plants as part of an initiative to repopulate the forest. Having seen the houses of Menut, you will turn back to the road and head towards the houses of Binifaldó. From this point on, the path will gradually climb uphill amid a karstic landscape with holm oaks (Quercus ilex). Growing beneath these trees are mastics (Pistacia lentiscus) and particularly the rock rose (Cistus monspeliensis), which is easy to identify, given its elongated leaves with characteristically sticky aromatic glands. Continue along the road until you come to a group of very tall white poplars (Populus alba) that mark the entrance to the houses of the Binifaldó estate.
Located at the foot of the towering Puig Tomir and nestled between the lush vegetation of old holm oaks on one side and the sown agricultural fields on the other side, the Binifaldó estate is today an environmental education centre. The prefix “bini-” in the name of Binifaldó clearly evokes the existence of a very old Islamic farmstead, as it etymologically stems from the Arabic name Beni Haldun, or “sons of Haldun”. According to the distribution of the island of Mallorca following the conquest of the Catalan King Jaume I, the estate belonged to the Templar Order. As of the 15th century, the property would change hands several times, until 1682, when it was donated to the Sanctuary of Lluc. Like the Menut estate, Binifaldó was expropriated by the state, becoming state property in 1897. Today it is managed by the Balearic Ministry of the Environment. Continue along the asphalted road until you come to the pass known as the Coll des Pedregaret, where you will see a short dry stone border wall that delimits the land of different estates. Go over the wall and continue to the right on a narrow path with signposting indicating the way to Lluc.
At this point and for a considerable stretch, you will follow a narrow path known as the Camí des Porxo, which crosses through the Bosc Gran, a large pine and holm oak forest. Here you will see different sheds and traditional charcoal production floors. Perhaps the words of a wood collier best describe the arduous nature of this work: “We have never been rich, nor have we ever owned land. The small piece of forest where we worked did not belong to us. In selecting the spot, we would talk with the owner, agree to three or four “quarterades” [21,000-28,500 square metres] and we would find the best place to set up the rotle de sitja or charcoal production floor. I should say that a sitja is a pile of lumber that burns little by little, until it is converted into charcoal. We seldom went down into town. The mule drivers would bring us supplies when they came to pick up charcoal [...]. Cooking the wood usually took seven to ten days. During that time, we had to watch over the fire very carefully. The slightest oversight, and all the wood could burn up. So, we had to remain at the worksite at all times. We would start around Easter, in the spring, and we’d work throughout the summer, and finish around Sant Mateu (around 21 September). This way, we took advantage of the good weather, as it didn’t rain much and it was not cold.” (Terrassa B., de Diago J.: Sitges i Carboners. Conselleria d'Educació, Cultura i Universitats).
As you continue along the narrow path, you will pass by the remains of a porch structure that was once used as a shelter for the pigs that roamed through the area. Soon you will come to a wide road, where you will turn right, heading uphill to the pass known as the Coll des Bosc Gran, where you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the mountain, Puig Tomir. Look out for a shrub with prickly leaves that come in threes. Known as the prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus), this shrub is highly valued for its medicinal properties. For proof, we need only recall the traditional saying, “pren en dejú ginebrons i et fugiran molts trastorns”, which roughly reads as “take prickly juniper to break your fast and many of your ailments will not last”. The indigenous evergreen shrub (Rhamnus ludovici-salvatoris) known locally as the llampúdol bord owes its name to Archduke Ludwig Salvatore of Austria. This shrub is easily identified by its serrated leaves, which are dark green on one side and light green on the other. Another endemic species typical of these mountains is the St John’s wort (Hypericum balearicum), which can be distinguished by the wrinkled edges of its dark green leaves. This shrub blooms in the spring, giving rise to bright yellow flowers. And if you are passing through the area in early summer, you will surely be drawn to the beautiful white flowers of the myrtle (Myrtus communis). Associated with many traditions and customs, this shrub has shiny leaves that come in pairs, and its berries are edible. Be sure to follow the signs of the path marked GR-221 (“Long Route”), which will take you past the hermitage and the Son Amer refuge, to bring you back to Lluc.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Puig de Galatzó per Son Fortuny

Dificultad:Medium/ High
Distancia:9,9 km (round-trip)
Duración:6 h
Requisitos:This itinerary must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:The trail has a steep incline in certain places

Color:   

With an elevation of 1026 metres, the Puig de Galatzó can be seen from many different points on the island. This itinerary runs along one side of the mountain and then heads up the other side, to the peak. The landscapes that you will see along the way tell very different stories. Some are legends, as is the case of the Comte Mal (Count Evil), whilst others, such as that of the astronomer Francesc Aragó, are adventures that bear witness to a time in which the work of a scientist could easily be a perilous undertaking.

Etapas

The itinerary runs through the municipal area of Estellencs and begins at the entrance to the public estate of Son Fortuny (km 97 on highway Ma-10), which has been owned by the Island Council of Mallorca since 1981. The path starts off with a steep, winding uphill climb. Son Fortuny used to be a large mountain estate that took in the entire northern face of the Puig de Galatzó. The houses are located in the private area of the old property. The public estate of Son Fortuny still includes 280 hectares of the historical estate, which in its time was the largest in the municipal area of Estellencs. After an uphill climb of about 20 minutes, you will come to a plateau with a forest fire prevention water tank. On your right, you will see a trail that leads to the mountain refuge known as the Refugi de la Coma d’en Vidal. Instead, you will take the trail on the left, which will lead to the old stable, Boal de ses Serveres.
You will immediately see that you are in the Son Fortuny Recreational Area. In the clearing are vestiges of the past use of the forest, with a charcoal production floor and a wood collier’s shack. On the left you will see the trail that will take you up to the Boal de ses Serveres Refuge. The name boal, meaning stable, appears to make reference to the structure attached to the refuge. Though in ruins today, this building was once used as a stable for herds of cattle. After an easy climb, a few metres up on the left you will come to the Boal de ses Serveres vantage point. From here on out, the trail is somewhat overrun with Mauritanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica), and just a few metres further ahead, it narrows to become a small path that runs along the mountain. Though it will not be difficult to follow the landmarks amid the Mauritanian grass, be careful not to trip over the leaves! Some 15 minutes later, you will come to a charcoal production floor that sits virtually at the edge of a sheer drop. This is a good place to stop and think about the lives of the men and women who worked in the forests of Tramuntana. You will also enjoy a panoramic view of the municipal area of Estellencs.
After walking for an hour, and having left behind holm oak and pine groves, you will come to the pass known as Pas de na Sabatera. At this point, you are just a half hour from the top. You need only follow the landmarks. On clear days, this spot offers striking views. Looking to the north, you will see the town of Estellencs and the sea. To the northeast sits the plateau known as Mola de Planícia (920 m); to the east is the valley Vall de Superna, another plateau called the Mola del Ram (820 m) and the towns of Puigpunyent and Galilea; to the southeast, Palma; to the south, the municipal area of Calvià and the plateau Sa Mola del Port d’Andratx; and to the southwest the smaller rise of the Moleta de s’Esclop (926 m). Finally, looking out to the west are the mountains of the Serra des Pinotells and the Moleta Rasa. You may wish to stop here for a moment to note the way the vegetation has changed along the trail. From the lush holm oak forest in the first sections of the hike, you have now come to the landscape typical of the Mallorcan mountains. Here, emerging through the cracks of the stones in the higher section of the trail, you are bound to see wild saffron (Crocus cambessedesii) in bloom between October and February.
Crowning the top of Puig de Galatzó are a metallic cross and a structure known as a geodesic vertex. These geodesic vertices were used as markers to measure distances and angles, and thus to depict the surface of the Earth. Francesc Aragó, an astronomer from Roussillon, lived at the neighbouring plateau, Moleta de s’Esclop for one year, undertaking these types of tasks. On 2 May 1802, the Paris-based Bureau des Longitudes entrusted two astronomers, one of them being Aragó, to measure the meridian of Paris. Aragó came to the Balearics in March 1807 and began to prepare the triangulation networks necessary to measure the precise distances between the Islands and the Iberian Peninsula and to obtain the latitude of the arch of the meridian. As it happened, he coincided with a rather hectic period in Mallorca, given the Peninsular War with France (1808-1814). Suddenly, after the news of the uprising, the islanders became very suspicious of the Frenchman who occupied the top of S’Esclop, making smoke signals and strange instruments. As a result, Aragó was immediately accused of espionage. Fortunately, he had a sailor friend who went up the mountain to warn him of the mob’s intentions. The two came down the mountain, and Aragó, dressed as a farmer and speaking Mallorcan, was not recognised by the expedition that was on its way up the mountain to capture him. Nevertheless, he was unable to escape from Mallorca. Caught on his arrival to Palma, he was imprisoned at the Bellver Castle.
One of the lords of the Galatzó estate, the Count of Santa Maria de Formiguera, Ramon Burgués Zaforteza i Fuster, went down in history as Comte Mal, or “Count Evil”. As the legend goes, the Count never thought twice when it came to killing or torturing his enemies. At both S’Argolla and the pass Coll d’en Debades there is a perforated stone, where it is said that he used to insert an iron bar to tie up his enemies and torture them to death. Apparently, the noblemen were customarily brought to S’Argolla, whereas the Count’s more humble victims were hung at the Coll d’en Debades, or “Pass of the Hopeless”. As one would imagine, this place owed its name to the hopeless pleads for mercy of the Count’s prisoners. “We dug and found some graves with lime-covered human bones, scattered here and there. We found a row of 10 or 12 of them (...). It was the Galatzó cemetery, the burial site of the people who were killed by the Count, or whom he had others kill”. (Translation's book: "Caminos y paisajes". Gaspar Valero i Martí) It was often difficult for the owners of Galatzó to recruit people to work at the estate, given the overall fear of the people. According to the legend, the soul of Comte Mal rides alone atop his green horse through the mountains of Galatzó. They say that the nights of November, when only the blowing wind and the sound of the animals can be heard from the mountains, are signs of his presence. It appears that his father sought to impose the feudal jurisdiction and dominion on the villagers of Santa Margalida. As a result, the Count inherited a complicated situation, and given his arrogant nature and his regrettable actions, he was given the unfortunate nickname Comte Mal (Count Evil). In the end he was banished from the town of Santa Margalida. Ultimately, in an effort to recover the prestige of his name and lineage, the Count placed himself in the service of the King. You will now turn around to go down the Puig de Galatzó and return along the same path until you reach the pass Pas de na Sabatera. From here, turn left, heading towards Pas des Cossis. From there, it will take you approximately 55 minutes to get back to the Son Fortuny Recreational Area.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de la coma des Cairats

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:4.1 km (one way)
Duración:1 h
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot

Color:   

The itinerary will allow us to see a number of elements of high ethnological and cultural value out of which the Son Moragues public estate (Valldemossa) stands out. The lane that passes through the Des Cairats wood was used in the olden days by the coal miners, limestone workers and ice workers that lived and worked at Son Moragues. The old cart track left from in front of the Son Gual houses and carried on towards the Font des Polls and the Son Moragues Casa de Neu (house for collecting and storing snow). The trail is marked by a steep uphill.

Etapas

Son Moragues is located in the western foothills of the Puig des Teix, amid the peaks Puig des Caragolí, Puig des Boixos and Puig Gros, which all stand at heights above 900 metres.Today, Son Moragues is one of the publicly owned estates of the Balearic Islands. In 1979, the estate became public property, falling into the hands of ICONA (National Nature Conservation Institute), which would later transfer it to the Balearic Islands Government, in 1984. In 1981, Son Moragues was declared a Forest of Public Utility and listed in the corresponding Spanish State Catalogue of Forests. The estate was further protected to guarantee the conservation of its ecosystem, through its declaration as a Natural Area of Special Interest, by virtue of the Protected Holm Oak Forest Decree, and was also included in the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area. The property was used for livestock purposes and traditional hunting until 2001, when it officially became a wildlife game reserve. Today, Son Moragues is one of the most widely frequented estates by hikers in the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains, and its environmental education activities for schoolchildren have been reinstated. Moreover, the estate currently has a refuge located an hour and a half away on foot.
This itinerary begins in front of the houses of Son Gual, at the street Carrer d’Hongria. Simply follow the street, which will take you to the upper area of the town. Once you have passed a very large carob tree that stands in the middle of the street, you will come to a dirt road on the left that will take you to the entrance gate to Son Moragues. In just ten minutes’ time, you will be in front of the gate. At this point, you will climb over the gate to enter the Coma des Cairats holm oak grove, using the stone stairs that you will see on the right. Here, you will find yourself amid a damp and shaded environment typical of a holm oak (Quercus ilex) forest. You will also immediately see the vestiges of human activity. Before the widespread use of gas and petroleum, charcoal was the most common source of energy used in the area. Charcoal is obtained from the slow combustion of lumber, with very little oxygen. The result of this process is a light-weight product with high caloric power that remains stable when stored, making it a very good option. In the forests, wood colliers used to transform lumber into carbon, which they then carried down the mountains into the towns, for sale. Customarily, the wood colliers made agreements with the owners of the estate for the rental of a section of forest where they could cut the wood and build a charcoal kiln. The charcoal production floor was a circle of stones where the timber was piled up, to be cooked. To build the kiln, the wood collier would set up a base of stones, leaving channels between them to allow just enough air to circulate to cook the wood, without burning it completely. The lumber was always piled in the same way: the thicker tree trunks were placed horizontally towards the centre of the kiln, and the thinner trunks were positioned vertically – the thinner they were, the closer they were placed to the outer edge. The pile of wood was then covered with bundles of Mauritanian grass or holm oak branches, and finally a layer of compacted soil was placed on top, leaving no air gaps at all. A circular space was left empty in the very centre of the kiln, forming a central “flue”, where the fire was lit and fed – wood was added some six times a day to keep the embers burning. During this process, the kiln could not be left unattended, for if the wood cooked improperly, it could burn up completely or one side could end up more cooked than the other. For this reason, wood colliers would build their sheds just next to the kilns. These were very simple constructions, with dry stone walls and Mauritanian grass roofs. The only opening in these small shacks faced the charcoal production floors, so that the wood colliers could watch over their fires. The cooking process usually took some seven to ten days.
Along the climb up to the Font des Polls spring, you will see three different lime kilns. To make ends meet, the wood colliers very often built lime kilns close to their charcoal kilns. All they needed was a nearby supply of natural calcareous stone. The kiln was built by first digging a circular pit, known locally as an olla, which was usually approximately two metres deep and six metres in diameter. The inside was then lined with stones, and the gaps between them were filled with clay. The bowl-shaped hollow in the ground would emerge above the surface in the form of a sort of thick short wall, known as a cintell, which had a built-in walkway and a door to enable the kiln to be loaded. The stones to be converted into lime were placed inside of the kiln, in concentric circles that became smaller and smaller in diameter, forming a round, flat-topped construction. Like the charcoal kilns, a hole was left in the middle, to serve as a sort of “chimney flue”. The stone mound was covered with a layer of lime clay, which left breathing holes to facilitate the cooking process. To feed the kiln, bundles of fine wood that could not be used for charcoal were introduced through both the central flue and an opening located in the lower section of the front of the kiln. The fire had to burn constantly for ten to twelve days. This arduous enterprise usually required the work of three to six people. In the end, this burning process would transform the natural stone (CaCO3) into quicklime (CaO). The quicklime was then mixed with water to obtain a white material that was used to whitewash the walls of houses each year.
As you continue along the trail, after a number of zigzags, you will come to the recreational area next to the Font des Polls, where you may wish to stop and catch your breath. The Font des Polls is a spring with a qanat, or an underground gallery. The water was channelled from the underground spring, by building conduits with the minimum incline necessary to allow the water to flow out by the force of gravity. Around the spring, you will see a number of black poplars (Populus nigra) that lend the site its name (in the Balearics, poplars are known as polls). These trees are also commonly found in stream pools, ponds, streams and other springs in the Serra de Tramuntana, as they require a great deal of water.
You will continue to climb, and after leaving behind a rainwater collection structure on the left, you will come to the old icehouse keepers’ porch, which has been restored to serve as a refuge. The icehouse itself sits just a few metres above the refuge. At this point, you have reached the end of the wooded section of the trail and the start of the Archduke’s path. Until not long ago, snow was a highly valued product in Mallorca. Ice was used for food conservation and to make ice cream ¬– back then, there were no refrigerators! After the first major snows of the year, the groups of icehouse keepers would climb up the mountains, to the areas around the icehouses. They would then collect the snow that accumulated in the surrounds of the icehouse and throw it inside, through the door and the four windows on the sides. They would then go down into the icehouse to compact the snow, which they subsequently covered with Mauritanian grass, for storage throughout the summer. Finally, they would cut the snow into blocks and transport it on mules to the points of sale. You have now reached the end of your itinerary. To return, simply follow the same trail back to Valldemossa.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Pujada al puig Tomir

Dificultad:High
Distancia:12.5 Km (round-trip)
Duración:5 h
Recomendaciones:It is important to be in good physical condition, wear the appropriate footwear and bring along sufficient water
Temática:Landscape, flora and fauna

Color:   

The climb up to Puig Tomir is signposted as “Es Puig Tomir”. The 1103-meter climb to the top of Puig Tomir (Escorca) will give you an idea of the jagged relief of our mountains. Scree slopes, cliffs, the vestiges of icehouse keepers, prickly pincushion-like shrubs, vultures, falcons, breathtaking views and more, make this one of the most representative excursions in the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area.

Etapas

Getting to the Coll des Pedregaret pass: Walk along beneath the porxets (pilgrims’ cells) of the Lluc Sanctuary, until you come to an arched doorway, which you will pass through. On the other side, take the asphalted path along the stream, which will be on your left. A few steps further ahead, you will veer off to the left until you reach the football field. Having crossed the football field and leaving a wooden bridge behind on the left, you will now embark on the old Roman highway, or Camí Reial, that once connected Lluc with Pollença. This will eventually take you to the Andratx – Pollença highway (Ma – 10), where you need to turn left. Continue along the highway some 120 metres until you come to the welcome signs to the public estates of Menut and Binifaldó. Once inside the estate, follow the asphalted path amid holm oaks and rocky formations, which will take you to the houses of Menut. Leaving the houses behind on the right, continue along the asphalted path until you come to the Binifaldó Environmental Education Centre, which you will again leave behind, this time on the left, as you continue down the same asphalted road. After two curves, you will come to the Coll des Pedregaret, and at just the point where the asphalt ends, turn left onto a narrow signposted path.
The trail runs along the side of a stone wall with a fence, until a striking scree slope comes into view. At that point, you will turn to the right and head uphill, quickly gaining altitude as your trail zigzags amid the last pine trees and holm oaks. As you come out of the forest, you will see that the path becomes a very steep uphill climb, with the scree slope on your left. Your trail crosses the scree slope at its highest point. Be sure to follow the red paint markings and the stone landmarks at all times; they will guide you to a small pass where you will see a metal cable to use as a handrail to help you across. Follow the trajectory of another narrow and steep scree slope. You will come to a point that at first seems to be closed off by a funnel-shaped rock formation. Here, your only choice is to scale the wall, with the help of some metal handles. After this pass, follow the mountain ridge and the stone landmarks, which will lead you to the summit.
You will notice that the climate gradually changes as you move up the mountain, from the base to the summit, where the temperatures are lower, the snow is more frequent and the winds can be stronger. These changes are also reflected in the vegetation. At the bases of the mountains, you will see plants that are more typical of warm and dry places; higher up, the plant life is more characteristic of cooler and damp climates. Generally speaking, the mountain vegetation can be grouped into three sections or communities that typify the differences in climate: the wild olive and pine grove section, the holm oak grove section, and the summit area, with communities of the thorny, pincushion-like socarrells. In a word, the forest disappears as you go up, for it is impossible for dense forests to grow in places with jagged reliefs, limited soil and heavy winds. The climb up Tomir is a great opportunity to note the transition from pine and holm oak groves to the high mountain vegetation. As you leave the forest, you are sure to notice the strong scent of the long leaves of the Balearic germander (Teucrium asiaticum), which, despite its scientific name, is endemic to Mallorca and Menorca. In the autumn, amid the crevices in the rocks, you will see the white, purplish-streaked flowers of the wild saffron (Crocus cambessedesii), which is also endemic to Mallorca and Menorca.
If you are lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the most emblematic bird of the Serra de Tramuntana: the black vulture (Aegypius monachus). With a wingspan measuring two and a half meters and weighing up to eight kilos, this is the largest bird in Europe. This vulture typically builds its nests out of tree branches at the tops of pines that are very close to the sea. In the early 1980s, the world population of this species numbered little more than twenty. One of the causes for the waning vulture population was the use of poison in the countryside, to eliminate vermin and other pests. This is an illegal and highly dangerous practice for wildlife conservation. Though considered an offense under the Spanish Criminal Code, poison continues to be used illegally. Once introduced into the environment, it can make its way into the food chain and affect all the other animal species. A conservation plan was implemented to recover the vulture population, and the Mallorcan vulture population has grown considerably ever since. As a result, the black vulture has become a symbol of wildlife conservation here in Mallorca. You may also be fortunate enough to enjoy the spectacular mid-flight hunting prowess of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), as it thrusts itself over its prey at speeds of up to 320 km/h. This area is moreover a nesting ground for a small dove-sized falcon with reddish plumage and a cream coloured underside with dark streaks: the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).
The plants found at altitudes above 1100 metres tend to be lower to the ground and scattered. Prevalent in these environments are compact shrubs that take root wherever they can. The competition for space can be stiff. Only the species that adapt best to the wind, the winter cold, the heat, the rocky soils and the hot and pounding sun of the summer will take root and survive. Thus, the prominence of endemic Balearic vegetation (species that are not found anywhere else in the world) here comes to no surprise, as these plants have evolved throughout time, adapting to the specific conditions of our mountains. Among this group of plants are two species popularly known as coixinets de monja (roughly “pincushions”, evoking the rounded and spiky shape of these shrubs). These two species, the cat thyme and the Balearic milk vetch, known locally as the eixorba-rates blanc and eixorba-rates negre (Teucrium marum subsp. occidentale and Astragalus balearicus, respectively), are a prime example of evolutionary convergence. In other words, on the outside, they look alike; however, they do not belong to the same family. Evolutionary convergence has led both plants to look like bristly pincushions (given their ounded and prickly shape), as a source of protection from both the strong winds and the herbivores in the area. Another high mountain shrub, locally known as the Aritja baleàrica (Smilax aspera subsp. balearica), also has this rounded shape. Despite the similarities, the two pincushion species can be distinguished from one another by their flowers and other features: the cat thyme (Teucrium marum) is a whiter labiate plant, and its thorns are lateral formations on the branches. The Balearic milk vetch (Astragalus balearicus), on the other hand, is a dark green leguminous plant, and its thorns are the hardened central spine of the leaves.
Once at the summit, we recommend visiting the remains of the cases de neu, or icehouses, man-made facilities for the collection and storage of snow, which was converted into ice blocks and later sold. As you stand contemplating the dry stone hole, which today is covered with common ivy (Hedera helix), it is inevitable to recall the arduous efforts of the tireless icehouse keepers. Back before the advent of the refrigerator, the local people used the snow. Our great-great grandparents learned how to store the snow carefully in snow pits, for later use for health purposes and to cool off on the hot and muggy days of the summer. To return to the starting point of the itinerary, you will follow the same route back down the mountain. Remember to be very careful in the most vertical sections!

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de la coma de Binifaldó

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:4.6 km (round-trip)
Duración:2 h

Color:   

Walking along the Coma de Binifaldó lane you will see three of the most representative habitats of the Natural Area of the Tramuntana Mountain Range: pine groves, holm oak groves and olive groves. The lane begins in an open, sunny pine grove, with a rich, dense undergrowth, it then enters a shadier, damp holm oak grove and ends in the Binifaldó olive grove.

Etapas

The itinerary begins in the Menut II recreational area, which is located at kilometre 16.4 of the Andratx-Pollença highway (Ma-10), on the left-hand side of the highway if you are heading towards Lluc-Pollença. Once you have reached the recreational area and are facing the highway, head to the right; you will be looking for a bridge. Cross the highway, walking beneath the bridge. Here, be sure to look out for the start of a wide dirt road on your left: this is the starting point of the Coma de Binifaldó Trail (“Camí de la Coma de Binifaldó”). This trail will take you into an open wooded area predominantly populated by pine trees. Pine forests have a rich shrub community that includes mastics (Pistacia lentiscus), as well as other noteworthy species with flowers that fill the landscape with colour and aroma. Abounding here is the rockrose (Cistus monspeliensis), with its narrow and sticky leaves; the heather (Erica multiflora), with pink bell-shaped flowers; and the unmistakable rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). And if you follow your nose, you are sure to recognise one of the Mediterranean’s most emblematic shrubs, the myrtle (Myrtus communnis), which was a symbol of love and peace for the Greeks. The name Myrtus stems from the Greek term myran, which means ‘perfume’, given the very aromatic nature of the shrub’s leaves and white flowers in the early summer.
You will soon come to a fork in the trail, where you will see the spring known as the Font de la Coma. This is a prime example of a spring with an underground gallery for water collection, a system born out of the qanats, (underground galleries), that were built by the Muslims who lived on this land during the times of the Mayūrqa, nearly 1100 years ago. The name of Binifaldó clearly evokes the existence of a very old Islamic farmstead, as it stems from the Arabic prefix bini-. Etymologically, the name would be Beni Haldun, or “sons of Haldun”. In a climate like that of Mallorca, which is characterised by considerable drought periods, water collection and storage has always been absolutely essential. For this reason, water collection structures are very common in the Serra de Tramuntana. To build these structures, pits were dug out on enough of a slope to access the aquifer or the eye of the spring. A wall was then built and covered with stone slabs or dry stone vaulting to protect it. The idea was to retain the land around and above the spring to keep it from filling up with soil over time and to keep the water from coming out. The gallery is the most important part of the construction, as it connects the eye of the spring with the outside environment. The depth of the gallery to collect the water depends on the distance between the eye of the spring and the surface. Please bear in mind that the water in this spring is NOT fit for consumption. Do you see a small basin? In the past, springs typically had a basin or trough where the animals could drink. And if there was enough water, a channel was built out of clay, stone or cement, to transport the water to a water collection structure. Just past the Font de la Coma spring, you will see a fork in the trail. Here you need to make a short detour. If you continue to the right, you will come to a man-made watering hole that fills up with the water from the Torrent de Binifaldó stream. Known as the Pantanet de la Coma, this small pool was built with ash, which was then properly covered over and waterproofed, and serves as a source of water for fire fighting purposes. This pool is also a refuge for a considerable Iberian green frog colony (Rana perezi). If you are careful not to make noise, you will see them at the water’s edge, particularly in the spring and summer. However, the slightest sign of danger will send the frogs plunging into the water with their characteristic plopping sound. The Iberian green frog is the most abundant and extensive amphibian in the Balearic Islands and its loud and gregarious daily customs cannot go unnoticed. Though they are generally green or earth coloured, the colours of any given frog can change with the weather. Their smooth skin and long legs enable them to move about in great leaps.
You will now head back to the Font de la Coma spring. As of the area around the Refugi de la Coma (refuge), the trail will begin to run uphill, as holm oak groves gradually take over the terrain. Not many years ago, the holm oak groves were the primary source of lumber for the local charcoal industry. Following a number of turns in the trail, you will see some round charcoal production floors on the right-hand side of the path, which bear witness to the past activity of the wood colliers. Seated next to these two charcoal production floors and the shed, you can only imagine what this area of the woods was like in those times. To step back in time, you need only consider the description written by Archduke Ludwig Salvatore of Austria in the late 19th century in his Die Balearen: From very far away, in the solitude of the forest, emerge the smoky mounds where they char the holm oaks. It is a tough and arduous job. Their faces, yellowed with fatigue and blackened by the charcoal, make for a ghastly sight. When you look at them in the cool of the night, as they watch over their burning charcoal mounds, it is easy to imagine them as though they were evil spirits, toiling away at their hellish task. Yet when you draw in near, you are always received with a smile... The wood colliers spend the entire summer in the forest: first cutting the branches or felling the trees; then transporting the timber to the charcoal production floor, setting it up and forming the mound; and finally charring it and extracting the charcoal they have obtained. To live for such a long time in the solitude of the forest, they build a shed out of logs and branches, which they cover with Mauritanian grass. So they spend long months, living a semi- savage life.
Though somewhat difficult, if you are careful not to make noise, you may be lucky to catch sight of some of the carnivorous mammals of these woods: the common weasel (Mustela nivalis) and the pine marten (Martes martes). Members of the weasel family, both of these animals have an elongated body and short hair that can vary in colour, depending on the species. The common weasel primarily lives in agricultural areas such as olive groves that are bordered with stone walls or stone piles, where it makes its burrows. In contrast, the pine marten is more typical of mountainous terrain, although it has been rapidly expanding to inhabit the southern and inland areas of the island. Though these animals cannot always be seen, their presence can be detected at times, given the excrements that they often leave in the trails. Moreover, these animals are extremely strategic in placing their excrements. Thus, if we were to plot out all the points where their excrements are found, we would see the clearly defined territories of the dominant males. The particular scents of those excrements serve to communicate to the other members of the species that a given territory is already occupied.
As you climb, you will see that the holm oak forest gradually clears, making way for ancient olive groves. Here, the houses of Binifaldó emerge between the peaks of Puig Tomir and Moleta de Binifaldó. This field is known as Els Sivellins de Binifaldó. Its name makes reference to the particular olive tree strain that was planted here. This olive tree is prized for the high quality of its fruit. Despite their relatively small size and very limited yield of oil, these olives have an exquisite flavour. You will soon come to the old Lluc-Pollença highway, where you will turn right to head towards the houses of Binifaldó. Before you reach the houses, on the right-hand side of the road you will see the famous holm oak known as the Alzina d’en Pere, a unique catalogued tree that has offered its shade to workers, passersby and hikers for over 500 years. Just ahead, past the holm oak, you will come to a lookout that offers a magnificent view of some of the most representative mountains in the Serra de Tramuntana. Thus, from left to right, you will see the peaks of Puig d’en Galileu, Puig de Massanella, Puig Major, Puig Roig, Puig Budell, and finally, Puig Caragoler de Femenia. At this point, you will simply retrace the same path back to the starting point. As you head back, this time downhill, you are sure to enjoy the different environments that you discovered on the way out.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Itinerari de Cúber a Biniaraix

Dificultad:Medium
Distancia:10.7 km (one way)
Duración:2 h
Requisitos:It must be followed on foot

Color:   

Sitting at an altitude of 750 metres, the Cúber Reservoir is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Serra de Tramuntana. In the past, it was a fertile valley dotted with the cultivation fields of the finest durum wheat on the island. Today, it is the ideal place to listen to the age-old voices of our mountains. The Barranc de Biniaraix ravine is one of the awe-inspiring landscapes in the Serra de Tramuntana. The natural, historic, cultural and landscape value of the Barranc de Biniaraix was acknowledged institutionally when it was declared a Property of Cultural Interest as a monument. This trail is signposted throughout and runs along the GR- 221.

Etapas

This itinerary begins at the entrance gate to the Cúber Public Estate, which is located at approximately kilometre 34 of the Andratx–Pollença highway (Ma-10). The Cúber estate sits within the limits of both the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area and the Natura 2000 Network, as one of the Serra de Tramuntana Summits of Community Importance. At first glance from the estate gate, you will see a rather austere landscape. From here, the most striking view is undoubtedly the reservoir, which takes up virtually the entire plateau, nestled beneath the peaks of the Morro de Cúber (951 m) on the left, the Puig de sa Rateta (1113 m) in front and the hills of the Serra de Cúber on the right. Follow the trail to the right, towards the holm oak grove. Next, you will turn to the left, following the path towards the Puig de l’Ofre (1093 m), which lies in the distance. You will need to come up close enough to the rocks at the side of the Serra de Cúber to appreciate the marks left behind by karst erosion. Karst is a type of relief generated by the chemical weathering of carbonate stone and primarily calcareous rock. Calcareous stones are sedimentary rocks predominantly made up of calcium carbonate. The process takes place when the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combines with rainwater, giving rise to carbonic acid. When the rain falls on carbonate rocks, the carbonic acid dissolves the carbonates, transforming them into bicarbonates and transporting them in such a manner that they generate odd shapes, striations, grooves and wide clefts that together form areas locally known as rellars and esquetjars, or lapies. Thus, each time it rains, the water dissolves a part of the mountain range in a very slow process. The cracks in the rocks are colonised by plants that require very little soil to live, such as the southern polypody (Polypodium cambricum) and the rusty-back fern (Ceterach officinarum), among others. To view them, you will need to draw in very close to the Stone crevices.
If you look to the left here, you will see a small house on the other side of the reservoir. The house sits so close to the water’s edge that it is reflected in the water itself. Known as the Refugi de Cúber, this refuge has been adapted to accommodate short stays. Once you have passed the Cúber Refuge, you will cross through a gate on the left, leading you outside of the public estate. Here you will need to continue along the path marked GR-221. At this point, the valley narrows and the past use of this land becomes more obvious, as can be seen in the stone terraced cultivation fields at the foot of Sa Rateta and Na Franquesa. Though they are now full of Mauritanian grass, not long ago these plots were productive grain fields. The Pla de Cúber plateau, where you are standing, has been inhabited since ancient times, as can be seen in the prehistoric deposits of the cave alongside the Torrent de Cúber (stream) and the Talayotic settlement of Almallutx. In fact, the name Cúber, which was written as Qulber in the past, existed before the era of Arab rule. Following the conquest of Mallorca, King Jaume I granted approximately eight jovades of the Cúber property to Berenguer Ferrer of Barcelona in 1229, and the other seven to Marí Ferrandi, a military officer of the infantry of Portugal. A jovada is an agricultural surface area measurement equivalent to the amount of land that a couple of oxen can plough in a day (approximately 11.3 hectares). In those early years, this land was primarily used for the cultivation of wheat, as well as barley and oats, yet there were also populations of olive trees, holm oaks and scrubland. In the late 16th century, Cúber was a great cattle ranching estate that received countless herds of sheep from the Mallorcan flatlands in the summer. The Cúber Reservoir was built between April 1970 and June 1971, and the estate became public property in 1988, as part of an initiative to protect the reservoir basin. At present, the public estate is administered by the Govern de les Illes Balears, whilst EMAYA (the municipal water and sewage company) is in charge of the management and maintenance of the reservoir.
Continue along the clearly marked path. You will soon pass by the houses of Binimorat, and in ten minutes’ time, you will come to the pass known as the Coll de l’Ofre. Be sure to look back from here to take in the magnificent panoramic view of the reservoir, with the towering peak of Puig Major in the background. You will also want to remember to look up at the sky from time to time, so as not to miss the striking display of the black vulture in its silent flight. The largest bird of prey in Europe, the black vulture (Aegypius monachus) measures some 100 centimetres in length and has a two-and-a-half-metre wingspan. This bird usually weighs around eight kilos; however, it can come to weigh as much as twelve. Endowed with a great, robust beak, this vulture’s plumage is totally black, though more intensely coloured in the younger specimens and more chocolaty brown in the adults. The finer down feathers on its head and neck are generally lighter in colour. This species enjoys an enviable lifespan of up to 40 years, and it seems that once paired off, black vulture couples tend to live together until one of the two dies. As to its nesting habits, the black vulture usually builds its nest out of tree branches at the tops of pine trees (Pinus halepensis). Though the bird does not nest in this area, it is indeed a regular visitor, possibly due to the abundant supply of animal remains found here, including dead goats and sheep, its primary source of food.
From the Coll de l’Ofre pass, the bridle path winds downhill, making several turns, until you reach the plateau known as the Pla de l’Ofre, in approximately 15 minutes’ time. Cross the barrier, and you will soon find yourself on the most spectacular section of the hike: the Barranc de Biniaraix ravine. Ahead of you from here is a stepped path made of stone (with nearly 2000 steps!) that comprises one of the most striking works of popular transportation engineering in Mallorca. The ravine is a west-facing karst canyon that was formed by the erosive action of water. Bordering the ravine are the mountains of the Serra de Son Torrella to the north and the peak of Puig des Cornadors to the south. This stone trail was once the primary route that connected the valley of Sóller with the valleys of L’Ofre, Cúber, Orient and the Lluc Sanctuary. On both sides of the trail is yet another wonder: a series of stone wall terraces dotted with olive trees, bearing witness to the tenacity and steadfast devotion of the people who have inhabited these mountains throughout the centuries. The path once provided access to all of these terraced fields, and the olive growers used to use it to transport their olives down the mountain.
"Marjades" are dry stone wall terraces that serve to create horizontal surfaces in steeply sloped places like the mountainsides of the Serra de Tramuntana. This enabled our ancestors to create places that were flatter and more appropriate for the cultivation of olive trees. These structures are very important for their unquestionable historic and landscape value and for the essential role that they play in soil retention and erosion prevention. Moreover, the arrangement of these stone wall terraces was by no means arbitrary. Rather, it was the result of the knowledge of the area’s physical features (slope, lithology, the water network, etc.), which also served for the construction of other rainwater channelling structures, such as ditches and underground drain channels, as well as the stone paths themselves. The ditches are long and narrow excavations lined with dry stone that collected the water at the foot of the terrace wall and conducted it to the main stream. The drain channels are underground galleries that were built in places where water tended to accumulate. To build these structures, a part of the soil was removed and a layer of Stone was laid in its place, to promote drainage. The soil was then placed on top of the stone, thus enabling the cultivation of the field. The most elaborate stone trails in the Serra de Tramuntana, these paths bear witness to the importance of this route as a frequently used thoroughfare in the past. Here, the cobbling is not a constant throughout the entire road; rather, it appears in the steepest sections or in places where the rainwater could potentially cause the most damage to the trail. The idea behind the cobblestone is essentially to ensure the conservation of roads and trails. First, stone favours the infiltration of water, thus reducing downhill stream flow in the case of heavy rains. Second, whereas rainwater is likely to displace the soil on an unpaved path, it is not strong enough to drag the stones out of place, meaning that the trail is left undamaged.
Through the ages, the stone walls have also become a refuge for different animal and plant species. The cracks and crevices between the stones are a refuge for countless vertebrates such as wall lizards and weasels, as well as invertebrates, some of which are endemic, as is the case of the snail species Iberellus balearicus. Endemic animals come from species that originated on the nearby continents and colonised the islands, where they have evolved in isolation. In other words, these species have evolved over time without any contact whatsoever with the continental species. The spaces between the wall stones are also an ideal place for certain plant species, which tend to root here. Finally, the ravine path will take you to the quaint hamlet of Biniaraix.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de ses Basses de Mortitx

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:11,3 km (round-trip)
Duración:5 h
Requisitos:Must be followed on foot
Recomendaciones:Please bear in mind that during the black vulture’s nesting season (between February and June) the trail is only open up to the Lavanor Refuge

Color:   

During the walk towards Ses Basses, we will pass the Mortitx vineyard, as well as its extensive olive grove and a rocky, abrupt scenery where we will have the sensation that we are in a corner of the world that is far from the hustle and bustle of civilization. All of this surrounded by the wild beauty of the area. The Mortitx public estate is one of the most valuable spaces of the Natural Area of the Tramuntana Mountain Range. This old agricultural estate is on the furthest eastern coast of the Escorca municipality.

Etapas

Your excursion begins at the entrance to the Mortitx Estate, which is located at km 10.9 of the Andratx-Pollença highway (Ma-10). If you are coming from Lluc, the path will be on your left. Once you have passed a tennis court, turn left. You will soon leave behind on the left the winery that produces Mortitx wine. After passing alongside the stocks of cabernet sauvignon, you will come to a barrier with a wooden ladder, to enter the public estate. Awaiting you is a long uphill trail on a dirt path. But take heart, the goal will be well worth the hike! Now look to the left, where you will see a striking olive tree. How old do you think it is? Very old! The fact is, the olive production tradition at the Mortitx Estate dates back many centuries. This particularly goes for the Empeltre olive variety, which was brought to the island by King Jaume I following the conquest. Because the scions of these olive trees do not take root easily, they must be grafted (empeltar, in Catalan) to grow, hence the variety’s name, “Empeltre”. These olive groves form an invaluable part of the landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana that cannot be abandoned. For this reason, as you can see, measures have been taken for their recovery.
As you continue along the trail, you will pass by a reservoir. Higher up, there is another one. The construction of dams in the Torrent de s’Hort des Molí (stream) during the 1970s made it possible to build these two reservoirs. Though located within the limits of the public estate, they are privately owned. Both of these reservoirs have a canal system to channel the waters to the cultivated fields of the Sementer Pla and S’Hort des Cirerers. If you look out further, on the right you will see the S’Hort des Molí gardens. Despite the name of this place, des Molí (meaning, “of the mill”), no remnants of any hydraulic device of this sort have ever been found here. At some point, there was most probably a water mill here, which disappeared long ago. Growing in this garden is a cherry variety known as the sarró, which is much smaller than the typical Mallorcan cherry and ripens far later. When eating these cherries, the pits come out very clean. The springtime offers a magnificent show of colours, as these trees boast their blossoms.
Past the reservoirs, the climb will become a bit steeper, and any excuse will be a good one to stop and rest. If you look up and see a bird of prey crossing the sky in rapid, direct flight, you are probably looking at the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), which nests in the cliffs of Mortitx. This bird is endowed with excellent eyesight that enables it to spot its prey –smaller birds that it captures in flight – from a full kilometre away. The peregrine falcon is extremely fast. Comfortably cruising at a speed of about 48 km/h, it can accelerate up to 77 km/h in a horizontal chase, with a nosedive as fast as 320 km/h. When it reaches its prey, this falcon strikes the victim with its claws, catching it in mid air in an agile somersault. All the same, this bird’s hunting success rate tends to be below fifty percent. During the autumn, watching the falcon hunt in a flock of starlings can be truly spectacular. The birds flock together in a large, dense mass that moves through the sky like an immense amoeba. The falcon does what it can to attack the flock, and the flock in turn opens up to create a hole, allowing the predator to pass straight through... This goes on, over and over again, until the falcon finally grows tired or an unfortunate starling strays from its protective group. And then, it’s all over for him.
Following this climb, you will soon see an area that was reforested with pines (Pinus halepensis) and holm oaks (Quercus ilex) in the 1980s and 1990s. At this point, you are near the Lavanor Refuge. To get there, you will need to take a detour to the right. Surrounded by elm trees, this single-storey rectangular refuge house was built over the age-old farmstead of Mortitx. A Lavanor de Mortitx / hi canten dues terroles. / Una fa trenta roves / i s’altra set quintars i mig. At Lavanor of Mortitx / Are two larks that sing / One weighs thirty loads; / The other, a ton on either wing (Folk verse) A terrola is a lark (Alauda arvensis). A quintar is equal to four roves, and each rova is 10.4 kilos. Now, return to the path, where you will pass alongside a very large black poplar (Populus nigra) with a striking trunk, near the Font Blanca spring. In the past, poplars were planted next to springs as a means to indicate, from far away, refreshing spots to cool down.
Since the estate was purchased in 1978, Mortitx has played an essential role in the development of countless recovery plans for demographically endangered species, as is the case of black vulture (Aegypius monachus). For this reason, so as not to disturb the vulture during its breeding months, between February and June, this excursion ends here. This will help ensure that we will all continue to enjoy the dark silhouette of this distinctive, majestic, bird in flight for a long time to come. Thanks to the singularity of this vulture, it has become a symbol of nature conservation and an emblem of the Serra de Tramuntana. Damunt l’altura, / les roques mig trabucades / damunt la mar sense fons / on sols passen les ventades / les boires i los voltons. (Mossèn Costa i Llobera) [In the heights above / The overturned rocks / Over the bottomless sea / Gusty winds, fog / and vultures are the only passersby]. (Mossèn Costa i Llobera) If it is not the nesting season (between July and January), you will continue along the trail. On your left, you will see the remains of what was possibly a Talayot settlement. Though this site was studied decades ago by Father Veny (of the Lluc Sanctuary), it has never been catalogued. Just ahead is a nice viewpoint of Campet Rodó, with the Ariant Estate in the background.
The trail will climb again until you reach the pass known as the Collet des Vent. Here, the landscape is breathtaking. You will see a terrain of eroded rock formations with fanciful lapies, which some writers have described as an almost lunar landscape. This karst activity has created countless hollows and clefts that have become the habitats for many endemic species, including a number of different beetles. The path will soon take you to the end of the trajectory: the field known as the Sementer de ses Basses, a spectacular doline. This depression was produced by the surface dissolution of the rocks. These types of hollows are often used as fields for cultivation or pastureland for a small herd of sheep, as is the case here. Places like this, where it is so difficult to work the land, give us an idea of the strong spirit of an unrepeatable mountain farming tradition that has now faded out. On this small mountain plateau, lost amid the immense rocky formations and the colonies of Mauritanian grass, you will discover an extraordinary watering hole. It is a construction excavated out of the ground, with thick walls. The stone roof has been supported for centuries by an old wild olive trunk that serves as a main beam. And it is here, far from all the noise and commotion, far from civilisation, at what seems like edge of the world, where you have reached the end of your trail. Now, simply take the same path back.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí des Pixarells

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:2.13 km (one way)
Duración:1 h
Recomendaciones:Duration: Less than an hour if you do the whole walk in one go. But stopping at some points to get to know the area it will probably take an hour and a half. The itinerary follows well-marked trails and there are no long distances or steep climbs

Color:   

This itinerary will allow us to explore the area surrounding Lluc and the amazing rock formations in the area. The name Pixarells, which refers not just to the lane but also to a lookout, a cave, a recreational area and a camping area has a metaphorical origin. After heavy rain, water spurts from holes in one of the stony walls along the road, forming the Pixarells.

Etapas

Start at the Lluc Monastery and walk under the portals towards the football field. This is a tarmac path and you pass the cantorum and the botanical garden on the left. Once you arrive at the football field, cross it and look for a wooden bridge on the left. Then walk uphill between stones shaped by water underneath the holm-oak trees. This first part of the walk coincides with the Camí de la cometa des Morts. Just before you come to a charcoal production floor there is a small sign on your right pointing in the direction of a unique rock formation shaped by karst erosion. Your imagination might show you a camel, or perhaps a tortoise. Take the opportunity here to admire various formations shaped by water erosion. Along this first stretch holm-oak trees (Quercus ilex) dominate the landscape. Their slow growth makes dense wood that was used to produce charcoal, but also to make wagon wheels and other carriage parts, waterwheels, keels, kneading-troughs and beams for oil mills. The bark of the holm oak, rich in tannins, was traditionally used to tan and colour leather. According to Andrés de Laguna (16th century humanist doctor and botanic pharmacist): “the bark of the holm-oak roots, boiled in water until it comes apart and applied to hair overnight, colours it black.”
Return to the trail you were on before the detour to ‘the Camel’ and keep heading uphill until you come to a fork in the path. Take the left trail (the one on the right continues to La Cometa dels Morts). As you leave the shade of the holm-oak wood and come out in more open terrain you can see the remains of old olive groves. There is a lookout here with two stone benches where you can take a break and enjoy the excellent panoramic view of Sa Terra de ses Olles, which probably gets its name from its red clay soil that was used to make clay pots (olles). From here you overlook a typical mountain olive grove, surrounded by the peaks Puig Caragoler, Puig Roig, El coll des Ases and, more to the right, the Puig Budell (originally Montagudell, which means pointed hill).
Past the lookout the trail descends slightly through Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis) and Mauritanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica) that have taken over the land of an abandoned olive grove. You can still make out the old terraces. A bit further on, before the trail starts heading slightly uphill again, look at the cliff face on your right until you see signs of dampness and a fig tree. Look closer and you will see the holes that water comes through when it rains: these are the so-called pixarells. Under the pixarells there is a water reservoir where water comes through a pipe ending in a tap where water falls into a small basin. This is non-potable water. Following the trail you will walk past an old porxo. These buildings were used by harvesters as olive storage during harvesting season. The rest of the year it gave shelter to animals, mostly sheep, grazing in the area. These constructions did not have tiled roofs; instead they were weaved of grass. They would withstand even very heavy showers when they were well made.
This is a good spot to discover various kinds of lichen growing on the bark and branches of holm-oak and olive trees. Stop and look for a kind of grey ‘beard’ that grows on them, or lichen shaping itself around the trunks as a kind of crust. These are very primitive living organisms: a symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae. The fungus benefits from the relation because the algae produce food through photosynthesis and the algae benefit from the capacity of the fungus to protect and retain moisture. In mountainous regions there are many different kinds of lichen. You can find them in grey or greenish-grey, greenish-yellow, yellow or brownish-grey, and in all kinds of shapes: from lichen forming a crust on the surface of things to those looking like tiny leaves or like leafless, branching shrubs. They grow straight, or hang from the trees. These days air quality is measured using different chemical and physical methods, with mobile or stationary equipment. But air quality can also be measured by analysing the presence — or absence — and growth rate of certain kinds of lichen. This is why lichens are called bio indicators, that is, organisms that are sensible to variations in environmental quality. Generally speaking, branching lichens are less resistant to contamination while those shaped like crusts are more resistant. The lichen known as ‘old man’s beard’ is a good indicator of air quality. The reason why lichens are sensible to contamination is their lack of epidermis. Having no protective layer means deposits of contaminating substances will stop nutrients from entering. Since they have no way of getting rid of such contaminants they keep accumulating and the lichen eventually dies.
The environment changes completely a while after you have passed the porxo. In summer you will welcome the coolness of the holm-oak wood and you might want to make a quick stop. As you sit down to rest you can take advantage of this perspective to study your surroundings. In winter you will see an impressive amount of moss: a soft, damp cover painting branches, trunks and stones green. Moss is abundant in damp, shaded areas. These plants have no roots and no vascular tissue, so the whole plant captures water. This is why it can only survive in areas with high humidity. There is a lot of work to be done within this field, identifying and studying the ecology of bryophytes. They are very sensible to contamination in the atmosphere, just like lichens.
You have now arrived at the Pixarells recreational area. A panoramic view of the mountains features the Puig d’en Galileu with the Puig Major and the Na Rius mountains as a backdrop. Bats fly at dusk in this area, using caves to hibernate, breed and rest. They are the only mammal species with forelimbs that have changed into wings covered with a thin membrane, making them capable of flight. Sight in the chiroptera family (from Greek kheir ‘hand’ and pteron ‘wing’) is poorly developed, but instead hearing plays an important role. Bats orient themselves using echolocation, which also lets them capture prey in complete darkness. They help stabilise insect populations and play a key role in the ecosystem, which justifies their status as a protected species. So far, 19 different kinds of bats have been found on the Balearic Islands. The recreational area marks the end of this itinerary and you can head back to Lluc the same way.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de Binibassí

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:2.13 km (one way)
Duración:50 min

Color:   

This itinerary does not include any high peaks. You will walk through the Sóller valley, surrounded by the peak Puig des Teix to the west, the Alfàbia and Son Torrella ranges to the south and the Puig Major and Montcaire mountains to the east. You will get to know two villages with undeniable scenic and architectural value: Fornalutx and Sóller, located in the middle of the Serra de Tramuntana natural area.

Etapas

This walk begins in the township Fornalutx. Park at the car park and then follow the street Carrer Major to the village square. Fornalutx is a charming village full of interesting nooks and crannies to get lost in before heading out towards Sóller. The origin of Fornalutx, or Fornalugi as it was referred to in older texts, dates back to the time of the Conquest. Before that it was a Muslim hamlet, which is easy to imagine as you walk along its cobbled streets. There are two theories about the etymology of the name Fornalutx. One suggests that it comes from Latin FURN- with double suffixes –al and –utx = FURNALUCIU, which translates as ‘place with a furnace, forge. Another derives the name from Arabic: Furn-al-lugg, which means ‘furnace of the riverbank. Walk up the stairs by the square and take the first street to your left — Carrer de Sant Sebastià — always decorated with plants and flowers. In front of you is the old Bàlitx inn. Turn left again and look for the Joan Albertí Arbona trail that will take you to the graveyard. Not long after you will see the wooden signpost for the Camí de Binibassí.
Looking up among the houses you can see old painted tiles. They are popularly known as ‘tejas del moro’ (Muslim tiles) and decorate many of the village houses. The Sóller valley is where most of these houses with painted tiles are preserved: 56 buildings in Sóller and 28 in Fornalutx — these villages have the largest number of houses with painted tiles on the island. The drawings are normally red in colour and depict geometrical or organic patterns, scenes from everyday life, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, and various religious themes. The paintings take up little space and are usually limited to mere silhouettes, outlines of figures. The patterns and placement of these decorations was part of a construction ritual; normally one person painted them in a simple painting process. First the tile was soaked in water, then stuck in a lime mortar. Without baking the tile it was painted using natural dyes and water. Pigments used were for example Almangra soil for red, charcoal for black and copper oxide for green. In general the tiles are monochromatic, even if paintings using two and up to three colours are found in the Sóller valley. Apart from their aesthetic and decorative value, the painted tiles also had symbolic and spiritual importance: they were meant to preserve and defend the house and its inhabitants from danger.
As you descend the trail you can see examples of the Serra’s olive trees, a characteristic feature of the landscape. Maintaining these trees is one of the main objectives of the Natural Resource Management Plan for the Serra de Tramuntana. Olives harvested in the beginning of autumn are still used to produce high-quality olive oil. Using oil made in the Serra contributes to the conservation of this beautiful natural and cultural heritage. In 2002 olive oil produced on Mallorca was awarded the highest quality seal for foodstuff: the protected denomination of origin ‘Oil from Mallorca’. The oil from Mallorca is extra-virgin olive oil made from mallorquina, or empeltre, arbequina and picual olives. The olive trees in Serra de Tramuntana are grown on terraces and irregular land. Running these olive plantations in the mountains makes farming, pest management, fertilising, harvesting and so on very difficult. Productivity in the region may be lower than on the Pla de Mallorca flatland, but the character of the oil is very different. It has a sweet, mild flavour without any of the bitter or sharp tendencies found elsewhere. This is because the olives here are harvested when they have reached greater maturity than the olives harvested on the plain. The oil from Sóller is included in the protected denomination of origin and is one of the typical products from this village. Trying it is highly recommended.
The trail is no longer asphalted and the stone paving of the old bridle path is out in the open. This path made it easier for people and cattle walking through. You will walk past olive groves, gardens, water canals, springs and washing places on a path that was part of an extensive road network on Mallorca, a rich and well-preserved heritage of great historical, cultural and ethnological value. Long ago these paths were brimming with activity: mule drivers carried all kinds of merchandise to the valley on their beasts of burden: oil, cloth, kitchen utensils, foodstuff, reed… The mule drivers of Sóller and Fornalutx were known as excellent mountain guides and appreciated by travellers wishing to get to know the area, especially the Puig Major. It is not surprising that a mule driver was chosen to represent Sóller village on Cardinal Despuig’s map from 1785. But the life of a mule driver was difficult. Their average salary at the end of the 17th century was 27 sous, to be compared to the price of a hen: 8 sous.
Before long, you arrive at the Binibassí houses. This group of houses was erected where the ancient Muslim hamlet Benibassim once stood. There is still a defensive tower here dating from the 16th century. The water troughs by the trail provided the fertile lands in the valley with water and date back to the Arab period, up until 1290. It seems Arabs were the ones who introduced the orange tree to the island and the name Sóller is thought to be derived from the Arabic sulyâr, ‘golden valley’, possibly referring to the golden colour of the oranges. Sóller’s geographical isolation had its inhabitants establishing trade relations with Barcelona, Valencia and above all the south of France. Many of them emigrated to France during the 19th century and established businesses for the export of the exquisite Sóller orange. The city became rich as a result of these shipments and many emigrants came back once they had made their fortune. It did not take long until Sóller became the second village on the island to get electricity, after Alaró. In 1912 the Sóller railway started running, facilitating communications with Palma; today the railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island.
Along the entire walk you will come across various ingenious inventions used to capture and store water. Apart from their immense importance to the population, springs also form highly valuable habitats. Spring entrances, the dark passages of underground spring galleries, water channels and washing places… these are all different environments, microhabitats, favouring certain species of flora and fauna. A majority of animals found in the springs are macroinvertebrates, such as crustacean amphipods, a distant relative of shrimps and crabs, and molluscs, for example periwinkles. There are also animals that need water to complete their life cycles even if they are not exclusively aquatic. Many well-known insects are part of this group, such as dipterous (small flies and mosquitoes), mayflies and odonata: dragonflies and damselflies. The vertebrates of aquatic life are also worth a mention, such as the viperine water snake (Natrix maura) and Perez’s frog (Pelophylax perezi).
These days it is completely covered in ivy, but do not miss the old water mill. Water was not only used for human consumption and watering crops, the power of water was harnessed from the Arab Mayûrqa period and onwards to mill wheat. The mechanism of these early water mills is quite simple: water was captured at its origin (spring, torrent and so on), and then conduced through a canal to the mill. As it fell over the blades of a rudimentary turbine called rodete, it transmitted the movement to make the millstones rotate and grind the grain. Every morning the miller would deliver bags of milled flour and the owner was in charge of the mill’s functioning and maintenance. The delicate perfume of orange trees in blossom or carrying fruit tells you that you are entering Sóller village. Cross the Torrent Major and pass an old washing place on your left. Keep walking for another ten minutes or so, now on a tarmac road, until you reach the main square. Try some orange ice-cream made in Sóller and enjoy the view of the modernist church Sant Bartomeu and the Banco de Sóller building of the same school, made by the architect Joan Rubió i Bellver.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

El camí Vell de Caimari a Lluc

Dificultad:Medium
Distancia:7.12 km (one way)
Duración:2 h

Color:   

The Puig de n’Escuder, Es Cavall Bernat, Es Còdol d’en Seda, Salt de la Bella Dona, Coll de sa Batalla… these are a few of the place names evocative of the age-old stories and legends that you will discover as you climb to Lluc from Caimari. Tales full of oddities that have lost their accuracy through time as they were passed down orally from generation to generation, yet which have nevertheless gained a great deal in terms of fantasy and the popular imaginary; narratives that form part of the cultural heritage of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area and offer insight to a few chapters of our local history. Your itinerary begins along the Inca-Lluc highway (Ma-2130), at the first curve that you will come to, some 300 metres past Caimari, at km 7.2. Here you will see a shelf area. This is the viewpoint of Ses Rotes, where you may leave the car and begin the uphill climb on foot, along an unpaved road. To save yourself the trip back on foot, you may wish to leave another car in the car park at the Lluc Sanctuary. The trail is signposted.

Etapas

Historic manuscripts bear witness to the existence of this trail as far back as the 13th century, and one can assume that it once formed part of the Muslim road network. In fact, the Sayts, the descendants of enslaved Muslims, were documented in Lluc as expert road designers. With the gradual increase in the number of pilgrims who used this road after the discovery of the Virgin, this path would become one of Mallorca’s most popular trails. Your starting point is the Ses Rotes viewpoint, overlooking one of the most beautiful stone-terraced landscapes on the island, Ses Rotes de Caimari, which were declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2009. The origin of this land dates back to the heavy population increase that took place in the 19th century. Demographic pressures brought along the need to cultivate new land that was occupied by the forest and scrubland, building stone terraces, and breaking up the soil, no matter how shallow and rocky it was. This notion of breaking up the land (roturar, in Catalan) gave rise to the word rota, which means “land broken in preparation for cultivation”. The division of this land into plots allowed the local people of Caimari to become small land owners. The summit of the Puig de n’Escuder, located directly in front of you, is the backdrop of many folktales where history blends with fiction. It is said that Arab rulers drew on the verticality and height of the walls of this mountain to build a fortress at its top as a refuge for the last of their men during the conquest of Catalan King Jaume I. One legend speaks of a young Saracen messenger who was so clever that he managed to trick and defeat a troop of Arabs on this summit. Another version of the story speaks of the resistance of an Islamic group during the final phase of the Catalan conquest. Given the inevitability of the group’s defeat and their refusal to surrender to the enemy, they ultimately opted for collective suicide.
Shortly after you begin your excursion, on your right, just between the path and the highway, you will see a somewhat jagged rock formation known as Es Cavall Bernat. This name also appears in other areas of the island, and always refers to pointed outcrops. The origin of the name can be explained by the phallic shape that is common to them all. Most probably, the former local expression carall armat (meaning phallus) euphemistically evolved to the current name, Cavall Bernat. The alternative name of Sa Filosa de la Mare de Déu is associated with a legend that described the Virgin (Mare de Déu) spinning yarn in the area. According to this tale, whenever she heard pilgrims coming along, she would run and hide in the cave of the Puig de n’Escuder. Once she ran off so fast that she left the upright distaff right there, as it was. When she returned to her spinning site, in place of the distaff, she found this crag. Whether a horse or a distaff, on this crag you will discover two interesting species: the horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis balearica), which is endemic to Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera; and the broom species known as Genista majorica, which is endemic to Mallorca. Boasting yellow flowers, both of these species belong to the Leguminosae family and have found a safe haven in this rock face, where they are protected from their herbivorous predators.
A bit further up, beneath a circle of shady holm oaks and next to the trail is a large stone known as the Còdol d’en Seda. Possibly due to its round shape, it has traditionally been said that this stone was a pebble that some giant shook out of his shoe. According to tradition, when passing through this area, the travellers of this pilgrimage path used to take aim, throwing one to five stones towards a hole at the base, and if their stones made it into the hole, they would have good luck.
Further up, once you have tried your luck at Còdol d’en Seda, you will cross over the Lluc highway and begin to climb Sa Costa Llarga (“The Long Hill”). This is undoubtedly a good place to stop and contemplate the beautiful stonelaid pavement of the primitive road, while resting along your ascent. Along the path, you are sure to notice the ratlletes, or elongated stones that were laid in a slanted position to evacuate the rainwater from the trail, to minimise erosion. Here, because the stairs were placed with such large spaces between them, this path has often been referred to as Ses Passes de Gegant (Giant Footsteps). If you look up, you will see the Puig de n’Ali. Standing at an elevation of 1037 metres, this summit received its name during the era of Muslim rule. At the end of Sa Costa Llarga, you will come to the houses of Son Canta, formerly an olive-producing estate. Here, you will take a detour from the old Sa Bretxa Vella (Photo: Gràcia Salas) Caimari-Lluc road, which formerly passed by the houses of Es Barracar. Your path, which runs alongside the highway, will take you down to the Sa Coveta Negra recreation area. Further ahead, you will cross beneath a bridge and resume your climb, this time through the forest. You may notice the vestiges of one of the most characteristic and traditional activities in the forests of the Serra de Tramuntana: charcoal production. In the past, charcoal was the main source of power and an extremely important source of revenue for the estates of the Serra de Tramuntana. The wood colliers in the area built their charcoal production floors in our forests until the mid 20th century, when they finally abandoned their worksites, given the lost battle against the new sources of fuel.
The bridle path of the Camí Vell from Caimari to Lluc (Old Road to Lluc) runs through a section known as Sa Llangonissa, the name of which was inspired on its sausage-shaped layout. Further ahead, you will come to Sa Bretxa Vella. This is a daring pass that was blasted open in the early 18th century to avoid having to use the dangerous Pas des Grau trail. It took more than four hundred days of work and several hundred kilos of gunpowder to open up Sa Bretxa. This enterprise involved erecting structures high in the mountains and spectacular stone walls, built with mortar.
The Salt de la Bella Dona is a towering peak overlooking the streambed of the Torrent des Guix or Torrent de Comafreda, a spot located at kilometre 12.6 of the Ma-2130 highway, just past Sa Bretxa Nova. Apparently, before the construction of the highway, this designation had been assigned to a more elevated and dangerous nearby area that people passed through on foot. The legend that lends this spot its name and possibly the oldest of the tales that accompany this pilgrimage path goes as follows: A wood collier is tricked by an evil character (identified by some as the devil) that has made a futile attempt to woo his wife. Out of revenge, the failed suitor manages to convince the husband that his wife, who knows nothing of this plot, has indeed been unfaithful. Enraged and tormented by jealousy, the husband decides to murder his wife by throwing her over this precipice, just next to the trail. In fact, the cliff itself bears the name Bella Dona, which, despite its beauty-related connotations (Bella), places greater emphasis on the spiritual quality of the innocent victim. The husband then goes down to the Lluc Sanctuary, arriving there at sunrise, just as the first mass is held. When he enters the church, he is shocked to find his wife there, totally intact and unscathed! From this point on, the pine forest begins to dwindle, giving way to a dense holm oak grove, beneath which the trail will run slightly downhill, reaching the Font des Guix. Though the water of this spring is fresh, it is not drinking water and moreover has a flavour that lives up to its name (guix, meaning “chalk”).
You will now come to the highway and pass over the stream Torrent de Comafreda, via a bridge that offers access to a shelf area where there is a service station. As history recalls, this pass takes its name from an event that took place at the start of the 17th century. At that time, much of the population was constantly beleaguered by famine, besieged by the plague, stifled by taxes and submitted to social conflicts and tensions. These circumstances created the ideal climate for the emergence of banditry. Insecurity and crime rose dramatically, and repression and fear were rampant. The bandits of the Colla de Selva, a powerful mob, were essential to this structure. In 1618, the group came up against the forces of justice and were defeated, precisely in this area. The skirmish ended with the imprisonment of fourteen bandits, some of whom were later executed. Another possible source of the name Coll de sa Batalla makes reference to the sound of the clapper or batall as it strikes the church bells of Lluc, which the pilgrims would first hear as they came to this pass. Just beyond the pass, you will continue towards the residential complex known as Urbanització des Guix and look for a wooden sign marked with a GR 221, indicating a grand route. At this point, a section of the bridle path, which was asphalted a few years ago, will take you on your descent towards the valley of Lluc, which will soon come into view. The distance between the sign and the car park in Lluc is 1.5 kilometres.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Pujada al puig d'en Galileu

Dificultad:High
Distancia:4.7 km (round-trip)
Duración:5 h

Color:   

Today one of the quintessential hiking trails of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area, in the past this path was used by our ancestors when travelling on foot between Lluc and Sóller, with a cart while collecting charcoal, or by mule when making and transporting ice. Be sure to think about these arduous tasks as you go along – you may find the climb up to the top a bit easier! If you follow the signs, there is no getting lost, yet you will need to be physically prepared for the considerable change in elevation on this itineray. In the first section, ther are several trails that cross one another; however, they are all properly marked by GR (Grand Route) signposting at each crossroads, so there is never any doubt about the trail you need to take.

Etapas

This itinerary begins at the Font Coberta, just next to the Lluc parking area, at an altitude of 475 metres. Your goal is to reach the 1188-metre summit of the Puig d’en Galileu. Thus, you will have to surmount a tough uphill climb that at some point may well leave you out of breath. The Font Coberta marks the start of the old road to Sóller (Camí de Sóller), which today is signposted as GR-221. It is a stone- aid bridle path that runs up through the forest of Cas’Amitger until it reaches the Andratx – Pollença highway (Ma – 10). Here you will cross the highway and continue on the other side, along a wider path. Once past a gateway, you will enter the holm oak forest of the Son Macip public estate, one of the most emblematic estates in the Serra de Tramuntana, where you will see charcoal production floors and small sheds virtually all along the trail. These structures bear witness to the intense charcoal production activity that once inhabited these emblematic woods.
This narrow road ends at the foot of an area known as Ses Voltes d’en Galileu. The name of this zone makes reference to the curves (voltes) in the road, which compensate for the 250-metre change in elevation and the nickname of the man who built it, Antoni Català «Galileu», who in 1692 undertook the task of “making and rebuilding some icehouses on the mountain known as La Mola, located in the Lluc or Scorca area”. At just the point where the curves in the road begin, on the right you will see the first of the icehouse complexes, the Cases de neu de Son Macip. This is considered one of the oldest of these structures, given the documentation dating from 1619, which cites that “they stored snow in Son Massip”. This edifice for snow collection and storage was among the first that fell into disuse. As the building’s inspection of 1786 states, “On the Son Masip Estate which is owned by Mr. Franco Pizá. There may be another in complete ruins and the place is useless...it is... Ruined.» The long string of stone-laid curves begins with a heavy uphill climb. As you go up the mountain, the forest gradually disappears, opening up your view of the striking Torrent de Pareis stream, Es Clot d’Albarca beneath the hills of Puig Roig, and Lluc, with the towering peak of Puig Tomir in the background.
After a half hour of heavy climbing, you will reach the top of Ses Voltes. This is a must-stop to enjoy the landscape around you. Predominant here are extensive fields of Mauritanian grass, over the blue backdrop of the sea. Next, continue your walk along a plateau, and you will come up to the Cases de neu d’en Galileu, which was recently refurbished. The path, the porch, the walls and the stone terraces offer a magnificent example of the infrastructure required for the ice-making and storage activity. The ice- aking process began by shovelling the snow found in the immediate surroundings into the pit inside of the building, through the windows. The snow from farther away was brought to the house using different kinds of baskets and hand-transported platforms known as civeres. Once there was a good level of snow inside of the icehouse, the icehouse keepers would go down into the pit to distribute and compact it. To carry out this task, they would stand in a line and walk in circles, starting at the outer edges of the snow-filled pit, making narrower and narrower turns until they reached the centre, and then working their way back outward to the edges, until the snow became ice. These steps were repeated until the pit was full or until there was no more snow in the area around the icehouse. To complete the process, the snow was then covered with a layer of Mauritanian grass.
With the arrival of the summer, ice was used more frequently for food conservation. The transporters would go up to the icehouses after dark, cut blocks of the ice known as pans de neu, wrap them up with Mauritanian grass to protect them from the elements, and place them on portadores, or carriers. Each mule pulled two carriers, equalling a local measurement known as a somada. The ice was transported at night, to minimise its melting. The ice blocks were far smaller when they reached faraway destinations, such as Palma, Manacor, Felanitx and Artà. Those who are old enough to remember that era say that by the time the wagon reached the city, “it was all water”. The fact that the icehouse keeper’s work survived in Mallorca until the first quarter of the 20th century has enabled the survival of some of the old icehouse work songs.
“Cold water is the most pleasant and natural medicine of all of those kept and dispensed by the pharmacy.” Through these words, written at the end of the 17th century, Dr. Pere Martí extolled the praises of the medicinal use of snow and chilled water. In fact, since ancient times, snow, ice and cold water had been used as a cure for disease: fever – hich in past times was locally known as calentures–, fractures, bruises, sprains, burns, inflammations and other ailments were remedied with the snow. In those days, the storage and sale of the snow was also profitable thanks to its gastronomic use, in the preparation and sale of ice cream. A very typical image in the streets of Palma in the 19th century was that of the small carts that sold the very popular aigo de neu or aigo gelada (similar to snow cones) and horchatas (blended tiger nut drinks). The snow was also an important delicacy on the fine tables of the upper classes.
After resting for a while next to the Cases de neu (icehouse complex), you will return to the trail to head over to another pass, where the landmarks fork off. Here, you will turn to the left to climb up to the top of Puig d’en Galileu. Particularly abundant along this section of the trail is the Jerusalem sage (Phlomis italica). Endemic to Mallorca and Menorca, this shrub grows on prairies and mountainsides, sometimes on sheer cliffs, and prefers sunny areas with nitrified soils, which is why it is often associated with the presence of grassy fields. Its scientific name, Phlomis, comes from the Greek, phlox, which means ‘flame’, thus alluding to the past use of its leaves as wicks for oil lamps. The popular local name estepa blenera also makes reference to its use, as a ble is a group of interlaced strings covered with wax or oil, forming the flammable part of a candle. In the past, the leaves of this plant were used as blens, or again, wicks. The Mediterranean maple and arrival at the summit of Puig d’en Galileu Inhabiting the crags on your right are different species typical of deciduous forests. Often, they are the remains of an era with a cooler climate than the present. This is a good opportunity to appreciate the Mediterranean maple (Acer opalus subsp. granatense). Generally speaking, you will see it nestled high up, amid the cracks in the stone, in the shaded areas of the Serra de Tramuntana. The fact that this is a deciduous tree means that its leaves begin to turn yellow in the autumn, eventually taking on eye-catching reddish tones. In the winter it is more difficult to distinguish this tree from the rocky cliffs around it. Once you have come to the summit, you will see that the Puig d’en Galileu is an incomparable viewpoint overlooking the north-west area of the Serra de Tramuntana. Here you are sure to enjoy the panoramic view of the peaks of Puig de Massanella, the Serra des Teixos, the Puig Major and the Serra de na Rius, as well as the pass known as Coll des Prat. At this point, you will retrace your path back down the mountain. When you reach the place where the landmarks forked off, you will turn to the right until you come to the plateau, where you will once again take the curved trail of Ses Voltes downhill. This time, however, the path is sure to seem shorter than it was on the way up!

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Castell d'Alaró

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:10.600 m (round-trip)
Duración:4 h

Color:   

Alaró castle crowns the top of the Puig d’Alaró. It is one of Mallorca’s three mountain castles, built to defend and protect inhabitants in the surrounding areas. Their strategically elevated location made sure any assailants were detected in time.

Etapas

This itinerary starts by Km 18.150 on the MA-2100 road (Bunyola-Alaró) where a sign marks the beginning of the path you will follow up to the castle. The path is tarmac at first but pay close attention, because the old stone-paved trail leading up to the castle crosses it in various places. You can see the Puig s’Alaró as soon as you walk up the first hill between high estate walls. It is easy to see from here why the castle was completely impregnable. The hill is surrounded by fields of almond trees, but soon enough the path gets steeper and holm-oak trees create a shady and mysterious atmosphere. From this point you can see how the slope turns into a vertical cliff face without vegetation. But no need to worry: you will arrive at the top on the paved, meandering road that crosses the holm-oak wood and runs along the mountain side for some stretches until it reaches the castle through the only pass there is.
The entrance gate is the only way of accessing the castle on foot and it was the first defensive element assailants would encounter. It consists of a wall with a round-headed medieval gate and narrow openings on either side of the gate called loopholes. There are three in total and they are just wide enough to allow defenders to look out and fire against attackers without any risk to themselves. Walking through the gate, keep heading uphill on the paved path until you get to the second gate: the Homenatge tower. People know it as the ‘cold-maker’ because the wind blows and you arrive here sweating from the climb. The left side of the tower was built taking advantage of the crag itself. Above the entrance gate there is a kind of balcony — a parapet — used to monitor the gate and throw stones and other hard objects on any attackers trying to get through. After the tower you step out onto a wide, level area. To your left, a trail takes you to a battlement wall lining the western hillside. Follow the cliff edge to arrive at a third tower with a window that has a direct view of the Verger houses and a loophole on the south side. This tower was used for strategic vigilance.
Alaró castle is one of three hilltop castles on Mallorca. The other two are Santueri (Felanitx) and Castell del Rei (Pollensa). They were built in locations that were difficult to reach, removed from villages and high up to serve as good lookout points. Their purpose was to shelter inhabitants in the surrounding areas in moments of danger. This must have been a setting for some terrible and cruel battles in the past. Muslims sought refuge here during the Conquest of Mallorca. But the most famous episode is the story of Cabrit and Bassa, dating from 1285. Guillem Cabrit and Guillem Bassa defended Alaró castle in the name of King Jaume II of Mallorca against Alfonso of Aragón, whose troops occupied the island. Legend has it that when young King Alfonso’s army attacked the castle, the royal spokesman demanded they surrender in the name of d’Anfós d’Aragó and Mallorca proclaiming his authority as king and heir. But in Catalan anfós meant ‘grouper’ rather than ‘Alfonso’. A translation of the poem El Comte Mal by Guillem Colom i Ferrà, interprets the dialogue that might have taken place as a result, when Guillem Cabrit answers this demand in the name of the defenders, angry and sarcastic: - We do not know any other king than King Jaume. Please excuse me, but on Mallorca the ‘anfós’ is a fish we enjoy with aioli on the side. Alfonso, enraged, asks who dares to insult the king of Aragon. From the castle comes the reply:- Cabrit and Bassa, faithful [to King Jaume]. The king of Aragon exclaims, furious:- Cabrit (young goat in Catalan) is it? Good hunting. Well, then I will roast you as goats and punish you as traitors! Legend confirms that once the castle was conquered, Alfonso made good on his threat and Cabrit and Bassa were burnt alive.
To your right is a terrace where you can still see the remains of a large water reservoir with a small basin in front. Tracing the reservoir parameter is a battlement wall. Leave the tower and continue up towards the guest quarters, to the left and still among the holm oaks. As you ascend you are greeted by an impressive view of the Orient and Solleric valleys as well as the Serra de Tramuntana. Balearic pincushion flower (Scabiosa cretica) grows in the cracks in the wall. After a couple of minutes you arrive at the Mare de Déu del Refugi monastery and the castle guest quarters. From the guest quarters there is a trail leading south that soon splits into two. Take the left trail to three water reservoirs and a pool collecting rainwater. Water was very important in a draught; it was impossible to survive without water, so if the defenders ran out of water it meant surrender or death. If you take the right-hand trail you arrive at the Migjorn tower, or the Presó de Moros. This is a square tower with parapets and loopholes, just like the Homenatge tower. This tower served as defence for the southern side of the castle.
The trail back to Alaró goes back towards the Homenatge tower, same as the way up. Walking back the views change and you are left with a scenery of olive trees and the Pla de Mallorca plain in the background.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí des Correu

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:7.670 m (one way)
Duración:2,5 h

Color:   

The Camí des Correu was a Camí Reial, or Roman highway, that connected Esporles with Banyalbufar. Up until the end of the 19th century it was the only link the inhabitants of Banyalbufar had to Esporles, and from there on to Palma. All provisions and other merchandise had to arrive by cart along this lane. There are still locals who can tell stories of how they used to transport tomàtigues de ramellet (vine tomatoes) to Esporles. They did it so often that the animals found the way themselves. It is an easy route as all you have to do is follow the lane itself, signposted as GR – gran recorregut (long-distance trail).

Etapas

The itinerary starts in Esporles. Take the paved road that leads you from the town hall past the church and to the hill outside the village. The path leads you between high stone walls, built without mortar and shaded by exuberant vegetation that can grow here thanks to the high rainfall in the area. Once you have climbed the first hill you come to a plain with large fields of almond and carob trees to the right and the hill Son Cabaspre (618 m) in the background. A bit further on the trail crosses the road on the Pont de Sa Turbina (bridge), spanning the Esporles, or Sant Pere, torrent and it continues to run parallel with the road and the torrent for a good stretch. The Esporles, or Sant Pere, torrent springs from the Puntals de Planícia and then runs through the Superna valley until it arrives at La Granja and along the entire Esporles village. It then joins the Bunyola torrent to form the Gros torrent, which empties out into the Bay of Palma near Coll d’en Rabassa. There are no streams with a continuous flow on Mallorca; they are all discontinuous with very variable water levels depending on the time of year. This makes rainwater important. Apart from using it to irrigate fields, the Esporles torrent has also worked in the service of two textile industries, the oil mill at La Granja, a flour mill and a couple of paper mills as well. The name of the bridge actually refers to the turbine that used the speed of water to make the looms move.
After crossing the road on the bridge, you will find yourself in a small riverside grove that grows on either side of the torrent. Riverside woodlands are deciduous forests that grow near watercourses. The species that live here need a lot of water to grow, which is why they develop near torrents where the ground is completely soaked at a certain depth. The trees surrounding you are black poplar (Populus nigra), field elm (Ulmus minor) and narrow-leafed ash (Fraxinus angustifolia), and even a species of plane tree (Platanus x hispanica). A majority of these species were introduced by humans and are often found together with torrent vegetation consisting primarily of thorny plants like wild blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius), evergreen rose (Rosa sempervivens) and common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) among others. All year round the area is covered in intermediate periwinkle (Vinca difformis) and its blue-violet flowers. Continue along the side of the road for about a kilometre until you see another sign indicating how much longer to get to Banyalbufar: not quite two hours. Cross the road again, carefully, and enter an olive grove where young pine trees are taking over.
The itinerary ascends in a zigzag through an olive grove — invaded by pines — that belongs to the Ses Mosqueres estate. You are now inside the Banyalbufar municipal area. The Camí des Correu crosses two of the most important estates in the area: Ses Mosqueres first and further on Son Valentí. Enter the Ses Mosqueres woods, a dense holm-oak wood with lots of strawberry trees. It stretches from the Puig de Sa Vinya (438 m) on the left to Sa Potada des Cavall, some metres before the border with Son Valentí. From this point the name changes to the Son Valentí woods. The path gets quite steep here, and this is also the best-preserved stretch. You can see that the stone lines, called ratlletes, stick up a little every few metres and cross the path diagonally. They fill a very important function leading water from the path when it rains and thus preventing damage. An opening without a gate marks the entrance to the Son Valentí woods. A few metres before this opening and right in the middle of the path you can see an indent in a stone that looks a little like a hoof print. Use your imagination! Legend tells us that King Jaume I on his horse left this mark when he rode into battle against the Arabs. What do you think? Did King Jaume I ever make it here? Traces of wood colliers are evident along the entire Camí des Correo. Many paths led from the main road to the charcoal makers’ ranxos (a part, or share of forest assigned to a collier) further inside the woods. Many of the ranxos had names that referred to the owner of the concession, such as the rotlos (charcoal production floors) Sutro and Mutxilla a bit further on, and Puquinso towards the lower part of the Coll des Pi. You will soon arrive at Coll des Pi, which runs from Puig de s’Argenter (498 m) to the right to Puig de sa Barca (582 m) to the left. From here the trail descends towards the border between Son Valentí and Son Sanutges.
The stone trail you follow ends up in a tarmac path and starts to descend steeply between pines and olive trees. This valley you are entering has been inhabited for a very long time. Numerous remains from the Talaiotic Period can be found in the three valleys that encompass Banyalbufar’s municipal area. The landscape here is a result of traces left by Arabs. The grid of terraces and the complex system to hold and distribute groundwater using irrigation canals and water tanks known as ma’jil allowed this land to be cultivated and as such they are an important Muslim legacy. In this kind of climate, with very seasonal rain, the need to store water and use it during times of draught is paramount. Many centuries ago the first farmers learnt how to use slopes to distribute water with the help of gravity. A complex network of irrigation canals was constructed (the most important ones are the Dalt, Baix and Son Bauzà canals) to collect water from the spring called Font de la Vila and lead it to reservoirs. The terraces were then watered using water from the reservoirs, again lead by irrigation channels. This exceptional way of distributing and providing water has made it possible to grow produce that requires irrigation on the terraces of Banyalbufar and in other parts of the Serra, such as vines and tomatoes. The tomato known as tomàtiga de ramellet from Banyalbufar brought prosperity to the inhabitants: the tomato was exported to Barcelona and made the name of the village known outside Mallorca.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Pujada a la mola de s'Esclop

Dificultad:High
Distancia:8.7 km
Duración:5 h

Color:   

The Mola de s’Esclop stands out between the sea and the Puig de Galatzó. To reach the top you will walk through three public estates within the Serra de Tramuntana national area: Son Fortuny, Sa Coma d’en Vidal and Galatzó. The ascent might be a bit difficult, but once you arrive at the top the reward will be twofold: a magnificent view and the ruins of a stone house that tells an interesting story from Mallorca’s past. The route starts by the entrance to the Son Fortuny public estate, just by Km 97 on the Andratx-Pollensa road. Coming from Estellencs the entrance is on the left.

Etapas

The forest trail starts soon as you leave the car, up a steep incline. After about ten minutes you come to a fork in the path. To the left is a trail to Sa Boal de ses Serveres. A boal or boval was a stable where cattle was fed and sheltered. But you veer to the right instead, walking past a water reservoir used to fight forest fires. Continue up the Pinotells mountains on your left. Sometimes you will get a glimpse of the Estellencs coastline with the sea as a backdrop — take the opportunity to catch your breath. A couple of turns later you walk past the remains of a lime kiln where people worked hard to produce quicklime from the calcareous rock in the area. Continue uphill and after another couple of turns you will spot some cypresses telling you that you are near the Sa Coma d’en Vidal estate houses, a public estate since 2002. In front of the houses is a small building with a veranda, inviting you to sit down for a moment and have breakfast.
Walking past a wooden staircase to the left and keeping to the trail, which is now covered in reed, you come to a stone wall made without mortar that marks the border between the Estellencs municipal area and the Sa Coma estate. Jump over the wall and enter the public estate Galatzó where you continue to climb up a trail that you can see to your right as a well-defined path through the pine trees. Continue until you come to an old threshing floor. A bit further on you can spot the ruins of the S’Esclop houses. The houses were used for mountain farming back when these lands were cultivated, with great effort. Seen from the Coll de s’Esclop the flat-topped hill rises impressively before you. Different suggestions as to the origin of the name S’Esclop have been put forward. One theory is that the clue lies in the shape of the mountain, esclop being the Catalan word for a kind of clog. Another theory has been put forward by Gaspar Valero where he suggests that the name Mola de s’Esclop is derived from ‘Mola des Clops’.‘Clops’ are poplars (Populus sp.), trees that are still common near the S’Esclop and Font Quer houses. There may be sparrow hawks or booted eagles (Hieraaetus pennatus) flying overhead, a medium-sized bird of prey that nests here on the mountain cliffs. It feeds on a variety of prey: wood pigeons, doves; small birds such as sparrows, starlings, swallows… and also small mammals, such as mice and rabbits. More common to spot is the Eurasian crag martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris), flying near the edges of the cliffs looking for food and nesting. If you arrive at the top in winter you will be able to see the alpine accentor (Prunella collaris), a bird that is not scared by humans.
From the Coll de S’Esclop you can see a trail that descends towards the Font des Quer to the right. But you keep walking straight towards the Mola de s’Esclop, getting ready for a final push to reach the top. Follow the boundary markers carefully: first you walk in the middle of old terraces and then over rocky ground where there is no marked trail. When you arrive at the top, at 926 metres, the markers take you slightly to the left and you will soon arrive at the geodesic vertex marking where three municipalities meet: Estellencs, Puigpunyent and Calvià. The reward in getting here is twofold: first of all a magnificent, unhindered 360° view, but another 100 metres or so to the left are some lonely ruins with a lot of history… and stories. They are the remains of a small observatory where the astronomer, politician and mathematician Dominique François Aragó from Roussillon lived in 1808. Aragó spent a difficult time here in this hostile environment to measure the latitude of the arch of the meridian between Catalonia and the Balearics. Aragó triangulated between Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera, and finally extended the Paris Meridian to the islands. However, news reached Mallorca towards the end of May about the Peninsular War with France. Aragó was arrested as a French spy, this accusation was mainly based on his strange operations involving both fire and optical instruments on top of a mountain! An armed group of men went up S’Esclop to capture the dangerous spy, but Aragó managed to save himself from execution. As he describes himself in his “Stories of my youth”: Mr. Damià, the boss of the mystic that the Spanish government had placed at my disposal, arrived before they did and had brought clothes that would serve as disguise. As I headed towards Palma, accompanied by the brave sailor, we met the groups sent to capture me. They did not recognise me, because I spoke to them in perfect Mallorca. I strongly encouraged them to continue on their way, as I kept walking towards Palma. In the end he did not manage to escape the island. He agreed to be imprisoned at the Bellver Castle, but more for protection than punishment. Two months later he managed to leave for Cabrera, then Algier.
Descend the top the same way as you came, towards the Penya Blanca. Cross the coll again and the threshing floor, on through the pine grove until you get to the dry stone wall delimiting the Estellencs municipal area. To the left, go back by Sa Coma d’en Vidal but without jumping over the wall. Turn right instead. After some 30 minutes you arrive at a crossroads. Walk towards Estellencs. Almost along the entire walk back you are watched over by the Puig de Galatzó to your right. Mauritanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica) dominates the landscape with some Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis), mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) and fan palms (Chamaerops humilis) here and there. On this stretch of the hike you can see a thorny cushion-shaped shrub that grows in the mountains. It is an endemic species with small, elongated leaves, slightly narrower at the base. They are adapted to life on rocky ground with little soil where they are battered by the wind. This is the mal hivern, or espinalera (Rhamnus bourgeanus). Follow the stone markers where there is no defined path until you arrive at the trail leading up the Puig de Galatzó. Turn left and keep descending until you reach the recreational area Son Fortuny where you finally get a well-deserved rest.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Pujada al puig des Tossals Verds

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:4.52 km
Duración:3.5 h

Color:   

The Puig des Tossals Verds is the third highest peak in the Serra de Tramuntana with its 1,118 m. This is a privileged vantage point where you get one of the best panoramic views of a large part of the mountain range and the Pla de Mallorca flatland. Its north and south slopes stained with vegetation contrast with the surrounding grey and bare mountain sides and are the reason why the adjective ‘verds’ (green) feature in its name. The trail to Coll des Coloms is equipped with markers for the GR-221 (long trail) leading up to the Tossals Verds refuge. The last stretch of road is a steep climb up to the top (1 h) with stone markers to follow along the way. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear.

Etapas

Kilometre marker 33.750 on the MA-10 (Andratx-Pollensa) marks the beginning of this walk, next to the recreational area Font des Noguer. Walk along the left side of the canal channelling water from the Gorg Blau to the Cúber reservoir for about 40 minutes, and then cross over towards four wooden bridges. Ignore those bridges, as well as three cement bridges crossing the canal on the right, until you get to the fourth cement bridge. Use it to cross over and then walk through a wooden gate. At this point you enter a little holm-oak grove. The trail now shows traces of the old stone paving and soon after a stone gate you follow a trail with well-preserved stone paving. Inside the grove the undergrowth consists of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), and you might be greeted by the song of the great tit (Parus major) or the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). You see traces of charcoal production floors and the trail begins to descend. 20 minutes later you arrive at the crossing where the climb up to Puig des Tossals Verds begins. You are now at the Coll des Coloms.
Take the path that trails off right and climb a steep uphill stretch through a dense and dark holm-oak wood. Inside the wood you will find the remains of an old lime kiln, almost completely covered in earth, and pass by a charcoal production floor as well as a collier hut. In 20 minutes a very light-coloured crag appears to your left. It stands out in the landscape and is known locally as the Frare (friar in Catalan) or Pa de Figa (fig bread in Catalan).
As the wood subsides you arrive at the Clot de sa Neu flatland. On the right-hand side of the trail there is an impressive icehouse. It is 20 metres long — one of the biggest ones found in the Serra — and located at approximately 955 metres. It is also known as ‘the snow well of Tossals’, as the builders took advantage of a hollow, or well, in the ground when they made the high stone walls. There are some dry stone walls attached to the icehouse that collected snow that was later thrown into the well, or icehouse, itself.
Your walk continues along a path between rosemary and heather (Erica multiflora). Here and there you can see junipers and pines (Pinus halepensis) shaped by wind and goats. If you look carefully on the most inaccessible crags on the mountain, you will see some specimens of rotaboc (Acer opalus subsp. granatense) and whitebeams (Sorbus aria). The latter can grow into a little tree if conditions are right but here they just look like shrubs. Both species are relegated to shady cracks in the rock and are the remains of a deciduous forest that grew here in the past when the climate was colder. When you come to a little mound you are only 20 minutes from the top. Look carefully around you to follow the trail, as it is not easy to make out and only marked by little cairns. Vegetation becomes scarce and dominated by the Mallorcan sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera subsp. balearica), and some specimens of Balearic St. John’s wort (Hypericum balearicum), taking advantage of the scarce soil in cracks between the stones. Both species are endemic to the Balearic Islands. Looking at the ground you can clearly see traces of rain erosion and fractures in the rock caused by snow and ice.
On top of Tossals Verds (1,118 m) you can admire one of the best 360° views on the island. The Puig Major de Son Torrella, the highest mountain on Mallorca (1,445 m) with military facilities on top, will help you get your bearings. Just in front you have the Morro d’Almallutx, and to the right of it the Puig de ses Vinyes; further to the right, direction northeast, is the Puig de Massanella and then the pointed Puig de n’Ali, a panorama of Alcudia Bay and serving as a backdrop to it all: the Cap the Ferrutx (cape). The Pla de Mallorca (flatland) opens up towards southeast and in the foreground you can see the Alcadena and Alaró mountains, both with vertical, nearly identical sides. If it is a clear day you can make out Palma as well as Cabrera island. Towards the west are the hills that make up a route known in the world of hiking as ‘the three thousands of Mallorca’, based on their respective heights: Sa Rateta (1,113 m), Na Franquesa (1,067 m) and Puig de l’Ofre (1,093 m). A bit further on you can spot the Alfàbia mountains and, in the far background, the Puig des Teix.
Potholes are natural openings in the ground, like massive water drains. The morphology of these cavities varies greatly, but they are nearly always vertical or very inclined, and can reach great depths. Potholes are characteristic of calcareous terrain. They start as cracks that get deeper as the rock dissolves. Some of them, for example the Tossals pothole, are of nivo-karstic origin; this means that they were formed in a geological past by fractures caused by a localised concentration of snow and the later dissolution of the limestone. On the Tossals massif there are a lot of potholes: from 1,000 m and up there are six, even if they are only small. Among them are the Benavenguts pothole, 78 metres deep, and the Tossals pothole, a 40-metre incline that is worth mentioning because of the plants at its opening. A lot of hepatic plants and moss grow here, popularly known as fetgera i verdet.
The Font de Massanella (spring) flows all year round, allowing you to see all the curious species that need these special conditions. During winter and spring you may even be lucky enough to see some summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum subsp. pulchellum) in blossom. New leaves sprout every year and hanging from a slender stem are flawlessly white flowers with a tiny green stain at the end of each of their six petals. This herb appears year after year at the bank of the torrent where there is a layer of damp soil. The rest of the year it stays underground, in shape of a bulb.
Walking back from the Coll des Coloms you can also visit the Font des Prat (spring). Head southeast on the trail that leads to your right down the Tossals mountain. Pass a charcoal production floor on the right and after a little gully further on the path starts descending and makes two very pronounced turns. There is a wooden sign pointing you in the direction of the spring. Pass various charcoal production floors behind and after you have passed a stone pen you arrive at the spring. This detour adds around 20 minutes to your walk. The name ‘Font de Massanella’ is inscribed in cement at the entrance of Font des Prat. The spring is not very deep and the entry is closed by a metal gate. A canal covered in stone slabs starts here: the beginning of the Massanella canal. The canal was finished in 1750 and designed by Jacint Josep Montserrat Fontanet i Llebrés, from Lloret de Vistalegre. He was the foreman at the Massanella estate. This 11 km long engineering marvel led water to the Massanella houses down a 600 metre incline. The water of the spring was channelled underground in 1982 and now provides the village Mancor with water.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí Vell de Lluc a Pollença

Dificultad:Medium
Distancia:17.80 km (one way)
Duración:2 h

Color:   

The old road from Lluc to Pollença is signposted as “Camí Vell de Lluc a Pollença”. This excursion begins at Lluc and will lead you through the old traditional farmsteads Binifaldó, Muntanya, Son Marc, Son Grua and Can Serra, until you reach the valley known as Vall d’en Marc, which sits within the limits of Pollença, one of the richest municipal areas in the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area in terms of nature, culture and landscape. Your itinerary starts at the Lluc Sanctuary. Once you have reached the Binifaldó Environmental Education Centre, simply follow the signs of the GR-221 and you will have no problem finding the trail to Pollença.

Etapas

Starting beneath the porxets, (pilgrims’ cells) of the Lluc Sanctuary, you will come to an arched doorway. Go through it and take the asphalted path alongside the stream, which will be on your left. A few metres ahead, turn off to the left until you come to a football field. Passing by a small wooden bridge that will be on your left, you will continue along the old Roman highway that once connected Lluc with Pollença. Follow this ancient thoroughfare for a while until you reach the Andratx – Pollença highway (Ma-10). Here, turn to the left and continue 120 m, until you come to an asphalted road signposted with the welcome signs to the public estates of Menut and Binifaldó. Just past the signs, take the asphalted road amid holm oaks and rocky formations, reaching the houses of Menut. Leaving the houses behind you on the right, you will continue along the path until you come to the Binifaldó Environmental Education Centre, which you will once again leave behind on the right, as you set out down a wide unpaved trail that runs alongside the dry stone wall that marks the enclosure of the grain fields near the houses. Yet first, you may wish to stop and walk through the itinerary that has been specially adapted for the blind, which runs in the same direction for more or less one kilometre. We invite you to do so, with your eyes open or closed, yet in all cases with all of your senses wide awake. Here you will become aware of the other senses that play a role in the contemplation of nature. In the autumn, you will hear a rustling sound as you tread on the dry leaves shed by the white poplar trees (Populus alba), and in the summer, you will enjoy the cool shade of the Alzina d’en Pere, a holm oak that’s over 500 years old! At different times of the year, you will be accompanied by the songs of different birds: the song thrush (Turdus philomelos), the great tit (Parus major) and the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus). See if you can guess which is which! You can also discover the serrated edges of the leaves of the Rhamnus ludovici-salvatoris and the sticky leaves of the rockrose (Cistus monspeliensis). Be sure to run your hand over the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and then take in its unmistakable scent.
A light uphill climb will bring you to the pass known as Collet de Binifaldó (598 m), where you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bay of Pollença. On a clear day, you might even make out the silhouette of the island of Menorca. You will now go through a gate that separates the public estate of Binifaldó from the private estate of Muntanya, and descend along an old bridle path until you reach the spring, Font de Muntanya. In the past, this was a frequent cooloff point for pilgrims travelling to Lluc. Next to the underground gallery of this spring, a stone bench and table invite you to enjoy a brief rest.
Before setting out again on the trail, you may wish to have a close look at a small plant that tends to grow in rather damp places such as this one: the false daisy (Bellium bellidioides). It is small, and unless you are here in the springtime, you probably will not see it in bloom. You may have to kneel down to appreciate the rounded form of its leaves, which are clustered in a rosette shape at the plant’s base. Also abundant in this area is the bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum). Yet this plant will not go unnoticed, as it can grow to a height of one metre. The leaves, which in the case of ferns are known as fronds, are highly divided. In the past it was believed that this fern flowered, bore fruit and scattered its seeds at midnight on the night of Sant Joan (23 June). Yet this plant was never seen in bloom and it was moreover impossible to collect its seeds. While this fern has been attributed medicinal properties, some say that it must be collected in the area around Lluc to be effective. Nevertheless, this belief, which was noted in the Rondaies mallorquines (Mallorcan Folktales) by Mossen Alcover, has no scientific basis at all, as ferns reproduce via the spores that are found on the undersides of their leaves.
As you enter the holm oak grove, you are sure to be surprised by the almost absolute lack of undergrowth. After a number of curves in the path, you will come to a wide asphalted road that will lead you to the side of the Fondo de Muntanya stream in the valley Vall d’en Marc, where the landscape is overtaken by fig, almond and orange orchards. This valley marks the opening of the Serra de Tramuntana to the sea and separates two major mountain ridges. If you turn to the south, you will see the Puig de Ca de Míner (887 m, the heights peak in the municipal area), the Cuculla de Fartàritx, the Moleta and the Moletó. These reliefs act as virtual buttresses for the towering peak of Puig Tomir. The other mountain ridge, located on the north side of the Vall d’en Marc, accommodates the peaks of Puig de Can Massot, Puig Gros de Ternelles (the second highest summit in the municipal area, with an elevation of 839 m) and Puig de l’Esbaldregat.
Before the Catalan conquest of the island, the land known today as Son Marc, which lends its name to the valley, once housed the Saracen farmstead of Beni-Gigar, the home of the heir Ben-Nassar. He fell in love with Balaixa, the daughter of the neighbouring farmstead of Algatzení, which today is Can Guilló. Yet her parents disapproved of their relationship, and Balaixa became lovesick. In her delirium, she claimed that the flowers of the almond tree of Beni-Gigar were her only cure. Her father was distraught, as there were still several months to go before the almond trees would bloom. Yet Balaixa insisted. Thus, her father decided that if Ben-Nassar brought her a bouquet of almond flowers before the full moon, he would give them his blessings for their wedding. Ben-Nassar, distressed and worried that the almond trees would never blossom before the moon became full, wept beneath the branches of one of the almond trees of Beni-Gigar. Then, upon seeing its white flowers open up, a nightingale sang: The almond tree, in bloom is a wedding veil, and for the damsel, The open sky before her soul. And finally, Balaixa and Ben-Nassar were wed. The town of Pollença has a street named after Balaixa. As this beautiful legend echoes in your mind, you will come to the Pi de Son Grua, a tall pine that stands just where Camí Vell (the old road) crosses the Andratx – Pollença (highway (Ma-10). Continue along a narrow path that runs more or less parallel to the highway, alongside the stream Torrent de Son Marc. Banana trees (Platanus sp.), hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna) and elm-leaved brambles (Rubus ulmifolius) abound in this section of the trail. A bit further ahead, you will cross a pedestrian bridge known as the Pas d’en Barqueta, and from there the road will lead you right into Pollença.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Volta des General

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:4.22 km (one way)
Duración:2 h 30 min

Color:   

A slight descent between mountain and sea will take you from the area surrounding Banyalbufar to Port des Canonge, an old fishermen port and coastal village. These days there is an urban nucleous of holiday homes here and it remains a charming corner of Mallorca that invites you to contemplate the landscape and the island’s northern coastline. The entire route is well marked.

Etapas

Begin this agreeable walk along the sea on a small esplanade located at km 85.2 on the MA-10 road form Andratx to Pollensa. You can park your car here and enjoy an excellent panoramic view of Banyalbufar village and its terraces. The irrigation system in the area is large and complex with ponds and underground springs. Well-looked-after terraces favour infiltration and stops erosion; vegetables and vines are grown here the same way they were hundreds of years ago. Follow the wide dirt path. After a few minutes you will spot a fork in the path veering right, near a modern water tank. You keep to the path, ignoring the right turn. All along the trail you will see traces of the old stone paving, surrounded by a wood of Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis) and holm-oak trees (Quercus ilex), mixed with wild olive trees (Olea europaea var. sylvestris), mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) and some specimens of European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis). After five minutes you arrive at an open metal barrier with a ladder to the left and a few metres further on there is a crossing. Take a right here. The holm oaks become scarce as strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) and heather (Erica multiflora) take over.
A few minutes later you can see an indistinct trail to the right of your path, but you continue to the left. If you look carefully you can imagine old terraces here, traced by old carob trees you can see interspersed here and there in the woods. Birds will accompany you all year round: the Sardinian warbler (Sylvia melanocephala), the Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), the chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), the great tit (Parus major), the firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus)... and in winter there are plenty of robins (Erithacus rubecula) and song thrushes (Turdus philomelos). There is also another species that will not leave your side: the red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). This bird looks and behaves like a parrot and feeds on pine nuts from white pine tree cones. It uses its powerful crossed bill for leverage as it extracts the nuts. Females are green with lightly spotted chest, sides and back; males show a striking, intense red colour. You will hear them sing as they move between trees and if you listen carefully you can even hear how they crush the pine cones with their beaks.
The sea starts making its presence known to the left and to the right you can see a group of pale-coloured crags; these are de Puig de ses Planes. Half an hour’s walk later you will come across an old charcoal production floor (rotlo de sitja in Catalan) and a very peculiar wood collier’s hut, built against the crag. The characteristic ‘hat’ has recently been reconstructed. You can also see the remains of an old stone house. The path is still wide, running along a stone-paved ledge lined with stone gutters. The path ascends lightly and you can see big sections of rock. The crags extend through the entire pine wood and makes it difficult to make out if it is the pine trees supporting the rock, or the other way around. These rocks probably ended up here as a result of rock slides from the Puig de ses Planes, and have created an extraordinary landscape. 40 minutes from the start you will find a very large lime kiln on your right, almost completely dug into the rock itself. From here strawberry trees take over from the pines and the path starts descending. The path becomes a narrow trail and you walk under the Corral Fals overhang. From here there is an excellent view of the Punta de s’Àguila, an embankment showing characteristic layers of strata as it penetrates into the sea. With a bit of luck you will be able to observe the swift flight of the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) among the cliffs.
Keep descending along the trail and you will soon arrive at a turn where a panoramic view opens up over the Punta de Sóller, Na Foradada and the Son Galceran watchtower. The trail leads you to a tarmac path that veers right through the estate Son Bunyola. The estate house will end up in front of you. Keep following the path to the left and after three turns it connects with a dirt trail again. This is a unique walk because of the visual impact of the geological formations you find along the way. To the right of the path you can see an interesting example of vertically distributed strata, for example. It is impossible not to be impressed by the geological powers that must have been involved when horizontal deposits ended up as vertical peaks. From here it is worth slowing down a little and study the path itself. Note that the dirt here is a strong, red colour. It is silicate soil, low in carbonates, that allows this special vegetation to grow: there are still pines here, but the undergrowth is basically composed of narrow-leaf phillyrea (Phillyrea angustifolia) — a bush that looks like a wild olive tree with fruits that also look like tiny olives — groups of heather (Erica arborea) and myrtle (Myrtus communis). As a curiosity, you can find the typical black-berried myrtle here, but also myrtles with white berries. The latter is the result of a genetic modification causing enzyme alterations. The berries of the strawberry tree and the myrtle sirve as food for small birds in autumn. The pine marten (Martes martes) is also very partial to the myrtle berries.
On your left there is a rocky outcrop known as Punta Roja, a clear reference to its color (roja means red). Pine trees touch the sea here, just as they do along other stretches of Mallorcan’s northern coastline. Storms and erosion combined with a loss of soil uproot them, eventually kill them and throw them into the sea. The power of the wind and sea foam shape the vegetation; you can see how myrtles and strawberry trees grow in cushion shapes. Keep walking along the sea and pass an opening on the left with a wooden bar on the right. Pass the remains of bathrooms made of stone and in a few minutes you arrive at a torrent that empties into Son Bunyola beach. The path veers right and ascends up some steps carved into the rock, then it turns left and takes you across a second torrent. This torrent will be full of water some parts of the year, so be careful not to slip. A couple of minutes later you come to a flat area with no vegetation and once you have walked across, you arrive at Port des Canonge. There are steps there taking you to a lookout above the port inlet. From here you can see boat ramps to the right and to the left there is a corner with ramps made of wood, used to get boats out of the water. When you get to the tarmac again the village is in front of you: the oldest houses first, then newer homes further on. From this point — and after you have had a rest — you return the same way you came, back to the starting point.
There is no sand here at the Son Bunyola beach; this is a pebble beach, characteristic of Mallorca’s north coast. Pebbles are worn by erosion, modelled by waves day in and day out. Grinding against each other the become polished and round, any sharp edges disappear until they are perfectly rounded or elliptical, smooth and soft. The power of the waves when storms come in from the north brings up much larger pebbles onto the beaches and depending on the state of the sea the beach can look very different: sometimes covered in large stones and sometimes covered in smaller stones. Among the pebbles are some that are reddish and coarse, rough to the touch. They are ceramic fragments from Buntsandstein, deposits of quartz and red mud. This kind of stone is from the Lower Triassic and very old, approximately 250 million years. They are very interesting as they often contain ichnites (fossilised footprints), probably made by a small saurian called Cheirotherium, ancestor of the dinosaurs. A large slab of stone that shows such prints is on exhibition in the Guillem Colom building at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB). Some generations ago this kind of stone was called ‘file stone’. The nature of the quartz-rich ceramic means it can be used as a whetstone to sharpen knives if you add water. With a bit of luck you can still spot houses with whetstones made of this material.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Itinerari de ses Sínies

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:4.7 km (one way)
Duración:2 h

Color:   

The Galatzó public estate is located in the municipal area of Calvià. It takes up the whole valley made up by the Puig de Galatzó and the surrounding mountains. Magic mountains, if we are to believe the legends: stories of spirits and apparitions, persecutions and executions are told about this land, and a strange magnetism that affects the behaviour of both animals and people. The estate belongs to the municipality since 2006.

Etapas

Take the MA-1032 to get to the estate. It is the road between Capdellà and Galilea. At approximately Km 2 there is a left turn that takes you 600 metres down a dirt track to the estate entrance. The landscape surrounding the estate is dominated by the Puig de Galatzó. With its 1,025 metres it is visible everywhere. This itinerary runs north towards the valley tucked in between the S’Esclop and Puig de Galatzó mountains. To start the walk, stand in front of the possessió (estate) houses and walk towards front of the building on the right. Walk past the porch and you will see the stone-paved trail to take. Orange stones will show you the way all along the walk. The trail crosses a field used for pasture and growing non-irrigated trees. Human activity during the centuries has modelled the landscape of the estate just as much as nature itself. The topography of this first stretch of the itinerary was ideal for traditional non-irrigated crops. On the sides of Galatzó you can see signs of human presence in the form of olive farming terraces, today invaded by pine trees, and charcoal production floors in the woods. To your right is the Sa Madona woods and to the left the Puig des Señor, 281 m high. You get to a crossroads where you take a right. The trail to the left leads to the Sa Cometa spring where there is an underground spring as well as picnic tables where you can eat and rest.
From this point the trail leads into a riverbed known as Na Llaneres. You can see lime kilns and wood collier ranxos on both sides. Wood colliers used wood from the forest to make charcoal that they later sold in the nearby villages as fuel. Ranxo means the plot of forest where they were allowed to use the wood and set up the charcoal production floor (rotlo de sitja). They leased the ranxo from the estate owner. Often the payment would be made in-kind, charcoal paying for the firewood. The rotlo de sitja is a circular, flat construction made of small stones and covered in soil. Pieces of wood were collected over the circle, and then burned. A hut was built nearby for the colliers, a very simple construction of dry stone with a thatched roof and one single opening: the doorway, towards the production site so it could be monitored. The burn would typically take seven to ten days. There are also lime kilns in this area, near the charcoal production floors. All the necessary ingredients for quicklime were here: calcareous stone (limestone) and wood. Being near the Galatzó torrent the water supply was also assured.
The trail continues parallel to the torrent as the terrain becomes rougher. Vegetation has also changed: you have left the woodland and Mauretanian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica) dominates together with fan palms (Chamaerops humilis). Even so, you keep seeing collier ranxos and lime kilns. Considering how both charcoal and lime production had to be set up in areas full of wood and stones it is safe to assume that this used to be a forest. Change here is probably due to overexploitation and forest fires. A bit further on and still on the same path you come across a ranxo that was restored by l’Escola Taller d’Ocupació Galatzó in 2007. This is also a recreational area.
The trail continues to Ses Sínies where there is another area of ethnographic interest: a collier hut, a roter hut, a charcoal production floor and — a bit further on — a well with a drinking trough. Roters were tenant farmers who were assigned sections of land (the rotes) on property owned by someone else. They used the land for a number of years and every year the roter had to pay the owner part of the production, or do work such as clear scrubland and repair terraces. The rotes are usually on poor land, or far from the estate houses. The remains of the dwellings show that the life of a roter must have been very hard indeed. They were constructed of stone with no mortar with only a fireplace as comfort.
Right of the well a sign points the way to the Ses Sínies lookout. The view from there is fantastic. From left to right: Ses Males Roques, Comellar des Lladres, Moleta Rasa, Puig de Galatzó and the Na Burguesa range; and at your feet: the Galatzó valley. Shrubland now dominates the landscape in the form of fan palms (Chamaerops humilis), a native palm tree with small dates that have astringent properties, prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) with sharp leaves and a pale green colour, and wild olive trees (Olea europaea subsp. sylvestris) with their silvery leaves. Vines such as sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera) climb everywhere. Montpelier cistus (Cistus monspeliensis), fragrant rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and heather (Erica arborea) are also abundant.
Once you have enjoyed the view from the lookout, head back to the Ses Sínies well. To the left a signed path takes you to the Ses Sínies boat-shaped (naviforme) settlement dating from the Bronze Age — between 1,700 and 900 BC — built of stone in the shape of an oblong horseshoe, or boat. It was used for living spaces. Only one of the structures is easily identifiable, the rest is covered in vegetation. But experts have still been able to guess that the settlement here was quite large. From here you connect with the two itineraries, also marked, leading to the top of S’Esclop and the summit of Galatzó, a detour to the GR-221 (long route). The Puig de Galatzó and the Mola de s’Esclop are the first great southern peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana. Both serve as habitat for numerous native plants, such as Lotus tetraphyllus and Rhamnus bourgeanus..

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Les fonts Ufanes

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:2.9 km (circular itinerary)
Duración:45 min
Recomendaciones:-

Color:   

The Gabellí Petit estate, close to the Sant Miquel hermitage in Campanet, offers beautiful scenery and a pleasant walk any time of the year. It is also the scene of a very surprising hydrogeological phenomenon: the Fonts Ufanes. This is the reason why the 50.2 hectares of the public estate and part of the adjoining private land became a protected natural space in 2001 in the Natural Monument category. In order to protect this unique natural environment the Environmental Council of the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands bought the estate in 2005. The Gabellí Petit public estate can be visited all year round from 10 am to 5 pm. Water flows freely over many parts of the trail when the springs appear, so suitable and waterproof shoes are a must.

Etapas

The entrance of the Gabellí Petit estate is right next to the old hermitage Sant Miquel, located less than a kilometre from Campanet village. The itinerary runs along the Sant Miquel torrent and between fields. To the left you can admire the estate houses Gabellí Gran and Gabellí Petit, from where both estates were managed. The trail forks after 20 metres and both branches will take you to the springs, but the path on the right is flatter. After another 20 minutes you come to a bridge over the Teló torrent. Once you have arrived at a sandstone portal, the holm-oak wood begins. This is a dark and damp wood with lush vegetation; it takes you to a fairytale world full of magic and little treasures waiting to be found depending on the seasons. Follow the indicated path to make sure you do not disturb any of the inhabitants. Holm oaks (Quercus ilex) thrive here together with an undergrowth of mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), myrtle (Myrtus communis), Mediterranean buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) and blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius). Here and there, branches are clad in sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera) spreading its climbing, thorny vines and the pretty Balearic clematis (Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica). In spring the delicate flowers of the Balearic sowbread (Cyclamen balearicum) raise their heads among the fallen leaves. Near the water channels the wood becomes richer and the holm oaks mix with trees normally found near running water, such as field elm (Ulmus minor) and narrow-leafed ash (Fraxinus angustifolia). Inside this luxurious, dense foliage an abundance of small birds feel right at home. The blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) will definitely rewards you with its song and tac-tac noise and there will probably be a group of firecrests (Regulus ignicapilla) nearby to delight with their high, delicate song and acrobatic moves as they catch tiny insects off the holm oak leaves. In the undergrowth, the Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) is king and it is impossible to find its ball-shaped nest lined with moss and lichen, a masterly camouflage. The chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) sings everywhere and is always grazing the ground looking for seeds, insects, acorn pieces… If you listen carefully you can hear someone else disturbing the ground foliage… the mystery is solved when you hear the warning call of a surprised common blackbird (Turdus merula).
The trail continues without branching off and leads you to the estate’s old cattle shelters. They have been restored into an interpretation centre. Inside the centre is a room for audiovisual presentations, a room for temporary exhibitions and public bathrooms adapted to people with reduced mobility. Leaving the interpretation centre there is a sign on the right indicating two points of interest: a talaiot that indicates ancient human settlement on these islands, and the Biniatró torrent. Three large slabs form the front wall, which is all that remains of the old talaiot. The rest of the stones are a shapeless pile. You can only imagine the size of it, but it will have been rather big. You can see that those who built it worked with very large stones that were difficult to move. If you continue on this path for a couple of minutes you will arrive at the Biniatró torrent, collecting water from the nearest Serra de Tramuntana peaks as it marks the border between the municipalities of Campanet, Escorca and Selva: Sa Carrasca (477 m), the Pas d’en Bisquerra range and the Puig de Ca de Son Monjo (271 m).
If you continue on the path to the left, you will rapidly reach one of the itinerary’s most spectacular points: this is where the Fonts Ufanes flow when they appear. But what causes this spectacular phenomenon? The hydrogeological basin feeding the springs is 46 square kilometres and consists of calcareous rock that is very permeable in the upper part and impermeable towards the lower part. In the southern part of this basin there is a fault, or a fracture, running from NE to SO, which is also marks the limit between the permeable and impermeable rock. When it rains, water filters down until it reaches the ground water level of the aquifer and the pores, cracks and caves in the rock are filled with water. As the lower part of the aquifer is surrounded by impermeable material, the water is stored and cannot seep out. After abundant rains and once it has collected water from the entire basin, the aquifer is so full that it reaches a point when there is no more room and the water has to escape. This is when it starts streaming out, welling up from openings in the ground. Geological cross section showing how the Fonts Ufanes work. The Government of the Balearic Islands and the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) The openings are located on a line along the lowest point of the terrain, where the fracture is. The main openings are Ufana Grossa and Ufana Petita. When it rains a lot the water flow is quite plentiful and the water finds other cracks and openings where it can come out and runs all over the holm-oak wood. Once the aquifer has emptied itself, the water level descends to a level underneath the openings and the springs stop flowing until next time it rains.
The water from the Fonts Ufanes runs turbulently through the Teló torrent and near the Sant Miquel hermitage it joins the Biniatró torrent and other torrents that drain the area; the become the torrent by the same name (Sant Miquel). From this point, it runs towards the Pla de Sa Pobla (flatland) through farmland and fills the aquifers of the hydrological basin here until it reaches the S’Albufera natural park. Vegetation along the Sant Miquel torrent holds the water flow, which favours infiltration into the aquifers and stops erosion and loss of soil. When it arrives to Albufera it joins the Muro and Sa Siurana torrents. Part of the water runs into the sea through the main canals, while the rest is distributed through secondary channels to fill the wetland. That water also runs into the sea, but does so slowly, allowing all the biological cycles sustained by the wetland to be maintained. The water that filters into the aquifers fills wells and create upwellings known as ullals that also help increase the water level in the park. The Teló torrent, as it exits the Gabellí estate (Photo: Esperança Perelló)
Follow the trail and soon you leave the holm-oak wood. From here on it descends lightly until it leaves the estate. To the right are houses and land that pertained to the Gabellí Gran. These days it is used for farming and grazing. The flat lands of the Gabellí Petit, further from the holm-oak wood, are used to grow carob. The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is a characteristic Mallorcan non-irrigated crop that grows on poor soil and does not need much care. It has been grown here since ancient times and it is difficult to determine its origin. Carob wood has traditionally been used as fuel. Its fruit, the carob bean, was used as animal feed. Today it is used as a substitute for cacao beans to make chocolate. The seed played a role in human alimentation during the Spanish Civil War and the post-war period when it was used to make coffee. These days the seed is used to make carob seed flour, used as a thickening agent for ice-cream, soup, sauces and soft-drinks. Phytates are also extracted from the seeds, compounds said to have therapeutic properties providing dietary elements, amino acids and vitamins A and B. Eating phytates can reduce the risk for kidney stones. The trail joins the branch you used to get there, so you take the same way back to the estate.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Camí de cala Figuera

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:944 m
Duración:30 min

Color:   

This itinerary in Cala Figuera is very easy. This time what we are aiming for is not a long walk, but to discover all the living things found on a beach day along the Tramontana coast. This place is selected as a sample, but many of the things we mention here can also be found in other coastal areas along the Tramontana range. Cala Figuera is located in the municipality of Pollensa, almost at the northernmost point of the range. To get here you take the PM-221 road from Puerto Pollensa to the Formentor cape. Just before the tunnel, at km 12.7, you will see a signpost that marks the beginning of the trail.

Etapas

You begin walking through a pine wood. As you descend towards the sea vegetation changes, with Mauritian grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica) and some fan palms (Chamaerops humilis) growing on the cliff sides to your right and to your left. The interesting thing here is to see how these plants manage to survive right next to the sea in such adverse conditions. They are plants that need to cope with a lack of light in winter and strong sunlight in summer, combined with the constant pounding of the sea. Random genetic changes (mutations) cause morphological, physiological and biochemical change, or improvements to reproductive strategy, and this has made them stronger and more resistant, allowing them to survive in such hostile surroundings The sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum), for example, survives thanks to thick, succulent leaves that can store more water. The extra thickness and the round shape of the leaves make the surface of the plant less exposed to air, so it loses less water. It can even blossom, in spite of the high concentration of salt in the soil. Another example of vegetation you find along the trail is sea lavender (Limonium spp.). Sea lavender grows in a cushion shape and keeps falling leaves inside, producing its own substratum. When the leaves decompose they give the plant the organic humus it needs. To keep the salt concentration at a level that is not toxic to the plant its leaves get rid of excess by excretion. Evolution has given the socarrells (Launaea cervicornis) of the dandelion family a curious way of reproducing, using wind to disperse their seeds. This is an indigenous plant, thorny and again cushion shaped, with seeds that are covered in little feathers called vilans. They help the seeds ride on the wind and disperse easily. This way there is a good chance they will find a crack somewhere with a little bit of soil, allowing them to put down roots. This species presents another benefit granted by evolution: a reduction in the size of leaves, avoiding loss of water.
Marine birds have also adapted to the extreme conditions of this environment. The webbing between their toes makes them able to swim and move easily in water. They can begin to fly as soon as they leave the water thanks to the waterproof feathers covering their bodies. Many of them have glands on their heads, near the eyes, that remove salt excess from water and food. This is an adaptation they share with sea turtles. Seagulls are the best-known marine birds. The one you often see in large groups is the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). Slightly smaller and with a red bill is Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii). It is listed as ‘of special interest’ in the national catalogue of threatened species. Unlike the former gull it is not very sociable, preferring to keep to itself, or in a couple. They favour rocky coastlines and small inlets. Another coastal bird visiting islets and cliffs is the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). It is easy to recognise adults with their entirely black plumage; juveniles have greyish feathers and a white chest. They get a very characteristic crest on their heads during breeding season. Another characteristic of these birds is that their feathers are not waterproof, which means that they have to dry their wings in the sun after fishing. You might be able to see the Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) from the edge. This seabird is native to the Balearic Islands and can normally be found in areas with shallow water on the continental shelf where it feeds on shoals of pelagic fish. You can see it skimming the water, almost always in large flocks.
The trail comes out onto a small plateau with a view of the water. A couple of steps separate you from the inlet with its rounded edges. To your right is the elevation Puig Fumat and to the left the Morro de Catalunya. Both these mountainsides have been granted maximum protection status within the Serra de Tramuntana natural area, and are exclusion zones. This means that specific conservation measures are required here to protect fragile plants or animals that are either threatened or representative for the area. Once you are next to the sea, walk towards the slabs on your left. Here you can see how these rocks form an ideal environment for living organisms to establish and develop, even if this was not the first impression. There is a solid substratum here they can hold on to, plenty of light and a lot of oxygen. The only inconvenience is the beating of the waves. If you look at how the waves roll in towards the cliffs you can distinguish two areas: one further from the sea where splatter from waves breaking can reach, and one that is nearly permanently covered by water. These areas are called the supralittoral (splash) and mediolittoral zones, respectively. Organisms that live in these zones have adapted to withstand the force of the waves without being carried out to sea, and to survive during times when they are out of the water. Periwinkles (Littorina sp.), for example, form small groups in cracks or small cavities in the rock. These molluscs secrete a mucilaginous substance with the same effect as very strong glue, allowing them to stick to the rock. This is their way of resisting the impact of the waves and avoiding desiccation. Another example is the limpet family (Patella sp.) with their hard, pyramid-shaped but flat shells and sharp edges. Every individual finds a dent in the rock where it fits perfectly. They can displace themselves short distances to feed on the algae cover growing around them and have a strong hold on the rocky surface thanks to a muscular foot that acts like a suction cup. There are also animals that find food in these areas, but move into the submerged zone when conditions are unfavourable. For example rock lice (Ligia italica) and the marbled rock crab (Pachygrapsus marmoratus). Remember that it is not allowed to collect seashells, limpets or crabs (Decree 69/1999, dated June 4th, regulating recreation and sport fishing in the inland waters of the Balearic archipelago. BOCAIB no. 80). Other species are soft and elastic, oscillating back and forth, rolling with the waves without being torn from the rocks. Examples are many species of algae, such as the sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and the brown alga Fucus virsoides. Conversely, lichen growing on rocks sprayed by the waves becomes very well attached to the substratum and forms a crust. The horizontal, black stripe that you see on many of the cliffs is a kind of tar lichen — Verrucaria adriatica — that clings on so tightly to the rock that it cannot be removed without destroying it.
Cala Figuera is included in the Network Nature 2000 as a habitat of community interest (LIC). The Network Nature 2000 is a set of protected areas created by Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC dated May 21st 1992 on the conservation of European biodiversity. It consists of areas that provide natural habitats for flora and fauna considered to be of community interest. The marine LIC Cala Figuera is included because of the presence of posidonia meadows, also known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed (Posidonia oceanica) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The Directive has established posidonia meadows as a priority habitat. Posidonia creates one of the most important Mediterranean ecosystems; its importance is twofold: on the one hand it is the main primary producer, and on the other it creates one of the richest and most diverse habitats, providing shelter and food for many other species. This is why conserving these meadows is so important. Bottlenose dolphins are frequent visitors to these coasts. It is probably the most familiar of the small cetaceans because of its coastal habits, but this is also why they suffer a greater impact from human activity in the area.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Volta al puig des Tossals Verds

Dificultad:high
Distancia:10,5 Km
Duración:4 h
Recomendaciones:For this hike, it is important to be in good physical condition, wear the appropriate footwear – and warm clothes during the winter months – and bring along plenty of water

Color:   

This itinerary has everything you need to enjoy the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana Nature Area: an indisputably magnificent landscape, the marks left behind by those who worked in these mountains in the past, ecological diversity, the sweet roar of the water as it flows through the Torrent des Prat stream... The result? A place in the wild where you can still listen to the flight and the song of the birds. For this hike, it is important to be in good physical condition, wear the appropriate footwear and warm clothes during the winter months and bring along plenty of water. Be sure to follow the stone landmarks at all times until you reach Es Tossals, and then keep to the markings of the GR-221 on the way back.

Etapas

The itinerary begins in the recreational area of the Font des Noguer spring, which is located at approximately kilometre 33.8 of the Andratx–Pollença highway (Ma-10). On the right side of the trail, you will see a wooden ladder, which you will go over carefully. Some fifty metres later, the narrow path runs up to a dry tone wall, where you need to veer to the left, heading uphill as the path makes a number of zigzags. When you go up through the Coma des Ases and contemplate the blue-green waters of the reservoir from above, it is hard to imagine that the land around you was once covered with grain fields. The Cúber estate existed even before Saracens came to Mallorca. In fact, the name of this estate, which was originally written Qulber, dates back before the Arab rule, unlike the neighbouring estates of Almallutx (Almelug), Binimorat (Benimoratgi) and L’Ofre (Alofra). Following the conquest of Mallorca by King Jaume I, the king set aside the land of the Muntanyes or mountain area, for himself, which he distributed among the participants of his conquest. This land is described in the corresponding Llibre del repartiment (“Book of Distribution”), as having an extension of fifteen jovades (a jovada was equivalent to approximately 11.36 hectares). Until the early 20th century, Cúber was primarily an agricultural estate and a sprawling sheep-herding farmstead. The agricultural activity was conducted in the depths of the valley, which were the most appropriate for pastures and grain cultivation. When the valley of Cúber was flooded in 1972, the estate’s houses, gardens and sown fields were all destroyed, thus putting an end to all agricultural activity. In 1989, the property was assigned to the Balearic Islands Government’s, which has been in charge of its management and administration ever since. Palma’s municipal water and sewage company, EMAYA, which depends on the City Council, is responsible for the management and maintenance of the reservoir and the channels that the supply the urban areas with water.
When the narrow path reaches the ridge of the mountain, you will see a small gateway in a dry stone wall, where you will cross through. Before you do, however, this is the ideal place to stop and take in the breathtaking landscape of the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana. Next, follow the landmarks as you head downward through the Coma des Ases. You will soon come to a small pass that is highly exposed to the abrasions of the wind, with an excellent example of the typical plant life of Mallorca’s high mountain climate. Here, the shrub locally known as the aritja baleàrica (Smilax aspera subsp. balearica) takes on the shape of a pincushion, with very small leaves, and sometimes with no leaves at all. Also predominant in this area are vast colonies of Mauritanian grass. Through the years, this plant community has become a preferred pasture food for the sheep, as it burns and re-sprouts easily. Further ahead, you will see a mosaic of Mauritanian grass with the remains of holm oak groves over a karst landscape, along with some nice specimens of prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus). Shortly before you reach the Llis pass, you may wish to stop to look at the local box tree (Buxus balearica). This is a surviving member of a plant species that abounded here in the past. Currently listed in the Balearic Catalogue of Endangered Species and Special Protection, this tree can be identified by its shiny oval leaves, which, pale green in colour due to the effects of the wind, take on reddish tones in the summer. The hard, dense wood of this tree was once highly valued for its use in making spoons and even fine furniture.
Continue along the path until you reach the Llis pass. The term llis means smooth, indicating the nature of this pass, which is not excessively difficult. Moreover, a cable has been installed here to help you on the climb. It is said that from here on the eve of Sant Joan (23 June), the lights of the witches can be seen suspended from a gold-woven string that extends from the peak of Puig de s’Alcadena to Puig d’Alaró. The path will become rockier, with slight uphill and downhill sections, as you reach the Tossals Verds olive grove, a solid example of the fine balance between nature and human activity. You will soon come to a crossroads in front of a crag. Here, turn right and continue alongside a wooden handrail until you reach the Tossals Verds Refuge. Today, the name Tossals refers to the estate, the mountain summit and the estate houses. The word tossal is defined as an “elevated area of land that is not particularly high or steep, located on a plain or isolated from other mountains”. The adjective verds can be attributed to the area’s verdant landscape, thanks to the abundant Mauritanian grass, which has been widely used for sheepherding through the ages.
The Tossals Verds Refuge, which is managed by the Consell de Mallorca, invites you to take a break. Once you have recovered, follow the signs of the GR-221 towards the spring, Font des Noguer. On the left-hand side of the refuge, you will see the stone-paved path that leads up to an open area, where the old houses, or Cases Velles des Tossals, are located. Yet before you get there, you will pass by a round charcoal production floor (rotlo de sitja), where charcoal was once made, and a small shack covered with Mauritanian grass (A. mauritanica), which housed the wood collier and his family. These stone constructions remind us that not long ago, the charcoal industry was extremely important for most of the estates in the Serra de Tramuntana. For this activity, wood colliers preferred holm oak forests, as the holm oak provided high quality wood for charcoal. It is for this reason that you will see most of the charcoal production floors on slopes amid holm oak groves.
You will now leave the Tossals area behind, as you enter the dense holm oak forest of the Coma des Prat Public estate. Here, you will need to cross the bed of the stream, Torrent des Prat, carefully stepping from stone to stone, so as not to fall into the water. This stream is an occasional drinking spot for the kinglet (Regulus ignicapilla), a round and squatty bird with a small orange or yellow crest and green coloured wings with pale spots. Harder to see though easy to hear is the boisterous song of the winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes). Making use of a ball of moss, as well as spider webs and small feathers, this small bird often builds its nest in caves and holes; hence its scientific name, troglodyte, meaning “cave dweller”. You will soon cross over the stream again, this time via a wooden bridge. Next, head uphill until you reach a crossroads. If you wish, you can take a momentary detour from your trail to visit the Font des Prat de Massanella, an ever-flowing spring with a gallery that connects with the Canaleta de Massanella water channel.
When you return to the trail, you will see a sign indicating the way to the Coll dels Coloms pass. Here, you may take a detour to visit the summit Puig des Tossals Verds (1120 m). However, your proposed itinerary will take you to a cement channel, an example of hydraulic engineering that transfers water from the Gorg Blau lake to Cúber. Once again, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of the reservoir and the peaks of Puig Major, Puig de ses Vinyes and Morro d’Almallutx. At this point, you are not far from the end of the itinerary. If you are here in the springtime, the intense bright yellow of the spiny broom (Calicotome spinosa) will accompany you on the way back. When you see a thirty-year-old black pine (Pinus nigra) reforestation, you will know that you are close to your starting point. Before you get to the Font des Noguer spring, you will not want to miss the view of the solitary holm oak that sits overlooking the mountains.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Menut public estate

The public estate of Menut, Mountain of Public Utility, was acquired by the State and was transferred later to the Autonomous Community from the Balearic Islands (CAIB). It is a matter of the first public estate of the CAIB, stated in year 1927, together with the public estate of Binifaldó. The estate has, moreover, the forest nursery of Menut, used for making repopulations with autochthonous saplings, since the forties. It has been declared Shelter of Hunting, therefore hunting is prohibited. Area: 358 hectares. Situation: it is found placed in the town of Escorca, in the central sector of the Serra de Tramuntana, in the valley of Lluc. How to get there: the main access to the estate is the road Ma-10, from Lluc to Pollença, and the stretch paved from the path of Menut until the houses of Binifaldó and the hill from Pedregaret. Coordinates: 39.829104, 2.898331.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Planicia public estate

The estate of Plain was acquired by the Ministry of Environment of the Government of the Balearic Islands in the month of Februaryin 2009. The possession of Plain has one antique considerable, since the houses turn up quoted in the 14th century. It stands out for the nest building of the pilgrim hawk and the shod eagle. The fountains that pour out in the posessió are also numerous. The more named one is Sa Menta, one of the most important of the term of Banyalbufar. The forest of Planícia is one of the oak wood where a major concentration of rolls of silo and shacks of coal merchant is found. People speak about more than 150 rolls, with its shacks and several ovens of bread. It is an estate of special botanical interest, with a wealth of endemisms and with a great number of reduced distribution species. Talking about the fauna it highlights the presence of the ferreret, endemic of the island of Mallorca. Area: 442 hectares. Situation: The possession of Planícia is placed in the town of Banyalbufar. Good part of the slope occupies northwest of la Mola of Planícia, since it spreads from the peak of this important elevation of 933 meters until the bank of sea. How to get there: the entry of the estate is in the kilometric point 90.2 of the road from Pollença to Andratx (Ma-10). Coordinates: 39.670728, 2.49424.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Cúber public estate

The public estate of Cúber is considered one of the most valuable spaces of the Balearic Islands, highlighting the reservoir of the same name in its central zone. It was acquired by the Government of the Balearic Islands in 1989 and it is at present also a Mountain of Public Utility. In 2001 Cúber it was declared Shelter of Hunting, for what is prohibited any modality of hunting. Area: 362,68 hectares, in which have to be added the 59,30 it has occupied for the reservoir of Cúber, property of the Town Council of Palma. Situation: the public estate of Cúber is located in the southwestern extreme of the town of Escorca, in the north sector of the Serra of Tramuntana. How to get there: the road Ma-10 Pollença-Andratx crosses the estate for its northeastern extreme, which allows the access rolled in the public estate from Lluc and from Sóller. Between kilometers 33 and 34 the two main accesses to the users of the estate are found: the first in the recreational area of sa Font des Noguer and Camí de la Canal, and the other one, in the parking lot of the reservoir, where people access on the way towards the shelter. Coordinates: 39.784664, 2.789497.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Binifaldó public estate

This is the first public estate in the autonomous community, declared in 1927, together with Menut public estate. The property is declared a hunting lodge, so any form of hunting is prohibited. Area: 377.06 hectares. Location: is located in the town of Escorca the central sector of the Tramuntana mountains, in the valley of Lluc, in the Paratge Natural de la Seerra de Tramuntana. How to get there: The main access to the property is by the way from Valldemossa to Son Gallard. Coordinates: 39.829104, 2.898331.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Son Moragues public estate

Area: 579.96 hectares. Location: it is located in the western sector of the massif of the Yew, in the town of Valldemossa, within the natural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana. Within its boundaries are the mount of Caragolí, mount of Boixos and mount Gros, all of them are 900 metres. How to get there: The main access to the property is by way of Valldemossa, Son Gallard. Coordinates: 39.726993, 2.634659.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Mortitx public estate

The public estate of Mortitx was declared Mountain of Public Utility in the year 1983, whem its management remained in hands of the Government of the Balearic Islands. In those moments, the purchase of estates on the part of the Administration was set in a strategy of enlargement of the public estates. The estate is declared Shelter of Hunting, for this reason hunting is prohibited. Area: 719,27 hectares. Situation: the public estate of Mortitx is in the more oriental coastal extreme of the town of Escorca. How to get there: the public estate is accessed by the road Ma-10 from Lluc to Pollença, 10.3 km. Coordinates: 39.887085, 2.902451.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Sa Coma des Prat public estate

Public estate Sa Coma Es Prat was acquired by the Government of the Balearic Islands in 1989. Mount has been declared a public utility and hunting lodge, so it is not allowed any hunting modality. Area: 189.76 hectares. Location: it is located in the center of town Escorca within the northern sector of the Natural Sierra de Tramuntana. How to get there: the estate has no public road access. You can reach it from the public estate of Cuber, from Tossals Verds public estate or from the public estate of Sa Mola de Son Massip. Coordinates: 39.792182, 2.82486.

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Míner Gran public estate

The public estate of Míner Gran was transferred from the State to the Autonomous Community from the Balearic Islands in the year 1984, through the Royal Decree 1678/1984, of 1 August, of cession of functions and services of the State to the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands on the subject of conservation of the nature. A year before it was declared Mountain of Public Utility. The estate since year 2001 is declared Shelter of Hunting, for what is prohibited any modality of hunting. Area: 536,31 hectares. Situation: it is located in the most oriental extreme of the town of Escorca, with a small part in the towns of Pollença and Campanet. How to get there: Coordinates: 39.83095,2.926826

PARATGE NATURAL DE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA

Ses Figueroles public estate

The public estate of Ses Figueroles was acquired by the Ministry of Environment of the Government of the Balearic Islands in year 1997, with the objective of acquiring terrains to dedicate them to the conservation of the ferreret and from its habitat. At present it is also a Mountain of Public Utility. From 2001 any hunting modality is allowed, because it was declared Shelter of Hunting. Area: 272,58 hectares. Situation: the public estate of Ses Figueroles is located in the extreme oriental north of the town of Selva, with a small portion of terrain in Escorca, in the north sector of Serra of Tramuntana. How to get there: The public estate does not have rolled access. Walking can be reached from Alcanella linking of public estates of Menut, Binifaldó and Míner Gran. Coordinates: 39.807217,2.905884.

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