From Palma to Sóller

 

 

Palma is full of surprises… One of them being the vintage train, which has been taking passengers between the capital and Sóller since 1912. It only takes an hour to reach the village, famous for its orange orchards, and oh, it’s such a lovely journey there too: valleys, olive tree fields, countryside and no less than 13 tunnels going right through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. The wagons, with their varnished wooden interiors, really make you feel like you have stepped in another era yet… most passengers prefer to stay on the outside balconies at the end of each coach, enjoying the warm breeze going through their hair, camera in hand.

Arriving in Sóller is quite moving. Miró, as a child, spent his summers here, his mother and grandparents being from the island. This is where he started drawing too… Talk about a source of inspiration! The station even has a mini-museum featuring an impressive collection of his work.

If you can, come on a Saturday morning to enjoy the market atmosphere. Skip the main plaça cafés, though, too touristy and wander through the picturesque streets around. At #34 of Caller de San Bartomeu, you will find Es Canto, a little shop filled with local products. Have a look, there is the most charming courtyard at the back with a few tables and a vibrant bougainvillea. The menu us rather limited but the coca trampio (the local version of pizza – thin crust, super tasty roasted vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil) with a glass of orange juice pressed right in front of you is more than enough to achieve happiness. For dessert, go straight to Sa Fábrica de Gelats: their lemon sorbet is simply divine.

Sóller, like many towns along the coast is in two parts: one along the sea, the other up the hill. An idea dating back to when pirate would regularly pillage whatever was in sight : those living higher could warn the fishermen in time. To reach the harbour, you can walk 2km… or jump on the tram – yes, it’s a vintage one too! It used to transport passengers and shipments alike. Oranges one way, fish the other…

The tram slaloms between houses for a while then goes along orange orchards – you can even touch the leaves as it passes them. Then, suddenly, the beach, along it rides happily a few minutes until stopping at Port de Sóller. It’s time to enjoy the crystal clear water, white sand and summer vibes. If you’re coming with kids, you cannot nor rent one of the Swan or car shaped paddleboats: they come with a slide!

After soaking in as much sunshine as you can, simply jump on the tram back, right along the beach. A decadent, luxurious feeling… If you still have a little time before the train to Palma, stop by the Can Prunera museum, a real Art Nouveau masterpiece – exquisite furniture, refined ceilings, spiral staircase and exceptional collection of floor tiles. Or marvel at the cemetery, right above the village, planted with palmtrees and tropical plants, a little paradise on earth. From May to September, you may even stumble on a fiesta. If you glimpse women in traditional clothes, go their way: you will probably get a chance to see Mallorquin dancing.

Pure escapism in less than 24 hours.

 

 

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