With mostly mild days and cool evenings, the winter climate in Mallorca is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Serra de Tramuntana which, at 90km long, forms the backbone of Mallorca and stretches from Andratx in the south-west to the Cap de Formentor in the north, is an ideal area to enjoy cycling, horseriding, climbing and walking. The mountains, with their attractive stone-built fincas, village townhouses and majestic country mansions, are criss-crossed with well-signed hiking trails and paths. The mountain roads are favoured turf for cyclists who base themselves in the north of the island and use them to train while avoiding the cold northern European winters.
There are several local clubs including the Mallorca Hiking Club for those who enjoy guided walks. One of the best walks on a fine autumn or winter day is to follow one (or more) of the eight stages of the dry-stone route (GR221)—otherwise known as the ‘ruta de pedra en sec’ which runs from Andratx to Pollensa. These structures, as well as the dry stone terraces built during the Arab occupation of the island, dominate the rural landscape. Set among them are some of the island’s finest country estates as well as important sites such as the Lluc monastery (where you can stay overnight in a refugio, or mountain refuge—book well in advance). Local guide Valerie Crespi-Green has written a useful book of walks which finish at typical Mallorcan restaurants—see Walking and Eating in Mallorca for a recommendation around Lluc.
The island’s refugios come in all shapes and sizes. Looked after by the local government, they are big and small, some have shared bedrooms, others are so basic that they have no beds (this includes most of the mountain ones); the cost is usually about 14 euros a night. They are the busiest in autumn and spring when the walking season is in full height.
If the temptation is strong to spend a night in a refuge but without wishing to tackle the inclines of the Tramuntana, another option would be to walk up the Puig de Maria outside Pollensa and stay in the Santuari at the top—it only takes about an hour to walk up. Another route to tackle would be the Coll Baix near Alcudia which takes you down to a small cala otherwise only reachable by boat.
One of the prettiest walks in this area is to the ruins of the Castell del Rei, seven km north of Pollensa. Founded by the Moors, this was the last fortress to surrender to Pedro of Aragon and was abandoned in 1715. It is set in a private estate which means you need to apply to the Ayuntamiento (town hall) in Pollensa for permission before setting out. Another walk would be to the Finca Son Real in Santa Margalida. Bought by the Government in 2002, this is an example of a typical traditional Mallorcan house; today there is also an archaeological museum. There are plenty of well signposted walks from here for all abilities and ages and up to eight people can stay overnight in the refugio. To enjoy further stunning coastal views, a further goal would be to walk to the 17th century hermitage at La Victoria which enjoys a ravishing panorama of the bay of Alcudia.
For something more challenging, there is the Puig Tomir which at 1,103m is a steep ascent with steep precipice sand cliffs. Along the way, you can see the remains of the traditional snowhouses (where snow was collected to make ice) as well as wildlife and spectacular views. Finally, Nordic Walking is an emerging sport on the island and consists of walking with specially designed poles. Mallorca has the first Nordic walking park in Spain created in Alcudia which offers different itineraries with three levels of difficulty.
All that exercise is an excellent excuse to enjoy a fine meal in one of the many local restaurants that are open around the north of the island throughout the autumn and winter. They include Club de Golf Alcanada near Alcudia, Il Giardino in Pollensa, Clivia in Pollens, La Fonda in Pollensa, Celler La Parra in Pollensa, Bellavista in Puerto Alcudia, El Sol in Son Serra de Marina, Stay in Puerto Pollensa, Mare Nostrum in Sa Pobla, Real Club Náutico in Puerto Pollensa, Casa Vila in Puerto Pollensa and Los Faroles also in Puerto Pollensa.
If you are considering buying or renting a property in the north of Mallorca, Engel& Völkers Mallorca North will be more than happy to assist. Please have a look at our portfolio and feel free to contact us on +34 97153 20 50
About the author: Arabella Youens is a freelance editor and journalist based in London. Having studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and worked both for a summer in Palma and a year in Barcelona, she speaks good Spanish and covered the top-end property marketing the Balearics for over ten years while she was Property Editor of Country Life magazine. Today, she continues to write about property and interiors across a variety of titles including The Telegraph, Country Life, London’s Evening Standard, City AM, Homes & Gardens and Country & Town House.