Spain’s Sophisticated Sóller, in the heart of Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountains
You need to travel to the north west side of Mallorca to find two of the most beautiful and sophisticated towns on the island – Sóller, and the more chic beach resort Port de Sóller. The Arabic name Sóller means “golden bowl” and it aptly describes the town’s breathtaking setting in a valley of orange, grapefruit and lemon trees.
To get to Sóller, many tourists take the historic railway train “Tren de Sóller” from Palma, which has been running with its wooden wagons through the Mallorcan countryside and the Tramuntana mountains since 1912. It can get a bit loud at times, especially when rolling through the 12 tunnels, but the picturesque ride offers fantastic photo opportunities and is an experience not to be missed. The train departs from Plaza Espana in Palma several times per day, and the 28 km stretch takes about an hour. A roundtrip costs €14.
Should you plan a few days stay in Sóller and would prefer a low-budget transit alternative, there is also a bus service (L200) from Palma.
What to See & Do in Sóller
When arriving in Sóller by rail, be sure to visit the art gallery, inside the rail station, which presents art works of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.
In the middle of the main square, Plaza Constitucio, which is one of most beautiful squares on the island, resides the famous modernist church, Sant Bartomeu, with a history dating back to King James I of Aragon in 1236. After many hundred years of restoring and extending the church, the Catalan architect and Gaudí student Joan Rubió was given the project in 1904 and led the work of creating the sandstone facade with its detailed rosette window. Next to the church is another impressive building designed by Joan Rubió – Banc de Sóller, which opened in 1912.
Take a walk through the town of Sóller, with its elegant, majestic townhouses and cobbled streets; to the outskirts of the town and the museum Balear de Ciències Naturals . Whether you are a naturalist or just interested in fossil samples, here you’ll find two different fossil collections and a huge library. Not to be missed is the beautiful botanical garden, Jardí Botánic, with its collection of more than 400 different plants.
Should you prefer to spend a day on the beach, or enjoy a tapas lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the beautiful bay, or just stroll around the harbor – continue to the chic beach resort Port de Sóller. The antique tram departs from the main square in Sóller and the 3 km stretch passes through green countryside and private back gardens full of orange and lemon trees. It costs €3 one way.
The tram station in the port is also the place where the excursion boats depart for Sa Calobra, and other beautiful natural sights nearby.
If you don’t mind a long walk (about an hour), continue along the spectacular seafront with its fishing boats and yachts, to the lighthouse Faro de Punta Grossa. If you get there in the evening, take time to watch the magnificent sunset. Note, however, that the area belongs to the military and picture taking is prohibited.
The Museu de la Mar (maritime museum) tells the history of the seafaring people of Sóller and how they were isolated from the rest of the island by the mountains for several hundred years. During that time, they had to use the sea for all trading and communication with the outside world.
Where to Eat in Sóller
This innovative, French inspired restaurant features fine Mallorcan cuisine and is a true haven for gourmets. Be prepared to pay (a lot) for a culinary experience you won’t forget! The restaurant is located in the mountains between Sóller and Deià and has a romantic cliff terrace with stunning sea views.
After all the seafood and tapas you have enjoyed during your visit, and when all you want is a decent hamburger – take a seat in the hotel restaurant La Vila, overlooking the lively main square in Sóller, and the historic church. Restaurant La Vila serves tasty 100% veal hamburgers and also has a memorable Caesar salad on their menu.
Where to Eat in Port de Sóller
Bar and restaurant Agapanto serves delicious and very creative Mediterranean and Mallorcan cuisine on their huge terrace by the beach. They offer three different menus which include a finger food-festival, and a “carpaccio of truffled, sweet potatoes, crème fraiche and roasted chorizo”, all to die for…
Es Canyisis is a popular, traditional Mallorcan restaurant, famous for its excellent, local cuisine. It has been run by the same family since 1954.
With one of the best sea views on the island, the Es Faro, an exclusive fish restaurant, offers fresh, local seafood to go.
Located next to the lighthouse
Tel: +34 971631406)
Where to Stay in Sóller
Ca’s Xorc is a boutique hotel with a warm and welcoming feeling - a luxurious home away from home. With twelve individual rooms decorated with a Moroccan touch, this hotel is located in a restored 200-year old finca (Spanish country house). It offers beautiful gardens where you can find your own quiet corner, a pool with magnificent mountain views and a restaurant with a better kitchen than many other hotel restaurants. Ca’s Xorcs makes their own olive oil using the original oil mill, one of the few preserved ones on the island, and its flavor is a true delight – served with bread and sun dried tomatoes.
Spend the afternoon relaxing in the pool, enjoying the fantastic village and mountain views from the rooftop terrace of the distinguished Gran Hotel Sóller. The five star hotel is located just off the main square, easy to get to and surrounded by lush gardens. It offers an attentive staff and modern rooms with all facilities.
Hotel Salvia is a small luxury hotel located in a former townhouse from the 18th century. It is a perfect tranquil retreat for honeymooners or a romantic get-a-way with six suites – each one as beautiful as their names: Suite of Roses, Orange Suite… and all of them offering spectacular views of the valley.
Where to Stay in Port de Sóller
Enjoy a delicious breakfast on the sunny seafront terrace of the funky Hotel Esplendido. Built in 1954, with most rooms having terraces facing the sea – you are guaranteed amazing sunset views. Make sure to visit the spa on the top floor, with the sauna and its window facing the sea.