Sóller: close to paradise
Today we stop in one of the most beautiful villages in island Mallorca: surrounded by orange trees, crossed by a charming tram with more than 100 years of age and strewn with streets, palaces and stately homes: The best things to do in Sóller.
Sóller has almost 15.000 inhabitants in its municipal district, located on the northwestern coast of Mallorca. Let’s start at the beginning: the most romantic way to get to Sóller is, without a doubt, aboard the famous narrow-gauge railway that links it with Palma since 1912. 27 Km in an hour-long enchanting journey inside a wooden train, built in the early twentieth century, that runs through the Sierra de Alfábia between spectacular scenery, a multitude of curves and 13 tunnels. The Sóller tunnel was built in the 90s, which is very convenient if you visit Sóller by car to avoid the curves of the old mountain road.
The origin of Sóller goes back to the Talayotic era, having been found vestiges that could be dated between the years 5.200 and 2.700 a. Chr. You can reconstruct the history of the town in its Municipal Museum, full of archaeological remains and located in an eighteenth century building. Other remarkable buildings are the Posada de Can Prohom (baroque), the small modernist museum of Can Prunera – with an attractive collection of works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Warhol or the local Miquel Barceló -, the house of the Lluna, the Museum of the Sea (Museo de la Mar) and, above all, the majestic church of Sant Bartomeu: of baroque structure, modernist facade and neo-Gothic bell tower.
The church of Sant Bartomeu is located in the Plaza de la Constitución, the heart of Sóller, a nucleus full of life and activity, full of bars and cafés. The middle of the square is crossed by another one of the main attractions of Sóller: the electric tram that connects the 5 Km between the town and the Port of Sóller, preserved almost intact with love since 1913. On the way to the port, we can find two other places that cannot be overlooked: the Balearic Museum of Natural Sciences and the Grand Jardín Botánico de Sóller.
The picturesque Port of Sóller (which can also be reached through a tunnel from the village) and its adjacent beaches have become in recent years one of the most fashionable places on the island. From the port you can take mini cruises to the popular Torrent de Pareis. And from the nearby Torre Picada (built for defense in the seventeenth century) or the Mirador de Santa Catalina you can see spectacular panoramic views of the place, and even – they say -, one of the most romantic sunsets on the island.
Sóller is located in the Valley of the Naranjos (also called Golden Valley), so the visit would not be complete without trying a freshly squeezed orange juice … or its alcoholic version, the local Angel D’or liquor. There are gourmet shops (Fet-a-Sóller, Can Matarino) where you can buy local products such as balsamic vinegar with local oranges, citrus marmalades or extra virgin olive oil from Olis Sóller. In addition, every Saturday the market is held in the village. The ice creams of Sóller are also impressive – and famous – they can be tried at C’an Pau, Sa Fabrica de Gelats or Io Gelats. The most remarkable restaurants are Ca’n Boqueta (new Mediterranean cuisine), Sa Figuera (watch out for the salty pine nut praline), Luna 36 (in a beautiful building restored in the XIX century), Casa Alvaro (in the Plaza de la Constitución) or the vegetarian cuisine of Can Llimona.
Sports lovers – or those who wish to digest the food from the previous meal – will also find privileged places to practice activities such as hiking or the increasingly popular Nordic Walking, thanks to the extensive Route of Pedra in Sec, which crosses Sóller and runs through the Sierra de Tramuntana. Cycling lovers can dare to try the Coll de Sóller, the hard and twisted mountain pass, but which can be avoided by passing through tunnel of Sóller.
In the week of August 24th, celebrations take place in Sóller, in honour of San Bartolomé or Sant Bartomeu: infernal fires in the form of firecrackers (the correfoc) commanded by the local demons : esclatabutzes. Although the most famous celebration takes place on the second weekend of May, the Firó, where up to 4 battles are staged to remember the pirate looting suffered by the locality in 1561. What about music? Since 1980 the Sa Mostra festival has been celebrated, an International Folklore Festival -in the second half of July. In 2005 the Port de Sóller Classical Music Festival, which takes place in October was also added to the yearly program.
There are tons of plans to choose from if you want to enjoy one of the most charming towns in Mallorca: Sóller. Dedicate at least a full day to it!