At the beginning of July I spent eight wonderful days in a stunning hideaway known as Port de Soller off the coast of Mallorca. With a population of 12,000 it is the port of a town slightly further in land called Soller that is also formed along with the village of Fornalutx and the hamlet Biniaraix. Surrounded by the lush green Tramuntana mountain range, you find yourself tucked away from the busy tourist areas in Palma on the south of the island, Magaluf in particular.
The town of Soller itself is rich in history, dating all the way back to Talayotic times (a term used to describe the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands during the Iron Age) so round about 5200 BC. Due to the majestic mountain range that surrounds the town, its inhabitants were isolated from the rest of the island and managed to avoid the Roman occupation. As the town grew throughout the centuries, it situated itself and grew around the impressive church in the square called Sant Bartomeu that was built in the 13th century. Situated near the coast, Soller was always at risk from pirate attacks hence why the town developed further in land and the Port remained separate. The 16th century in particular was a time during which Soller suffered many times at the hands of Moorish pirates from Algeria. Ruthless and vicious, they were usually after the women, children and any other treasures they could get their hands on. One attack where the Sollerics fought back and defeated at least 1600 pirates in the Port and main town, is still celebrated to this day. Every year in May, the battle is re-enacted on the beaches of the Port, everyone dressed as either Moors or Christians.
Trade really began to pick up for Soller during the 19th century and with that came wealth! It became a major exporter for olives and fruits and the French revolution saw to a huge increase in migration. With French migrants, came further links to French trade and that explains the gorgeous grand 19th century town houses that you now can’t buy for less than a million pounds and why Soller is still a lot wealthier than most Mallorcan towns. It wasn’t until 1912 that a train link to Palma was built so that Soller could trade with the rest of the island. And it wasn’t until 1914 that a tram link was built from Soller to Port Soller to help with the trade of fruit. Even more amazing, it wasn’t until 1997 that a 3km tunnel was built through the Tramuntuna mountains to help with transport from one end of the island to another. Knowing all this, it perfectly explains why both the Port and the main town of Soller feel so un touched by the rest of the island. It’s been tucked away for the entirety of its existence and in the short time I stayed there, I felt like my worries outside of Soller couldn’t come anywhere near me.
We stayed in a hotel built into the cliffs overlooking the Port. As part of the famous and excellent Jumeirah chain, well-known for its hotels in Dubai, this place was no exception. It was the most stunning hotel I’ve ever stayed in my whole life and it fit in perfectly with the surrounding villas, townhouses and restaurants. It was pretty tough walking down the extremely steep hills to the port every night. You would have just showered and then by the time you had reached the bottom of the hill, you’d be sweating all over again but for the views on the way down, it was more than worth it! The port had a lovely vibe to it during the day and evening. In front of the long stretch of narrow beach, there’s a promenade with tons of bars, restaurants, cafes and boutique shops to take your fancy. Word of advice though, if you’re not a fan of fish, then don’t stay here. I love fish but by the end of my eight days I was craving meat. But it’s fine if you’re only staying for a short trip. The locals would always be out in the evening, especially young teenagers who would be playing sport on the beach at past 9pm, I always love seeing youngsters out and about and not sitting at home on their backsides like many kids do in the UK! However, it was totally understandable because the weather was perfect and it was a safe area. We went in the first week of July so the majority of locals and tourists were in the bars watching the footie. There always seemed to be a great vibe. The beach is man-made but it’s pretty convincing. Although it stretches over the expanse of the entire port, it’s pretty narrow so it can get quite crowded but it was still so chilled out. The water is close to still it’s that calm. It’s clear, warm and shallow, the perfect beach for relaxing on.
We took a couple of trips into the main town of Soller during the day and it was even more charming than the Port. For this we took the old tram, which took about half an hour. It starts off beside the beach and then turns off into the countryside. Here you go past many old cottages and Mediterranean town houses with the mountains in the background and you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing either an orange, lemon or olive tree. As it enters the town, it makes its way through the main square where the locals and tourists are sitting outside in various cafes drinking their morning coffee. You then pass the church and head towards the railway station where your journey ends. This isn’t the kind of place you visit to spend your whole time exploring. We walked down nearly every street in the space of a few hours. Aside from a few gift and boutique shops, it was mainly residential, hence why everyone meets, drinks, eats and wanders around the square. Being the nosy parker that I am, I couldn’t help but peek through the open windows of the grand manor houses and admire the traditional decor mixed with modern furniture. This is the perfect day trip if you want to do half wandering and half relaxing. Soller was a gem, no other word for it, it’s a must see.
We also did a day trip to Palma and went by train through the mountains, we were so high up that we could see the whole of Soller and port Soller put together. If you want hustle and bustle, shopping and bars, then Palma is the place for you. I only spent half a day here in which we visited the cathedral and had lunch but aside from that I can’t say too much about it. It still had quaint cobbled streets and had heaps of charm but it was just too busy for me personally.
P.s the photos you’ve seen on here were taken on my iPhone 5C so the quality isn’t great!