Taking the high and dry route in Mallorca

The GR221 Dry Stone route is an emerging trail on the island of Mallorca, which is c. 140km long but with some sections which are better marked than others. I only have a three day weekend, so am walking the section from Valledemosa to Pollenca – about 60 km.

Day 1 Valledemossa to Soller; 18km, 1000m of ascent

Todays section in the guide looked like it mostly meandered through forest, going from Valldemossa over to the lovely village of Deia and then on to Soller. I took a good look at the map and did some googling and found an alternative route that stayed high in the mountains, passing the high spots. So, after an excellent breakfast of coffee, and toast with serrano ham and avocado, I head off out of Valldemossa

I climbed up through Ses Fontanelles seeing a lot of goats and sheep and eventually came out in the fog at Pla Dets Aritges. Then I abandoned the GR221 and followed the route up to Puig Gros. A fence needed to be jumped (ignoring the no entry sign as instructed by the google advice) and then on past Puig des Teix and followed the cairns over to Puig des Vents. The sun came out so I stopped for lunch and had a cup of tea.

Then a nice wander past Puig des Vedell and finally hitting the peak of Sa Galera which had stunning views down to the Port of Soller.

Then things got a bit more challenging with a rough scramble down the side of Sa Galera and then a sparsely marked path through the trees down a steep gully to Soller following a few cairns and scrambling over numerous fallen trees. Then there was the bit where the path stopped and I had to hang on to the side of the cliff for a bit, but eventually the trail normalised and I ended up on a private gravel road that took me to Soller.

The joy of hiking in Palma is the lovely hotels and food – I had an excellent dinner of tapas at Casa Alvaro before a lovely sleep

Day 2 stroll around Soller

The weather and road gods worked against me today. It was torrenting down when I woke up so I decided to wait and see what the weather did. It cleared at 11am so I planned to take a taxi up to Cuber to catch up on the days walk – but it was not to be, as the road was closed. So I got the taxi to take me to Port Soller and I enjoyed the two hour stroll back to Soller where I started. The rain held off until I got back and then I chilled out eating tapas. Better luck tomorrow

I did have an entertaining evening watching the kids in town celebrate Halloween. Dinner was terrible (cold tapas and overpriced wine) but the view of the plaza and the kids was amusing. And I made up for my disappointing dinner with gelato!

Day 3 onward to Lluc – 800m ascent, 16km

It wasn’t raining when I woke up but it was cloudy. I headed off early at 7.30am (skipping the hotels leisurely breakfast which didn’t start until 8.30am, but did nick a croissant) and got a taxi up to Cuber as I wasn’t sure how long the route would take, and I had a taxi booked at 3.45pm to take me to the airport

The beginning of the route was flat and leisurely, following the canal des embassaments (a massive concrete channel) around to Prat de Cuber. From there the path meandered gently up through the forest and eventually clearing the treeline with excellent views to Puig de Massanella on the way up to Coll de Prat. I had been passed by four trail runners and also had passed three germans camping under a tarp at Prat de Cuber. But it was still blissfully peaceful. I stopped for a coffee and a hot cross bun. The mist was coming in and out but there were patches of view

As I went over the Coll – the wind started howling, it was a white out, but the cloud pretty quickly cleared, with patches of view showing down to the coastline. This was my favourite part of the day – up high, not seeing many people, and singing along to Paul Simon at the top of my lungs. From the Coll the path dropped down passed a few snow pits (where they used to make ice in the olden days), passed Coll des Telegraf and then climbing up again to get entirely new views from Puig d’en Galieu. I found a spot with a superb view and had another coffee and enjoyed the view – and I am glad I did

As I started descending the wonderful steps down the Cami de ses Voltes d’en Galileu – it felt like the whole world was climbing up the hill. I must have seen 100 people – most of them looking close to expiry as it was quite steep, and I was having a lot more fun going down. It was a swift descent, and soon I was back in the forest and amusing myself by trying to figure out what the sitges were for (i reckon they are landing zones for small UFOs, but I must see what google says – update google says they are charcoal burning platforms )

I hit Santuari de Lluc after about 4 hours and it felt like the whole island of Mallorca was there – loads of families lighting fires, campervans galore, and queues for the three restaurants. I walked to the furthest and most expensive restaurant and had an ok if overpriced chicken escalope and a glass of wine. After that, a wander around the Monastery and a lay down on the grass while i waited for my taxi.

The verdict: the island is too touristy for my liking, but the hiking is good, even in poor weather. I would come again as it is easy to get to from the UK and easy to get around.

Additional information

The Cicerone book is quite helpful and you can download the gpx route. A good blog here. I also used Macs adventure to get some route ideas.

October 31, 2021, Santuari de Lluc

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