Tuesday 24 September 2019

Treasures in the mountains - Sòller

July 2019

Puerto de Sòller is a beautiful little port on the northern coast of Mallorca.  Sòller was once a very affluent area and was renowned for growing and supplying oranges, lemons and olives.  The port, once a major link to Europe, is now a very unassuming, quaint little port, reminiscent of a bygone age with grand hotels and a tram, which links the port to the main town of Sòller three kilometres away.

Puerto de Sòller 

Tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Tramuntana, Puerto de Sòller was an excellent place to shelter from any weather fronts that may arise.  It also has excellent links to other parts of the island, including Palma, so made a great place for us to use as a base.  We loved it so much there, we ended up staying for nearly two weeks.

First on our list of places to visit was the town of Sòller.  It was one of the places that I wanted to revisit and show Mark as I fell in love with the town many years ago.  

All Aboard!
From our anchorage we had first class views of the little tram going back and forth to the town.  With the toot toot of the whistle as it went around corners it looked great fun, so instead of walking the 3 kilometres, we took the tram. We were not disappointed. 

The journey on the tram to the town lasts about 25 minutes and during this time it slowly climbs the hills up into a valley in the Sierra Tramuntana, passing through small hamlets along the way.  It was a great way of seeing these places although there were times during the journey when it was so narrow, you would see people virtually holding their breath, whilst pressed against the walls of buildings.  I wonder if the locals enjoy it as much as the tourists!

Oranges, lemons and mountain pine!
It also took us through some of the most beautiful landscape, with orange and lemons growing in the fields and along the track.  Our eyes were also treated to glimpses of the imposing mountains in the distance,  whilst the smell, fresh air, citrus and pine was intoxicating.  If only I could bottle that,  I could make a fortune!

Plaça de Constituciò
Once in the town, the tram took us through the main square and past the very grand church, evidence of the affluence that once prevailed and onto the tram/train station.  

The Sòller tram at the station
The tram/train station has been restored to its former glory and is home to Ferrocarril de Sòller, the company responsible for running the trains that runs between Sòller and Palma.  It is also home to art collections from Picasso and Joan Mirò, both of which are open to the public free of charge. 

Town Hall and Church

A short walk down cobbled streets took us back to the main square, the Plaça de Constituciò, which really is the heart of the town.  It is home to the church of Sant Bartomeu and takes pride of place.  To the east of the church is the very grand building which is home to the town hall, but for me, it was the building to the west of the church that captured my attention.

Banco de Sòller 

Home to Banco de Soller is a remarkable building designed by Catalan architect Joan Rubio i Bellver, who was a follower of Antoni Guadì.  I could certainly see similarities in the design of the building and the ornate ironwork.

As you would expect in an old small town set in the hills, the streets are very narrow and can mainly only accommodate one car at a time. However, the buildings that lined these streets have obviously been maintained and cared for over the years and demonstrate a sense of pride that still prevails in the town.

Ornate buildings and mountain views

Walking through the streets of Soller, you couldn't help but get a sense of what life once was in this beautiful little town.  Even on a hot day in July, with the hustle and bustle of tourists, there was a quiet serenity to the place and if it all got too much and you needed solace, you walked to the end of the street and into the mountains! 

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