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The Best Part Of Hiking The GR221 In Mallorca

The Best Part of Hiking the GR221 in Mallorca

The best part of hiking the GR221 in Mallorca is the hike from Valldemossa to Sóller. It is the longest and toughest day on the GR221 but for us it was also by far our favourite day. The scenery is superb in the morning, especially high in the mountains on what is called the Archduke’s Path above Deia. And come mid-afternoon as we started to fade, out of seemingly nowhere appeared a manor house with beautiful gardens, comfortable chairs and delicious refreshments. 

The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
The hike out of Valldemossa starts with a hike up an old road to tree line

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We had wanted to get an early start but in Spain they don’t really do early. Most B&B’s serve breakfast starting at 8:30 or 9 AM. The one we stayed at in Valldemossa seemed a little shocked when we said we had to be on the road by 9 AM at the latest.

The GR221 in Mallorca – the route to get from Valdemossa to Soller

The Archduke’s Path is not recommended in bad weather as it would be very easy to get disoriented on top of the mountains when the fog rolls in. It was hard enough finding the markers in bright sunshine!

From the minute you leave Valldemossa you’re climbing! The grade is actually quite moderate and the trail is very well marked. After a solid 90 minutes of hiking we reached Refugio des Cairats. It’s closed to the public but it does have picnic tables. From there the trail heads up hill to tree line and then continues to zigzag with views of the Mediterranean getting better and better with each passing step.

We had a couple of mountain bikers on our tail starting about 15 minutes before the refugio. We were able to keep ahead of them until we reached the flatter sections on the mountain. Once they made it to the high point, it was easy sailing and they were but specks in minutes.

The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
Truly fabulous hiking once you break out of the trees
Tough going at times for the mountain bikers
Tough going at times for the mountain bikers
Superb views of the Mediterranean once you gain the crest
Superb views of the Mediterranean once you gain the crest
The walking is flat on top: I wanted this part of the hike to go on forever
The walking is flat on top: I wanted this part of the hike to go on forever
In March the flowers are blooming
In March the flowers are blooming
A Hike on the GR221: Valldemossa to Soller
Just before we get to a steep descent you can summit Puig Gros

After our two hour ascent and a little time to enjoy the views on the summit of Puig Gros it was time to descend. Initially the trail is obvious as you head for a plateau but then the directions we had weren’t matching too well with reality. John had noticed some people ahead of us (who had done this before) peeling off to the left on a descending trail so we followed them. That was the right thing to do.

A Hike on the GR221: Valldemossa to Soller
Going down; this part can be tricky in bad weather
It's a steep descent to Deia
It’s a steep descent to Deia

Though the descent was steep the terrain was alright for walking. I’m always nervous of ball-bearing sized rocks after badly spraining an ankle in Turkey but for the most part the footing was excellent. 

On the descent we passed abandoned charcoal burner’s sites, including one with a bread oven and old groves of untended olive trees. Once we got close to Deià, flowers popped up as did the sheep.

The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
Lovely walking in a flower filled landscape
What's a hike without some sheep in Mallorca
What’s a hike without some sheep in Mallorca
The overriding impression of Mallorca - stones everywhere
The overriding impression of Mallorca – stones everywhere

Should you call it a day in Deiá?

Many people call it a day once they reach Deiá. They find a good restaurant, enjoy a long lunch and then take a bus into Sóller. Deiá sits in a gorgeous location between Puig des Teix and the Mediterranean and as such is one of the tourist hot spots on the island.

At one point it was the home of Robert Graves, a poet and author. His home is now open to the public. (His affairs with women make for interesting reading.)

We elected to walk through town and find a quiet place to enjoy our lunch before continuing. It’s a three hour hike to get from Deiá to Sóller. By mid-afternoon it was hot (I can’t imagine doing this hike in summer!) and although the scenery was pretty it wasn’t anything like what we’d seen in the morning.

After another two hours of hiking we arrived at Finca Son Mico and Can Prohom, a manor house that made its money from olive oil production. Plan on parking yourself here for a while with a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice and a slice of lemon cake. Choose a view, a cozy bench under a flowering tamarack tree or a reprieve from the sun in the shadow of the house.

The last hour of hiking to Sóller

Then it’s just an hour of easy walking down to Sóller. We took a path called the Cami des Rocafort, a cobbled path that twists downhill and eventually meets up with the GR221 – but there’s no one on it.

Cross the railway line of the Palma to Sóller train. It’s been pulling wooden train carriages for over 100 years – and would be a sight to see but we weren’t interested in waiting. In minutes you’re into Sóller with its pretty square and abundance of nearby hotels.

We stayed in Hotel Can Isabel. Another option is Hotel El Guia.

The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
Beautiful tamarack trees in bloom at Can Prohom, a beautiful manor house with a view
The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
Stopping for fresh squeezed orange juice and a slice of cake at Can Prohom
The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
Views of Soller
On the way into Soller pass by well-kept homes with lemon and orange trees
On the way into Soller pass by well-kept homes with lemon and orange trees
The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valldemossa to Soller
The rather touristy train that start in Soller
Wooden trail in Soller, Mallorca
And this is why we didn’t opt for a train ride

It took us about eight hours to hike the roughly 24 kilometres. Most of the vertical gain of about 1200 metres took place in the morning. If the weather is onside and you’re in decent shape it’s very doable to hike between Valldemossa and Sóller in a day.

Further reading on the GR221 in Mallorca

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The Best Part of the GR221 Hike: Valdemossa to Soller

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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