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Palma

Palma is the Balearics' capital City; despite most tourists to Mallorca passing through here via the island's airport, many look any further than the airport and it’s linking roads.

Palma actually accommodates about half of Mallorca's population, it is a developing vibrant, cosmopolitan place; it’s stylish, sophisticated and bursting with life, it also boasts some of the islands best restaurants, shops and nightlife and has a thriving art scene and lively café society.

Palmas’ name originates from the Roman City of Palmaria and is also known as Cuitat (city).

The city of Palma now seen, is a relatively recent creation: the tree-lined promenades of La Rambla and Passeig des Born (home to florists and newspaper sellers) were built on a dried-up riverbed in the 19th century; the walls that once surrounded the city have been pulled down to create the ring road Las Avingudas; and Passeig Maritim (the waterfront highway and promenade) was only reclaimed from the sea in the 1950's.

Despite it’s relatively recent creation, the preservation of the old town makes it a great place to wander through, amble around its winding lanes, admire refurbished old buildings and take in some of the great architecture.

Attractions ....…

The Cathedral:
Built from golden sandstone, the cathedral dominates the waterfront of Palma. Its construction took 500 years to complete, it is mainly gothic, but contains architecture from several eras. At the beginning of the 20th Century Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to direct a restoration of the Cathedral and examples of his workmanship can be seen around the cathedral.

The City Walls:
Steps leading from the Cathedral lead to a restored section of the city walls, a walkway along the top of the wall provides views of the cathedral.

The Old Town:
A maze of streets at the back of the Cathedral makes up the Old Town of Palma. This area of the town has been undergoing restoration, it may be worth a stop at one of the mansions in Palma, some worth visiting are Can Bordils, Can Oleza, Can Vivot and Can Solleric.
 

Bars/nightclubs:
      Tito's long established nightspot, opened in 1923. Outdoor lifts carry you up to
      the club from Avgda Gabriel Roca to the dance floor. Generally it attracts big crowds.
      Abaco - c/San Juan Moro. A stylish but very expensive bar for cocktail fans. Worth
      a visit just to see the extravagant decor and fruit and flowers that adorn the bar. 

Palma to Soller Train:

 

The train journey from Palma to Soller carries you straight through the mountains and valleys of the Serra de Traumuntana.

The mountains run the length of Mallorca's north coast, pine-covered slopes almost lean into the sea. As you climb higher the forest hills clear into barren crags and peaks. They run for 88km from Andratx to Pollença, with the rocky outcrops of Sa Dragonera and Cap de Formentor. The highest peaks are Puig Major at 1445 metres and Puig Massanella at 1349 metres. There are no rivers, but there are several mountain torrents which swell after rain, as well as the Cuber and Gorg Blau reservoirs which are essential resources on an island that is often affected by draught. 

The people of Mallorca are grateful to the mountains in winter as they act as a buffer, shielding the island from the fierce tramuntana wind and taking most of the island's rain and snow. In the summer they provide a cool retreat from the heat of Palma and the South.

Towards the end of the 19th century, difficulty with communication between Soller and Palma led to the construction of a railway line. The trail, which was opened on 16th April 1912, was constructed on the profits of the orange and lemon trade, and was built to transport the produce to Palma.

The train (more like an old tram) has a quaint appeal, it threads its way through the mountains and can seem like something out of an Agatha Christie novel, it’s now become part of Mallorca's heritage.

The train's route offers some spectacular views of the landscapes - views which can only be seen from the iron road. After Bunyola, an orchard stretches out between the mountains, the train then crosses the Alfabia range through tunnels to views of the valley of Soller and the surrounding mountains.

As well as the usual trains, there is one tourist train per day which stops at the valley of Soller for a few minutes to allow tourists to stop and stand on the platform to take pictures of the surrounding views.

Telephone 0034 971 630301 for further details.

Soller:

Soller is situated in the Northeast of Mallorca and lies in a valley in the Traumuntana range down to the sea. The Soller valley is isolated by mountains and can be reached from Palma by car, or by the Palma-Soller train which takes one of the most spectacular routes on the island. 

Soller is a very beautiful town and used to be a very rich area. It is also one of the most popular areas for walks on the island.

Valerie Crespi-Green (author of 'Landscapes of Mallorca' available from Sunflower Books) organises guided walks around the island. For more details and bookings call Alternative Mallorca on 0113 278 6862 or fax 0113 274 2204. 

 

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