I haven't written a blog post in a while, and I'm happy to say that it's been due to too much adventuring. I was going to write a few posts on the great hikes so far, but they're starting to accumulate (almost as much as my "have yet to do/see" list), so I thought I would combine them into one post instead.
(Apologies in advance for the long post, but it's worth it, I promise. So. Many. Awesome. Adventuresss.)
So here's the thing about Mallorca: there seems to be an endless--and I mean endless--amount of hiking/trail running you can do on the island. Just when you think you've covered all that there is to see in your small town, you're biking along and see another one of those wooden signs with the hiker icon on it, and you add another one to the list.
Now, if you've ever done a solid few hours of trekking, you know that one of the most rewarding parts of a hike is when you reach the halfway point or somewhere close to it, sit down on a beautiful ledge or rock, look out onto an incredible view, and eat a sandwich.
And after quite a few excursiones on the island so far, I've begun to acquire a very important skill: How to find a good sandwich spot.
I mean, let's be real. You can't just eat your sandwich in any old place. You have to find the "it" spot--that vista that you will think back on in three years and think, Wow, that was such an amazing hike.
Lucky for hikers and trail runners in Mallorca, the island has quite a few epic sandwich spots. Here a few good ones from the past couple of weeks.
Formentor and Cala Murta
Known for it's incredible vistas, Formentor is one of those must-see places on Mallorca. If you're driving up the windy road from Puerto de Pollença, there is a parking lot to the left (you'll see it) where you can park and walk along the ridge for some incredible viewpoints .
If you're looking for a huge expanse of ocean, unbelievable coastal cliffs, and beautiful views of the northern end of Mallorca, this is your spot. We parked just as the sun was going down and it was unbelievable (although there wasn't enough light to get any great pictures unfortunately). We all just sat there and watched the sky turn to orange and the ocean from blue to black and the light on the mountains from a yellow-gold to grey. It was one of those moments you wish you could encapsulate with words or a picture but you know that nothing would be able to do the moment justice. And this is the part where I tell you that you just have to see it for yourself...
If you continue up the road for a bit, there's another "parking lot" off to the left (this one is a little less official and more of a dirt lot). From here you can park the car and walk to the trailhead to Cala Murta, a small, rocky cove with crystal clear water surrounded by thick trees and beautiful white rock.
The trail to Cala Murta is very short and flat; it's more a walk than a hike, but beautiful nonetheless. The water is so clear it would be spectacular to go earlier in the day when you can pack your suit and maybe a snorkel and the sun is shining down on the cala. Mountains bank either side of the cove, so it can get a little chilly once the sun goes down.
If you take the trail back, you’ll cross a few bridges and to the right there’s an unmarked trail (very difficult to spot) that takes you into the mountains. It's absolutely beautiful. We hiked through wild rosemary bushes and pine trees, winding our way to the top of the mountain. It’s pretty steep and a bit of a trek but worth it once you get to the top.
Here, you will find your sandwich spot.
Views of the entire Bay of Pollença stretch out to one side with mountains all around you and a great view of the valley below.
Once you get here, pick a rock, hang out, and enjoy your sandwich with a view.
Esporles to Banyalbufar
We took a bus to the town of Esporles and asked a few locals where to find the trailhead which turned out to be just off of the main road that the bus was on and very well-marked. The trailhead is easy to find with quite a few signs and is a beautiful wide dirt path covered by trees for most of the way. The trail is pretty long but relatively flat, and once you get near the end, it’s pretty much all downhill on paved roads with amazing views of the coast. Once in the town of Banyalbufar, there are some cute restaurants and cafes to grab a coffee or beer. We decided to trek down to the end of the road which dropped us off at a cliff overlooking the water.
Here, we took off our shoes, sat down, and enjoyed a sandwich. Everything was so beautiful, there was more thinking and chewing than talking. We just sat there in the sun enjoying our snacks, looking out at the huge expanse of ocean and the cliffs and how clear the water below us looked.
We took the bus back to Palma from Banyalbufar which turned out to be a beautiful route along the coast, with (surprise, surprise) more amazing vistas of mountains and ocean.
In Alcudia, the next town over from Pollença, there is a small cove with a rocky beach that you can hike into. The trail leading down to the beach connects with a few different trails and can be as long or as short as you want. I did a 2 ½ hour run that looped into the trail to Coll Baix, and another time we drove part of the way, parked the car, and then hiked in about 30 minutes to get to the trail leading to the beach.
The trail is very wooded and rocky and you have to watch your footing in a lot of places, especially if you’re trail running. For the hike down to the beach you’re surrounded by thick trees and brush and you can hear the sound of the ocean.
The somewhat unsettling part about this hike is that the land is also used for hunting. Every once in a while, you can hear shots fired in the distance. The time I went for the trail run we actually saw a hunter about ten meters away from us stalking something with his rifle slung over his shoulder. There are enough hikers and trail runners that the hunters are usually very careful (or so I'm told), but definitely a little unsettling at first.
In any case, when we got down to the beach, we laid our towels, put on some music, and had some snacks. We took a dip in the water and a couple of us had a run-in with the local jellyfish which left some nice marks on us. But the stings weren’t too bad and the hike and the views made it all worth it in the end.
Cala Boquer is a hike that you take from Puerto de Pollenca, and again, is pretty easy to find with all of the trail signs. This is another short, easy hike, and drops you off at another rocky beach which is home to quite a few friendly goats.
The beach itself is pretty rocky, but if you find the right rock it can be pretty damn nice to sit back with a view of the mountains and the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks.
Sóller / Fornalutx / Port de Sóller
This has been one of my favorite hikes so far, and it could just be due to the people. Good company can make nearly anything stick in your mind as one of the greatest moments in your mind. The hike started in Sóller and for a large part of the way consisted of paved roads. At some point we turned off on a dirt path (I would be full of it if I told you I even remotely knew where this was – a few Mallorquín guys were leading us and knew more or less where we were going). The trail took us through olive and citrus orchards, with the occasional field of grazing sheep.
This trail took us down to the town of Fornalutx which is an adorable little Spanish town, and which I’ve heard has been ranked as one of the most beautiful Spanish towns (where or when I couldn’t tell you). But most of the streets are cobblestone and most of the houses have lemon trees and bougainvillea stretching up the sides of the houses and every once in a while you’ll see a vespa or a little doorway or bench that is so European it’s almost cliché.
The town is sleepy and good for a walk through, but I don’t think you’d want to spend too much time here. Snap a couple of pictures, take it all in, breath in the citrusy air, take in the cute little stream behind the lemon trees, and enjoy the quaintness of it all.
The hike was a big loop and took us back to Sóller, and when we got back we had a long awkward gap until the next bus. So we decided to walk the road to the Port de Sóller which, again, is a very well-marked road and easy to find from Sóller.
Once you get to the port, it’s this quaint little seaside town with mountains surrounding the bay and the port off to the right harboring sailboats upon sailboats. We got to the port just as the sun was setting.
We sat on the beach and ate sandwiches (hint: this is your sandwich spot), and I got to thinking how these are some of the days you will never forget for the rest of your life. The freedom, the vagabond life of these twenty-something year olds who picked up and moved across the world to a Spanish island in search of something more, something deeper, something that would change them.
One of the girls in the group got up and starting looking for seaglass and I mentioned that I loved to do the same and that I got it from my mom who likes to as well. She said her mom does too.
Soon, we had nearly everyone up, searching the little pebbly beach for seasglass and it was one of those moments that seems nothing in and of itself but it gets to you for some reason.
Here we were, this group of young people who hadn’t known each other a month before, on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, with nothing much in common but the joint effort of hunting for seaglass. And the search for adventure that brought us all together.
Here we were from all corners of the U.S. and even parts of Europe with such a simple task at hand joining us together. And you get to thinking how the streams of our lives somehow led us to find each other and bring us to this moment, this place, and this point in time, hunting for seaglass.
And it gets you thinking just how intricate it all is. How that one moment in time is made up of days, months, years of choices. To get you to this moment. And how your choices lead you to certain people in your life and the ebb and flow, like water, of those people coming in and out of your life.
And it gets you thinking, maybe we’re all not so different after all.