SÓLLER LOCAL DESTINATION GUIDE

Things to do and see in Sóller

Sóller enjoys a privileged location in one of the most scenic and beautiful valleys on the island making it perfect for physical activities such as hiking and cycling. However, behind the natural surroundings hides a treasury of cultural heritage manifested in the church, modernist mansions, art galleries and museums.

Attractions & Points of Interest

The tram between Sóller and Port de Sóller is a major attraction in Mallorca

RIDE THE ANTIQUE TRAM TO PORT DE SÓLLER

If anything is synonymous with Sóller and Port de Sóller, it is oranges and the old orange tram connecting the two. Riding this iconic old tram gives you an incredibly authentic feeling of sweet nostalgia, as you pass through the scenic orange and olive plantations in the beautiful valley. The tram was inaugurated back in 1913, a year after the establishment of the connection between Palma and Sóller. Today, the original wooden cars are still in use, and you should not miss out on the opportunity to see and try this unique attraction.

INDULGE IN MEDITERRANEAN FLOWERS AND PLANTS AT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS OF SÓLLER

The botanical gardens of Sóller is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in flora. At the Sóller botanical gardens, you will find an impressive variety of some of the most beautiful Balearic flowers and plants along with info about each of the species. There is also an option to join a guided tour in the gardens where you will be fully educated about the Mediterranean flora. Also, your camera is gonna love a visit here, your Instagram account is sure to get extra attention with pictures from this place.

Maritim museum in Port de Sóller

VISIT THE MUSEUM OF THE SEA

Museo de la Mar, is the name of the local museum exhibiting the history of Port de Sóller in images and artifacts. Museo de la Mar is situated in a former chapel on the rocks overlooking the harbor and cove. At the museum, you will be introduced to the fascinating story of Port de Sóller and why it has been such an important harbor.

Can Prunera exhibition space in Soller Mallorca

ART EXHIBITION IN THE IMPRESSIVE CA’N PRUNERA MANSION

The mansion of Ca’n Prunera is one of the most remarkable examples of the playful art nouveau architectural style in Mallorca. Ca’n Prunera is one of the best evidences of the wealth and prosperity of Sóller in the beginning of the 20th century. Inside Ca’n Prunera, you can enjoy various contemporary art exhibitions of established and upcoming artists.

Sant Bartomeu church in Sóller is made in beautiful neo-gothic style

VISIT THE SANT BARTOLOMÉ CHURCH

The parish church of Sóller is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Mallorca. The unique details in the main facade made in Neo-Gothic style designed by Joan Rubio i Bellver, a partner of Gaudí, makes this church stand out and calls for a photo. The church is open every day for visits.

Next to the church, notice another beautiful architectural pearl, the Banco de Sóller building, designed by same architect and carries same characteristics as the church facade.

Antique train Ferrocarril de Sóller

ENJOY A NOSTALGIC RIDE IN THE FERROCARRIL DE SÓLLER

Ferrocarril de Sóller is the name of the antique train that connects Sóller and Palma. It was inaugurated back in 1912, and still today all the original cars with mahogany panels and brass fittings are still going strong. During the ride, you will see some of the most magnificent areas of the Tramuntana, the green valleys, the many fruit plantations, almond fields and forests. This truly is a unique attraction and an incredibly authentic experience that you should give yourself.

Discover the many architectural masterpieces in Sóller such as Can Moratal

INDULGE IN UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE

Sóller is a beautiful and very charming mountain town full of rustic buildings and impressive mansions evidencing the prosperity of the area. You will find a wide selection of local boutiques, restaurants and galleries to indulge in. Make sure to stroll by the Gran Hotel, the old market building, the Can Moratal and the Ca s’Americà to see some of the most impressive mansions from the beginning of the 20th century when economy was at its highest.

WALK IN THE SCENIC NATURE

From Sóller, many marked walking routes extends, leading about in the Tramuntana mountains. Follow these routes and explore the rich heritage of these magnificent mountains that has been protected because of their natural beauty. On your way, you will reach breathtaking viewpoints, meet the wildlife and feel the very fresh air that is believed to have a healing effect on the body.

CRUISE AROUND THE COAST TO SA CALOBRA

From the harbor of Port de Sóller, you can find the catamarans cruising the coastline. The catamarans will take you to some of the most beautiful hidden coves and lagoons along the mountainous coast of Tramuntana where you’ll have the opportunity to go for a swim in the crystal clear water. In most of these small coves, you can clearly see the bottom of the sea even if it is more than 20 meters down. You will anchor at the picturesque little cove of Sa Calobra, one of the most beautiful places on the island. Here, you can enjoy a refreshment at one of the bars and go see the canyon of Torrent de Pareis and the small beach here.

VISIT THE CHARMING VILLAGE OF FORNALUTX

If you can’t get enough of beautiful nature and picturesque scenery, a visit to Fornalutx is a must. The village has several times been awarded the third most beautiful village in all of Spain because of the way it is kept clean and preserved. Fornalutx offers a few places of interest to explore, such as the Can Xoroi local museum and former olive press, but also a handful of local bars and restaurants serving traditional Mallorcan dishes.

ENJOY THE MAGICAL VIEWS OF THE COAST FROM ONE OF THE MOST ROMANTIC SCENES IN MALLORCA

Not far from Sóller, you will find the area of Deià, a just as beautiful area of the Tramuntana. On the coastline of Deià, you will find the estate of Son Marroig, a property that used to belong to famous explorer and archduke of Austria, Ludwig Salvator. Salavtor had a marble pavilion built in Calabria, Italy and brought here to have a special place from where he could think and write. Today, this marble pavilion is iconic to the area and one of the most popular scenes for weddings and other ceremonies.

Where to stay in Sóller



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Weekly market in Sóller

Every Saturday morning, the local market is held in Sóller, in the main square of the town. This scenic marketplace, is the perfect place to browse hundreds of locally produced meats, cheeses, vines, veges and fruits. Grab yourself a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, and let your senses be seduced.

Annual happenings

March/April

Fira de sa Taronja

Every year around the end of March/beginning of April, the annual orange fair is held in Sóller, Port de Sóller and Fornalutx. The orange is synonymous with the valleys of Sóller and Fornalutx, why the two municipalities cooperate in creating a series of fun and cultural events during this fair. You can look forward to one of the most scenic fairs in all of Europe, where the aroma of the citrus fruits is everywhere ion the air. Bars and restaurants make special menus during this fair, all with oranges as one of the main ingredients.

When: Late March/beginning of April

Where: Sóller, Port de Sóller and Fornalutx

May

Firo de Sóller

The main happening of the year is the May fair. Two weeks of cultural and fun activities are lined up in an extensive program, which also include the main event of the fair, the reenactment of the legendary battle between invading Ottoman privateers and the Mallorcan resistance in 1561. Several hundred locals participate in the reenactment that lasts for hours until victory is celebrated by the Sant Bartomeu church in the heart of the town.

During the fair you can also look forward to exhibitions, markets, concerts, traditional Mallorcan dances and contests. The May/spring fair in Sóller is a great attraction which gathers both islanders and tourists in a vibrant atmosphere.

When: May

Where: Sóller and Port de Sóller

June

Festes de Sant Pere

Sant Pere (Saint Peter) is protector of fishermen and celebrated in late June with numerous cultural events in the harbor area. There is always a great and jolly atmosphere accompanied by converts and exhibitions.

When: June 29th

Where: Port de Sóller

August

Festes de Sant Bartomeu (celebration of Saint Bartholomew)

Sant Bartomeu (Saint Bartholomew) is the patron saint of Sóller, as well as protector of the parish church. The saint is celebrated in the weeks leading up to his feast on August 24 with a series of cultural events and activities worth attending. One of the main highlights of the celebration, is an extensive art exhibition with numerous venues all over the two urban areas.

When: The weeks leading up to August 24th

Where: Old town and harbor

From Palma International Airport

(Approximate numbers)

60 km
40 min
40 €

The Tramuntana region

Tramuntana is both the name of the UNESCO protected mountain range that runs from south to north, as well as the name of the group of municipalities located in or close to these mountains.

When talking about Tramuntana in context of the mountain range, it is referred to as “Serra de Tramuntana”, and when talking about the region, it is referred to simply as “Tramuntana”.

The largest municipalities of the Tramuntana region, are Calviá and Andratx in the south and Pollenca in the north. The mountain range actually has its roots south of Malagá in Andalusiá.

The Serra de Tramuntana covers a surface of more than 30,000 hectares of landscape in Mallorca. The two main factors that make these mountains so unique, are the dry stone constructions and the hydraulic watering systems evidencing early day farming techniques. In almost any local area of the Tramuntana you travel, you will discover some of these very unique features which contributes to the picturesque settings.

Discover the Tramuntana mountains

Andratx & Port d’Andratx

Andratx is a destination ideal for adults and romantic couples looking for a holiday base with a good selection of dining options, a feeling of luxury and/or authenticity, as well as a lot of activity offers like golf, cycling, walking, tennis and maritime activities. Andratx is located about half an hour from Palma airport by car and is the largest of the municipalities of the Tramuntana region. It includes the old medieval village itself, the flamboyant marina of Port d’Andratx, the small village of s’Arracco, Sant Elm and Camp de Mar.

Andratx

Port de Andratx

Banyalbufar

Banyalbufar is a picturesque and iconic area of the Tramuntana mountains located directly on the slopes facing the azure coastline. Banyalbufar is a great choice of holiday destination if you are looking for a tranquil and charming area with full of serenity and peace. Banyalbufar is an adult friendly destination, only families with infants should choose this area, as there are no child-friendly facilities or activities to go for. The village itself looks just like it did when it was built back during the Middle Ages, with cobblestone streets and rustic building facades, which makes it incredibly authentic to be in.Here are a handful of great restaurants serving traditional Mallorcan and Spanish dishes made from local produce. Staying in Banyalbufar requires a car, it takes more than an hour to get here from Palma because of the narrow curvy mountain roads.

Banyalbufar

Bunyola

Bunyola is cosy and tranquil mountain town located in a scenic and beautiful green valley in the Tramuntana mountains. Bunyola has a long history of being a prosperous area that used to belong to noble people like counts and emirs. Bunyola offers a fine selection of finca escapes situated on the green mountain slopes of the valley offering magical views and great location when you are of to your daily adventures, or just want to rest by the pool and take in the views and feel the inner peace spread throughout your body. Despite of the modest size, Bunyola is home to several places of interest. Go see one of the most stunning examples of architecture on the island, the Raixa finca, go explore the magical Alfabia gardens, or let yourself be seduced in a 1001 nights adventure at the world-famous Son Amar finca. Bunyola is located about 25 minutes from Palma by car, and is an excellent choice of holiday base for couples and friends traveling without children.

Bunyola

Cala Sant Vicenç

Cala Sant Vicenc is found in a picturesque corner in the north-western part of Tramuntana, in the municipality of Pollenca. Cala Sant Vicenc is a more quiet holiday destination, mainly suited for romantic couples and friends looking for a holiday base that features both beaches, wild nature and cultural offers. If you are looking for a destination and hotel directly by the sea, Cala Sant Vicenc is an obvious choice as most of the hotels here are placed by the beach front.

Cala Sant Vicenc

Camp de Mar

Camp de Mar is a rather small holiday destination located in a beautiful enclosed cove at the feet of the Tramuntana mountains in the south-west. Camp de Mar offers a nice selection of hotels in all classes, as well as holiday apartments perfect if you are looking for a bit more space or privacy. The area has two beaches, one sandy and one rocky, both with low shallow water and completely protected from winds by the rocks enclosing the cove. Camp de Mar is a great choice of destination if you want both beach and nature, and at the same time great access to other activities such as golfing, sightseeing and restaurants.

Camp de Mar

Deià is perhaps one of the most romantic holiday destinations in all of Mallorca! It is no wonder that most honeymoons and weddings held on the island is held in Deià, the place has a natural beauty that can leave poets without words. Deià is found in a scenic valley opening to the azure coastline at the feet of Tramuntana’s west coast. From all over the area you can enjoy the breathtaking views of mountains and sea, two of the most beautiful features of Mallorca. Deià is home to some iconic places such as the Son Marroig estate, Robert Graves’ house, the hilltop church and cemetery and the many famous artists who has found inspiration here.

Deia

Esporles

Esporles is famous for several things in Mallorca; the Granja finca, the Maristell monastery and the annual sweets & pastry festival. Esporles is an amazing area for cycling and walking in the Tramuntana, the infrastructure and walking paths are numerous up here, thus it is fairly easy to gain access to the valley. Accommodation in Esporles mainly consist of finca hotels and agroturismos, a unique way of escaping the mass tourism and enjoy some RnR in authentic and scenic surroundings.

Esporles

Estellencs

Estellencs is another picturesque area on the western coastline of Tramuntana. Estellencs is popular amongst walkers, the area enjoys a privileged location on the shoreline, with many marked walking routes leading about in the scenic nature and passes some magical viewpoints. Estellencs is one the most authentic destinations in the Tramuntana region with only a few accommodation options to choose from, a perfect place if you are looking for peace and quiet.

Estellencs

Formentor

Formentor is the perfect holiday base on Mallorca if you are looking for exclusivity, scenic nature and direct access to the most popular sports activities of Mallorca, namely beaching, cycling and walking. Formentor has only one hotel, the 5-star luxury resort “Formentor a Royal Hideaway” situated in the hills just behind the natural beach in the wide bay. Formentor is an obvious choice of holiday destination in the Tramuntana region if what you are looking for is exclusiveness and relaxation.

Formentor

Fornalutx

Awarded 3rd most beautiful village in all of Spain, Fornalutx is sure to seduce you with its natural charm and innocence set in the most fertile valley of orange and lemon trees. Fornalutx exemplifies the typical architecture of the Tramuntana mountains that has made the villages up here so unique and preserve-worthy. Fornalutx offers a handful of charming finca hotels situated on the green slopes with stunning views over the valley, made for relaxation and romance. The great infrastructure makes it easy to get around in the local area exploring other wonderful places such as Sóller and Deià. There are numerous walking paths in the area leading you about in the mountains to find the most breathtaking viewpoints and scenic Mediterranean flora.

Fornalutx

Magaluf

Magaluf is perhaps mostly (in)famous for its crazy nightlife with all the bars and clubs in the town attracting thousands of young people each year. But Magaluf also has an adult side to it represented by a handful of adults only hotels, lavish beach bars and probably the best beach of south-west Mallorca. Yes, Magaluf is definitely not just a place for youngsters coming here to party all day and night, and you you like loud and vibrant this might just be a perfect destination for you. The area is nicely close to the freeway allowing you to easily go on adventures or catch the bus to Palma for some shopping or sightseeing. Magaluf is also a great place for families traveling with children. The area has a huge water park, go-karts, crazy golf and an amusement park.

Magaluf

Palmanova

Palmanova is by far one of the most versatile all-round holiday destinations on Mallorca. You may to choose Palmanova for romance, for party, for beaching, for family fun, for fun activities or for the food. There is something for everyone in Palmanova, regardless what you are looking for for the perfect holiday on Mallorca. The recent years, Palmanova has seen a transformation where brand new modern hotels has made their entrance offering luxury facilities and sea views from every balcony. But Palmanova also have a lot of flats and highly recommended 3-4 stars hotel to choose from.

Palmanova

Peguera

Peguera is a lively and versatile beach resort at the feet of the mountains, allowing for many activity offers. Peguera offers a vibrant town life full of restaurants, bars and shopping options. Accommodation offers includes adults only hotels and apartments with stunning views over the sea. Peguera is an area with something for everyone, although adults are the main audience, moreover, Germans have really taken a liking to this specific area. Choose Peguera as your travel destination on Mallorca for the beaches, the many restaurants and bars and the fantastic location with access to both roads and natural areas.

Peguera

Pollença

Pollença old town, is an excellent choice of holiday base, if you appreciate good food, local culture and direct access to the mountains. Pollença has a lot of restaurants, bars and small cafeterias, located around in the narrow streets. All of these with an inspiring menu card, especially those located around the center of the town. Sitting in one of the restaurants on a warm spring day, eating tapas and doing some people watching on the main square, is like therapy to me. There’s a good collection of restaurants on the Plaça Major, where the church is. This is naturally where most tourists go for meals or snacks, but if you are here for more than a short break, do try to browse the streets of Pollença, I promise you that you will find something attractive!

Pollenca

Port de Pollença

Port de Pollença is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Mallorca, especially amongst Brits. Port de Pollença has become famous for its lovely seafront promenade known as “The Pine Walk”, a beautiful place to walk and cycle under the many pine trees. The beach front is full of bars and restaurants which makes a lively scene every day, creating a jolly and vibrant atmosphere. Port de Pollença is beautifully nestled between the two peninsulas of Formentor and Alcanada protecting it from heavy winds but allows are cooling sea breezes.

Port de Pollenca

Port de Sóller

Port de Sóller is located in a protected and picturesque cove on the west coast of the Tramuntana mountains. This old trading port has it all; charm, heart and soul, thus, a location that makes it worth visiting all year round. Port de Sóller has a lot to offer to a broad audience, however, it is mainly adults travelling without children or teens that will get full yield for their money here. The town has a wide selection of great restaurants and bars serving international and Spanish dishes made from high quality local produce, also, hotels and accommodation options are slightly more expensive in the particular area. Port de Sóller has two small beaches next to the old harbour, but in general not a beaching destination. You will want to consider Port de Sóller as your holiday destination if you are looking for natural charm, many activity offers and great food.

Portals Nous

Portals Nous, also known as Porto Portals, represents the most lavish side of Mallorca, and often times referred to as “Little Monaco”. This is a place to be seen, a place feel what real luxury is. The area is found at the foothills of Tramuntana in the municipality of Calviá bordering Palmanova and Bendinat. There is a lot of 5-star luxury hotels, among these the Portals Hills boutique and the Iberostar Grand Portals. Portals Nous is an excellent destination if you fancy this kind of holiday, and if you want to stay close to the vibrant life of Palma which is but a short drive from here.

Portals Nous

Puigpunyent

Puigpunyent is found in a beautiful green valley deep in the Tramuntana mountains, yet less than 30 minutes from Palma by car. Puigpunyent is known as a bicycler’s paradise, namely because the professional team Sky stays here every year during training season. Puigpunyent is a great place to find peace and serenity, a place to relax and re-charge your inner batteries. Puigpunyent is also home to one of Mallorcas most interesting animal and nature reserves.

Puigpunyent

Sant Elm

Sant Elm is a small but very charming holiday destination located at the most south-western corner of Mallorca. Sant Elm is an old fishing village, but unlike many other of its kind, Sant Elm still partly relies on fishing as a source of income which makes it a more authentic destination to visit.

Sant Elm

Santa Ponça

Santa Ponça is a young and still growing holiday destination at the feet of Tramuntana in the south-west of Mallorca. Santa Ponça has a stunning main beach area awarded with the Blue Flag trademark for its cleanness, plus, there are two smaller beaches for you to enjoy a more private scene.

Santa Ponca

Valldemossa

Valldemossa is known as one of the most charming and picturesque villages in the Tramuntana. Visiting Valldemossa at least once is a must when travelling to Mallorca, the area has so many stories to tell. Among these, the story of Chopin and George Sand’s winter in Mallorca, the story of the beautiful royal palace and the story of the birth of Mallorca’s patron saint. Valldemossa is located in a green valley deep in the mountains and you can look forward to accommodation in rustic fincas and on agroturismos, authenticity and charm guaranteed.

Valldemossa

About Sóller

Sóller is one of the best known tourist destinations in the Tramuntana, namely because of its many natural areas of scenic nature and diverse wildlife. Sóller is located deep in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, in a scenic and beautiful valley that mouths out in the natural port by the sea.

The municipality is made up of seven population centers; Port de Sóller, Biniaraix, L’Horta, Es Estiradors, Ses Argiles, S’Alqueria de Comte and Sóller town.

The municipality covers a surface of 4,273 hectares with 3,627 of these protected, and comprise a total population of 13,705 inhabitants as of 2018. The municipality borders Deià, Bunyola, Escorca and Fornalutx, all of these too a part of the Tramuntana region.

History of Sóller

Prehistory

The first vestiges of human occupation in the area dates from the prehistory, about 5200-2700 BC. More than 25 archaeological sites has been excavated in Sóller, among these, necropolises, artificial caves and stone constructions. Some of the most remarkable include the caves of Can Don, Des Negret, Ses Cópis, Es Pas de Na María, Ses Alfábiles (Biniaraix), S’alova, the necropolises of Ses Tanques de Can Serra and Puig d’en Mora, and finally, the constructions of Claper Des Gentils, anca de Ca L’amic, Can Coll and Es Puig D’en Canals.

In the Muleta mountain, in the caves of the La Roca Rotja area, three bronze statues has been discovered which date from around the 4th or 3rd century BC. The statues are exhibited in the Museu de Mallorca in Palma.

 

Moorish period

In 902, Mallorca was annexed to the Emirate of Cordoba after centuries with no influence or dominance of foreign countries or empires.

It was Moorish general Issam al-Khawlani, whom in 902 captured and annexed the island under the Emirate of Cordoba ruled by the Umayyad Caliphate.The archipelago became known under the name “Islas Orientales de Al-Ándalus” with the capital of Madina Mayurqua, present day Palma. In 1015, the archipelago came under the Emirate of Dénia.

With the new Moorish rulers, the island saw a great increase in prosperity, as new fruits were introduced in the agriculture, it was convenient to do naval trading, as well as piracy raids against Christian ships could easily be launched.

Furthermore, the island was introduced to a fiscal policy that made it possible to construct mosques, baths, water supplies etc. The island was roughly divided in twelve administrative districts, each known as a “Juz” (plural. ajzā), whereof Sóller belonged to the Juz’ de Sûlyâr which also comprised the area of present day Fornalutx.

One of the most emblematic marks the Moors has left has been in the Tramuntana range where you find the so-called “marjades”, stone terraces carved into the rocky walls of the mountain slopes. These terraces allowed water from the mountains to travel and irrigate the crops. These marjades has been conserved as a part of UNESCO’s world heritage program, and one of the main reason why Tramuntana is a such unique place to visit.

 

The Aragonese conquest

In September 1229, King Jaume I of Aragón landed in the bay of Santa Ponca with his 20,000 soldiers and 700 horsemen, ready to conquer Mallorca. After a three months siege of Madina Mayurqua with about 20 – 30,000 casualties and massive destruction, the Moorish governor Abu-Yahya Muhàmmad surrendered in the Almudaina palace.

The bloodbath in the capital made about 15,000 Moors flee to the mountains of Tramuntana and Llevant. According to Llibre del Feits (Book of Acts), a chronicle documenting the entire conquest, the last places to be conquered was the Alaró castell and the Santueri castle (Felanitx), in the years 1231/32.

Archaeologists Jaume Deyà and Pablo Galera have conducted an incredible research based on excavations of more than 10 years they have done in the area of the Gorg Blau lake, which tells the story of 3,000 Moors who had retrenched themselves and resisted the Aragonese forces for almost two years. The excavation has been difficult to do as the two archaeologists have had to wait for droughts to be able to access this site, which was called “Almallutx” during Moorish rule. Almallutx (Almeruig in medieval Catalan) had an extension of about 160,000 square meters, and a note from 1276 mentions a walled enclosure of 300 meters. In 1595, a local priest spoke of the existence of a large town which he meant derived from Moorish times due to the finding of remains of a mosque.

The two archaeologists have managed to map out most of the moorish settlement including houses, streets, the mosque with its mihrab (cemetery) with human remains and funeral gifts. Of artifacts, multiple ceramics, keys, cowbells and other tools was excavated. Another interesting find by Deyà and Galera at Almallutx, was a container with an inscription that was interpreted to something like “good luck”. This container was carefully analyzed in a laboratory, where remains of saffron, lemon and olive has been detected.

As the Aragonese almogarvars (medieval trooper) intensified and made progress in the Tramuntana, it became more difficult for the Moorish population here to hold stand. The lack of food and desperation led to extremely primitive behavior where cannibalism was practiced to survive.

Moorish representatives traveled to Sóller to meet with the Christians, in order to negotiate a pact with them for surrendering, but it was all in vain. Those Moors that was not killed, were sold as slaves.

You are encouraged to visit the Museum of Sóller to learn more about this story and many other from the local area, as well as see the fascinating artifacts found on the archaeological sites.

Following the successful campaign, King Jaume divided the island in about eight districts and, according to agreements between the participants, distributed the lands among barons, knights and church. In the Llibre del Repartiment de Mallorca (Book of Distribution of Mallorca), the area of Sóller went to Ponç Hug, count of Empúries and Gastón de Montcada de Forcalquier, viscount of Bearn. With this, the private kingdom of Mallorca was a reality.

The kingdom of Mallorca ended in 1349 with the defeat of Jaume III in the Battle of Llucmajor.

 

The legendary battle of Sóller

One of the most defining moments in the history of Sóller, was the attack of Algerian privateers on May 11, 1561.

From the first third of the 16th century, the Ottoman empire started attacking the Balearic Islands as part of its expansion campaign in the Mediterranean basin. In May 1558, the Ottoman fleet landed in Mahón, Menorca, sacked it completely and took 6,000 innocent people as slaves.

The Ottoman fleet, consisting of both Turk and Algerian corsairs, made numerous raids on the coastal towns of Mallorca, but was often defeated by the well-organized Mallorcan troops, such as the cases of Alcúdia and Pollenca.

On May 11, 1561, an attack on Sóller commanded by Grand Admiral Occhiali came to define the culture of this area. The squadron of 22 ships had stopped in Ibiza to re-supply, which was spotted by the Mallorcan people who came to know their plans to attack Sóller. Mallorcan captain general, Guillem de Rocafull, quickly sent a message to the captain of Sóller, Joan Angelats, as well as to the captains of Bunyola, Alaró and Santa Maria. The four captains quickly gathered their troops in Camp de s’Oca not far from the cove of Sóller.

The Ottoman corsairs managed to disembark near the area of Ses Puntes without being noticed by guards. The fleet was divided in two delegations, one that went straight for the harbor of Sóller and one that sailed further up the coast and attacked Sóller from the north. The Ottoman fleet attacked with about 1,600 men, while the Mallorcan resistance counted about 500 men.

The Mallorcan resistance went to the cove of Sóller, present day Port de Sóller, to fight the Ottoman privateers. They managed to fight down the attackers leaving the bay red of blood. As Captain Angelats and his men had gained full control of the bay, he made a wise decision waiting for the other group of privateers to come through the valley with the loot and hostages they had taken, instead of going to Sóller town to fight in the streets.

The Mallorcan troops managed to drive the privateers through the valley towards the steep cliffs. The Ottoman soldiers killed many hostages in an attempt to threat the Mallorcan troops. Eventually, the corsairs were pushed to the limit and had to surrender without conditions.

During this ugly yet heroic episode, there are two stories worth mentioning. The first is the tale of two brave women who by the use of a bar taken from a doorway killed a couple of privateers as they tried to forcefully enter their house, these women became known as “les Valentes Dons de Can Tamany” (Valiant Women of Can Tamany). The second story is about a group of bandits who did great damage to the invaders and their ships. These bandits were forgiven by King Philip II for their previous crimes.

Following this event, the Torre de Picada and the Sóller castle was constructed, a well as a part of the town was fortified including parts of the church which is still seen.

Every year in May, these events are reenacted during the annual main fair of Sóller, with hundreds of people participating.

 

The orange adventure

From the first third of the 19th century, Sóller saw a great increase in export of citrus fruits and olives to other countries, particularly France. Port de Sóller suddenly became the main commercial hub of the entire area, but not just that, it too became the reason why many of the traders started expanding and emigrating to Latin America and southern France, especially around 1835.

Along with the massive economical growth of Sóller, the population too increased significantly. This meant an increasingly active textile and shoe industry. Some of these factories operated up until the 1970’s.

In 1865, a plague struck the entire orange valley causing severe damage to all the olive and citrus trees. As a direct consequence of this downfall in the economical situation, many traders left for other countries and area, especially Belgium, France, Switzerland and the mainland of Spain. Here they created new businesses making fortunes in trading, before they returned to Sóller decades later.

Upon their return, Sóller experienced great prosperity once again. Some of the greatest examples of this, are the Bank of Sóller building designed by famous architect Joan Rubio, the Can Prunera, Ca s’America and Can Moratal mansions built in stunning modernist architectural styles with arte nouveau decorations. Moreover, in 1912, the famous railway connection between Sóller and Palma, Ferrocarril de Sóller, was inaugurated.

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