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Banyalbufar is located on the west coast of Mallorca, along the evergreen bays of the Tramuntana Mountains and known as one of Mallorca’s most beautiful villages. The area around Banyalbyfar offer unique panoramic view of the Balearic Sea, whose sapphire blue waves erupt on the rocks below.
Tramuntana Mountains Tour with Local Guide & Lunch
The trip to Banyalbufar from Palma is at least as beautiful as the village and the area itself. The winding roads take you through idyllic small village communities filled with charm and typical Mallorcan architecture, plantations of olives, oranges and almonds – a jumble of “true Mallorca”.
This amazing old watchtower offers a unique viewpoint with panoramic views overlooking the Balearic sea. The tower is situated between Banyalbufar and Estellencs, with parking options next to it. You can climb the old iron stairs inside the tower to access the top platform from where the breathtaking views occur.
Visit this amazing old manor and noble home of the baroness of Banyalbufar, which is now turned into a wonderful petit hotel offering amazing sea views from the rooms and the terrace. You are free to walk in and visit the patio of Sa Baronia, the clastra, which is the main sight of this historic building in the centre of the charming village.
This small parish church is situated right next to the beautiful town hall building. The church is fortified due to the brutal attacks from pirates during the Middle Ages, actually, this is the second parish church of Banyalbufar hence the first was completely destroyed by attackers. The church became a safe place for the local congregation of Banyalbufar.
These stone terraces are known as “marjades”, iconic to the village and local area of Banyalbufar. From the stone terraces you can enjoy amazing views over the coastline. The stone terraces were installed by the Moors, and extremely advanced watering system making use of the water running from the mountains to the sea.
Cycling is a sport that is increasing in popularity and, Mallorca is the perfect place to do this sport. The weaving mountain roads of the Tramuntana hugging the cliffs with their hairpin turns and steep gradients, makes cycling both fun and challenging. Banyalbufar is an amazing area for cycling because you have the waterside offering fresh breezes and incredible views.
There is no better way to explore the scenic Tramuntana than by hiking your way through this incomparable UNESCO world heritage site. Discover the Balearic wildlife and take in the impressive views from the many vantage points in the mountains, as you make your way through the many hiking trails available. A particular great trail to follow in this area goes from Banyalbufar to Port des Canonge, an easy trail offering beautiful views of the slopes and over the coastline through pines and wild Mediterranean flowers.
Even though there is no golf course in Banyalbufar you are not far from one of the island’s most beautiful courses, the Golf Termens in Bunyola. A 20 minutes drive from the area is all it takes for you to get the clubs swinging and prove that you can play to your handicap.
Banyalbufar is not known as a beach resort, nevertheless, there are no less than 5 beautiful natural beaches within the municipality, the biggest is known as Cala Banyalbufar. In total, there is 320 meters of beach line in Banyalbufar, however, not all of them are equally comfortable or easily accessible, but equally beautiful.
Enjoy some beautiful pictures from Banyalbufar
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The Town Hall and various cultural associations organize a number of yearly events in Banyalbufar.
Sant Antoni Abat
Sant Antoni (Saint Anthony) is an important figure in the Mallorcan culture, as he is protector of domestic animals. On the night of January 16th, the picturesque village is illuminated with bonfires and fireworks to celebrate the saint. According to tradition, there are two highlights during this event, the dancing demons and the blessings of people’s animals.
When: January 16th (night) and 17th (morning)
Sa Fava Parada
A popular community lunch organized by the cultural association of Banyalbufar, Bany-al-Bahar, at the Plaça de la Vila in front of the Town Hall. The lunch coincide with the celebration of the Balearic Day.
When: 1st of March
Easter is celebrated with two processions from the Santa Maria church, on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday.
When: Good Friday and Easter Sunday
Festes Port d’es Canonge
The feast of Sant Jaume (Saint James) is held in the small fishing village of Port d’es Canonge on July 25th every year. The small urban area is dressed in festive decorations and a number of cultural events and concerts are held during the day.
When: July 25th
From July and well into August, you can enjoy the popular jazz festival in Banyalbufar, a series of jazz and blues concerts held in Banyalbufar and Port d’es Canonge. The festival has been an integral part of the annual schedule of events in the area since 2008, and it has only grown more popular every year. Local and foreign artists come to perform in front an ever increasing audience of locals and tourists.
When: July – August
Banyalbufar celebrates its town festival during the beginning of September with a number of fun and cultural events. Contests, concerts, market, games, parties, exhibitions and open air community lunches are just some of the highlights of a week when the banyalbufarins celebrate their village. The week starts with sweets and candy being thrown from the balcony of the Town Hall building and a guitar concert, and finishes with a solemn mass to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary.
When: September 1st to 8th
Festes ses Verges
Ses Verges is traditionally the time when groups of young boys sing serenades to women who in return hands out bunyols (Mallorcan pastry) to them. In Banyalbufar, there are a number of sports events during this time including mountain trail race, the 312 cycling lap and a motorcycle lap.
When: October – November
Supporting local communities during your travels can have a profound impact. Stock up with groceries locally, stop in an artisan shop or enjoy a refreshment at a restaurant or bar. Now more than ever, these small businesses need support from travelers near and far.
For those who want to experience true Mallorcan village idyll combined with outstanding scenery, Banyalbufar is a perfect choice for the holiday. The city is situated about 35 km from the capital of Palma in the stunning Tramuntana mountains, with opportunities to get to other picturesque cities such as Andratx, Sóller and Valldemossa in a very short time. If you choose to stay here, it is a good idea to rent a car for the holiday as public transportation is limited in this area.
The area’s special appearance and brand are the so-called marjades, which form rows and rows of terraces with houses on the hillside overlooking the sea. It is believed that during the Moorish dominance on the island, these plants have been used as an advanced irrigation system, where you have been able to grow crops on the terraces. Banyalbufar can be translated into “The Farm by the Sea” – and with its location 300 meters above sea level, on the lush hillside slopes, there is no doubt that Banyalbufar is the development of an agricultural community that has lived here for over 1500 years.
Banyalbufar is a charming and quiet village. Here you grow the silence and the idyll by the sea and siestas are still practiced at best. The bulk of the employment in Banyalbufar consists of agriculture, the many green areas and the climate around the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range provide optimal conditions for growing tomatoes in particular.
Below you can read about the history of the local area of Banyalbufar and how it has developed throughout times from the prehistory to the current town and municipality.
The first vestiges of human exploitation and habitation within the current perimeter of the municipality date from around 4000-3000 BC. Numerous archaeological sites have been excavated in the area, however, it is those of Son Valentí, talaiot de ses Mosqueres, Son Bunyola and ses Cases d’en Jordi which are the most interesting remains of the prehistory. In the lands of the Son Bunyola possession there has been found human remains in a burial site which was called Corral Fals.
The above mentioned sites all date from a unique culture of the islands of Mallorca and Menorca known as the Talayotic or Talaiotic. The name comes from the tower-like constructions, either cylinder formed or square, as ‘talaia’ means “watchtower” in Catalan. These constructions started to be constructed on the islands from around 1100 BC, in the mid-Bronze Ages, presumably due to the beginning of colonization in the Mediterranean region.
Before this time, there was a period known as the pre-Talayotic period which was characterized by habitation in caves and later (from 1500 BC-1100 BC), the construction of stone huts formed like vessels.
The talayots testify to the theories of colonization, as the philosophy behind the constructions turned far more military-oriented that before. The pre-Talayotic and Talayotic cultures was agricultural people mostly dedicated to raising livestock and collecting fruits from the trees.
Remarkable changes happened on the island in the time between the 6th to the 4th centuries, as Phoenicians and ancient Greeks started to cross the Mediterranean basin in quest for minerals, slaves, wood etc. used for trading activities. The mix of indigenous peoples with Greeks and Phoenicians led to another phase in regards to the architecture, the walled enclosures of the talayots which now became more like small protected villages. Some of these walled settlements can be seen in excellent condition, for example the Ses Païsses, the Son Fornés and the s’Hospitalet Vell. The Talayotic culture in Banyalbufar never developed to a such extend, but it is important to know about the culture in order to fully understand the history of the local area.
In 123 BC, Roman general Quint Cecili Metel conquered the islands from the Phoenicians, about 23 years after the fall of Carthage. Following the successful campaign, Metel was awarded the title of consul. Mallorca was at that time still widely inhabited by Phoenician warriors and tribes making it difficult to approach the shored of the island. Nevertheless, Metel found a way to get close to the shores, he strapped leather around his ships which protected them from stones thrown at them. After fighting down the main resistance of the indigenous peoples, Metel and his troops started to march through the island uncovering all Talayotic settlements and enslave the people. Mallorca never really became a great Roman population, however, two major cities were founded, Palma and Pol-lèntia, whereof the latter was the biggest and most important capital of the island.
In Banyalbufar, the small Talayotic settlement of Son Valentí continued to exist, probably as a Roman colony. At the same time, the settlement that was located in the lands of Son Bunyola stopped to exist, probably due to the merging of the area that was a natural consequence of the Roman colonization. One of the main reasons for the decision to keep Son Valentí over Son Bunyola, was most likely because of the ability to cultivate, whereof Son Valentí was far better for this purpose.
Banyalbufar is probably the most emblematic area in Mallorca in regards to the Moorish population that came to the island in the Middle Ages. It was Moorish general Isam al-Khawlaní, or Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī, whom during a journey to Mecca discovered the archipelago and went to the emir of the Cordoba emirate (Emir Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi) to ask for authorization to capture the islands. Al-Khawlaní was granted authorization and a fleet, which he himself commanded, and went on a mission to conquer the Balearic archipelago that was launched in 902. After a few centuries of being almost dissipated from human habitation, Mallorca was conquered the same year and officially annexed to the Emirate of Cordóba.
Al-Khawlaní was appointed first Wāli (governor) of Mallorca in 903 and started a campaign to repopulate the island with Moorish tribes that primarily came from present day Morocco. The islands became known as “Illes Orientals de l’Àndalus“, as they were part of the emirate that was named al-Andalus.
Following the Moorish conquest, the city of Palma was renamed to Madina Mayurqua and the Almudaina palace was constructed along with baths, watering systems and mosques. Madina Mayurqua soon became an important trading center, but also an important harbor for launching pirate campaigns against ships in the Mediterranean basin, which together made it one of the most prosperous places in the Mediterranean.
The re-population of Mallorca by the new Moorish settlers came to be a defining point in the history of the island and in the local history of Banyalbufar. First of all, the place name which was later translated into medieval Catalan as “farm by the sea” or “nestled by the sea”. Secondly, the construction of water transportation systems (quanats) cisterns for storing water (ma’jils) and of the so-called “marjades”, stone terraces for making use of the water running down the mountain slopes, which has become a landmark of Banyalbufar. Thirdly, the introduction of new crops such as saffron, rice and artichokes. Fourthly, the introduction of a fiscal system on the island.
During Moorish rule the island was divided in about twelve jurisdictions for easier administration and collection of taxes. These jurisdictions were called “Juz” in singular and “Ajzà” in plural. Banyalbufar came under the largest of them all, Juz d’ Ahwaz al-Madina, which also comprised Marratxí, Esporles, Banyalbufar, Puigpunyent, Estellencs, Andratx, Calvià and Madina Mayurqua.
Those Moors that did not live in the capital of Madina Mayurqua settled in kindred communities of clans. They lived in farmsteads and sheds scattered all over the landscapes known as “alquerias” and “rafals”. The current possessions of Son Valentí and Son Balaguer, situated in the valley of Bunyola de Mar, were annexed to either the farmstead of Alqueria Roja (current Son Coll) or Alqueria sa Torre (current Son Bunyola). The Ses Mosqueres was probably a part of the large farmstead of Alpic, the current Granja d’Esporles.
In the local area, the Moors settled in two valleys which together would be called Banyalbufar. The name as written today, however, was the result of a later Catalanization that came by creating a link toponymically between Banyalbufar and Bunyola.
In September 1229, after a short stop by the small island of Plantaleu (Sant Elm), the troops of King Jaume I of Aragón landed at the beach of Santa Ponca. The king had convinced both noblemen and church to end the Moorish rule of the archipelago, and had gathered an army of about 700 horsemen and 20,000 soldiers. There were two aspects in the conquest: 1. To end the piracy against Christian trade ships in the Mediterranean, which became the official reason. 2. To end to Muslim rule as part of the reconquista of al-Andalus.
The following three months the capital was under siege, the troops looted and killed as they pleased, they completely sacked the city. Those Moors not killed during the siege fled to the Tramuntana or Llevant mountains or even to Menorca. In late December 1229, Mallorca was officially captured and the Moorish governor had surrendered. The entire island was completely captured in 1231/32, after the surrender of the Alaró castle and Santueri castle.
According to the agreement, King Jaume divided the island and distributed the lands among knights, counts and church, and with this the kingdom of Mallorca was a reality. The distribution of lands is mentioned in detail on the book “Llibre del Repartiment de Mallorca”.
The two major valleys of Banyalbufar was divided amongst nobleman Ramon sa Clusa, Gilabert de Cruïlles and the bishop of Mallorca. Ramon de sa Clusa was given the the area surrounding the current town, while Cruïlles and the bishop split the lands belonging to the properties of Son Bunyola, Son Valentí, Son Balagueret, Son Coll and the small nucleus of Port des Canonge. This was the beginning of a new independent jurisdiction known as the “Baronia” (barony).
The lands of especially Son Valentí and Son Balaguer soon became the most important places for agricultural activities in Banyalbufar.
In the modern age, Banyalbufar remained an independent jurisdiction which was merged with Esporles. The headquarter of the jurisdiction was the Sa Baronia estate in Banyalbufar, while the ecclesiastical administration was in Esporles.
The close relationship and corruption of the Crown of Aragón and the nobility provoked a social uprising in the mid-15th century where peasants revolted against the landowners. Again in the first third of the 16th century, a new revolt marked a dark chapter in the history of Mallorca, this time by the artisans guilds. In both cases the king had to intervene and hard repressions were put on the families of those who had supported the revolts, which led to more poverty and a larger social gap of the island.
From the mid-16th century, corsairs started to arrive by the coasts of Mallorca as a part of the Ottoman empire’s campaigning in the Mediterranean. The raids of the corsairs was frequent and brutal and caused much insecurity among the population. As a response to the many attacks, a network of watchtowers was erected along the coastlines, as well as some buildings was expanded with towers, for example bell towers of the churches and lookout platforms on estates.The towers signaled each other whenever an enemy ship was spotted in the sea, by smoke and flags the signal was transmitted until it reached the town centers and the inhabitants could prepare for battle or take refuge in the fortified church of Santa Maria. On the coastline of Banyalbufar, the watchtower of Torre del Verger, or Torre de ses Ànimes, was erected in 1579. The tower has been restored and is now a popular tourist attraction in the area, as you can really see and feel how it was to be a guard here.
In 1584, famous artist Gaspar Homs was commissioned to paint the main altarpiece of the Santa Maria church which is dedicated to Mary.
Despite of its modest size, Banyalbufar became an important agricultural area of Mallorca due to the cultivation of grapevines, especially the malvasia grapes. The king of Aragón was particularly happy with wine produced on the malvasia sort and promoted the grapes of Banyalbufar. The promotion of the king and massive export to the peninsula gave great prosperity to the area in the modern age.
The fishing industry grew to a significant size in Banyalbufar in the early 19th century. Actually, in 1829, a guild of fishermen was established containing 44 articles.Famous adventurer Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria mentioned Banyalbufar as one of the most important and active fishing villages in Tramuntana, after Valldemossa and Sóller. In 1910, there was a total of 72 fishermen, and in 1930, about 30 boats were operating occupying some 100 hundred men. During the winters, the fishermen went to work on the farms engaged in agricultural work as day laborers.
The development of the village had given rise to a public lavoir (wash house) in Sa Canaleta, as well as attracted a community of Augustinian nuns to settle and help with taking care of the sick and teach children. Moreover, in 1836, following the First Spanish Carlist War, Banyalbufar was segregated from Esporles upon multiple requests by Esporles.
However, at the end of the 19th century a terrible aphid plague of Phylloxera stroke Mallorca, just as it had done in France and Italy. The plague forced the winemakers and cultivators to burn down all vineyards which ended the wine adventure.
Following the crisis of the Phylloxera plague, the farmers started investing in cultivation of tomatoes, especially the ramellet sort. The cultivation of ramellet tomatoes became the main livelihood of Banyalbufar in the beginning of the 20th century, they were an exquisite delicacy that was sought for in especially Barcelona. The tomato plantations covered a surface of about 115 hectares in 1932, with a production of about 50,000 metric tons per year. Every week, 45 wagons came twice a week to pick up 30 boxes of tomatoes, each weighing 30 kilograms. Along with the fish caught in the area, the boxes of tomatoes were taken to the market in Palma, and to the harbor to be shipped off to Barcelona.
The years from 1923 to 1936 were a particularly prosperous time for Banyalbufar, during which an agricultural cooperative operated with great success. The village had its own communication service with Palma, a small cinema and a small electricity plant.
During the Second Republic, the works of developing a sewerage network was completed and a small slaughterhouse was created in Sa Canal Nova.
The great tomato adventure ended with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, as the Catalan market was closed during the time of war. The fishing industry too declined dramatically during the 1930’s, however, not necessarily because of the war but due to the major industrialization on the island. Many fishermen were able to sell their boats and purchase properties with land for cultivation of crops for discounted prices.
Following two years of massive snowfall in 1956 and 1959 known as “l’any de sa neu” and “la calabruixada” respectively, made the cultivation of tomatoes decrease to a minimum level, thus many people from the town migrated to Palma to find new occupations and lives.
With the restoration of democracy in 1976, after the death of Franco, Jaume Tomàs Font was elected first mayor of Banyalbufar.
Today, the area is mainly dedicated to cultivation of crops and tourism.
A Chalcolithic period followed where small huts and communities started to occupy the valleys of Deià, Valldemossa and Sóller and actually made up the largest population density on the island.
The pre-Talayotic period occurred from 1700 BC to 1300 BC, a period often times referred to as the “naviforme period” due to the vessel shaped building constructions from these centuries. The first constructions of this kind can be seen in the sites of Son Oleza and Can Sel Costella (Valldemossa), where you can also find the funerary cave of La Pedrera de Son Puig.
Cova des Morts de Son Gallard is another great example from the pre-Talayotic period exhibiting a bell-shaped burial place.
In the property of Son Marroig, a pre-Talayotic burial site contained eight stacked skulls and long bones, a radiocarbon dating gave the year 1819 BC.
From around 1300 – 1100 BC, the Talayotic culture arrived in the Gymnesiaen Islands (Mallorca and Menorca), a culture characterized by the megalithic constructions built for habitation and observation. The name is adopted from Catalan, as the word “talaia” means watchtower. Although there are some remains from this culture within the municipal perimeter, the most outstanding example in the nearby area is undoubtedly the settlements found on the properties of Son Ferrandel and Son Oleza, in Valldemossa.
Next to the Es Ripoll water reservoir, on the slope of Es Picons, a deposit of ceramics from around the 5th century BC was discovered. The deposit included fragments of amphorae of Greek-Italic and Punic-Ebusitan origin.
Around 123 BC, Roman general Quintus Caecili Metellus captured the archipelago from the indigenous peoples and remaining Phoenicians still living here. After an arduous quest to find hunt down and find the indigenous inhabitants who had retrenched themselves in the Talayotic settlements, the Roman army could call themselves victorious. Metellus was awarded the title of consul and given the nickname “Balearicus”.
The Romans established the two major cities Palma and Pol-lèntia, whereof the latter was the biggest and most important. However, many of the Talayotic settlements coexisted with the new Roman rulers of the island. It is most likely that the indigenous people were taken as slaves and worked with agricultural activities introduced with the re-population of the new rulers. It was in fact during this time the Mediterranean triad arrived on the island:
One of the largest Roman occupations in present day Deià, was the settlement of Son Rul.lan where amphora and fragments of tegulas were found. But there were several other settlements occupied during the Roman epoch, including the one on the small hill south of Castell des Moro where ceramics and fragments of amphorae were found. Lastly, at a location known as “Cota 264” a vegetable degreaser and Roman ceramics were found.
Following a series of centuries without belonging to any kingdom, emirate or empire, the Balearic archipelago came under Moorish rule in the 10th century. Nobleman Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī discovered the archipelago during a pilgrimage to Mecca when he had to take cover during a great storm. When he returned home, he asked Emir Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi to capture this archipelago so that it could be annexed to the Emirate of Cordoba. Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī himself commanded the fleet that set sails towards the Balearics. In the time between 902 and 903, Mallorca was successfully captured and Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī was awarded the title of walí (governor) of the Illes Orientals de l’Àndalus.
Following the annexation to the Emirate of Cordóba, Medina Mayurqa (present day Palma) soon grew to become one of the most prosperous harbors in the western Mediterranean basin, especially because of the trading and piracy activities.
The re-population by tribes and clans brought a true agrarian lifestyle to the islands, along with new crops such as rice and artichokes. The agricultural Moors lived in cottages and farmsteads scattered over the countryside, in administrative districts known as “ajzà” (singular. juz) in order to be able to pay taxes to the capital, in other words a fiscal and societal system was introduced. The area here was called “Ad-Daia“, which simply meant hamlet. The largest and most importand farmstead during the Moorish rule, was the one of “Haddayan“.
Ad-Daia belonged to the Juz’ de Musuh-Bunyola, an administrative district which also comprised Bunyola, Valldemossa and the eastern parts of Esporles. In Ad-Daia, the Moors built stone terraces on the slopes of the mountains, just like those seem other places in the Tramuntana such as Banyalbufar, which allowed for effective irrigation by transporting the water. These stone terraces known as “marjades” have been catalogued as World Heritage by UNESCO and is still used today to cultivate organic crops.
In 1229, Mallorca was officially conquered by King Jaume I of Aragón, although many areas including Deià was not completely captured until 1231. King Jaume had gathered an army of more than 20,000 soldiers and horsemen and made a pact with church, lords and knights to divide the island among them once the campaign was successfully over. Medina Mayurqa was under Catalan-Aragonese siege for three months, between September and December 1229, during which the city was bathed in Moorish blood as the soldiers sacked and killed as they made their way through the streets. Those Moors that was not killed, fled to the Tramuntana and Llevant mountains to take refuge. It was during the second campaign that Jaume’s troops were able to enter the Tramuntana range where they found the final resistance in the fortified stronghold of Almellutx (present day Escorca) and Castell del Rei (Pollenca).
The area of Deià was given to Jaume’s uncle, Nunó Sanç, count of Roussillon and Cerdanya, a fact stated in the “Llibre del Repartiment de Mallorca” (Book of Distribution of Mallorca), a chronicle documenting how the lands of the island was divided. According to a promise Jaume had given the abbot of the Santa Maria de Poblet, in Catalonia, some lands of the Moorish farmstead of Haddayan was assigned the Cistercian order where the monastery of Ca l’Abat was constructed. The Cistercians also received the Miramar property in Valldemossa, the lands of La Granja in Esporles and the royal monastery of La Real in Palma.
Following the death of Nunó Sanç in 1242, Deià came under administration of Valldemossa, while at the same time, the abbot of the La Real kept the jurisdiction of his lands. Whenever a dispute occurred, the mayor of Valldemossa and abbot of La Real would argue over who had the final saying and complained to the governor of Mallorca.
In 1526, on August 6th, the history of Deià saw a major turning point. On this exact day, the townspeople of the village erected a church on a nearby hill to which the bishop of Mallorca sent a priest to serve them. The church was too a message to the governor that the people of Deià demanded an independent administration free of Valldemossa. Of course, the mayor of Valldemossa was opposed to the idea and went to the governor himself to ask him to refuse the request. A prolonged litigation of 57 years followed, as the possibility of segregating the two was troubled by economical factors. One of the main issues that made it difficult to segregate the two, was the fact that a lot of the major properties of Valldemossa, many of them that can be spotted in the valley looking from the La Miranda vantage point, belonged to the nobility of Palma and therefore did not contribute with taxes. At that time in Mallorca, it was customary that you would only pay taxes where you lived.
However, on November 7th, 1583, the inhabitants of Deià was gathered by the church to hear the sentence, that the segregation of the two had been verified by the governor. Today, on the front wall of the church there is a plaque that commemorates those people who made it possible that Deià is an independent town and municipality.
In 1582, North African corsairs attempted to gain access to the area when they anchored in the cove of Cala Deià. The corsairs counted 150 men, but were defeated by only 50 Mallorcans commanded by Captain Mateu Sanglada, whom organized his men around the Sa Foradada islet. Throughout the 16th century, Mallorca and Menorca was harassed by corsairs of the Ottoman empire that was trying to gain control of the entire Mediterranean. As a direct consequence of this episode, the watchtower of Pedrissa was erected to protect the coast and communicate with other watchtowers along the coastline.
In the centuries that followed these events, Deià continued to grow as an agricultural area devoted to cultivation of mainly olives and citrus fruits. However, the area too engaged in livestock (pigs), lime and charcoal burning and wheat. During the 19th century, fishing too became an important activity and fish was transported to the market in Palma. Up until the ravage of the feared Phylloxera that hit Mallorca around 1890, there was more than 31 hectares of vineyards in the area. At a point, the population exceeded 1,500 inhabitants.
In 1867, archduke of Austria Ludwig Salvator arrived on the island on a journey to do scientific studies. The journey was sponsored by the emperor, whom granted Salvator the steam yacht “Nixe”, and allowed him to skip the traditional military education. Salvator was fascinated by nature, landscapes and environments in the Mediterranean region. His attention was aimed solely on little-known and undiscovered places over typical cultural centers like capital areas. At the time of his arrival, Mallorca was, believe it or not, a very little-known place in the Mediterranean Sea.
Two years later, in 1869, Salvator published the first volume of his masterpiece “Die Balearen” (The Balearics), a work comprised by 6,000 pages of stories and pictures taken from all over the Balearic archipelago. The works of Salvator was dedicated to Emperor Franz Joseph, and brought him a gold medal at the World Exhibition (Exposition Universelle) in Paris in 1878. The works included the most remarkable details he found during his trips including animal and plant species, meteorology, history, folklore, architecture, landscapes, as well as cultural heritage experienced through conversing with the locals of the islands.
Salvatore went from fascinated to obsessed with Mallorca, the wild nature and kindness of the local inhabitants impressed him so much that in 1870 he purchased the Son Marroig estate which he chose as his primary domicile and to where he had a pavilion brought from Calabria, Italy, built in pure marble, which he used for writing and reflecting. Over the course of the following 30 years, Salvator acquired properties along the coast between Deià and Valldemossa, actually, he ended up owning a strectch of no less than 16 kilometers. The fascination with the wild nature and heritage of Mallorca made Salvator a protagonist in tourism, even before tourism was a thing. Beside from his written works, he also set up the guesthouse of Ca Madó Pilla, where he offered visitors three whole days of lodging free of charge just so others too could see the natural beauty of this island. He even created paths leading from the coastline to the mountain of Teix, on which he established many of the “miradors” (vantage points) with a platform and bench to enjoy the breathtaking views and sunsets. Many of these vantage points created by the archduke are still here today and great stops when hiking in the mountainous area.
Ludwig Salvator was far from the last foreign prominent name to visit or live in Deià. English poet and novelist Robert Graves, was one of the first European foreigners to settle in the village in the 20th century. With Laura Riding, Graves started the printing and publishing company, Seizin Press in the 1930’s. Graves returned after the war and stayed in Deià until his death in 1985. He used the village as the setting for many of his stories, including the historical novel “Hercules my Shipmate”. His house is now a museum open to the public and well worth a visit.
Anaïs Nin visited the village in the 1920’s, where she wrote several short stories based on the settings of Cala Deià. Spanish author Carme Riera recently wrote a short story about Nine’s short stories and how she found inspiration in this particular area. The village is also the unnamed destination for Uruguayan writer Cristina Peri Rossi’s “The Ship of Fools”.
Richard Branson, British entrepreneur and businessman behind the Virgin company, bought a luxury estate in Deià which he transformed into a 5-star luxury hotel under the name “Belmond La Residencia”.
In the heart of the village, the bar Sa Fonda has been venue for many famous musicians such as Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, David Allen. Mick Jagger, Mark Knopfler, Mike Oldfield and Caroline Corr. Much of Fionn Regan’s third studio album, “100 Acres by Sycamore” was inspired by his time in Deia. Caroline Corr was also married in the beautiful Joan Baptista church.
It is not without reason that Deiá is often referred to as “Village of Artists” – perhaps you are the next name to have found inspiration in Deiá?