Esporles, Mallorca, Destination Guide
Esporles is a scenic area located in an evergreen valley deep in the Tramuntana mountains, on the western side of Mallorca.
Esporles offers a wide range of activities, both sports and sights. The area is as created for physical exercise, with well-laid mountain roads, lots of unspoilt nature to hike in, as well as a myriad of beautiful viewpoints.
Esporles also offers a number of beautiful accommodations where you can relax and be pampered in a charming authentic setting on the old mansions and agrotourismos.
Things to do in the local area of Banyalbufar
Banyalbufar may not be the biggest municipality or holiday destination in Mallorca, but it certainly has its charm and attraction forces. If not staying here for your entire holiday, you can still easily spend a half day in the area.
VISIT THE MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION, LA GRANJA D’ESPORLES
La Granja d’Esporles is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Tramuntana. This former royal manor, has ben synonymous with the local area for centuries, a landmark of Esporles. At la Granja, you can explore life of the wealthiest on the island and their servants living and working at this enormous farm. You pass throguh more than 75 exhibition spaces, including the olive press, the torture chambers, the living rooms, gardens and various workshops. Original furniture, clothing and other personal items has been collected and preserved for exhibition at la Granja, a truly authentic experience. In the lavish courtyard, you can sample wine of own produce, and at the exit you will taste traditional Mallorcan bunyols, a pastry eaten with sugar and marmalade. La Granja is a fantastic attraction, don’t miss it.
ERMITA DE MARISTELLA
The hermitage of Maristella is a small hermitage that, in English is translated to “Star of the Sea” or “Sea and Stars”, because of its location between the two. The hermitage carry many legends, but has a special place in the local culture of Esporles as it was completed thanks to the inhabitants. Moreover, it ios one of the most popular destinations for hikers and walkers due to the magnificent views from the platform next to the hermitage and the scenic natural surroundings.
SEE THE PARISH CHURCH, ESGLESIA DE SANT PERE
The parish church of Esporles, Esglesia de Sant Pere, is situated in the heart of the village, just across the street from the town hall. The church is one of the younger ones in Mallorca, finished in 1923 in stunning Neo-gothic style, and was designed with the intention of paying homage to the cathedral of La Seu in Palma.
THE OLD TEXTILE FACTORY OF CA’N FORTUNY AND THE TOWN HALL
Ca’n Fortuny is a former textile factory situated in the heart of Esporles. The building is a great example of civil architecture from the 19th century, even though it has received several makeovers over the years. In the town hall building across from Ca’n Fortuny, you can see an old gas engine from 1909 recovered from the factory.
DISCOVER TYPICAL ARCHITECTURE OF THE TRAMUNTANA AT THE HOUSES OF SUN
As you stroll about in Esporles, you should go and see these houses situated in the northern part of the village. The houses exemplifies the typical architectural traditions of the Tramuntana region. These houses are interesting because of the paintings on the facades, which are made to keep bad spirits away. This is the reason they are called “Houses of Sun”.
ENJOY A REFRESHMENT AT PLACETA DEL JARDINET
Placeta del Jardinet is a square in the heart of Esporles that holds a lot of local history. This place used to be a religious spot home to a chapel and the cemetery of Esporles. However, the cemetery had to be moved out of town after the brutal Spanish Fly in 1918. Today it is a nice square surrounded by cute houses, bars and shops, and it is a nice place to stop and relax for a minute.
CASA DEL POBLE
Casa del Poble (house of the village) is a great piece of civil architecture dating back from 1930. The house was built by the union organization “Workers of Esporles” to function as a social center for the working class. The building still functions as a public social center.
Walking / hiking
The number one thing to do in Esporles when it comes to leisure activities and sports, is walking. This is where you get true value for money and full yield of your visit. Explore the UNESCO protected Tramuntana mountain range and all the Balearic wildlife that lives here, as well as the hundreds of breathtaking vantage points overlooking the mountain valleys and the azure coastline. There are many different trails leading about in the Tramuntana from Esporles, trails for all levels and trails of varied distance. Discover the ancient dry-stone route, the natural water springs, the miradors, the marjades and the points of interest hidden deep in the dramatic mountains. There are lots of different excursions and trips you can join for guided tours in the Tramuntana which is highly recommended, especially if it is your first time here.
Cycling is one of the best things to do in this area, the numerous curvy mountain roads making their way up and down the slopes are perfect for a challenge and fun ride. The great and well-maintained system of paved mountain roads makes it a joy to ride in the Tramuntana all year round.
Whatever your handicap or experience is, the nearby Golf Son Termens course is a must-try if you are keen to swing the clubs. This beautiful and yet challenging course is set in a green valley between the mountains making every hole a fascinating experience.
Best places to stay in Esporles
The mountains of Mallorca are known as some of Europe’s most beautiful areas. Up here you are assured Mallorca’s supremely beautiful surroundings and views, whatever you choose the rustic luxury fincas, or a villa on the mountain slopes.
If you dream of pure relaxation in quiet surroundings close to nature, then a stay at this beautiful finca hotel is the best offer in Esporles. The finca hotel is cosily furnished and offers a number of wonderful facilities for the whole family, among others. jacuzzi, mini golf, tennis court, playground etc. The Finca Hotel is also a short distance from Esporles itself, as well as a number of fantastic sights and activities.
Agroturismo Son Galcerán
Son Galcerán enjoys a privileged location in scenic unspoilt surroundings, away from traffic and city noise. Son Galcerán is a cozy and laid back little country house, where you get a lot for your money, ideal for a couple of nights in the area for those of you who are on a transit or hiking holiday in Mallorca. From the pool area of the agrotourismo you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the unspoilt landscapes of the mountain valley, but you can relax and recharge.
Weekly market in Esporles
Every Saturday morning from 8 am, the weekly market in Esporles is held in the center of the village. At the market, you can sample and purchase local delicacies such as fruits, vegetables meats, cheeses, oils, herbs and much more from the area. There is also a selection of crafts and leather products.
Annual events and happenings
Sant Anoti is one of the most rooted traditions in Mallorca, it dates back from the Middle Ages. Sant Antoni is protector of domestic animals which of course makes him one of the most venerated saints in a culture deeply rooted in agricultural activities. On the night of January 16, bonfires and dancing demons illuminate the streets of the charming town. On the following Sunday there is a big mass and blessings of animals.
When: 16th and 17th of January
Festes de Sant Pere
Sant Pere (Saint Peter) is the patron saint of Esporles and celebrated every year on the day of his feast, namely on June 29. However, during the entire week there are a number of fun and cultural activities happening all over the charming mountain town. Community dinners, exhibitions, concerts, markets, games and contests are all part of an extensive program for both young and adults. The week of celebration ends with a mass and the traditional dance ‘Ball de la Filadora’ in front of the parish church, also dedicated to Sant Pere.
When: The week leading up to June 29
The neighbors in the part of Esporles known as “Vilanova” (new town) celebrate the Virgin of August, who is also protector of a small chapel found in this neighborhood. The festivities of Sa Vilanova is actually an old tradition, but had disappeared, until in 1973 when it was revived by a group of young people that took initiative to organize the festival again. It is a day in the spirit of the community, with dinners, games and traditions.
When: August 15th
Festa de l’Ermita de Maristel
On the last Sunday of August there is a big mass and celebration at the hermitage of Maristel. A lot of people walk to the hermitage by foot n groups, and after the religious rites there will be traditional folk dances, activities and a paella contest.
When: Last Sunday of August
La Fira Dolça d’Esporles
The sweets fair in Esporles is unique and something everyone with a sweet tooth is looking forward to. The fair is celebrated on the first Sunday of October has become an integral part of the autumn schedule of Mallorca. The fair brings together the best of local sweets and pastries from all over the island with hundreds of stalls paint the town in all the colors of the rainbow. In addition to the market, you can look forward to a range of fun and cultural events such as exhibitions, pastry contests, demonstrations, workshops, concerts, dances and more, all parts of an extensive program that makes this day special for both young and adults.
When: First Sunday of October
Esporles enjoys one of the most privileged locations in Mallorca due to the amount of natural springs in the area. The municipality covers a surface of about 3,500 hectares and comprise a population of some 5,000 inhabitants divided in mainly two population centers, Esporles town and s’Esgleieta.
History of Esporles
Esporles is one of the areas that has seen most human occupation in Mallorca, namely due to the many natural water sources that characterize the area.
Esporles is meant to be the very first place inhabited by humans on the entire island, which itself makes it an incredibly interesting historical place. One of the most interesting archaeological sites in Esporles is the natural cave of Canet which was examined and excavated by John S. Kopper in the 1970’s. The finds of remnants of mammals, food deposits and scratches on the walls inside the cave testify to a chronology that, according to Kopper and other researchers, gives us a time span that begins around 7250 BC, in the Neolithic culture of hunting and gathering.
Especially the findings of remnants (bones and skulls) of small indigenous mammals, such as the now extincted Myotragus Balearicus, a dwarf goat from the Pliocene epoch, testify to the prehistory of the area. The goats could have been purely wild living animals or they could have been early examples of domestication and livestock agriculture.
The cave of Canet is about 300 meters deep of karst cavity abundant in natural resources, and catalogued under Natural Heritage of the Balearic Islands.
From around 1100 BC, a new culture arrived in the islands of Menorca and Mallorca, the Talayotic culture, or Talaiotic culture. The Talayotic culture was quite unique compared to other contemporary cultures from the Bronze Ages, as it brought a military-oriented building philosophy with it exemplified in the tower-like constructions used for scouting and veneration. In Catalan, the word “talaia” means watchtower or lookout, which has given the culture its name. The need for constructing lookouts could very well be an indication of some of the first colonizers of the ancient world. Some of the so-called “talayots” (the towers) in Esporles include the Son Miralles, Son Tugores, Son Llabrés, Son Trias, Son Poquet, es Corral Fals of ses Planes de Canet, Son Cabaspre, s’Ossera, Son Antic, es Caragol, Na Servera and finally, the fortified settlement of Mola de Sarrià.
Notably the fortified settlements built during the late Talayotic culture, around the 6th to the 3rd century BC, are most likely the result of colonization by Ancient Greeks and Phoenicians. We know that both the Greeks and Phoenicians started exploring and expanding their territory across the Mediterranean during this period.
The Ancient Greeks crossed the Mediterranean basin and founded major colonies and cities such as the Empúries in present day Girona, Spain, but also many places in present day Italy such as the areas of Campania, Basilicata, Apulia, Sicily, and Calabria. They would probably sail from the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, in what is now Foça, Turkey.
Likewise did the Phoenicians from Carthage expand their territory, only they traveled towards the southern part of the Iberian peninsula, to what is now southern Portugal. The Phoenicians had a predilection for coastal areas and islands, as it gave them better conditions for easily start production factories and ship goods for trading. The southern areas of the Iberian peninsula were known for their richness of minerals, particularly ore, from which metals could be extracted from. We know for sure that the Phoenicians were some of the founders of neighboring island of Eivissa (Ibiza) which at that times was called ‘Ibossim’ or ‘Ibshim’ meaning ‘Island of Pine’.
The colonizing cultures that arrived in the late Bronze Age extended the Talayotic culture by mixing with the indigenous peoples of the island.
The Roman epoch
With the fall of Carthage in 146 BC and the following conquest of the archipelago in 123 BC, the Talayotic culture officially ended in the Balearic Islands. Following the Roman conquest of Mallorca, the cities of Palma and Pol-lèntia (Alcúdia) were founded and used for habitation and trading. However, many of the Talayotic communities in the settlements such as the Sa Granja and Son Llabrés continued to coexist during Roman rule, presumably as slaves used for cultivation. Also, with the Roman rule the Mediterranean triad; olives, vines and wheat, was completed.
In 902, the Balearic archipelago came under Islamic rule as it was annexed to the Emirate of Cordóba. It was Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī, nobleman and general whom during a journey to Mecca landed on the island during a storm, and in the following went to Emir Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi to ask for authorization to capture the archipelago and annex it to the Umayyad dynasty. Before he had went to the caliph, he visited the islands multiple times after his first acquaintance with them, to map them and get familiar with the coasts.
After authorization was given by the caliph to conquer the archipelago and a fleet was granted, Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī took command of the campaign himself. In the years of 902 and 903, the entire island of Mallorca was officially conquered by the Umayyad dynasty and became part of the Al-Andalus (southern Iberian peninsula) called “Les illes Orientals de l’Àndalus“. Following the conquest, Iṣām al-Ḫawlānī was appointed first Moorish governor of the islands and the city of Palma was renamed to Madina Mayurqua or Medina Mayurqa. With this change, the Almudaina palace was constructed as the center of the capital forming a part of a fortification of the inner city, an alcatraz consisting of a wall and towers. Moreover, public baths and mosques were built in the city. The port of Madina soon became a prosperous trading center, as well as an important place for launching pirate raids against ships in the Mediterranean basin. All this made Madina one of the leading cities of Mediterranean culture, and a place of great tolerance with Muslims, Jews and Christians living side by side.
With the new Moorish settlers, a fiscal system was too introduced on the island for the first time in history. The island was divided in twelve ajzà (jurisdictions) whereof Esporles came to belong under the greatest, namely Juz d’ Ahwaz al-Madina, which also comprised Madina, Banyalbufar, Marratxi, Puigpunyent, Estellencs, Calvià and Andratx. Dividing the island in these jurisdictions made it easy to administrate and collect taxes from the farms that were built by the new settlers that primarily came from present day Morocco.
The new extension of agricultural activities brought new crops to the island such as saffron, rice and artichokes. The Moors built advanced systems for irrigation of the soil such as the marjades, the qânats and dry stone walls in the Tramuntana mountains to make the most of the land for cultivation. Many of these constructions are still in use in the Tramuntana, as well as there are catalogued and protected as World Heritage by UNESCO due to their uniqueness.
The Islamic legacy of Esporles can be traced in a number of monuments and even place names of the area, such as the farms of Canet and Alpich (current La Granja). The climate and abundance of natural water sources and springs in the local area led to the constructions of multiple water canals to transport the water to mills and even collect it in cisterns. Especially the hydraulic system built around the Font d’en Baster stream, which operated 32 mills and considered by historians to be the largest assemble of mills on the entire island, stands out and made the valley of Esporles one of the most wealthy areas and able to survive droughts. This particular system has been catalogued as Monument of Cultural Heritage in 2005 by the council of Mallorca.
The Catalan-Aragonese conquest and late Middle Ages
On September 3rd, 1229, King Jaume I of Aragón, 700 horsemen and 20,000 men embarked on the beach of Santa Ponca ready to conquer Mallorca from the Moorish rulers. There were numerous incentives for the campaign, however, the main ones was to end the Moorish piracy and, as a part of the reconquista, annex the archipelago to Christian territory.
Following a siege and brutal sacking of Madina, the king and his almogarvers declared themselves victorious in December the same year, with the unconditional surrender of the Moorish governor Abu Yahya.
According to an agreement between the king and his allies, the lands of Mallorca were divided and distributed among counts, knights and church. The area of present day Esporles was granted Nunó Sanç, the king’s uncle and lord of Roussillon and Cerdanya, whom was one of the protagonists of the conquest. Nunó Sanç was also granted lands in Bunyola, Valldemossa, Felanitx and Manacor. In order to quickly re-populate the area after the dissipation of Moors, Nunó Sanç gave multiple donations to his vassals who would then rent out pieces of land and create jobs. Nunó Sanç died in 1242 without leaving any descendants to inherit his assets, hence the lands he owned in Mallorca went back to the king.
Another aspect of the division, was that King Jaume had promised land to the Cistercian order according to a pact between him and the abbot of the monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona. Nunó Sanç was in charge of granting property to the Cistercians and gave them the current La Granja farm in Esporles, as well as other properties such as the monasteries of Miramar and La Real. It was at that time called Santa Maria de la Font de Deú and was mentioned in a bull from 1236.
In the late 13th century, the jurisdiction of Esporles consisted of valleys that were part of Banyalbufar, Bunyola and Superna, with the population concentrated in the vicinity of the parish church, a local area known as “Vila Vella” (old town). Up until the 19th century, Esporles and Banyalbufar shared administration whereof the seat of this administration was found in Banyalbufar and the ecclesiastical administration belonged in the parish of Esporles. The administration was made up of a board consisting of the royal mayor, the jurors, the councilors and the cleave.
The church was an important element in the life of any village during the Middle Ages, and the church of Esporles had three suffrage churches; Banyalbufar S’Esgleieta and Establiments.
The modern age
The entrance to the modern age was marked by two very dark chapters in the history of Mallorca and Esporles, the revolt of the foreign and the revolt of the Brotherhood. Both these conflicts had roots in the corruption of the nobility.
In the early modern age, Mallorca was more or less divided in two areas; the City of Mallorca (present day Palma) and the Forana (foreign areas) which comprised all areas outside the city. The social gap had grown bigger, and due to droughts, fiscal pressure and corruption, there was a lot of tension between the big landowners and the small farmers and day-laborers. In 1450, things escalated and developed into a series of murders and and crimes against some of the noble families that had set the peasant out of influence. Blood was shed all over the countryside and people of Esporles helped the rebellions. After interference from the king, who in 1453 sent mercenaries to the island, the revolt was put to an end and a following repression of Esporles intensified the fiscal pressure.
About 70 years later, in 1520, the hatred against the noble class was revived, this time by the artisans guilds. In short, the guilds had started a movement, a parallel society with their own courts and laws, as a response to the corruption and public debt that suppressed the people. Assaults and various crimes became everyday life of the Mallorcan people as the Brotherhood “invaded” and occupied numerous villages, including Esporles whose inhabitants helped the Brotherhood. The following one and a half year was marked by battles and crimes, actually, this period was the bloodiest since the Catalan-Aragónese conquest in 1229. King Carles V ended up sending his army to the island in 1523 to end the revolt. The troops arrived in Port d’Alcúdia, a town that had protected the noble families during the time of war and was in the following year awarded “faithful town”. All villages, including Esporles, was penalized with hard repressions that marked the economy for a long time.
An episode in 1763 came to mark the history of Esporles, namely the “War of Water”. Disputes about control and usage of the water sources of Esporles has been an issue since Moorish times, however, this dispute had multiple aspects which made it far more interesting. It was the Esporlerines, the women of the town, that raged against the abbot of the La Real monastery in Palma, whom still meant that the Font Major of La Granja (the big stream passing through the La Granja property) and the Font d’en Baster, belonged to the ecclesiastical authorities of La Real. When the abbot, at that time Agustí Lloret, went to close off the access to the stream the women assaulted him forcing him to flee in terror. This episode happened in a time when the society had seen a series of events where women stood up fighting in favor of their local areas, such as the case of the Valente Dones in Sóller and the brave women who defended Andratx, both during gruesome raids of pirates. This episode gave rise to an expression; “Frares fora” meaning Friars out, a reminder that the ecclesiastical authorities suddenly did not have the power the used to. The episode has so much importance to the local heritage of Esporles that a children’s book named “El Plet de les aigües” has been made to commemorate and teach young people about this.
During the second half of the 19th century, the local economy started to change as an emerging textile industry started evolving. Utilizing the power created by the water mills in the area, several textile factories could be set up and generate new sources of income. The nascent industrialization favored the unions of the labor movement, which later led to the formation of republican and socialist groups. Confrontations between the political formations happened a lot during the Second Spanish Republic and during the Spanish Civil War. Esporles was one of the few villages to oppose and stand up against Falange, but also the municipality that felt the hardest consequences and repression following the wartime.
Esporles in contemporary times
The emerging tourism industry that irrupted in the 1960’s caused great demographic decrease in Esporles as the economy became more based on service and construction.
National police: 091
Local police: 092
Guarda civil: 062
Maritime emergencies: 900 202 202
Find an open pharmacy anywhere in Mallorca
To find an open pharmacy, or opening hours of a certain pharmacy, simply follow the link below to search for a pharmacy.
When on the page, select ‘Mallorca’ from the list and then select the town you need a pharmacy in from the drop down list.
Town Hall of Esporles
If there is something you need to know that you can not find on this page, please visit or call the Town Hall for tourist and practical information.
Plaça de l’Ajuntament ,1
Telephone: +34 971 61 00 02
Bus line 200
Estellencs – Palma:
- Ctra. Esporles-Banyalbufar
- ses Rogetes
- Hospital Son Espases
There are four bus stops in Esporles, below are directions to each of them.
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.
Cala Sant Vicenç
Camp de Mar
Port de Pollença
Port de Sóller