I didn’t really think of Mallorca as a place to go hiking before I searched for a place in Europe where I could hike in the mountains and chill at the beach at the same time. I always thought Mallorca is a place for party people and not so much for nature lovers. Well, guess I was wrong, it turns out the GR221 is a proper multi day hike with very rewarding views! The time at the beach is limited, but believe me, you’ll enjoy the silence and serenity in the mountains so much more than the crowded beaches!
Officially, the hike starts at Port d’Andratx and ends at Pollença. Since I actually did want to spend a couple of days at the beach and the accommodation on the first few days is not easy to find, I decided to start the hike in Valldemossa. From there there is a hostel from the municipality at every stop. The hostels are cheap compared to the other accommodations (ca. €20 per night), are basic but very clean and all happen to be situated in scenic environments. The only hostel I didn’t stay, is the one in Pollença, because it’s only open on weekends. You can make a reservation online.
The hike is also known as the Dry Stone Route, since the entire hike is made up from stone paths. The disadvantage of the stones is that your feet will hurt when you don’t bring shoes with proper soles (like me). I tried to tell myself I was receiving an entire day of acupressure massage, but unfortunately that didn’t take the pain away until day 3 when my feet started to get used to it. Technically, the trails are not difficult at all, so there is no need to bring heavy boots, but bringing sandals was a little bit too optimistic. The best option is to bring breathable trainers which all the locals do.
The advantage, on the other hand, is that it’s mostly pretty easy to follow the paths - just look for the stones. Generally, the paths are pretty easy to follow and very clear. The first day is not marked all the way through, but starting from Deia the trails are marked all the way. Still I would always keep maps.me at hand. At times maps.me will make you want to take a different path, just make sure to always follow the official signposts.
Day 1 Valldemossa - Deia (↑580m ↓870m; 4.5 hours)
Since I had spent the night in Palma, I made my way early in the morning to Valldemossa. There is a bus leaving at 6.15 and at 7.30. I thought it would be smart to start as early as possible in order to avoid the midday heat, so I opted for the bus at 6.15. Thirty minutes later I was in Valldemossa - in the pitch dark. Obviously, I didn’t really think this whole thing through and I didn’t realize the sun wouldn’t rise until 7.20. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to walk around the beautiful cobble stoned town for an hour or so.
At around 8 I started the official hike. Best is to first navigate to Refugi de Cairats on maps.me to make sure you’re on the right track (this part of the trail is not marked very well). Right at the beginning you will come across a gate which you can open at the right hand side. Shortly after, maps.me will make it look like you have to turn to the left, leaving the main road. Don’t do that! I ended up in some forest, only to end up going back to the main road again.
Once you leave the gate on the other side, you turn left. From here it’s safe to follow maps.me again. You will find yourself in a forest and the track will slowly start to get steeper. Once you pass the Refugi, the path will soon become more even and you’ll start having some great views.
Shortly before I arrived at Puig Gros I ended up being surrounded by clouds which was an amazing experience, but it did prevent me from enjoying the rest of the view.
Once you start to descend to Deia you should pay very well attention. There is a clear sign which prevents you from taking the wrong route (though maps.me will insist you take it). Really keep an eye on maps.me and watch out for signposts and stones stacked on top of each other. I almost got lost and it seems there is only one (long!) way down to Deia. It’s a tedious descent of 800m through the forest. For me descending is the hardest part, so I was very happy when I arrived at the Refugi Can Boi.
Day 2 - Deia - Sóller/Refugi de Muleta (↑420m ↓570m; 3 hours)
This is definitely the easiest day of all. I went to Refugi de Muleta, the way to Sóller parts at a certain point and takes a little bit longer. Generally the path is easy, leading through forests with occasional sea views.
I personally didn’t find this hike to be very scenic, but that was no problem. It saved me time (otherwise I always lose so much time taking pictures :p), so I had more time to enjoy the beach at Port de Sóller! Once I arrived at the Refugi de Muleta, I left my backpack and made my way to the beach which takes about 30-45 minutes. Here I relaxed for the rest of the day, mentally preparing myself for the days to come.
Day 3 - Biniaraix - Tossals Verds (↑800m ↓500m; 5 hours)
Actually I was supposed to hike from Refugi de Muleta, but since I already had sore calf muscles and the arch of my feet were hurting from all the stones, I decided to take a taxi to Biniaraix. I ended up finding a family who also decided to skip this first part and we shared the taxi. In Biniaraix you immediately start climbing. Fortunately, the climb is facilitated by stairs which were well made and even. The stairs definitely make this climb a lot easier and it’s a relief to the feet, because the stones don’t pierce through the soles.
Up until the embassement de Cúber I encountered quite some people, many of them running up and down the stairs. Once you pass the embassement the amount of people will drop drastically. From here, there are two different ways of getting to Tossals Verds: an easy and long way or a difficult and quick way. The easy way leads around the mountain, whereas the difficult path leads over the mountain. I opted for the easy and long way and it turned out I made the right decision. Later in the hostel I met some people who had taken the difficult option and who regretted their decision. It seems to be pretty tough and at times not very accessible. The easy way on the other hand is mostly even, with an easy descent towards the end. Along the way, you’ll get wonderful views over the embassement del Gorg Blau.
Be aware that the Refugi Tossals Verds is located beautifully in the midst of the mountains. There are no facilities around whatsoever.
Day 4 - Tossals Verds - Lluc (↑830m ↓870m; 5.30 hours)
This was my favourite day. It’s supposed to be the hardest day, but the views are so rewarding all along the path, I hardly noticed I was even hiking. By now I also didn’t suffer from sore muscles or painful feet anymore, so I could simply soak in the tremendous beauty of nature and enjoy the experience.
The descent starts off with stone stairs again, though these stairs are not nearly as well done as the previous ones. Fortunately, the stairs are not as long and the path continues through the forest.
The Refugi Son Amer is a bit outside of Lluc, so if you want to walk around the village, I would do it before going to the refugi. The village is very small and has some strange, but interesting statues and the monastery seems to be well known. Many people also opt to stay in the monastery instead of the refugi.
Day 5 - Lluc - Pollença (↑330m ↓760m; 4 hours) + Pollença - Puig de Maria (↑275m ↓275m; 1.5 hours)
The last day is pretty easy and leads mostly through the forest. There is one viewpoint, pretty much at the beginning of the hike. It requires a short detour of about 5 minutes to get there, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
Apart from this viewpoint there are not many views. Most of the hike leads through quiet forests, which are equally beautiful.
Once I reached Pollença, I left my backpack in the AirBnb and I continued to the Puig de Maria. This is a relatively short and easy hike up to a small hill just outside of Pollença. It’s a steep but short climb and well worth a visit. On top of the hill there’s a small chapel and wonderful views over the city and the sea.