There are some majestic mountains to climb in Mallorca, remote and spectacular, with peaks above 1300 metres and sheer drops to the sea. In fact there are two mountain ranges; the Serra de Tramuntana, which stretches across the island’s SE to NW coastline and a second smaller range on the eastern coast; the Serra de Llevant.
Unique in its location, Pollensa old town sits in a small valley at the foot of the Tramuntana, Mallorca's largest mountain range, some 6km from the sea, an ideal starting point for innumerable walks, hikes, treks and excursions in the area.
A great way to launch into the walking experience is to start with a small, manageable and enjoyable walk in Pollensa.
Walking time: Approximately 45 minutes walk up, marginally less on the way down.
Wherever you are standing in Pollensa old town, you can pretty much always see the Puig. It’s the 330 m high near perfectly symmetrical hill on the southern side of the village with a small medieval monastery on top.
It takes approximately 45 minutes to walk to the top at a leisurely pace. Ultra-fit mountain runners make it in less than 20 minutes; kids take short cuts over the boulders between the zig zagging paths. I have even seen women walk it in high heels. Basically, as long as you can walk, you can do the Puig!
You can cheat and drive half way of course, there is a small parking space, but not to the very top, as the paths becomes too narrow and pebbled for any form of transport apart from a quad bike, so if you are going to enjoy the views and the restaurant, some walking will have to be done.
The chapel dates from 1348, built to plead for safety from the raging Black Death epidemic which decimated about 20% of the island's population, and the monastery was built 14 years later to house local nuns, while outer walls and defence towers were added later. The nuns lived and worshipped here for hundreds of years, finally leaving under duress in 1564 when the monastery was forced to close and it remained closed until 1638. In the 18th century the building were reformed and altered dramatically in style from Gothic to Baroque and was then reverted to its original style a century later during the Gothic revival. Many different monastic orders have lived and prayed amongst these walls but it has been many decades now since it was a working religious site.
The austere medieval monastery and chapel have been preserved and the refectory remains the same. For a wonderfully peaceful experience and a small fee you can stay in the cool dark monk cells for the night, you will be asked to pay extra for use of the shower, and then awake to the glorious views and breakfast on one of the terraces by the cafe.
Aside from the views along the walk, walking up the Puig is entirely worthwhile thanks to a very fine restaurant on the top, rustic and simple, but serving delicious local dishes like paella and arroz brut.
Personally I go for the arroz brut, best and most rewarding in winter, but delicious at any time of year.
It is a hot soupy rice dish with rabbit and chicken liver and any game on hand; hare, quail, and local sausages botifarrón and sobrasada, green beans and artichokes, and a concoction of spices.
Arros brut, meaning dirty rice is traditional farmer's dish made up from a concoction of ingredients, supposedly, whatever was available, and as such, there are a medley of versions.
Preparation time: 50 minutes + 20 minutes cooking.
Ingredients for 4 people: 700 g of meat (chicken, duck, pigeon, quail, pork rib, rabbit), one rabbit liver and one chicken liver, 400 g of rice, 1 tomato, medium onion, 1 artichoke, 150 g of mushrooms, medium red pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 100 g of green beans, a handful of peas, a few sprigs of parsley, 5 tablespoons olive oil, saffron, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, 3 litres of water.
Now you have your own dish of Arros Brut!
And if you would like to spend your holidays in the area, we have a lovely 2 bedroom family villa to let on the side of the Puig de Maria hill, the perfect base for a walking holiday in Pollensa.
Villa Coster del Puig has spectacular views over the old town of Pollensa and to the wooded hills beyond, and is only a short walk from the town itself. Indoors the decor is traditional yet refurbished and comfortable, with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Outdoors there is a pool set in manicured lawns with a bbq area and lots of room for relaxing, playing, sunbathing and eating outdoors.