Once the summer season is over, Mallorca becomes a hive of activity for not only those clad in lycra cycling gear but also for ramblers, climbers and deep water soloists. The Tramuntana Mountain range in West Mallorca and the more modest Serra de Llevant mountains in the East see more and more visitors as hiking boots are retrieved from the cupboard and given a quick dust-off.
Although walking and hiking in Mallorca has become more popular in recent years, most paths and routes are still very quiet so you often feel like you have the whole place to yourself. It may be that you only have to share the views with a couple of mountain goats! Walking in Mallorca can take you past some beautiful scenery that many miss out on during beach holidays. There really is so much to offer walkers and there are routes suitable for beginners right through to more advanced walkers. Mallorca has a total of five summits that reach over 1000m for those looking for more of a challenge, and there are many hiking trails that will take you to the summits.
The Government have invested a great deal of money in developing walking trails and paths to make walking in Mallorca much more accessible. Many paths that exist already are marked out with wooden sign posts and they are very well marked every few km’s. You do have to watch the path when walking in Mallorca, as some 800 years ago the entire island was claimed as private property. Although many paths are of course accessible to the public, some areas are split by gates or fences that must be closed behind you. Please do not trespass if there are clear signs not to do so!
Enjoy any one of the coastline walks and admire the sea with its hidden coves and crystal blue waters. Or try some more challenging mountain trails and discover pure water fountains, wild goats and stalagmite caves. You may even spot one of Spain's rare breeds - the eagle.
The best time for hiking is probably spring or late summer, when the temperatures are slightly cooler and the crowds have disappeared. Spring is also a wonderful time to walk through the countryside, when flowers and greenery fill the landscapes. Late summer and autumn may not be so green but it is still warm enough for a swim should you happen to come accross a hidden bay.
We have compiled a list of hiking routes, ranging from very gentle village walks, to walks where you can enjoy the coastline and the more challenging mountain hiking trails. The paths are normally very well sign posted and well maintained. Please do take note of any 'tresspassing' signs - some of the land is privately owned (around 90% of the Tramuntana range is not accessible for this reason). The government is currently talking to the land owners to try and negotiate public rights of way along pre-existing paths.
If you come into any difficulty whilst walking in the hills, there is a mountain rescue service available - call 112. This service is free, but you should of course always have travel insurance which includes any activities that you may be undertaking whilst visiting Mallorca.
1. Don’t do it alone! For safety reasons it is best to walk with a group or a friend. Mobile phone reception can be dubious on the hills so be aware of this.
2. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, for example the receptionist at your hotel. You never know, they might also know a good route to suggest too!
3. Be prepared for the level of difficulty and terrain that you are hiking on. Make sure you are wearing suitable clothing and pack extra in case the weather changes. If travelling at night then bring a torch and wear reflective clothing.
4. It is mandatory to carry identification when in Mallorca so bring a passport or driving licence. Also carry your EHIC or travel insurance card.
5. Always bring your own water and high energy food with you; don’t rely on springs or rivers because during the summer they are often dry.
6. Be aware of heat in the summer; between June-September the sun is very strong and can tire you quickly. In the Autumn the sun begins to set shortly after 7 and it is dark by 8.
7. Do not make fires in the forest, especially not in the summer as forest fires can quickly form and get out of hand.
Mountain Refuges & Camping in Mallorca
Simple hostels where hikers can stay the night
The Consell de Mallorca has invested money in renovating hostels along hiking routes to give tired walkers a place to stay for the night. These refuges offer a choice of private rooms and dorms, with toilets, showers and warm water. Some have more services than others (e.g. a kitchen) but most will have a dining area.
It is recommended that you bring your sleeping bag in case there are no beds available. You can make a reservation online or by either contacting the Consell de Mallorca on +971 173 731 or the Institute Balear de la Natura (IBANAT) on +34 971 517 070. Phone lines are open between 9am-2pm for both. Reservations must be made five days in advanced and not more than two months in advance.
The popular week long GR221 walk has hostels at the end of each stage, owned by many organisations ranging from the Consell de Mallorca, Town councils and an Ornithology Group. Hostels along the route include Son Amer, Tossals Verds, Can Boi and Pont Roma, reservations must be made five days in advanced.
An alternative for cheap hostel accommodation is to stay in one of the hilltop sanctuaries. There are around eight of these in Mallorca, and they offer simple rooms with bathroom facilities. Some have a bar or a restaurant. More information on Staying in Sanctuaries in Mallorca can found in this leaflet.
There are two campsites on the island. In Lluc there is a campsite called Ca s’Amitger that is only accessible by foot, for further information and reservations call +34 971 517 070. There is also a campsite in Hipocampo in the Llevant nature park, near the refuge of s’Arenalet des Verger in the municipality of Artà. Call +34 971 833 715.
Where to go Walking in Mallorca
Try one of the Natural Parks or in the mountain ranges
Serra de Tramuntana
The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range creates the ‘backbone’ of Mallorca spanning from the south to the north along the whole western part of the island. Awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2011, the Tramuntana mountains are recognised for their physical and cultural significance to the island. The highest peak in Mallorca’s largest mountain range is the Puig Major with a height of 1445m and is unsuprisingly the highest mountain in the whole of the Balearic Islands. The mountains are made from limestone and offer many crags for climbing as well as walking.
Soller is a hub for mountain walkers in this area and you can find many classic hikes from this town. The popular ‘Barranc de Biniaraix’ walk takes you through a gorge that descends 800m down through the dramatic landscape. Another more advanced path is the Torrent del Pareis but can be a dangerous climb depending on the water flow of the river, not one for the faint-hearted and definitely best to check the situation of the river before going.
Serra Llevant (Llevant Natural Park)
The less dramatic but no less magnificent mountains are those in the Serra Llevant in the north east of Mallorca. Here you can find some beautiful walks around Cala Ratjada or Arta where you can see coves and calas with stunning blue seas. Often on a clear day you can see the smaller Balearic island of Menorca.These mountains are only around 500m, with the highest peak being the ‘Puig de la Talaia Freda’ which reaches 562m. This hilly Natural Park has coastal views with beaches such as Es Matzoc, Cala Font Celada and S’Arenalet d’Albarca all being within the park area. There are eight routes through the park, all of various lengths and some join together to take you from the starting point to the beach areas. Along the paths include several overnight hostels each with their own charm and set in the natural park environment. There is also a small camping area here near the La Caseta des Oguers area of the park.
Cabrera Natural Park (Islands to the south east of Mallorca)
The Cabrera Islands lie 10km off the south east corner of Mallorca and form the protected Maratime-Terrestrial Natural Park. The ecosystems here have been relatively well protected and preserved. The 14km coastline of the main island offers coves and inlets throughout the small island with the highest peak being only 172m. There are several hikes where you can visit the ruined castle, the lighthouse or numerous caves, these must be arranged with the park ranger in advance. Access is only granted to authorised boats which leave from Colonia de Sant Jordi daily during peak season. More details can be found on our Cabrera Natural Park page.
Sa Dragonera Natural Park
The terrain here is very dry due to a shortage of water and effects of the salty sea hitting the rocks, this has then formed great cliffs on the island. The island of Sa Dragonera is steeped with history as the moorish pirates used this island as a base for attacking the Mallorcan coast. There are three main trails here, each from Cala Lledo to either the Llebeig lighthouse, a 4.5km walk along a path to the south of Sa Dragonera or the Vell lighthouse, 2.8km rocky path where walking shoes are recommended and thirdly a shorter half hour walk to the Tramuntana lighthouse.
Mondrago Natural Park
Near the Santanyi region, this 785 hectare national park is mainly privately owned. Walks in Mondrago Natural Park range from 25 to 40 minutes, each sampling varied vegetation and surroundings. One path rises to the top of a coastal cliffs that are well worth the walk, another takes you up the side of a ravine to the viewpoint at Ses Fonts de N’Alis where the damp conditions allow unusual vegetation to grow. Other walks include a bird observatory and also paths that cross small fields and pass by old waterwheels.
This 17km walk in the North of Mallorca, these two well signposted routes can be done either by foot, cycle or sometimes organised horse rides. Here the land was used for agriculture and some old buildings remain.
GR221 Dry Stone Walk
If you really feel like a challenge, the 135km GR221 or ‘dry stone walk’ is a long distance walk and hike split into 8 stages through the Tramuntana mountains. Some parts are possible without a guide, however areas such as the Esporles to Valldemossa and Valldemossa to Deia are better to go with someone who knows the path. This is due to the incomplete signposts which can make taking the wrong route quite easy. The Consell de Mallorca has invested money in renovating refuges at the end of each stage to provide hungry hikers with a meal and local wine after a tough day walking.
If you’re renting a car then getting around can be very easy and parking is often available in local towns or right by the bottom of the start of the hiking path.