The Tramuntana mountain range, which follows the western coast of Mallorca from Andratx in the south to Cap Formentor in the north, is a walker's paradise. With 54 peaks over 1000 metres (3280 feet), there are plenty of opportunities for summit-baggers.
This last week has brought some variable weather, with some much needed rain in the form of heavy showers throughout most of the island. However we managed to pick a nice day last Friday and set off for Puig Galatzo. At 1027 metres, it is not the highest mountain on Majorca, however due to it being the only distinguishable, pyramidal peak on the skyline to the south, the view from the top makes it worth the effort.
We set off from Soller, in the central region of the Tramuntana, by car. It took us just under an hour to reach the trail head, taking the scenic coastal road which affords great views along the south west coast. If undertaken around the end of January / early February, the almond blossom is another highlight of the journey, as it colours the terraces and provides a wonderful fragrance.
There are a few routes up onto the peak of Puig Galatzo. We opted for the most picturesque one, starting at kilometre 97 on the coastal road just south of Estellencs. The roadside parking is very limited here and an early start is advisable. The trail itself ascends immediately from the road and we were soon all shedding a layer from the exertion. After 15 minutes we reached the recreation spot at Son Fortuny where you have the opportunity to view a reconstructed charcoal burners' hut, reminding us of a bygone era. From here the four wheel drive trail gives way to a single track that continues steadily uphill. The path bypasses two impressive mountains; Es Pinotells and the Penyal des Morro, but it is not until higher up that you are finally awarded a glimpse of the peak of Galatzo itself. The vegetation in the area consists mainly of holm oaks, rosemary, hypericum baleares, juniper, cyclamen balearicum and Mauritanian grasses.
Despite the warm winter sun, the wind was gusting strongly as we gained elevation and we were soon reaching for our hats, gloves and jackets again. One of the group decided that the combination of the rocky terrain and strong winds was getting the better of her vertigo and she decided to wait for us below the peak. The last 20 minutes were definitely more of a scramble than a walk but the rewards at the summit were breath taking. The top of the mountain is frequently covered by clouds which unfortunately reduces the chances of enjoying the views. However we were lucky as the high winds that we experienced, had cleared the clouds away and afforded us a spectacular 360 degree panorama, taking in Andratx and the bay of Palma to the south and Puig Major to the north.
There is one survey point at the top, which separates the properties of Son Fortuny (Estellencs), Son Nét (Puigpunyent) and Galatzó (Calvià). It is said that the Lords of each of these three properties used to convene at the summit around a table with neither having to leave his own property.
Once the photos had been taken, the celebratory chocolate biscuits were shared out along with the hot flask of tea. It had been a wonderful day and well worth the effort.
Although way markers on the island have improved greatly in the last few years, a map and guidebook should be carried as a point of reference. The path itself is in good condition, but good hiking shoes or boots are essential, as it is rocky the whole way up and back down. The walk is only relatively short; 10 kilometres there and back but with over 700 metres climbing; it's not a hike to be undertaken lightly.
Andy Mitter & Michelle Holland operate Tramuntana Tours, an adventure company offering a range of outdoor activities.
- Hiking / Walking