The Puig de Randa, rising 543m out of the plain, has been a place of pilgrimage ever since Ramon Llull founded Mallorca's first hermitage here in 1275.
Llull arrived aged 40, shaken by an incident that made him re-assess his way of life. Bent on seduction, he had chased a married woman through Palma on horseback. Unable to shake him off, she lifted her blouse to reveal cancerous breasts, and Llull retired in isolation to Puig de Randa to ponder a life of youthful excess.
These days pilgrims to Puig de Randa are as likely to be weekend cyclists in search of a challenge, as they are seekers of religious truth. The winding road to the summit leads to three separate hermitages.
The lowest, Oratori de Nostra Senyora de Gracia, is perched on a ledge on the cliff above a sheer 200m drop. Further up is the Santuari de Sant Honorat and finally Santuari de Cura, where Llull lived. The sense of history is somewhat offset by the radio mast on the mountain top and the electric candles in the church, but this is still a special place.
Visit the Sala Gramatica to see Llull's original manuscripts and a bottle of 1934 Chartreuse made in the monastery, then look out from the terrace at the views of the plain, with Palma Bay and the isle of Cabrera in the distance. Simple rooms are available in a modern pilgrims' block.
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