Port de Sóller: The Gateway to the Heart of Sierra de Tramuntana
Weather in Port de Sóller
Port de Sóller is a small coastal town in Mallorca, located in the center of Sierra de Tramuntana, with just over 2,500 inhabitants.
Built around a bay that serves as an excellent natural harbor, it is only 3 km from Sóller, which, with 12,000 inhabitants, is the true capital of the Tramuntana.
The unique microclimate of Sóller Valley has made it especially suitable for citrus cultivation since the Islamic period, a tradition that continues to this day.
The isolation of the valley due to its difficult connection with the rest of the island has shaped the character of Sóller and its residents, even to this day.
Since the 18th century, Port de Sóller maintained a close trade relationship with France, exporting citrus and other products from the valley’s orchards.
At the same time, many French people settled here, leaving their mark on the language, certain customs, and even the local architecture. Today, many families in Sóller still maintain ties with France.
The advent of tourism in the 1920s, along with improvements in transportation (roads, and primarily the train through a tunnel), broke the centuries-old isolation of Sóller Valley.
Nevertheless, it continues to be a coastal town with a unique character, living between the sea and the imposing mountains that separate it from the rest of the island.
How to Get to Port de Sóller
The traditional isolation of Sóller and its port was overcome with the construction of a modern road in the 1920s, progressively improved, and with the opening of the railway, still in use, in 1912. The opening of the Sóller tunnel in 1997 brought this region even closer to the rest of the island, significantly shortening the journey by avoiding the ascent to Coll de Sóller.
How to Get to Port de Sóller by Car
- From Palma, the most direct route is to take the Ma-11 road towards Sóller, and once there, follow the signs to Port de Sóller.
Although the tunnel saves a lot of travel time, you have the option to take the old Coll de Sóller road.
With its famous 62 curves, many of them 180 degrees, you can enjoy the views it offers, with Sóller Valley on one side and Pla de Mallorca on the other.
- From the rest of the island, the fastest option is to connect to the Ma-13 highway and then take exit 8 towards Bunyola. From there, follow the signs to Sóller.
- Another, longer but very picturesque, option is to head to Inca and follow the signs towards Lluc. You will pass through the villages of Selva and Caimari, and once in the mountains, at the turnoff to the monastery of Lluc, you just have to follow the signs to Sóller. You’ll pass by the Cúber reservoir and the Gorg Blau, and you can enjoy the spectacular landscapes of the Sierra de Tramuntana.
- Finally, if you are in the northern part of Mallorca, you can head to Pollensa and take the Ma-10 road towards Lluc. You just need to follow the signs to Sóller and then to Port de Sóller.
How to Get to Port de Sóller by Public Transportation
- line 204, direct to Sóller and Port de Sóller
- line 203, which passes through Valldemossa and Deià before reaching Sóller
However, the most touristy alternative is to take the Sóller train, the traditional wooden train, and then hop on the tram that goes down to Port de Sóller.
How to Get to Port de Sóller by Boat
Port de Sóller has its own marina, Marina Tramontana. It offers more than 160 transient berths, with the capacity to accommodate boats ranging from 2 to 35 meters in length.
The first typical activity you can do in Port de Sóller is to arrive on the traditional tram after taking the train journey from Palma to Sóller. The rattle of the tram as you cross orange orchards towards the sea is a unique experience.
Beach den Repic is a sandy beach with calm waters and all the services to enjoy it comfortably, whether with friends or family.
Here, you can engage in various water activities: from taking a simple dip, exploring the nearby seabed by snorkeling, booking diving trips, or going for SUP or kayaking.
Near the marina, you’ll find the oldest urban area of Port de Sóller.
You can walk through its cobbled streets and discover the unique local architecture, influenced by the terrain and the trade with France.
In this same area, you’ll find the Museum of the Sea located in the former oratory of Santa Catalina de Alejandría . Its exhibitions will reveal details about the maritime activities in the history of Mallorca, information about shipwrecks in its waters, or the art of building traditional llaüts .
About 200 meters from the Museum of the Sea, you’ll find the Sa Creu lighthouses. The old one, built in 1864, is located very close to a bufador (a rock chimney) that, on stormy days, shoots columns of water up to 30 meters high over the lighthouse. This led to the construction of a new one slightly further inland, which was put into service in 1945 and is still operational.
On the other side of the bay, you’ll find the Cap Gros lighthouse, built in 1859.
Both lighthouses in Port de Sóller were the first electrified lighthouses in the Balearic Islands, but the precariousness of the electrical line required turning on the emergency lamps almost every day.
About 3 kilometers from the center of Port de Sóller, you’ll find the Torre Picada, a watchtower built in 1622 to alert of the presence of corsairs and pirates.
It was part of the watchtower system built along the Mallorcan coast in the 16th and 17th centuries. These towers, with fires on their roofs, signaled threats. The tower was in service until the 19th century, to monitor smuggling, and it is in good condition. From its location, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Sóller coastline.
Being in the heart of the Sierra de Tramuntana, Port de Sóller is ideal for hiking, with several routes passing through here.
- Route 1: a loop around Cap Gros and possessió de Muleta, medium difficulty, 6 km
- Route 2: a circular route around another part of Cap Gros, easy, 6 km
- Route 3: an excursion on the other side of Sóller bay, passing by the Torre Picada, medium difficulty, 6 km
- Route 4: ascent to Puig de Bàlitx, difficult, 10 km
- Route 5: from Port de Sóller to Sóller, passing through Fornalutx and Binibassí, moderate difficulty, 13 km
- Route 6: an excursion from Port de Sóller to Deià following the GR221 and passing through Llucalcari, medium difficulty, 15 km
Human presence in the Sóller Valley dates back to at least 4000 BC, as evidenced by sites like Puig d’en Canals, in Port de Sóller itself
Reinforcing the thesis that the first inhabitants of Mallorca settled in the Sierra de Tramuntana.
The pre-Talaiotic inhabitants suffered the invasion of the Talaiotics around 1300 BC, and later the Romans
Numerous ceramic remains and the presence of several shipwrecks in the waters very close to Port de Sóller confirm intense commercial activity between this region and Rome.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, very turbulent times were experienced throughout the Mediterranean, and the coasts of Sóller were no exception
The inhabitants of these lands resorted to piracy and, in turn, suffered the incursions of enemy pirates.
Finally, in the 10th century, Mallorca was conquered by the Muslims, and from this period comes the name of Sóller: Sûlyâr (valley of gold)
The Muslims brought citrus fruits from the Far East, especially oranges of the canoneta variety, highly appreciated for their sweet taste and adapted to the microclimate of the Sóller Valley. The Muslims also built the terraces and hydraulic infrastructure typical of this part of the Sierra de Tramuntana. After the Christian conquest of 1229, the Sóller Valley came into the hands of several Catalan nobles: the Count of Empúries and the Viscount of Béarn.
From the 15th century, piracy by Turks and Berbers intensified.
A very remembered episode, and the origin of the traditional festivals of Sóller, was the attack suffered on May 11, 1561
That day, 1600 Algerian pirates landed in Port de Sóller to seize all the loot and slaves they could load onto their 22 ships. What they did not know was that, after having taken on water in Ibiza, news of the imminent attack had been given to Palma. Thus, an army of Christian peasants was able to confront the Moors during their looting, expelling them from the island.
In another raid, two Sóller women killed three pirates who were trying to loot their house
This episode, remembered as The Valiant Women, is also commemorated in the local festivals. These events, and many others like them, led to the construction of a system of watchtowers and defense throughout the coast, including the Torre Picada, which guarded the entrance to the Sóller Bay.
From the early 18th century, an important French colony was established in Sóller, with many of its members being exiles fleeing the French Revolution
The presence of these wealthy immigrants boosted the local economy and also contributed to the distinctive character, and even the language, of the people of Sóller.
In the 19th century, Sóller suffered a major economic crisis due to a plague that decimated the orange trees in the valley in 1860
There was a great emigration to France and the Caribbean, but the return of these enriched immigrants years later triggered another major economic boom, also due to trade with France. In fact, the Sóller region was one of the first places in Mallorca to have electricity, with the construction of a hydroelectric power station in Sa Costera in 1908, which remained in operation until 1958 when the region was connected to the island’s main electrical grid.
Until the opening of the train in 1912 and the road (in the 1920s), the journey from Palma to Sóller by stagecoach took two days, with an overnight stay at an inn near the mouth of the current tunnel.
Improved communications and its ideal location for maritime routes to the mainland led to a burgeoning tourist industry in the 1920s
The Spanish Civil War interrupted this progress. Another consequence was the establishment of a naval base in Port de Sóller in 1937, which even housed submarines.
After the war, the local economy received a new boost with the presence of American soldiers, stationed at the Puig Major air base (with its radar monitoring the skies of the western Mediterranean) or at the Port de Sóller naval base. Many Sóller women married American soldiers stationed at these bases.
The American presence ended when both bases were transferred to the Spanish military, but in these years, the local economy had definitively shifted towards tourism
But unlike other areas, Port de Sóller has managed to avoid overcrowding and has maintained a high level of quality in its hotel and restaurant offerings, attracting travelers more interested in the natural, scenic, and cultural values that the heart of the Sierra de Tramuntana can offer.