Selva; the gateway to the Tramuntana Mountains
Weather in Selva
Selva is a small town with just over 2000 inhabitants, the largest in the municipality of the same name. It is located at the foothills of the Sierra de Tramuntana, and is often considered the gateway to this mountain range, as the steeper slopes begin here.
Although it’s not situated in the heart of the Tramuntana, the town possesses the typical characteristics of mountain villages.
It is built on a hill crowned by the parish church, with houses built in a staggered manner around it. The view of Selva with the Sierra de Tramuntana in the background is highly appreciated by visitors, who often stop on the road to immortalize it.
The atmosphere of the town is calm and peaceful, evident while strolling through its streets, many of which are cobblestoned, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking these qualities.
Yet at the same time, it offers all the services for a comfortable stay (supermarket, shops, health center…), in addition to the convenience of being only 2 km away from Inca, which has connections by train and highway to the rest of Mallorca.
How to get to Selva
Selva has easy access to the highway and railway (in Inca), making connections to the rest of Mallorca very straightforward.
How to get to Selva by car
- From Palma, simply take the Ma-13 highway towards Inca, and at exit 25, follow the signs to Lluc
- From the north of Mallorca (Pollensa, Alcudia, Can Picafort), take the road to connect with the Ma-13 highway, and choose exit 30 or 25, following the signs to Lluc
- If you’re in the east of the island (from Cala Ratjada in the northeast to Cala d’Or further south), head towards Manacor. From there, take the Ma-15, and quickly switch to the Ma-3320 following signs to Inca. There you will find signs to Lluc, leading you to Selva
How to get to Selva by public transport
The interurban line 312 reaches Selva, connecting it with the bus and train station in Inca, as well as the bus stop at Inca–Levante. From there, you can link to the rest of Mallorca.
- From Palma: line 304, or the T1 railway line
- From Alcudia and Can Picafort: line 302
- From Can Picafort: line 316
- From Pollensa: line 301
- From Palma airport: express line A32
- From Manacor: T3 railway line
Things to See in Selva
Like any town steeped in history, Selva holds some surprises for its visitors.
The parish church of Sant Llorenç, located in the Main Square, is visible from several kilometers away due to Selva’s elevation above the surrounding plain.
The original church was built shortly after the Christian conquest of 1229, and its expansion was decided in 1301. However, the works extended until the 16th century. In the 17th century, the church was expanded with two chapels, the bell tower, and access stairs. A fire caused severe damage in 1855, and the church was repaired following the plans from the 17th-century expansion, which is what has survived to this day.
Selva, like many neighboring towns, had a powerful leather industry, especially in footwear.
The Kollflex brand, which began in a small artisan workshop and grew into a large factory, had a presence in Europe, Asia, and America. The store it still maintains in the town houses a Footwear Museum exhibiting original pieces, some nearly 90 years old, along with artisanal tools and more modern machines. This allows visitors to follow the shoe creation process, from design to final production, as well as the evolution of manufacturing techniques.
Boundary crosses are typically stone crosses on a pedestal with uncertain but ancient origins that usually mark municipal boundaries, town entrances, or certain intersections.
These monuments arrived in Mallorca with the Christian conquest of 1229. In the town of Selva, there are three: the Sa plana (or Can Costa) from the 16th or 17th century; Valella from 1710; and Camarata from 1907. It’s a good pastime to wander the streets of the town in search of these crosses.
Christ the King Oratory
Until 1925, the parish of Selva celebrated its Easter pilgrimages to the hermitage of Santa Lucía, next to the village of Mancor. However, that year Mancor de la Vall became an independent municipality, and the parish rector of Selva promoted the construction of a new oratory within the municipal term, atop the hill of Coves d’en Galileu. Its construction finished in 1927. However, earth movements from blasts and machinery in the coal mine beneath the hill caused the ground to collapse, almost completely destroying the hermitage, of which only two walls remain standing (currently fenced off due to the risk of further collapses).
However, these ruins and the location they are in are worth visiting for the magnificent views they offer over the Pla de Mallorca, reaching as far as the Bay of Alcudia and the mountains of the Serra de Llevant.
Interestingly, in some houses on the access road to Christ the King (Son Penya), there was a station for the optical telegraph that communicated Palma with Alcudia in the 18th and 19th centuries, before the installation of the electric telegraph.
Things to Do in Selva
Selva and its surroundings are a good example that Mallorca is much more than sun and beach. Here are some things we can do.
The urban center of Selva is full of surprising corners: cobbled streets, houses with bucolic open courtyards, small squares with benches to rest and contemplate the views… But be prepared, as some of these streets are quite steep.
Most hotels and restaurants in Selva offer spaces for cyclists or take into account their preferences when creating their menus. That’s why it’s a good place to start our cycling routes. However, being a town at the foot of the mountain, the routes are very demanding.
- Route 1: round trip to Lluc, 32 km, difficult due to an accumulated climb of over 1000 m
- Route 2: spectacular route ascending to Puig de Massanella, 35 km, technically difficult due to over 1300 m of elevation gain
- Route 3: challenging round trip to Sa Calobra, 65 km, difficult, with over 1600 m of accumulated elevation
Hiking enthusiasts can also enjoy the surroundings of Selva. Most paths are asphalted, but there is not excessive traffic that spoils the experience.
- Route 1: round trip to Moscari, 10 km, easy
- Route 2: round trip to Mancor, passing by the ermita de Cristo Rey, 8 km, easy
- Route 3: circular route to Caimari with ascent to Puig de Sa Creu, 9 km, difficult due to the final uphill stretch
- Route 4: long but easy route covering almost the entire municipality, also reaching Cristo Rey and Mancor, 20 km, easy
The settlement of the Selva area dates back to prehistory, as evidenced by the Talayotic remains of Ses Coves den Galileu (next to the current Hermitage of Cristo Rey), Son Canals, or Sa Torrentera, to name just a few of the most important remnants.
However, historical settlement is not documented until the Christian conquest, where in the Llibre del Repartiment (1232) the farmhouse of Xilvar is mentioned.
The name could come from the Arabization of the Latin word “silva” (forest), or from a pre-Roman name, Sèlver. It has even been suggested that it could come from the Proto-Indo-European “h₂r̥ǵn̥tóm”, which would evolve, for example, into the English “silver.”
From 1300, with the title of villa granted and the planning of the future parish church, Selva definitively became the head of its region.
Unlike coastal populations, it did not live under the threat of pirates and corsairs, but instead experienced different peasant uprisings, and later suffered from banditry throughout the 17th century. The noble families of Mallorca were divided into two factions at the end of the 16th century following a duel: Canamunts and Canavalls.
In Selva, a group called “sa colla de Selva” operated on behalf of the Canamunts. One of its members, Antoni Gibert, alias Treufoc (spitfire), was the murderer of the auditor of the Royal Audience of Mallorca, Jaume Joan de Berga. This assassination was so significant that four centuries later, the saying “What do I have to do with Berga’s death?” still exists.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the town of Selva, like other neighboring towns, entered the manufacturing of leather products, particularly shoes, both in small artisanal workshops and later at an industrial level. Until the beginning of the 31st century, their products were exported worldwide, until they were impacted by the global crisis.
In the last 10 years, part of the local economy has shifted towards the tourist exploitation of its main attractions: the tranquility of village life, the privileged natural environment, and at the same time, the quick connection with the rest of Mallorca.