Dizzy from negotiating twists and turns on long winding roads yesterday I opt for a straight shot this morning. Driving south down the gut of the Island on Highway 713 is awesome. Driving in a straight line at high speeds is a real treat. I can’t help but feel a little Autobahn – like experience coming on so I move over to the slow lane.
A leisurely breakfast followed by an easy freeway drive towards Palma fits the bill today. Starting on the southern end of the West coast and driving up to Valldemossa will complete my west coast driving tour of Mallorca. I take the exit to the right 719 to the Andraxt and then 710 Sant Elm.
Sant Elm is a small unpretentious port town. Developed but low-key, on the water but not really a beach lovers destination. Boats are key to enjoying the water of which many are for hire for a myriad of activities. Sent Elm boasts some great hikes in their natural reserve complete with knowledgeable tour guides.
Restaurants and cafes hug the rugged coastline providing a peaceful, relaxed ambiance. In the event one decides to spend a night here the Hotel Aqua Marina is right on the water and centrally located. Completing a great hike rich with wildlife I begin my drive north up the west coast in earnest.
The grade steepens and cyclists in brightly colored spandex dig in. Fertile farm land gives way to trees that grow denser and greener as I climb higher and higher. Olive green hills, rugged cliffs, distant fog covered peaks. The ocean on my left today is dark blue. Sunlight filters through lush canopy. Panoramic views stretch to the horizon. Natures beauty is on full display.
Arriving in Valldemossa one is struck by the intimacy of the local. The perfect blend of green hills and 17th century architecture. An ideal place for a romantic overnight stay. Classy, historical, clean, easy to explore, charming, arts centered, expansive gardens, cobblestone streets, the best shopping, and church bells on the Island.
The drive down the port of Valldemossa is not for the weak of heart but is an accomplishment worthy of acclaim. Half way down the narrow winding road to the sea is a giant rock face popular with rock climbers. The port itself is small, lacks any scent of tawdry tourism, simply provides access to and protection from the sea. One is automatically a certified west coast Mallorca driver after completing the road to the Port of Valldemossa.
As Fredric Chopin once said about Valldemossa “ The most beautiful place in the world”.
One’s stay in Valldemossa can be story book like. I recommend the Valldemossa Hotel www.valldemossa.com . Set on a hill on the backside of town, within easy walking distance this first class, peaceful villa style experience exudes beauty, class and relaxation. Rates are in the low 200 euros range and deliver on the promise of an unforgettable experience.
If this is a bit too pricey for ones budget I recommend the Es Petit Hotel www.espetithotel-valdemossa.com and eating at the Es Cos Croissanteria. A visit to the Cappuccino café is a must-do. I can think of few places in the world one can easily feel at home so quickly. The vibe is very different from Soller. Less developed, more intimate and personal. Europe at it’s best. This is a truly unique place which stands out and away from the crowd.
Palma the biggest city on the Island is worthy of a visit, time and finances permitting to better understand the unique blending of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish culture. The islands many German and English tourists frequent the Medieval parts of town, the Palacio Ca Sa Galesa, and the Castillo Son Vida, and Castillo de Bellver (castles).
The Hotel Es Born offers great patios and is centrally located in downtown Palma. Outside of downtown I recommend the Hotel Punta Negra (34) 971-68-07-62.