The Majesty of Banyalbufar

Banyalbufar, located in the Sierra de Tramuntana, just 25 kilometers away from Palma de Mallorca was declared a World Heritage Site. It serves as an ideal place for hiking and cycling, serving as a starting point of a multitude of paths for nature lovers.

I found myself stranded on the Island of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, off the coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. My friend had gotten sick and abandoned me. I was left to my own devices, so I took my little Samsonite wheeling suitcase and discovered a place lost in time.

A quick search on Google and a few of my favorite traveling apps showed me exactly how to get to this little village and where to stay.

I set out on the excellent public transportation system this country manages and soon found myself let out directly in front of the hotel Baronia. The view around the island showed off its fields and field soon turned to mountains. I had heard the mountains were for the nature lovers and the beaches in Palma were for the lazy ones. I was glad to see something different an get away from the crowds of English and Danes.

There was one main street where you could see sports cars race through on their afternoon drives around the island. Red Porsches and yellow Lamborghinis and the occasional black Maserati all made their way through the town, but they never stopped to look out on the steppes in the mountain leading down to the cliffs overlooking the sea.

I had time though and was interested in seeing everything the town had to offer. I had two nights, and I think I took pictures of every building, every view, and all the food.

Hotel Baronia is what is known as a hostel in Europe. Not the American type of Hostel with shared rooms but a simple motel where one enjoys one night and moves on. The rooms were adequate and clean so no complaints there, and with the view…. How could I complain? I had an amazing view of the sea and the side of the town. It was beautiful.

The communal terrace was outfitted with tables and chairs with matching umbrellas and plenty of suns. Just two stories below can be found the rectangle pool surrounded by potted plants and women soaking up the rays.

I left the hotel to explore the main street. To the right didn’t seem like anything more than villas on the mountainside, so I opted to go left and found some stores. A co-op shop to buy some treats, a few artisan shops for the tourists, etc. And then I came across the main restaurant, “Café Bellavista.” What a view it had! The service was impeccable, the food was home cooked and delicious, the wine made the evening special, and the view of the sunset from this perch was made from dreams. It has this feeling of existing in another world. A world in which only you, your partner, and the sommelier belong.

The next day I awoke to the birds singing in the trees and the sounds of women chatting in the street below. Banyalbufar is a great jumping off point for scenic hiking trails. Some lasting between an hour one way to 7 hours. I walked up the mountain past villas, and horse paddocks. I took some great shots and headed back down. I hadn’t considered this was going to be a hiking vacation, so I did not have the necessary shoes to partake in the trails, so I headed downwards towards the cliffs. I found a beach on the map hidden behind a hill and at the end of a steep trail. I hadn’t realized how steep the trail would be…I ended up hiking and didn’t even know it, all the while in flip-flops.

The beach looked like a place James Bond would take a girl and make love to her. Only reachable by a steep trail, almost unwalkable, or by tiny boat, reaching the area was as amazing as the cool blue color of the water. A little boat was only 25 meters off the coast with two divers, ready to explore the corals just off the water's edge. There wasn’t much beach there at all really, just a little slip of a thing with a waterfall sourced from the cliff and rocks where the water crept up to make it a slippery climb for beachgoers.

Banyalbufar did not turn out to be my “relax at the beach all day” sort of vacation but In the end I’m grateful I got to see a hidden corner of the world and got back to nature if only for a little while.

The next time you’re cruising around Mallorca in your Maserati make sure to stop in this little town and take in the view from somewhere other than the main road.

 

TravelClaire Blumenthal