The town Sóller, in Mallorca, is a place where land is caressed by the sea in an embrace creating a paradise that has served as a refuge to much of European high society for decades. Located right in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and offering activities throughout the year, Sóller and its beautiful port are a must when visiting Mallorca. Below we provide you with ideas of what to see and do in Sóller, to help you discover this part of the island and take in all its sights.
Table of contents
- Sóller: the history of the valley of the orange trees
- What to see in Sóller
- The Torre Picada
- Plaza de la Constitución
- Sant Bartomeu Church
- Sóller Botanical Garden
- The Museum of the Sea
- Carrer de Sa Lluna
- Modernist Museum of Sóller
- What to do in Sóller
- Eating out in Sóller
- Popular festivities
- Travel by train to Sóller
- Visit an orange orchard
- Boat trip to Sa Calobra
- Shopping at the weekly market
- Playing sports
Sóller: the history of the valley of the orange trees
Sóller is a natural valley filled with a scent of orange trees, located by the Mediterranean shores and surrounded by the imposing mountains of Serra de Tramuntana, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its history goes back to the year 4,000 BC, and its current name dates back to the Muslim occupation in the 10th century. They called it Sûlyâr, which means 'golden valley'. Its privileged location and exceptional natural resources have always allowed it to live up to that name. This is a valley of great prosperity mainly thanks to the trade in fruits from its olive and orange trees – two elements that shape its appearance as well as its open and hospitable character.
In the Sóller municipal area there are two locations that deserve to be visited properly, without rush. First of all there's the centre of Sóller, the heart of this small town. Find a place to sit down in the Plaza de Constitución and contemplate the leisurely pace of this beautiful place. Then there's the Port of Sóller next to the sea. For hundreds of years, the port served as the main town’s trading route and route of communication, since it was much easier to travel by boat to places like Barcelona – or even France – than by road to the centre of Palma.
This entire valley, from the sea to the highest mountain peaks, offers an endless number of activities, unforgettable experiences, and places so charming you’ll remember them always, and come back to visit them time and time again. Below is a short list of some things to see and do in Sóller, just to give you an idea where to begin!
What to see in Sóller
The Torre Picada
This is one of Sóller’s most famous monuments, bearing witness to the town’s fighting spirit and providing an insight into its history, always on the lookout for possible attacks by pirates and privateers. The watchtower dates back to 1622 and you find it on the outskirts of the Port of Sóller, near its famous Santa Catalina district. You can reach it on foot, taking a scenic excursion along the sea shore that lets you enjoy one of the best views of the entire Bay of Sóller and S'Illeta.
Plaza de la Constitución
This is Sóller's central square, par excellence, where its most important streets meet and traditional parties as well as significant social events are organised. In this square, filled with lovely outdoor terraces, you'll find some of the most beautiful buildings in Sóller, such as the imposing City Hall and the great Bank of Sóller, one of the main historical players in town and a sign of its economic power.
Sant Bartomeu Church
This church is the most impressive building in Sóller and is also located at Plaza de la Constitución. After suffering various misfortunes throughout history, the church now has a façade that breathes Catalan modernism and was, in fact, designed by a disciple of the great Antonio Gaudí. Its Art Nouveau aesthetic blends perfectly with its Gothic historicism, creating an example of outstanding architecture that leaves no one indifferent.
Sóller Botanical Garden
If you would like to know more about the typical vegetation in the Sóller Valley, and Mallorca as a whole, this beautiful, well-kept botanical garden will take you on an interesting tour where you encounter some of the most famous Balearic plants, some of them in danger of extinction. There is a small museum, free of charge, and the garden itself is made up of different areas where you can enjoy a great variety of species: from large trees to cacti, succulents, and ponds with water lilies.
The Museum of the Sea
Located in the beautiful building Oratorio de Santa Catalina, in the neighbourhood of the same name, this museum perfectly expresses that magical relationship Sóller has always had with the sea. It’s a story linked to the power of its trade, and to the continuous effort of its sailors, who continue to feed the port and its fish market with some of the most delicious fish you'll find in the Mediterranean. There is a beautiful viewpoint here with an amazing view of the entire Port of Sóller, as well as the impressive mountains that frame it.
Carrer de Sa Lluna
This street in Sóller is steeped in history. It was constructed in the Middle Ages as the only link between the larger town and the smaller nearby villages such as Biniaraix and Fornalutx, and still features some of the most beautiful mansions and houses in Sóller. One example is the modernist house Ca La Nena, at number 52. Today, the street Sa Lluna is the place to go if you want to buy something typical from Sóller to take back with you, since it’s also the main shopping street in town.
Modernist Museum of Sóller
More known as Ca Na Prunera, the name of the building where it's housed, the modernist museum is located on the previously mentioned street Carrer de Sa Lluna and features the works of Juli Ramis, from Sóller himself and a Spanish pioneer in abstract painting. The museum is a mix between art centre and a traditional house, as it keeps many of the original architectural details and furniture, the wine cellar, the laundry room...
What to do in Sóller
Eating out in Sóller
If there is one town in Mallorca that's famous for its amazing food, it's Sóller. Apart from delicious bitter-orange jam, artisan ice-creams and delicate olive oil, there’s an endless number of places to go for great food – in the centre of the town as well as by the sea in Puerto de Sóller. Rice dishes with seafood, the famous red prawns of Sóller or any dish prepared with rockfish are options that will please the most demanding of taste buds.
Several traditional events are celebrated in Sóller during the year, but the most crowded and famous of them all is Es Firó, celebrating the battle between Moors and Christians in the Port de Sóller area every May. It’s an event that commemorates the victory of Sóller against the Saracen invasion in 1561. Other famous festivities are the winter festivals Sant Antoni and Sant Sebastià, and those in August in honour of the town’s patron saint: San Bartomeu.
Travel by train to Sóller
This is a great experience, not to be missed: an excursion that will take you from the centre of Palma to Sóller on an antique train. The route takes you to the heart of the mountains in the Serra de Tramuntana, and once you get to town there’s a connection with the tram that runs through it. It’s the ideal romantic trip for a couple, or a nice family outing.
Visit an orange orchard
To get closer to the true essence of Sóller, a visit to one of the nearby orange orchards is a must. It is an opportunity to discover the characteristic flavour of the bitter oranges found in this valley, how they are grown, what varieties there are, and also taste some of the produce made using these authentic Sóller oranges.
Boat trip to Sa Calobra
From Port de Sóller there's a boat that will take you straight to one of Mallorca’s most beautiful coves. Apart from enjoying a unique perspective of the Serra de Tramuntana and its spectacular cliffs, this trip also means saving yourself a drive down the narrow road that leads to Sa Calobra – a road famous for its impossible turns as it descends the steep cliff to arrive where the Torrent de Pareis meets the sea.
Shopping at the weekly market
Sóller has one of the biggest and most varied traditional markets on Mallorca. This is the place to go to find typical products from the island and buy fresh food, just brought in from the valley orchards where they are lovingly cultivated. The market is held every Saturday morning in the town centre, and once the locals have done their shopping, they take the opportunity to sit down for a drink on one of the lively terraces on Plaza de la Constitución.
Thanks to its location – combining the best of the sea with the best of the mountain – Sóller is a favourite spot on the island for those who love sports and nature. Cyclists, hikers, and water sport enthusiasts visit the town and its surroundings during all seasons, but especially in autumn and spring when the weather is ideal for outdoor sports. In fact, some of the most beautiful hiking trails on Mallorca start from Sóller.
This list of ideas and activities just shows you some of all the experiences on offer in the town of Sóller for those who visit Mallorca. So, if you’re thinking of choosing the island as your next holiday destination, make sure you set aside at least one full day to get to know this beautiful valley. If you would like to make it even easier for yourself, take a look at our Flight + Hotel section where you can find travel packages with accommodation and add the activities of your choice.
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