Port de Sóller: a picturesque village on the west coast of Mallorca

Four kilometres (two and a half miles) from Sóller, Port de Sóller is the antithesis of the brash resorts in the south-west and around the Bay of Palma. Family-oriented, slightly old-fashioned, slightly scruffy, it’s a lovely place to spend some time.

The port is spread in an arc around a pretty harbour, protected by cliffs either side, with a naval base at the north end and a couple of sandy beaches. Historically, it has always been Sóller’s gateway to the rest of the world, acting as a departure point for boats laden with citrus fruits making their way to France and mainland Spain. It was also a magnet for pirates; in 1561 the port was razed in an attack, forcing the Sóllerics to fortify the harbour with huge stone jetties and lighthouses; hence, the bay comes almost round on itself. The whole episode is re-encated with the chaotic, alcohol-fuelled moros i cristianos (Moors and Christians) fiesta in the second week of May.

Port de Sóller was never intended as a resort and only began to be developed after 1913, when the tramline from Sóller was built. The same open tram makes the 20-minute journey today, terminating at the eastern end of the bay by the harbour and the best restaurants. From here the town beach is a few metres away, flanked by numerous bars and eating places.

The second beach, Platja d’en Repic (better, bigger but more touristy) is on the bay’s western side. If you want to head for this beach, get off the tram at its first stop when it reaches the Port and walk left along pedestrianised, restaurant-lined Passeig de sa Platja. From here, you can walk (or drive) the couple of kilometres up to the lighthouse; the views across the bay from here are glorious.

 

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