Gardens and Architecture of Mallorca
Away from the busy beach resorts, the Balearic island of Mallorca offers a timeless, verdant landscape of wooded hills and orange groves, sweeping bays and rocky mountains. Dotted around the island are a host of historic gardens whose origins date back hundreds of years, as well as more modern creations, providing a rich range of horticultural delights to be enjoyed in the warm spring sunshine.
These include the gardens at Raixa and Alfaiba, both with Moorish origins and later Christian influences, and Son Marroig, a former residence of Archduke Luis Salvador with dramatic views.
Elsewhere we visit the monastery of Real Cartuja de Valldemosa, with its peerless location high in the mountains; tour the island’s principal city of Palma with its Gothic cathedral and Arab baths; observe the flora and fauna of the Albufera Nature Reserve and take an exhilarating ride on the Tren de Soller, a heritage train that runs through spectacular mountain scenery.
Your Departure date
Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £325
Day 1 -
We fly from London to Palma and transfer to our hotel.
|Hotel||THB María Isabel, Palma, Mallorca|
Day 2 -
After breakfast we depart for a visit to the gardens of Raixa, at Bunyola, near Soller. These were once part of a Moorish estate, but after the re-conquest of Mallorca by the Spanish and the redistribution of land it came into the hands of the church. In the 18th century it was owned by a cardinal, who was responsible for its Italianate characteristics, bringing statuary from Italy and exotic plants from the New World. The garden is divided into seven terraces with parterres, pergolas, fountains and loggias, and the cardinal had the water reservoir built over with a semi-circular belvedere, which offers a fine view over the valley towards Palma.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Port Soller (included), we drive through the olive groves of the spectacular west coast and visit the garden of Son Marroig, the former residence of Archduke Luis Salvador. The garden is arranged in a series of attractive terraces but it is the dramatic views of the rocky coastline that make this garden memorable. The famous weathered rock formation known as ‘Na Foradada’, pierced by wind and waves, can be seen rising out of the water.
From here we transfer to Soller and take the train back to Palma. The railway is narrow gauge, the track width being 914 mm (an English yard), which is infrequent nowadays; moreover its rolling stock is extremely varied and meticulously finished, and maintained using traditional methods. The Sóller railway also stands out for the special, attractive route it runs along, overcoming the natural barrier of the Sierra de Alfàbia mountain range which is 2.8 km wide and 496 metres high. To do so, in just seven kilometres, the railway rises up 199 metres with an inclination of 23 millimetres, runs through thirteen longitudinal tunnels ranging in length from 33 to 2,876 metres, crosses over several bridges, the “cinc-ponts” viaduct which has five arches with spans 8 metres high and a great many bends, some with radii below 190 metres.
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
Day 3 -
After breakfast this morning we visit the Jardínes de Alfabia, set in the Tramuntana Mountains towards Mallorca’s northwestern coast. Alfaiba’s origins date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Shortly after the Christian re-conquest, King Jaume I rewarded his ally Benhabet with a large estate. In typically Moorish fashion, Benhabet channeled water from the surrounding hills to irrigate his gardens, which he designed as a series of shaded ‘rooms’, again typical of the Moorish style, and created in such a way as to merge seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. There are contrasts throughout the lush, terraced gardens, with clipped avenues of low hedging in places and elsewhere a veritable jungle of palms, bamboos and bulrushes. Young chusan plams (Trachycarpus fortune) contrast with more substantial mature date palms; there are also bougainvillea-covered pergolas, flowers cascading over stone terraces and vistas of olive trees. A remarkable garden where the spirit of its founder Benhabet lives on.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Bunyola (included) we visit the monastery of Real Cartuja de Valldemossa, the composer Frédéric Chopin and his mistress George Sand spent a rather unhappy winter here in 1838-9, despite its peerless location high in the mountains. The monastery sports a distinctive, ornate green bell tower and the gardens still have a monastic air, with quiet cloisters around tall cypresses and long pathways through bushes of clipped yew and laurel. There is the odd splash of colour, such as the bright red climbing nasturtium (Trapaeolum speciosum), but the gardens are predominately dark green and grey, creating a tranquil and timeless atmosphere.
Dinner is served at our hotel in the evening.
Day 4 -
After breakfast we tour Palma, with visits to the Cathedral (La Seu), the second tallest Gothic cathedral in Europe, which contains many fine works of art; the former royal residence Palacio de la Almudaina and the adjacent Hort del Rei (the king’s garden), the 10th century Arab Baths, virtually all that remains of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqua, and the Castell de Belver, a heavily fortified Gothic castle that is now the city’s museum. Lunch is included in a local restaurant.
Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.
Day 5 -
After breakfast, we transfer to the Albufera Nature Reserve, the islands major reserve of maritime marshlands, and the Formentor Woods.
This afternoon we have lunch in the former capital of the island, Alcudia (included), before transferring to visit Museo Sa Bassa Blanca. The Sa Bassa Blanca Museum showcases a collection of modern art exhibitions with surrounding beautiful gardens linking art, nature and architecture, to promote cultural development and respect for the natural environment. The gardens boast a sculpture park and medieval walled garden with more than 100 varieties of old English roses.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Day 6 -
After breakfast, we transfer to Palma airport for our return flight to London.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
- All visits as outlined in the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Availability|
|28 March 2023||BMCA230328||28 March 2023 (Tuesday)||2 April 2023 (Sunday)||£1,370
|£250||£325||Call for availability|
|25 April 2023||BMCA230425||25 April 2023 (Tuesday)||30 April 2023 (Sunday)||£1,570
|£250||£325||Book your trip|
|3 October 2023||BMCA231003||3 October 2023 (Tuesday)||8 October 2023 (Sunday)||£1,470
|£250||£325||Book your trip|