La Seu Cathedral and gardens
La Seu Cathedral and gardens

Garden Tours

Gardens 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; Son Marroig, a former residence of Archduke Luis Salvador with dramatic views; and the contemporary hilltop garden of Sa Torre Cega on the eastern tip of the island, designed by Russell Page.

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.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Michael Gill is one of Brightwater’s most popular tour managers with a loyal following among regular guests.

Today's Price

Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £300

Tour highlights:

  • Enjoy Moorish gardens in Raixa and Alfaiba
  • Take in the gardens of the former residence of Archduke Luis Salvador
  • Experience the contemporary hilltop garden of Sa Torre Cega
  • Spectacular mountain scenery

Tour details

Dates 24 March 2019 - 29 March 2019
Duration 6 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £200 Single supplement: £300 Balance due by 30 December 2018
Activity Level
Tour code BWMAL19A

Call for availability

24 March 2019: Itinerary

We depart on a direct flight from London to Palma de Mallorca. On arrival we are met by our local coach and transfer to our comfortable hotel. Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Helios Hotel, Ca'n Pastilla

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.

All meals included

Hotel: Helios Hotel, Ca'n Pastilla

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 Valldemosa, 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.

All meals included

Hotel: Helios Hotel, Ca'n Pastilla

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.

All meals included

Hotel: Helios Hotel, Ca'n Pastilla

After breakfast today we depart for a visit to the hilltop garden of Sa Torre Cega at Cala Ratjada on the eastern tip of the island. It was designed about 30 years ago by Russell Page as a beautiful and harmonious setting for works of art by international sculptors. Conifers, olives and all kinds of flowering shrubs, along with aloe, cacti and dragon trees, combine to form a dramatic backdrop for works by sculptors such as Henry Moore, Antony Caro, Auguste Rodin and Barbara Hepworth.

After lunch in Cala Ratjada (included), we transfer to the Albufera Nature Reserve, the islands major reserve of maritime marshlands, and the Formentor Woods.

Dinner is served in the evening.

All meals included

Hotel: Helios Hotel, Ca'n Pastilla

After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer by coach to the airport for our early afternoon return flight to London.

Meals include: Breakfast

24 March 2019: Additional Info

24 March 2019: Accommodation

Set within gardens, Helios Mallorca is located just off Palma Beach and offers rooms with air conditioning and a balcony. The outdoor pool is surrounded by a sun terrace.

Hotel Helios Mallorca includes an indoor swimming pool. Mini golf and table tennis facilities are also available, and the hotel provides entertainment every day.

This charming hotel is well equipped to welcome cycling lovers. It offers a large garage for bicycles as well as an area to clean them.

The buffet restaurant includes live cooking and serves a choice of regional and international dishes. During summer months, guests can enjoy drinks and snacks on the outdoor terrace.

Helios Hotel Mallorca sits next to Palma Aquarium. Buses leave from outside the hotel, with routes to Palma City Centre and Palma de Mallorca Airport. 

24 March 2019: Enquiries

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