Serra de Tramuntana, inspiration from above
hotographers and filmmakers dream about it. The ‘green ray’ is an atmospheric phenomenon that happens at dusk, over the horizon where the sea meets the sky. Writer Julio Cortázar, following Jules Verne, researched the phenomenon until he managed to see it and penned a story about it. The magic took place at Serra de Tramuntana.
There’s no need to search for the muses in this mountain range that lines the northeast of Mallorca (Spain): they simply appear along the near 100-kilometres of routes and climbs and the 20 municipalities that have inspired a great number of artists. Frédéric Chopin, for instance, moved to Valldemossa, and this mountain village is now home to a museum dedicated to his music and life story. “It is the most beautiful place in the world,” said the composer.
The route of an archduke
In the late 19th century, Archduke Luis Salvador de Austria purchased several estates on Mallorca, which combined to make up the route known as ‘Camí de S’Arxiduc.’ Departing from Valldemossa, the route crosses the most important peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana, as well as some of his other properties, such as the Monastery of Miramar.
Finding inspiration in Tramuntana simply requires wandering off, up to peaks that tower almost 1,500 metres high; walking from viewpoint to viewpoint as the landscape unfolds below. Stunning birds-eye views can be seen from the two main peaks, Puig Major d’en Torrella and Massanella, which rise up almost a mile above sea level.
Ses Ànimes (which translates as ‘the viewpoint of souls’), near Estellencs, in the south of the mountain range, is home to a defensive tower built in 1579. Declared a Cultural Heritage Site, legend has it that lost souls still roam the area, though the living should also be wary if they suffer from heights, as the view over the sea from this cliff is quite something.
The sights are also breathtaking from the viewpoint at Sa Creueta, in Formentor. Located near Port de Pollença, it looks out over the island of Colomer and Cala Bóquer, the latter dotted with small palm trees that open out onto an 80-metre virgin beach. The one at Sa Foradada, between Valldemossa and Deià, is named after an imposing rock with a large hole in it. Sunsets here are truly Instagram-worthy.
The viewpoint in Ses Barques, between Sóller and Fornalutx (the latter considered one of the prettiest villages in Spain), is a favourite among hikers and the starting point for many paths. One popular route zigzags to Clot de Déu and the fortified mountain of Son Marc surrounded by stunning drops. Other locations seem untouched by the passing of time, including the chapel of Pare Catany, in Puig de Muleta, perched atop ‘the sacred mountain of Sóller.’
These mountains also bewitched British writer Robert Graves, author of ‘I, Claudius.’ In 1929, he moved to Deià and his home in the little village has become a museum housing the cultural legacy he left behind on Mallorca. From Gabriel García Márquez to Peter Ustinov, Ava Gardner, Winston Churchill and Audrey Hepburn, many artists visited this mountain range in search of inspiration, and it’s easy to see why.