Away from the more popular coastal regions of Mallorca, you’ll find a very different scene, but certainly no less enticing. Pretty stone villages, hilltop monasteries and an abundance of vineyards present a more peaceful, rural affair.
Set amongst olive groves, vineyards and ancient churches, a scattering of towns and hamlets ride up into the Serra de Tramantuna Mountains, which are truly delightful. From the base of your holiday home in a traditional renovated farmhouse or charming stone cottage you can explore Inca, celebrated for its leather and quirky basement restaurants, Campanet, renowned for its wonderful caves or the pretty sleepy town of Muro with its rich history, all set against the backdrop of the Tramantuna Mountains, now designated a world heritage site. If you're after a traditional Mallorcan experience, this may just be the region for you. And if you do fancy visiting the beach, you're never far away for a sunny day trip out.
Nestled into the foothills of the Serra de Tramantuna Mountains, this untouched, authentic Mallorcan village is a hidden gem and is great for couples and families. Apart from the stunning scenery – the mountain views, the ancient olive groves and the town’s central square – Placa Major – with its impressive gothic church, there’s the Caves of Campanet. Situated on the southern slopes of the Sant Miquel hill, a number of chambers reveal spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Their beauty is astounding and has attracted the attention of artists, scientists and naturalists. Another must-see is definitely the underground spring, Ses Ufanes, best seen after rainfall as it only flows when there’s a lot of water around the nearby Puig Tomir mountain. Then once you’re done marveling at the natural delights on offer, head over to the local market and treat yourself to a refreshment at a quaint, relaxed cafe.
Like Campanet, this dreamy little town has managed to stay off the tourist radar and has avoided any large-scale tourist developments. Boasting a small weekly market, a few simple cafes and a popular weekend restaurant, Buger is pretty much untouched. But, despite it being a rather petite village the natural beauty and charm is present in abundance. Torrent de Buger, along the south of the village makes for a wonderful walk passing ancient oak forests and old water mills, and the windmill-dotted landscape is picture-perfect. Once you’ve fully immersed yourself in this tranquil setting, you can always head over to Pollenca, a 10-minute drive north.
Perched on a hill amongst a windmill-studded landscape is Muro, a sleepy little village full of historic stone townhouses. Muro's main square, Placa Constitucio has an attractive piazza overlooked by the imposing church of St Joan Baptista. And just a five-minute walk away is the Museu Etnologic. Housed in a former mansion, the museum gives a fascinating glimpse into Mallorca’s rural past. The kitchen boasts some wonderful ancient pottery you'd see in the markets today and the recreated pharmacy has a pair of scales in the shape of a crucifix. A lovely courtyard with a well, a waterwheel and orange trees leads to more exhibits, blacksmith's and cobbler's workshops - a joy for all the family.
A smaller version of Alcudia, C'an Picafort can be found at the other end of Alcudia beach, which you can walk to, or take a bus. With pretty beaches and interesting archaeological sites, it's worth a trip. The main strip - Paseo Colon is full of shops, restaurants and bars leading down to the harbour where again you'll find an abundance of seafood to tempt you, not that you'll probably need much persuading.
Love shopping and food? Mallorca's third largest town, Inca, is famed for both. Known as the 'city of leather,’ you’ll find an array of leather goods on offer at one of the biggest and oldest markets on the island, or at one of the delightful shops in the town. You can even arrange to go on a leather factory tour. Amongst designer-label shops and modern boutiques you’ll find established traditional bakeries and delis selling the finest olive oils and ensaimadas with mouthwatering fillings such as angel’s hair (pumpkin) or crème de caramel.
Inca is fantastic if you’re a foodie, and an outing to one of the traditional, cosy celler restaurants, which are essentially basement (cellar) restaurants in some of Inca’s oldest buildings is a must-do. Here you’ll find traditional Mallorcan fare, ready to be washed down with a refreshing local wine – a real treat. Or visit a café on your stroll down Carrer Major to Placa de Santa Maria Major – Inca’s main square with lovely cafe terraces and a view of the historic Parish Church of the same name.
Due to the richness and diversity of the towns in this region of Mallorca, there’s an eclectic collection of converted rustic farmhouses, charming stone houses and beautiful traditional villas to choose from. Many offer a peaceful rustic location with mountain views and panoramic countryside vistas, some have lovely swimming pools and gardens full of fruit and olive trees, and hideaway cottages are a real find. Sun-hat is on hand to help you find your ideal choice of location and property whatever your desires.
Not to be missed
The caves of Campanet are truly stunning and seeing them is a wonderful experience for the whole family. And, for a truly original Mallorcan experience, the celler basement restaurants of Inca are definitely worth a visit.