The back and forth clickety-clack on the wooden train from Palma de Mallorca to Sóller pulls you into this Balearic Island, literally. The historic route travels through the Sierra de Alfábia mountain range to Sóller, making for a scenic and slow route. The only locals on board are the smiling or grunting ticket agents blessing the little tiny plain pieces of paper tickets with hole punches or tears. Hopping aboard this route is one of Mallorca’s endless appeals. If you are thinking about heading to Mallorca as I did on airBerlin on its Berlin Palma de Mallorca service, here are a few things to know about the route.
History: The train to Sóller has been making its daily service between Palma de Mallorca and Sóller since 1912. Even the tram service from Sóller to the Port de Sóller dates back to 1913. The features of the train, from its wooden paneling to little etchings on the walls, suggest its authenticity and age.
Characteristics: The Train to Sóller is comprised of wooden paneling. Being a narrow gauge railway, it makes for a unique way to travel through the natural barrier of the Sierra de Alfábia mountain range. Riding the 27.3-kilometer route might seem touristy, but the journey lends the feeling of being in a different time and in another era.
The Route: If the train to Sóller sounds more like a little touristy train not worth an hour and half of time, its stops will convince you otherwise. Beginning at the Placa de l’Estació, the train chugs along through northern Mallorca as it crosses the Serra de Alfábia mountain range. The route stops to pick up anyone 30 minutes into the ride in the town of Bunyola as it continues on to Sollér. Just after the stop in Bunyola, the wooden box of a train goes through the darkness of Tunnel Major, almost 3 kilometers in length. It took three years to carve out of the mountain in 1907. Before reaching Sollér, travelers will also have the opportunity to snap a few shots at the Mirador Pujolde’n Banya. The lookout point embraces the whole Sóller Valley. The route travels across 13 tunnels and several viaducts.
Tips and Tricks: Seat selection is very important on this route to ensure a good experience. While both sides have their advantages at times, the left side is most intriguing in the beginning for views of Serra de Tramuntana. The train stops long enough at the lookout point Mirador Pujolde’n Banya to get out and take photographs so that your train seat doesn’t dictate the quality. If you are like me and never wanted the journey to end, you can continue on from Sóller to the Port de Sóller by way of the first electrical tram on Mallorca. Old men wave from cafes in town to build up excitement for the ride as you travel through a viaduct, ultimately ending up in a paradise of tanned beach goers and turquoise waters. This 4.9-kilometer route used to help locals transport merchandise like fish from the port. Luckily, no such smells have lingered since its opening in 1913.
Costs: To experience the charm of the 1912 route, you will have to pay more than modern trains or going by car to Sóller. From Palma to the Port de Sóller, the ride will set an individual back €28 on both the wooden train and the tram route. Prices vary depending on where you want to get off and how far you want to go on the train. Visit the Ferrocarril de Sóller website for updated listings on ticket prices and routes.
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