One of the most striking features of this wonderful island has to be the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. Its awe-inspiring karstic landscape is marked by agricultural terraces, dry stone walls and foot-paths, torrent watercourses and lusciously rich vegetation of holm-oak woods and olive-tree plantations.
The Serra de Tramuntana is the single feature in Mallorca’s landscape that most defines our island. The impressive mountain range runs for some 90 km from Sant Elm to the Formentor peninsula, with the rocky outcrops of Sa Dragonera and Cap de Formentor at either end. The Serra has ten proud peaks with heights of over 1,000 m, of which most are concentrated in the area around Lluc; the highest of its peaks are Puig Major (1,445 m) and Puig Massanella (1,349 m).
In 2011, the Serra de Tramuntana was given the long-desired World Natural Landscape Heritage status by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee comprising representatives of 21 countries.
Man has inhabited the Tramuntana area since prehistory. There are important ethnological features which show humman presence and the exploitation of resources in the area, such as the zones where olive trees have been planted, charcoal stores, ice houses, lime ovens and numerous tracks which formed a communication network and which are now used by hikers, who find the most spectacular landscapes here, with the sea always forming a spectacular backdrop. The land is divided into large estates, which have traditionally been in the hands of Mallorcan aristocracy and wealthy families, though some estates are publicly owned.
There are so many different treasures to discover within the Tramuntana that one blog entry can not do justice at all, but let me mention the Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Lluc (monastery of Lluc), the Ruta de Pedra en Sec (Dry Stone Route) running along the GR-221 route for the most part, the Torrent de Pareis, one of Mallorca’s two Natural Monuments, and Planícia, a magnificent Finca Pública near Banyalbufar.
I shall be reporting on some of these features sometime in the future.