In November, there are more sheep than tourists on Mallorca, the sun island. The beaches may be disappointing at this time, but the long-distance hiking path GR 221 on Mallorca is fantastic. The trail through the mountains offers great scenery and exhilarating views.
Two lone tourists are sitting in the small strand bar sipping their café con leche. Everything else is closed in Sant Elm, reputedly a stronghold of Swiss holiday makers on Mallorca. But the barkeeper refills our water bottles, and we continue our way hiking into even lonelier mountains in the Northern part of Mallorca.
The GR 221 and Mallorca’s UNESCO site
Especially he first stretch of the GR 221 on Mallorca is not marked at all. The tourism office markets the trail as Ruta de Pedra en Sec hiking path. The dry stone walls are typical of the high regions of Mallorca. For a long time, local peasants have shaped the landscape into terraces and built water channels to enable some agriculture.
Today, the Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana on Mallorca has UNESCO World Heritage status.
Apparently, the marketing was the first activity on the Ruta de Pedra en Sec hiking trail. The trail itself barely exists on the first three days; only the latter part is fairly established.
From Port d’Andratx until Estellencs, there is no shop and almost no water, and in spite of GPS navigation we sometimes miss the right path.
Indeed, we only find an open shop two days later, and over the next few days only encounter a few farm workers and locals picking mushrooms, carrying baskets or paper bags. The rare tourists are easily identifiable by their daypacks and walking sticks.
Great hiking and fantastic views
But the strenuous hiking is absolutely worthwhile. From the mountain ridges above Sant Elm, wonderful views towards the rocky island of Sa Dragonera compensate us for the sweat. Later, we pass a former Trappist monastery secluded in an almost inaccessible valley and climb to isolated mountain passes of sheer rocks and wild rosemary.
NB: Our trip to Mallorca and hiking the GR 221 was not sponsored in any way. We paid all the expenses ourselves.