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GR 221 Stages – Tramuntana
1 Port d’Andratx to Ses Fontanelles (tent) (24km)
2 Pas d’Eu Ponca to Esporles (22km)
3 Esporles to Valdemossa (tent) (21km)
4 Puig Gros to Biniaraix (tent) (26km)
5 Biniaraix to the monastery Llyc (22km)
6 Llyc to Port de Pollenca (24km)
Read our story GR221!
1 Port d’Andratx via Sant Elm nach Ses Fontanelles (camping Pas d’Eu Ponca)
Flying from Dortmund we arrived in Palma de Mallorca at 10:00. After bying some gas for our stove in Intersport Kenia Outdoor, Avinguda d’Alexandre Rosselló, Palma, we took the bus nr. 102 to Port Andratx (6€pP/1h). Final stop was then directly at the harbor. From there we were heading in the direction of the hotel “Mon Port” following the street. The GR221 is not marked as such in this section. This first afternoon was a little adventure, because of that unmarked trek. Due to these circumstances we did not find the descent near Pas Vermell on this side of the mountain. On the “other side”, the way to Sant Elm is easy to see. We camped the first night above Sant Elm. Very idyllic is a former shelter carved into the rocks on the “other side” of that ridge, overlooking the dragon island “Sa Dragonera”. The first few kilometers of the trail extend on a beautiful path with old olive trees and holm oaks.
1 Sant Elm to Ses Fontanelles
An alternative is to start the GR221 in Sant Elm. Here we had breakfast with sea view, not realy a busy place in April! The path climbs steadily up to the monastery complex “La Trapa”. Here we walked past this historical site and had a small break at the viewpoint “Mirador d’en Josep Sastre” with cereals and a cup of coffee. At this fantastic lookout the cliffs drop 450m vertically into the blue Mediterranean Sea. At the end of the stage, you walk along the road for 2km to the finca “Ses Fontanelles”. Very comfortable looking, it is certainly a good idea to stay there.
Storm in the mountains
We decided differently and marched on after break on the GR221. Climbing to the Pas d’Eu Ponca. Above the tree line you´ll find an old historic threshing floor. At around 7:30 pm we reached our destination, an overnight stay up here on the plateau. A beautiful place for wild camping, sunset included. You´ll find this place in our map. During the day the weather was very comfortable sunny it fliped with the nightfall. Strong wind with rain and some lightnigs.
2 Pas d’Eu Ponca to Esporles (Sa Fita Backpacker)
The night was cold and at 8 am the sky was still foggy. The signposts are very present in this section or stage and the GR221 is well marked. Wild sage and blooming rosemary spread a wonderful fragrance. Later we came to a forest road, a gently sloping gravel road, past the Finca Coma dén Vidal. A large estate with renovated buildings, continue in serpentines to the highway (Ma-10). The trail GR221 leads us parallel right down to the village Estellence. Drinking water from a hydrant near the sculptural iron horse should not be missed.
Lovely little village OrtBanyalbufar
Around 5pm we reached Banyalbufar. Actually we wanted to stay here, strengthened with coffee and cake, we were determined to do the 350m uphill out of the village. On the historic mail trek with new cobblestones, the path went up to the Coll de Pi, a lookout point overlooking the westcoast of Mallorca. From there the trail leads you to Esporles, this section also passes the characteristic dry stone walls. We stayed in the backpacker “Sa Fita” (25€/pP, newly renovated), centrally located and highly recommended.
3 Esporles to Valdemossa (wild camping near Puig Gros)
For breakfast we bought fresh fruits and bred from a grocery around the corner. The GR221 guided us through wooded terrain to the summit of the 704m high Mola de Sa Comuna. The path went down into a valley, into Valdemossa. In the center is the Charterhouse, Chopin bust. Spending some time for a little stroll through the old town we enjoyed one of the nice cafes. We wanted to make it up to Gros Peak (938m) as the highlight of the day hence we hiked uphill out of town into the mountain. During this stage, you hike on the historic bridle path of Archduke Ludwig Salvador (1847-1915). The view is breathtaking and thanks to the good weather conditions we could see as far as Palma and in the northern direction also the summit Major (1445m). Due to the advanced time, we decided to find a nice spot for our tent off the GR221. Have a look into the map. By chance we discovered a grotto, here we set up our camp.
4 Puig Gros via Sóller to Biniaraix (wild camping beside the path)
It rained terribly during the night. Without breakfast in the hope that the cloudy weather is getting better, we packed together quickly. We had to continue over the ridge, it was very uncomfortable and rainy. That affected our concentration. We indeed missed the signpost (cairns) and turned wrong, namely back to Valdemossa. After an hour our mistake finally was noticed and we had a descent of 800 meters in front. Past old Köhler places and zig zag into the valley, our destination Deià was reached until noon.
The town Sóller
In the pretty vegan cafe S’HORTET, we got a delicious lunch. The desire to stay at Refugi De Muleta motivated us to move foreward. Unfortunately, because the Refugi in Port de Sóller was fully booked, we skipped the loop and went directly to the center of Plaza Constitucion to the baroque St.Bartholomäus church. The day came to an end and we had to decide where to stay overnight. We moved on and crossed the small village of Biniaraix. The darkness has forced us to pitch our tent at the edge of the ascending path.
5 Biniaraix to the monastery Llyc (Santuari de Lluc)
The night was marked by the sound of many sheep. The torrent “Torrent des Barrancs”, one of the rare rivers of Mallorca, has dug its way into the canyon. The trail continued and we saw the highest mountains on the island, the Puig Major (1445m) and the Puig de Massanella (1364m). After the parking lot near the reservoir, we walked parallel along the water pipeline for a few kilometers, a plant from the 1970s, enclosed in a concrete jacket. The route of the GR221 then leaded uphill through a holm oak forest across the plateau to the Coll des Prat. Mountain goats watched us and the view was a dream.
Surprise at the monastry Lluc
At the top of the pass we could already see the final destination, but it was still a long way to go. Past the old ruin of the “Casa de Neu d’en Galileu” snow house, the path descended until it ended in a paved path that leaded us through a thousand curves to the monastery of Lluc. This resort is recommended, a double room was 50€.
6 Llyc to Port de Pollenca
The last stage of the GR221 from Llyc to Port d’Pollenca north of Mallorca is a section that is easy but not always enjoyable. First on a path through a forest, with views of the valley around Llyc, then it follows a forest road and a small relatively busy road, along Finca gardens. You come along the Refugi Ponte Roma. Some hikers take there time to explore Pollenca and climb the steep steps to Iglesia del Calvari. We attached the last 6.5 km to our hike to reach the sea. Because that way is not nice to walk you have the opportunity to drive this section by bus, if you like to cheat yourself. There is rumour of continuing the GR221 as a hiking trail to the coast. In Port de Pollenca, we had somehow expected a welcome sign, a stone or something similar, which once again illustrates the arrival at a certain point. But there was nothing. Only the seafront, but at least the certainty, “Yeah! We made it!”.
For more information about hiking the GR 221 stages on Mallorca don´t hesitate to contact us. Feel free to watch our videos on YouTube and explore our other trails we´ve experienced for you!
Take care and go out and make it happen!