This is definitely on our list of favourite things to do in Mallorca. If you like a railway journey or not, the Tren de Soller has got to be one of the prettiest and most memorable small train trips you can take. Over 100 years old and still running, the gleaming wooden narrow gauge Palma to Soller Train is a popular journey for those looking to soak up the real Mallorca. This is something to take you back in time, and you’d be hard pressed to find any age range that doesn’t enjoy the trip.
The train leaves from central Palma, just off the Plaza de Espana, winds its way through spectacular scenery to end up in the heart of the charming ancient town of Soller. Nearly 28 kilometres long, it heads through stunning mountain scenery, tunnels, over several bridges and a five arched viaduct. Some of the trains make a stop at a vantage point so that travellers can step off the train, admire the beautiful views and take some picture postcard worthy snaps. As it’s no extra charge, we recommend trying to time your trip so you take one of these trains. Take a look at the trains’ timetable to find out.
When you arrive in Soller, you can enjoy the old town’s ambience, architecture and café culture or head down to the pretty Port de Soller on a rickety tram.
Here’s a little bit of history as to how the Tren de Soller came about:
Prior to the arrival of the train line in 1912, the town of Soller was situated in an isolated region of Mallorca, as the large Tramuntana mountain range separated it from the rest of island and most importantly from the capital of Palma. The region was booming with a mass of oranges and cotton to trade in, but the main transportation out was by sea. The only other way was by a small and tedious dirt track over the tops of the mountains.
A local man Jeronimo Estades (yes, really Jeronimo!) put forward the idea of linking Soller and Palma by train. This was delayed and revised due to the huge costs involved. However plans for the railway that cut through the Tramuntana mountain range via a series of thirteen tunnels were finally put into action. It was a major success and the line became known as the ‘Orange Express’.
As the road links became better, the train line lost its commercial importance, but tourism began to boom in Mallorca and the line was used to transport visitors between the two stunning delights of Palma and Soller.
And we are mighty pleased that the railway has retained its popularity. Whatever the season, it is worth taking a trip into the mountains via this mode of transport. One of our favourite seasons is in late winter / early spring when the added bonus of pretty almond blossom speckles the mountainside.
Images courtesy of & copyrighted by Tren de Soller and The Other Mallorca