Valldemossa lying 17 kilometres from Palma along the s’Esgleieta road, is famous, among other reasons, for the Carthusian Monastery, known as La Cartuja, where Frédéric Chopin and Georges Sand spent the winter of 1838-1839.
The monastery (closed Sundays), with its distinctive green-tiled belfry, rises head and shoulders above the town. In the church, there are frescoes by Miguel Bayeu, Goya’s brother-in-law. The cloister encloses a beautiful garden, where summer concerts are held, with famous pianists playing Chopin’s works. The “Pleyel” piano which the Polish musician caused to be brought from Paris can still be seen here.
Further points of interest include the monks’ pharmacy (17th century) and the Prior’s cell, now a museum and library. Worth seeing in the town are King Sancho’s Palace (Palacio del Rey Sancho) and
the House of Santa Catalina Thomas.
Valldemossa is one of the most picturesque and best conserved towns on Mallorca. Superb panoramic vistas, through olive groves and out to sea, can be had from the C-710 corniche road from Valldemossa to Deià. In Son Marroig one should make a stop and take in the sight from the cliffs, easily one of the most stunning views of the entire Mallorcan coastline.
Here is Na Foradada, the famous rock weathered and pierced by wind and wave. Before resuming one’s journey, a visit should be paid to the House-cum-Museum of the Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria (Casa Museo del Archiduque Luis Salvador).
Continuing along the same road (C-710), flanked by the twisted trunks of ancient olives, one arrives in Deià (population, 600). The village straggles along a hillside. Robert Graves, author of “I, Claudius”, chose Deià as his home, and lies buried here, in the romantic graveyard of the village church. The village, with its old island-style houses, has remained untouched by time and is a favourite haunt of artists and painters. Here one can enjoy a pleasant stroll (two kilometres down to the sea) and relax in a delightful, secluded cove.
The road descends to Sóller (14 kilometres from Deià), traversing a valley studded with orange trees. Sóller is a prosperous city (population, 10,500) with imposing seigneurial houses and palatial mansions built by emigrants returning from France. The parish church, built in 1912, was designed by the architect, Juan Rubió i Bellver, a disciple of Gaudí ‘s.
A visit to the Balearic Natural Sciences Museum (Museo Balear de Ciencias Naturales) is well worthwhile (Port de Sóller, closed Mondays). One can get to Port de Sóller by taking a typical tram-ride, an experience to be recommended. From Port de Sóller, boats leave for the creek of sa Calobra, a beach that is a veritable spectacle of Nature. One can return to Palma via the Sóller Tunnel, which links the two cities (the C-711).