One of the great things about moving to a new location is that you get to explore it. Everything you do is a new experience: every street you walk on, every restaurant you go to… Everything is new, to you.
But it’s also a great feeling to after a while know what the best places are, where you should and shouldn’t go, etc. I have been in Soller, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, for over two months now and finally feel I know enough about this town and its surrounding area to write about it…
Soller and its port, Port de Soller
Soller is an interesting little village…
The town consists of two parts: Soller and Port de Soller (also called Puerto de Soller, meaning port of Soller). Soller lies near the north west coast of Mallorca, some three kilometers inland from Port de Soller, in a lush valley of orange groves, surrounded by the ‘Serra de Tramuntana’ (Tramuntana mountains), a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Well maintained and with its narrow streets, tapas bars, a fine selection of pastry-shops and an impressive church right in the center, Soller really is a lovely, cozy little village.
Port de Soller is more of a coastal resort living mainly off tourism. It isn’t overrun by tourists though and therefore even in high season Port de Soller has a relaxed, still quite Spanish atmosphere (compared to many other coastal resorts in Spain). Its beautiful horseshoe bay has a wide selection of restaurant and a great beach.
There is a vintage tram that links Soller to Port de Soller. This tramway is the only working tram on the island and is known locally as the “Orange Express”. Not for the color of the carriages, but due to the fact that its route meanders from the old town through orange groves to terminate at the harbor at Port de Soller.
Both Soller and Port de Soller attract quite a few expats (mainly from other European countries) and historically had strong ties with France, giving the area a nice international feel.
Although it will get quiet in winter, quality of life here is good both for locals, expats and retirees.
Where to stay
Soller and Port de Soller offer a large number of hotels with a wide range of prices. These are four of the best hotels:
- Gran Hotel Soller: a five star luxury hotel in the centre of Soller. This hotel is located in one of the most characteristic buildings of Soller, a depiction of the architecture of the town in the 19th century. Even if you don’t stay here, go and have a look at the impressive building.
- Hotel Esplendido: this modern, chic seaside hotel is located in Port de Soller, just off the beach overlooking the port. Its location is absolutely perfect and the views overlooking the port are impressive day and night.
- Hotel Es Port: The Es Port Soller Hotel is an old mansion fortified in the 17th century at Port de Soller, only a short walk from the harbour and the beach. Its quiet location surrounded by beautiful gardens makes this a great place for a relaxing stay in Port de Soller.
- Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa: this is the most luxurious hotel in the area. Built on a cliff overlooking Port de Soller it has breathtaking views. With two restaurants, four bars and lounges, two swimming pools and a beautiful Spa it offers all the luxury you expect from a Jumeirah hotel.
Where to eat
- Casa Alvaro: located in the centre of Soller in a quiet street just off the main square Casa Alvaro is the place to go to if you are looking for high quality tapas.
- Nautilus: this restaurant is worth a visit mainly because of its amazing views. Set on a cliff in Port de Soller this is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
- Randemar: if you are looking for high quality food in a beautiful, romantic setting you should go to Randemar. This frontline restaurant is set in an old, converted Mallorquin home and definitely worth a visit.
Where to drink – nightlife
If you are looking for great nightlife Soller and Port de Soller aren’t the best places to be. Where it has a large number of good restaurants, it only has a limited number of good bars and one nightclub that isn’t even worth mentioning. These are the two best bars:
- Cava: located in the bay of Port de Soller Cava is a nice lounge bar with a good selection of cocktails and an impressive number of Gins.
- La Base: hidden behind luxury yachts you find this shipping container converted into a bar. And although it might sound a bit weird, it’s considered by most locals and visiting yacht owners to be the best bar in town. With good music, cocktails and a nice terrace this is the place to go to for a late night drink. Unfortunately La Base is only open in summer.
What to do
- Tramuntana Tours: Tramuntana Tours offer a variety of ways to discover the spectacular surroundings of Soller: either on foot, by bike, sea kayak or boat.
- Sailing trips with Mezzo Magic: Mezzo Magic offer private day charters along the stunning Northwest coast of Mallorca, incorporating lunches at some of the finest and most exclusive restaurants in the area (including one which is only accessed by boat). Additionally they have a speed boat and offer water skiing, wake boarding, fishing trips, dolphin spotting and more.
- Soller SUP: ever tried stand up paddling? The bay of Port de Soller with its calm water is a great place to learn. Soller SUP is located just off the beach, close to hotel Esplendido.
- Scuba Diving with Soller Divers and Octopus Scuba: because of its many caves and caverns the waters around Soller are loved by Scuba Divers. Soller Divers and Octopus Scuba are the two dive centres in Port de Soller.
- Tramuntana.com: here you can find a lot of information about what to do, where to stay and where to eat in the Tramuntana region (which includes Soller and Port de Soller).
- Tramuntana.info/transport.html: useful information about public transport to and from Soller and Port de Soller.
- SeeMallorca.com: offers a lot of information about Mallorca, including Soller and Port de Soller.