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Fornalutx

Fornalutx

Fornalutx - Idyllic mountain villages in the Tramuntana

Fornalutx in Mallorca

Fornalutx is a village with just 700 souls in the Serra de Tramuntana. With its narrow winding lanes, stone houses and stone steps, the place is an architectural jewel on the west coast of Mallorca. Fornalutx has been named the "most beautiful village in Spain" twice in recent history.

The mountain village nestles on the flanks of Puig Major, which is the highest mountain on the island with an altitude of 1,445 m. Terraces of vineyards and wooded slopes surround the village and the scent of lemon and orange blossom runs through the streets. In front of the entrances are buckets of flowering oleander shrubs, hibiscus and olive trees.

stone stairs in FornalutxThe picturesque mountain village of Sóller can be reached via a narrow access road. Due to the shortage of parking spaces, however, it is recommended you arrive by bus or taxi

History of Fornalutx
The village was founded in the Middle Ages by the Moors and time seems to have stood still in the narrow streets. Oldstone houses (many of them Listed Buildings) are crammed together and then separated by well-worn stone steps.

The wooden verandas with their green shutters are still reminiscent of the time of Moorish ascendancy in Mallorca. Fornalutx started off as a remote homestead with several isolated outhouses and this has helped it preserve its natural beauty to this day.

The history of Fornalutx has always been closely linked to the history of neighbouring Sóller. Until 1813, the villages formed a single administrative unit. In 1837, Fornalutx gained its independence from its larger neighbour. Population growth in recent years is mainly due to the influx of mainland Europeans. Many were blown away by the charm of the mountain village and built villas in the vicinity of the village.

In 1983, Fornalutx received a special award. The town was awarded the National Prize for the most beautiful village in Spain by the national organisation named "II Premio Nacional de Pueblos Embellecidos y Mantenidos de España." Twelve years later, the village was awarded another prize for its exemplary environmental commitment.

fountain in the center of Fornalutx

Attractions in Fornalutx
The centre of the village is the Plaza España with the Town Hall. The stone houses on the market square have tapas bars, restaurants and shops selling Mallorcan handicrafts and culinary specialties from all over the Island.

In the middle of the centre is a fountain whose water is said to possess magical powers. Whoever drinks from it is supposed to return to Fornalutx.

Among the most visited attractions in the mountain village is the 16th century Navidad de Nostra Senyora parish church. Its organ dates from 1584 and and elaborate sundial decorates the outside of the church. At the town hall you will see a small stone staircase that leads to a babbling brook, on the banks of which citrus fruits and olive trees grow.

Narrow streets, which are partially linked by stone steps, dominate the face of the mountain village. In Carrer de I'Església, (Church Street), stands a church whose foundations date back to the 13th century. The church took on its current form in 1639.

One thing particularly worth seeing and taking a photo of is the intriguing Mayor Mayol street (‘Carrer Metge de Mayol’ in Catalan). The term street is misleading, because it is actually a long staircase, which is lined with old stone houses.

Activities in Fornalutx
Fornalutx is a perfect starting point for hikes in the Serra de Tramuntana. The well-known long-distance hiking trail GR 221, better known as the Dry Stone Route, meanders through the mountains. The route is divided into several daily stages and leads from the southwest coast at Andratx to the north of Mallorca. A circular walk around the village starts at the centrally located Plaça d'España. The path leads through orange and olive groves up to the pine-covered mountain slopes and back to the centre.

Spectacular views of Mallorca's rocky west coast and the picturesque Sóller Bay can be enjoyed from the Mirador de Ses Barques vantage point. You should plan about four hours including breaks for the approximately nine-kilometre route. You can also extend your hike to take in the harbour town of Port de Sóller and then return to the town of Sóller in the "Valley of the Gold". From the centre of the town it is about 40 minutes to Fornalutx. For seasoned hikers, the summit of Puig de L Ofrè is something you will not want to miss. Standing stones along the way serve as markers of the trail. You need to plan around 6.4 hours for getting up and down.

Holiday in Fornalutx

Shopping and restaurants in Fornalutx
Due to its small size and the small number of inhabitants Fornalutx is not really a place to shop. Neighboring Sóller has much more to offer in this regard. The few shops are grouped around the centrally located Plaça d'España. There are several cafés, a small supermarket and the Panaderia de Fornalutx, a bakery selling local bakery specialties. If you want to buy traditional crafts, souvenirs or fashion, you can visit the small town of Sóller.

Among the best restaurants in western Mallorca is the "Ca'n Antuna", which cooks typical Mallorcan dishes - primarily lamb, rabbit and vegetable dishes. On the menu you will find unpretentious and rustic fare food such as paella and suckling pig with crackling. You have a fantastic view of the valley from the terrace, surrounded by fig and olive trees.

"Es Turó" is a restaurant that serves exclusively traditional Mallorcan cuisine. The family-run restaurant was opened in 1993 and offers a first-class view of the Tramuntana mountains from the outdoor terrace. In the lower-lying garden, cacti of up to four metres high stand tall side by side.

Festivals in Fornalutx
The "Correbou" festival  proves that old traditions in Fornalutx have been cherished and nurtured for generations. It is the only festival on the island which still features the sacrifice of a bull. On the occasion of the celebrations, a bull is dressed up by a young woman with floral decoration and then driven through the mountain village. The ceremony ends with the slaughter of the animal and the dividing up of the meat among the locals.

Every year, the festival is faced with protests by various animal welfare organisations opposed to the ancient custom. The celebrations take place every year in late summer around the 8th of September. On the occasion of the sacrificial festival, the town centre is transformed into a colourful artisan and craft market. For the youngest visitors a bouncy castle is put up and on the last night fireworks dominate the night sky.