News / Soller @en

Puerto de Sóller shipshape: Charming but not too chic

On each side, to the right and to the left – or better speaking: starboard and port side – there is a lighthouse guarding the entrance to Puerto de Sóller. In the evening they build the frame for an unforgettable sunset. It is this the largest natural port on Majorca’s north-west coast, and recently even a ship like the “Seabourn Quest”, a first class cruise liner, anchored in front of the harbour to show its passengers the small town in the very heart of the word heritage site Sierra de Tramuntana.

A year before, another impressive ship, the “Earl of Pembroke”, a replica of an 18th century galley, moored in the port, and it has been as much admired as its “crew”: For parts of the film Cloud Atlas the coastal waters of Puerto de Sóller, the cliffs, the white sands of Sa Calobra with the mouth of the Torrent de Parais and the Cap Formentor provided the scenery. So Tom Hanks took the helicopter from his hotel to work at the film location, whereas Halle Berry came by limousine to Puerto de Sóller. The film stars also spend some leisure time in a motorboat to relax and have some fun. The small seaside resort seems to become a hot spot, for once in a while celebrities stroll along the promenade.

The port dressed up during the last decade due to a traffic calming, the amplifying of the marina, a variety in gastronomy up to the five-star-hotel Jumeirah and – last but not least after some initial mishaps – the opening of the new beach section, much to the delight of both, tourists and local people. Nostalgics sometimes are not too convinced about the refurbishment of the harbour; where once the fishermen stretched out their nets to dry and get repaired, now people are having a glass of cava, enjoying the guitar- or saxophone music on the terrace of a café. But even if the fishing cutters, which among other seafood catch the famous but rare and pricey “Gamba roja de Sóller” now moor a good deal aback, the structural changes were vital and contemporary.

In the past, however, when sportive yachts and posh motorboats still were unthought, shipping brought quite some prosperity to the isolated valley, since the railway and the tunnel, nowadays easily connecting Sóller and Palma, did not yet exist. From early 17th century the trade with citric fruits and other local products flourished and mainly the export to southern France reached a peak in the 19th century. Various houses and manors in Sóller, just two kilometres from the port, give evidence of French influences on architecture and lifestyle. There has been lots of traffic in Puerto de Sóller in former times. And yet, whereas travellers and traders came, many Majorcans had to leave their homeland, when in late 19th century crop failures and poverty forced them to try their fortune elsewhere.

Since the 60s, tourism is the main economic factor. Today more than ever the valley is a holiday destination for those who prefer “panorama” to party. Holidaymakers come to relax on the beach, to hike, to cycle, to sail or just to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle. And the next golf course is just a quarter of an hour away. What culture life is concerned, Puerto de Sóller and the district town provide quite a number of establishments and events, such as the Museu de la Mar in the fishermen’s district Santa Catalina, several folkloristic and traditional feasts up to an annual festival of sophisticated classical music. There are many opportunities for visitors or residents to take part in the village’s life.

It happens that people fall head over heals in love with the place while enjoying some sunny holidays. Once decisions are made to become resident or to purchase a second domicile in the village or its surroundings, the question is whether it be an original fisherman’s house in the heart of Santa Catalina, an apartment with a view to the sea, a modern villa or a finca on the outskirts. In spite of the variety of properties on the real estate market, Puerto de Sóller successfully avoided eyesore-buildings and kept the surrounding nature and enchanting charms.

Whatever one hopes to find in Puerto de Sóller, with an open mind to discover the beauties of the round bay and the village between the sea and the mountains, it will be found.

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