The Paths of Pilgrims

Like so many before him, Antoni Gaudí made the pilgrimage to the Monestir de Lluc in April 1908, leaving a donation of 25 pesetas. In October that same year he returned, this time with his protégé Joan Rubió. He redesigned the church in the same baroque style as the chancel and oversaw the creation of the stone monuments that grace the Pujol des Misteris (Hill of the Mysteries), which rises behind the monastery complex.

An old stone trail, partly shaded by holm oaks, leads up this hill, which recounts the mysteries of the rosaries. Taking in monuments and three bronze reliefs, hidden in the twilight of a rock overhang, the trail is a place for peaceful contemplation; there are also stirring views on the way up, especially into the valley behind. From the austere cross (fenced off with barbed wire) at the top, linger for grandstand views and the boulder-strewn peaks of the Tramuntana. The walk takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Numerous walking routes leave from the monastery. One is a challenging 11km, five-hour circuit of Puig de Massanella (1365m), Mallorca's second highest peak, with sensational vistas from its summit. Another is a 9km, 3½-hour circuit of Puig Tomir (1103m), a stiff, rocky ascent into the lonely heights of the Tramuntana, where you may sight vultures and falcons. Another route is a four- to five-hour hike around Puig Roig (1102m), to the northwest of the monastery; this route should only be done on Sundays as some of the route traverses private land. Lluc is also a stop on the long-distance GR221 between Sant Elm and Pollença.

For the true spirit of blister-footed pilgrimage, join thousands of Mallorcans on the Marxa des Güell a Lluc a Peu, a 42km all-night march from the Plaça Güell in Palma to the Monestir de Lluc, taking in farmland, hill towns and the Serra de Tramuntana by torchlight.