Santuari de la Mare de Déu des Puig

Top choice in Pollença

Spain, Balearic Islands, Majorca, Pollena, Town and Santuario del Puig de Maria, aerial view - stock photo

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Santuari de la Mare de Déu des Puig


South of Pollença, off the Ma2200, one of Mallorca's most tortuous roads bucks and weaves up 1.5km of gasp-out-loud hairpin bends to this 14th-century former nunnery, which sits atop 333m Puig de Maria. If you come pilgrim style (the best way), the stiff hike through woods of holm oak, pine and olive will take you around an hour – Pollença shrinks to toytown scale as you near the summit. Be sure to avoid the midday heat and pack some water.

No taxi driver is foolhardy enough to venture here, which speaks volumes about the road, but if you crank into first gear, take it steady and say your prayers, you might just make it to the final parking bay, around a 20-minute walk from the refuge.

At the top, take a contemplative stroll through the refectory, kitchen, heirloom-filled corridors, and incense-perfumed Gothic chapel of the former nunnery. That's if you can tear yourself away from the view. Though modest in height, this fist of rock commands one of Mallorca's finest outlooks: to the west the hauntingly beautiful peaks of the Tramuntana range, to the east the gently curving bays of Alcúdia and Pollença and the jagged Formentor peninsula.

You can stay the night in a converted hermit's cell to rise at an ungodly hour for a spectacular sunrise, or simply enjoy the silence over a bite to eat. The paella is one of the best you'll get in these parts, but place your order well in advance. Life moves slooowly up here.