No Frills Island Tour in Mallorca

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Our No Frills Island Tour in Mallorca

Let’s be frank: guided bus tours are not generally the ideal solution if you want to explore unfamiliar surroundings – walking is always best, bearing in mind that “you have only really been to a place when you have experienced it on your own two feet” (it was Goethe who said that).

But the world is rarely perfect, which is why there are no iron rules, and you have to be ready to be flexible and make exceptions when it is highly impracticable to walk to all the sights you want to see and when the guided tour leaves you enough space and time – an hour here, 30 minutes there – to explore some selected areas on your own.

"view from our bus on a no frills island tour in Mallorca"

On our recent trip to Mallorca, No Frills Excursions offered us just such an “Island Tour”, and the alternative – considering how little time we had – would have been to miss these sights altogether. It did not take us very long to make our choice.

And we did not regret it for a second.

Some bus tours make the mistake of covering too much, and the sights – interesting buildings, mountains, forests – all go by in a blur. This tour mainly concentrates on the western mountain range – coincidentally the area most interesting for hikers – and features a few stopovers where you have the time to look around for yourself, to take in the great views at your leisure and to gather inspiration and ideas for proper hiking excursions.

We had not enough time this time to experience the western mountains “on our own two feet” during our no frills island tour, but there is, of course, always the possibility of coming back some other time.

There may even be some things that can be seen better from the window of a bus – who knows whether this wild Mallorcan mountain goat would have continued to munch on his tree-top leaves just as serenely …

"goat on a tree seen from our bus tour on a no frills island tour in Mallorca"

… on the approach of a pair of hikers?

And no hike can allow you to take in the dramatic scenery of the western side of the mountain range where steep cliffs fall directly into the Mediterranean Sea. We, conversely, got a very close view – when our tour exchanged the bus for a boat as a means of transport on the stretch to Port de Soller.

"a Mallorcan mountain range seen on a no frills island tour in Mallorca"

It is also true that no hike can give you a much better view of Puig Major – the highest peak of the island – than the one that we got: the mountain is a military installation and out of bounds for visitors. (Which throws up the question whom they are defending their island against – the Germans? In which case, they might as well pack up and leave – they are all there already.)

Or of the famous serpentines of the Pollenca-to-Sollers mountain road …

"serpentine roads on the way to a no frills island tour in Mallorca"

… that are so difficult to manoeuvre that all bus drivers – we were told – spend a sleepless night before their first assignment on this mountain tour.

The most spectacularly beautiful sight of the entire trip is the Torrent de Pareis …

"Torrent de Pareis on the no frills island Tour in Mallorca"

… which also happens to be the stuff of hiking legends. Speaking about gathering inspiration for further trips.

There is so much to say about the Torrent de Pareis that I am going to tell you more about the trail some other time, in a separate post.

"Torrent de Pareis on the no frills island Tour in Mallorca"

And to wrap it all up, at the end of the day, you get a brief look at the charming town of Soller – perhaps even for some shopping, but you do have to hurry – and a chance to ride the historic tramway that connects Soller town centre with its seaside resort, Port de Soller.

"a tramway ride on a no frills island tour in Mallorca"

To be frank (again): for once, it was also quite nice to be driven around everywhere, without any more physical effort than it takes to board a bus – or a boat. And a train. For one day, at least – until tomorrow when another hike was already waiting for us.

"No Frills Excursions bus"

We were the happy guests of No Frills Excursions and Vanity Hotel Golf during our visit to Mallorca.

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13 comments to No Frills Island Tour in Mallorca

  • Mallorca was quite a surprise for us too, Michela.

  • Having spent 4 months on Mallorca in 2008 I must admit that this part of the island was my favourite. It is a very beautiful and unique area. I went from Port Soller to Torrent de Pareis by boat and visited the area on my own two feet! Your photos make me want go back to Mallorca and explore more!

  • Dhruv Thaker

    Nice post. Cool photos of the mallorca.

    Even sometimes unguided tours become a pleasure.

    Climbing the mountains, is really a fun.

  • This looks like the ideal kind of tour, and a great way to see Mallorca. We rented a car to visit Mallorca a few years ago, and having that flexibility was great. But some of the roads are very difficult, as you pointed out, so not having to worry about the driving would be nice!

  • This looked like such a beautiful hike. You really did get a lot out of this hike and tour. It was definitely worth the exception. Beautiful photos! I love the shot you got of that wild Mallorcan mountain goat.

  • I think people are too worried about boarding a tour bus or tram or the likes. Sometimes I find them extremely helpful and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing this, I might give this a try next time I’m there :-)

  • Yes, spectacular scenery in Port de Soller, Puig Major and Torrent de Pareis. And happy hiking in Mallorca to Leigh.

    Olive trees in the first photo?

  • I’m definitely in agreement with Goethe. Walking makes you grounded.
    Reading your posts make me want to return to Mallorca. I’d like to do those hairpin bends but I wouldn’t want to drive them. I’m not surprised those drivers have sleepless nights before their first run.

  • Leigh, there is a particular hike in Mallorca, going through a gorge, that would certainly interest you. I’ll be writing about it much later. We didn’t get to do it, being short of time, but it sounds very exciting indeed.

  • I have thought about a hiking trip to Mallorca one winter in the near future. I’ve heard great things about the hiking and if your photos are any indication there are some awesome areas to explore.
    One day on a bus sounds okay – a week not so much.Great photos.

  • What spectacular scenery…and love the no frills tour tram ride. I would be riding that all day long. LOL.

  • Very pleasant and positive. Now, how to bookmark the company for a day in the future when we may be there? I guess ‘no frills’ is easy to remember ;-)

  • Always nice to hear about a tour that gets it right!

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