Part one is here. On our second day we hiked to Arta, and the third day we went on a hike.
Following this map we are in Cala Millor and will follow the yellow line through Son Servera to Artá.
Cala Millor to Artá
The next day we woke up and dealt with the problem we almost always face when traveling in Spain. Nothing is ever open for breakfast. We had thought that since half the restaurants were over-the-top British we could get some British breakfast. There were a couple German cafes (with only German on the signs). Thank god we can read German but we had been looking forward to a greasy fry-up to fuel us for the hike of the day.
We weren’t even up that early, it was 10:00 and everything was still closed. So rather than reward everyone’s dumb opening times by waiting, we got started on the next portion of the trip. We hiked up, up, up from the ocean to get onto the Via Verde (old retired train line), and walked to the next town over, Son Servera. There were some restaurants open, so we finally got to have breakfast.
Son Severa still has an intact-looking train station. The trains ran through this area from 1921 to 1977. A train striking a car led to the closure of the railways until 2001. Some parts re-opened. This particular part (from Manacor-Artá) was a big focus with modern train/tram lines until 2009 when they realized it was too expensive. Talk of continuing the train line has continued but for now it’s a walking/biking/horse riding trail that follows the exact path of the train. It’s funny to walk by train lines or through train tunnels. In some places you can see the tracks. It was probably too expensive to take all the tracks out so in places they just covered them up with concrete.
We continued along the Via Verde, loving the scenery, until we arrived at the end in Artá.
Artá is one of the most “medieval” of the cities on Mallorca. The town used to be dominated by a castle, but over the eons the castle has been replaced with a church. The original walls are still up though, and it is absolutely lovely. The whole city reminded us a lot of Andalucia, and living back in Martos, mostly because of how Medieval everything was.
Total Walking Distance: 9 miles (14 km)
Day 3: Artá Hike
It took more research than I’d like to admit, but I managed to find a decent hike only 2.8 miles outside of town.
We needed something that you could walk to FROM the city of Artá (there were no car or bus options) and something morally sound. Many Spanish hikers like to bushwhack up cliffs, over fences, and across what we would consider to be private property. We are never comfortable doing this.
To get to the trailhead we had to walk along a boardwalk going over farmland. Since the stores were closed we stopped at a gas station to pack a lunch.
The trailhead for the hike was on the side of one of the dirt roads that goes into the natural park ( Parc Natural de la Peninsula Llevant). It was confusing because there is a huge trailhead to hike the island-famous GR-222 hiking trail. Our little hike was just next to that famous trail head so while there were some people, no one ended up hiking in the same place as us (they only wanted to do the famous hike). This made our hike a real gem, everyone else wanted to do the famous one but the less famous one has better views and is more fun.
We went up and were quickly able to see the ocean.
We were not quite in the Parc Natural de la Peninsula Llevat but darn close to it. We hiked up to the top where a marker said we had summited “the mountain.” It doesn’t even have a name, maybe “three peaks something” or “Colls” something. It’s a mountain among hundreds of mountains in the natural park. We had a great view of the whole surrounding area.
We could see Arta to the south east. Capdepera and Cala Ratjada (very famous tourist cities) to the east. And faintly we could see Cala Millor (where we had been the day before).
To hike down we followed a long fence towards the sea. We were technically in a goat-hunting reserve (yes that’s a thing). And the fence was to keep them … in?
We tried to hike to an old farmhouse we could see from the top. Hiking old abandoned farmhouses was our favorite thing in Andalucia. This one wasn’t accessible anymore so we just plopped down on the dirt road and ate our lunch there. Clouds began coming in but it never rained. We hiked back into town and ate some of the worst food we’ve ever had in our lives.
The whole city of Arta has some terrible restaurants, let me tell you. You can have overpriced paella (they don’t even traditionally serve paella on the island but had to start because of the tourists) and the rest of the restaurants are Italian for some reason. No joke, of the restaurants on TripAdvisor 24 are “Local” and over 12 are “Italian” the rest are “Mediterranean” which is literally everything and that word has no meaning (They all serve pasta). 1/3rd of the restaurants in this city are Italian for some reason and they’re all garbage!
The first one gave us unseasoned spaghetti sauce. Literally Spaghettios ketchup sauce. No basil, no oregano, no garlic, no pepper, no salt. It was even colorless, not a speck of seasoning could be seen or tasted. But the unholy garbage of the second night (meant to be redemption Italian food) was unreal. Carbonara sauce, is made with egg YOLK which is carefully combined with cheese and starchy pasta water to make it thick and creamy. This restaurant literally scrambled an egg in hot water and put ALL of it in an unseasoned bowl of pasta. You know hot and sour soup where you can see the white and yellow egg bits floating around? Yup, they had the audacity to do pour that over cheap pasta. The whole bowl was mostly hot water with scrambled egg chunks. Yikes! We ordered another glass of wine and pushed through it since it was so expensive. Plus, a parade literally started happening outside the restaurant and we couldn’t even leave because the front door was blocked (by parade). Yes, more wine and we’ll watch the parade from here, thanks!
It’s comical how bad the restaurants are in a tourist place. We come from a tourist city, too, and if the restaurants were even 1/8th as bad as these our town would go bankrupt. What we can learn from this is tourists have no class when they visit Mallorca. They were probably already drunk when they walked into the restaurant, hence the 5 star reviews.
It was so bad we couldn’t resist talking about it.
On the last day we had a fantastic breakfast, cooked by the hotel owner, then took the bus home.