Even if you are only on the island for a short time, the narrow-gauge, Tren de Sóller journey from Palma to Sóller should be close to the top on your things-to-do list. One of the most rewarding excursions on the island, the vintage train to Sóller is a very popular attraction with a journey time of around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Sometimes known as the Orange Express, the wooden train was originally introduced to transport oranges and lemons from the Sóller valley to the capital, replacing a stagecoach service, which crossed the high mountains via the Sóller pass on a steep, narrow dirt track, which was exhausting and tediously slow.
Funded by profits of the citrus fruit trade, the Tren de Sóller has trundled along the winding 27.3km route to Sóller since 1912.
Departing from its own station in Palma, Plaça de l’Estació, the train only has one stop at Bunyola before it arrives at its final destination, the quaint Art Deco station in Sóller; which is housed in an early-17th-century mansion.
This is a train trip that will transport you back in time, you will hear a cacophony of hoots, whistles, rattles and hisses as the narrow-gauge train with its mahogany panels and brass fittings initially rolls through the streets of Palma.
Within 20 minutes, you will be enjoying the countryside dotted with olive trees and a view of the mountains in the distance. Just 30 minutes after leaving Palma, you will arrive at Bunyola, a traditional town located on the spurs of the Serra de Tramuntana. The train station at Bunyola is picturesque constructed from blond-stone and combined with traditional green shutters, definitely a chance to take some memorable photos of your trip.
From Bunyola the journey becomes super-scenic as it crosses the 496m high Serra de Alfàbia mountain range via a series of 13 tunnels, bridges and viaducts.
Things to look out for on the journey are the Túnel Major (Main tunnel); which is just short of 3km long and took three years to carve out of the rock and Mirador Pujol de’n Banya, an incredible lookout point with views stretching out over the Sóller valley. These are followed by the “cinc-ponts” viaduct which has five arches with spans 8 metres high and a great many bends and the “cinc-ponts” tunnel with its 180 degree bend.
When you arrive at Sóller and you’ve had a chance to explore, we highly recommend that you take the old tram; which regularly trundles down to Port de Sóller. Combined train and tram tickets can be purchased and this is the best option financially. A combined train and tram ticket for the entire journey from Palma to Port de Sóller and back to Palma is €32.
The Tren de Sóller does not leave Palma from Plaça Espanya but rather from its own separate building to the left-hand-side of the main train station. Just look out for a sign that reads ‘Ferrocarril de Sóller’ above the entrance and you will find it easily.
When you purchase your tickets, you must inform them which time you will be taking the return train, so some advance planning about your itinerary for the day is required.
For a great day out which includes a trip on the train, we recommend – Mallorca in One Day Sightseeing Tour with Boat Ride and Vintage Train
The website for Ferrocarril de Sóller is very informative and provides a detailed history about the train and its route, you’ll also find a timetable there with a list of up-to-date prices – trendesoller.com