The 15 minutes it takes from central Palma to Puigpunyet puts it firmly in the ‘commuter belt’, if such a thing exists in Mallorca. A turn off the motorway signposted Puigpunyent and you soon exchange anything urban for mountains covered in pine trees. One long road through vineyards and stunning countryside and you arrive in this affluent mountain village. Wine has been produced there since 1597 in Son Puig vineyard. These days, visits and purchases from the cellar are available if you book in advance.
The main attraction here is the accessibility from the metropolis of Palma. The village itself is contained in the crossroads of the centre with lovely houses scattered about the village and into the mountainsides. Those who visit, who want the hikes and cycle rides, are spoilt for choice. Picture postcard views are on every corner. La Reserva Puig de Galatzó is in the vicinity with miles and miles of unspoilt countryside to enjoy.
I walked the streets and sat in the centre with a coffee watching the children on the swings as they came out of school. An idyllic life at first glance to live in such paradise, surrounded by nature at its best. Some of the locals of the area climb the hill every day to work in one of the fine hotels of Mallorca, perched above this village. The Hotel Son Net is a favourite of many visitors and locals, celebrating weddings and birthdays in the great ambience.
In the old days of the Georgie Insull singers we occasionally sang for their Christmas gatherings and also for weddings in this hotel. The view from their terraces are second to none with Palma on the near horizon and the mountains and pine forests behind.
I met friends in the square and we chatted the Puigpunyent life. This couple arrived with children to Majorca and settled in the village because of the proximity to the International Schools. A good bus service took them into school each day and the adult lives went on running their internet business from their home in the mountains here.
Time has past and the children are in universities in Amsterdam and Madrid right now and they themselves are half retired. They traded in their house up the mountain for a lovely property in the heart of the village (almost near the bus stop). They have lived here for the past twenty years and can’t imagine being anywhere else. The ability to move from to urban to country in 15 minutes is irresistible for them.
My route home took me on a detour via Establiments, the town that sits in the middle of Puigpunyent and Esporles. Farming and cement factories were the past of this area. These days it is a suburb of Palma and has many of the qualities of local areas with great access to city and countryside. The fascinating fact I uncovered in my wander was that between 1926 and 1959 Establiments had a tram link to Palma. Eventually replaced by buses, but for over thirty years Majorca had trams running in both Soller and in Establiments.
In 2021 the trams are on the verge of making a come back in Palma and are part of the transport master plan. Recently the Balearic government unveiled plans for the tram to connect Plaça Espanya in Palma and Son Espases Hospital. Part of the tramline will use the route of the Soller train. This will mean that infrastructure work is kept to a minimum and that the budget can be reduced. The tram will therefore go along C. Eusebi Estada and C. Concòrdia.
The government has opted for a tram to go to the hospital rather than extend the Metro. This is in order to give “urban integration” of areas in the city, e.g. Plaça de Toros and Son Oliva, which are currently separated by the Soller train track.
The project will cost 51 million euros. The tramline will be 4.7 kilometres with nine stops 500 metres apart. The journey time from Plaça Espanya to Son Espases will be fifteen minutes.
The tram and train enthusiasts of Mallorca love all this work and are very happy that trams are on the way back.
As 50% of the population live in Palma and the surrounds it is good to see these areas for what they were, while we can. The proximity to urban and country is a big feature of living on this side of the Palma outskirts. I had a fascinating trip through the Majorca world where people live and get on with their lives. A little history of the past and new developments to look forward to.