General view of Bunyola. | Cañellas


Historically the Soller Valley was known as ‘the island within an island’. No road tunnel in the old days and the Coll Mountain, with its 52-hairpin bends, was the car route. The Soller Train has been chugging through the mountains for over 100 years and provided the easiest link to Palma and the villages just across the mountain. Trade left Puerto Soller by boat to France and beyond, and created the huge French influences which remain to this day. 70% of Sollerics have France in their heritage. The summer months in the Soller Valley sees French as a dominant language, when many return for holidays and family visits.

The isolated Soller Valley life is changing, and a new page is being written. The ‘free’ Soller tunnel, the frequent bus service, the fact that there an equal number of cars as people in the Valley means the freedom which mobility brings. The changes this has brought to the connection to the nearest villages is interesting to understand.

From the Soller Tunnel to the industrial estate of Son Castello lies one straight road. It has a number of roundabouts built in recent years to enable access to the villages en route. These include the most visited places such as, Alfabia Gardens, Son Amar and the Raixa centre. This straight road was often used as a racetrack by the petrol heads of the past. The roundabouts and police surveillance have largely ended those days when it was a badge of honour to achieve a speed of 200 km per hour.
Soller has a population of approx 13,500 people. There are another 11,000 people who used to knock on the door and demand entry. The villages the ‘other’ side of the Coll have a part of their being, in Soller. It is an accident of a mountain which keeps them on the ‘outside’.

I love a wander round the three villages which make up the communities on the Soller Road. First up is Bunyola with its old Church, traditional Plaza and marketplace. A population of 7343 in 2023 and growing. Easy commuting to Palma these days on the Soller Train and a decent bus service. The countryside and walks on the doorstep make this a favoured place in the Tramontana. Very connected with Soller in its history of factories and industry of the past.


As Bunyola expanded it decided to create a new village down the road. The new village name comes from an amalgamation of Palma and Bunyola and is called Palmanyola. Very much little sister of Bunyola but as it grew it wanted to be more than just a dormitory space for both Palma and Bunyola.
Palmanyola (population 2207) is unique in that it is Mallorca’s only minor local entity. This is a form of administration created in 1924 under Spain’s municipal statute and which grants devolved powers to, organise its own public works amongst other functions. In September 1985, Palmanyola became such an administration, the result of an initiative led by three residents to give Palmanyola a form of autonomy and its own voice.

When you wander the streets of this relatively new village you will find it spaciously laid out on a grid system All roads are named after flowers and the Church in the centre is a modern design. Many medical staff working at nearby Son Espases hospital live here.

PALMA. BARRIOS. URBANISMO. Son Sardina, contra la construcción de 468 viviendas en veinte años.
Son Sardina.

Son Sardina (population 1729) is an ancient village which now finds itself between the Son Castello Industrial Estate and Son Espases hospital. To live in such close proximity to either makes it a very popular residential zone. Son Sardina has a beautiful old Church which sits alongside the football ground. Son Sardina is home to one of the finest women’s football teams on the island. Factories were a feature of the past but now most workers head for the businesses on its doorstep.

The majority, driving to Soller never think to take a turn off for an adventure. I love doing just that and am delighted by what I find and who I meet. I hope you find time to enjoy the villages of our world.