Cristina Zaforteza, managing director and co-owner of Alfabia Gardens estate. Presented by TUI. Video by Nova Producciones (Video lasts 6 minutes 22 seconds) | Youtube: Majorca Daily Bulletin TV


The palm trees rustle in the wind, the sound of water can be heard here and there. Guests stroll calmly through the Alfabia Gardens estate. There is much to explore: Flora, fauna, architecture, historical elements, but also the special atmosphere. Time seems to have stood still. You will look in vain for large crowds of tourists and hustle and bustle.

"This estate has been in private Mallorcan hands since the conquest by King Jaime I in 1229," says Cristina Zaforteza, managing director and co-owner of the estate. The king from Aragon took over from the Arabs, who had ruled for around 300 years.

Cristina Zaforteza takes care of the maintenance and management of the Alfabia Gardens. The estate is family-owned.

"The Jardines de Alfabia, a combination of country house, park and garden, has only been open to tourists since the 1960s. Before that, it was always used as the owners' summer residence," says Zaforteza. "As a child, I used to play in the gardens here with my siblings while my father looked after the property. We often spent the night in the house, but never lived there. It's far too cold and very damp in winter."

"My family was the fourth generation to take over the property. Alfabia cannot be bought, it can only be acquired through succession, she explains. "It has been important to all the owners to maintain the special character of the estate.

The house has adopted many stylistic elements from different eras. Nevertheless, the authenticity has been preserved.

That's why nothing has changed in 150 years." Although every era has left its mark in the form of a few stylistic elements in the house and garden, the essence and authenticity of the estate has never been lost. "When Queen Isabel II of Spain came to visit in 1860, for example, her bedroom furnishings were completely adapted to the Rococo period. In other parts of the house, there are Gothic and Renaissance elements and even Arabic elements." She also mentions the irrigation ditches that the Arabs created before 1229. "They still work perfectly today and are an important part of the irrigation system." However, climate change and the expansion of the flower beds mean that more water is needed today.

The irrigation ditches from the Arab era are still in use. An additional water supply is nevertheless necessary.
Related news

"Water is precious and must not be wasted. That's why we have introduced an additional system that supplies the plants with water down to the last drop. The Alfabia gardens are located in Bunyola, in the Tramuntana mountains. This is where Mallorca experiences the most rainfall. We collect all the water and channel it directly into a reservoir."

Even back then, the Arabs' water channels were divided into two ditches that led directly down the slope to the plants, supplying them with the valuable water. The good water supply makes the gardens an evergreen oasis. More than 200 palm trees of the Washingtonia, Canary Island and Mediterranean date palm varieties feel most at home there. However, the date palms are being badly affected by the weevil.

There are over 200 palm trees in the gardens. These include the Washingtonia, Canary Island and Mediterranean date palm varieties.

"Although it is a typical Mediterranean garden, where fewer flowers grow in nature, we have planted some in the park. Guests simply expect floral elements in the park." However, this only happened after the opening of the property with the start of tourism on the archipelago.

"In the past, there was only agriculture on the Balearic Islands from which people lived. The inhabitants were never rich, there was no industry." It was only later that the focus shifted to tourism and agriculture was no longer worthwhile.

"So much has changed in Mallorca since then. But in the Jardines de Alfabia, the whole essence of Mallorca is still preserved and can be experienced with all the senses."

Cooperation with TUI

Support from the tourism industry: the project is sponsored by Europe's leading tourism group Tui and its Tui Care Foundation. The initiative was founded in 2016 with the aim of supporting sustainable projects in the destinations. The foundation focuses on the potential of the tourism sector as a driver of social development, education and prosperity. The Group promotes sustainable tourism in cooperation with local people.