With Roman and Moorish influences, it's the sunsets over the Med that will win your heart!
Getting there #
Banyalbufar is on the western side of the island located about halfway between Estellencs and Valldemossa. By car is by far the easiest way to get there – if you don't have your own, it's a good idea to hire a rental for a day. A taxi will take 40-45 minutes from Palma Airport and cost you around €40-55. Bus service is available by taking the 1 Line from the airport to Plaça d’Espayna in Palma and picking up the 200 bus that goes into the village. The bus runs every four hours, so the trip could take time if you don’t hit it well, but in general it's a 2 hours ride and costs between €4 to €8.
The name of the village is derived from two Arabic words, banya and bahar which, in some sources, is translated to "founded by the sea" and in others to "nailed in the sea", which is a fairly literal and accurate description. From medieval times until the 15thcentury, the village was ruled with an iron fist by the Baron of Banyalbufar, who had absolute civil and criminal jurisdictional power over the inhabitants.
Being rather isolated due to its mountainous location, the village had drastic population fluctuations and spotty communication with the rest of the island. Formal education was not a priority until the mid-twentieth century and as late as the 1990’s, some of the locals were illiterate.
The populace were primarily farmers, despite being so close to the sea. Fishing was a secondary industry, and not widely practiced. The farmers grew a variety of crops including wheat, barley, olives, flax, hemp, pulses, and grapes, all farmed on steppes until the Moors put in elaborate aqueduct and water catchment systems that allowed the precious resource to be transported from the mountains directly to the farms.
Farmers took great pride in the local wine grape, the Malvasia, used to produce the King of Aragon's preferred wine. In later centuries though production went into steep decline and was nearly destroyed entirely by the phylloxera vine pest in the 19th century. Faced with catastrophe, the locals decided to cultivate tomatoes instead, choosing the Ramallet variety for its resistance against draught, the salty sea-breeze and the poor soils of their fields. Braided into plaits and hung from the rafters to dry they kept fresh for months and fetched handsome prices on the markets – on Mallorca and off. In the 1920s, the tomato trade brought the villagers the highest per-capita income on the whole of the island! Then, like in all of Mallorca, the civil war and the general exodus of villages took its toll on Banyalbufar, too.
In 1995, a few daring farmers went back to the cultivation of Malvasier grapes. At first, they were laughed at, then they were copied, and today the village is back to producing high-qualitiy wines that are worth tasting.
Local Sights #
Though the village boasts only 568 permanent residents, there is much to see and do in the historic centre with its many beautiful homes and buildings.
The Tower Ses Ánimes, also known as the Verger Tower, lies close to the village on the C710 and provides extraordinary views of the sea.
The wineries and vineyards are well worth visits for their beauty and, of course, their exquisite wines! Son Vives and Ca’n Pico both offer tours and tastings, as well as the chance to buy a bottle or two of Malvasia to take home.
Food & Drink #
Despite its diminutive size, this village has loads of excellent restaurant options.
Family run operation that boasts fantastic local dishes including paella, stunning views and warm welcomes.
Address: Calle Constitucio 18, 07191 Banyalbufar / +34 971 618 148
Pegason y El Parjarito Enmascarado
It’s a mouthful to say, and it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you enter, you are transported to a world of delicious home-cooked dishes, friendly staff and a chef who makes the effort to say hello.
Address: Carrer Pont 2, 07191 Banyalbufar / +34 971 148 713
The triumvirate of great service, food and setting are to be found in this decently priced eatery.
Address: Carrer Baronia 17, 07191 Banyalbufar / +34 971 618 149
Hidden on a back street, this restaurant has a lovely courtyard, creative décor and yummy food.
Address: Carrer Borguny 1, Hotel Son Borguny, 07191 Banyalbur / +34 666 302 561
Shopping and/or Markets #
The village has shopping options galore! Wine, local products, souvenirs and clothes shops dot the pretty streets. Part of the fun is ducking into a side street and finding a fantastic little shop you’d never have expected.
Sports & Recreation #
Hiking and mountain biking are big draws here. The coastal mountain vistas are to-die-for and there are plenty of walks for all fitness levels. A standout is the route from Banyalbufar to the idyllic fisherman’s village at Port de Canoges on a well-marked trail called Sa Volta des General. By foot, it takes from 1.5 to 2.5 hours and is suitable for most everyone. It takes hikers and bikers through ancient pine forests and along the rocky coastline with amazing views to the sea.
Beautifully situated in a small bay surrounded by cliffs and trees, Cala Banyalbufar is about 1,500 metres from the village and worth the walk down. The beach is 100 meters long, quite narrow and pebbly, so no sandy cove here, but the water is crystal clear and great for snorkelling. Bring beach shoes because the shore’s large stones and gravel can be hard on your feet. Stretch out on a towel and sunbathe, taking in the scenery, sounds and surrounding landscape that make this place unique in Mallorca.
Mallorca’s northwest shore in general offers great hiking trails with expansive views of the sea and coastline. A number of coves are easily accessible for sunbathing and swimming, including Es Corral Fals and Son Bunyola. Look for privacy, history, and heritage here, unlike the waterfront to the east.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Banyalbufar has an annual jazz festival held every July and August at the Baronia Cloister, offering many of the concerts for free. In early September, there is a local festival celebrating the Nativity of Our Lady, where all the locals come out in an enthusiastic party atmosphere.
Living in… #
The village is small, getting smaller, most likely because of the remoteness and quiet winters. It’s a place to “get away from it all” and for that, many prefer to keep it as a holiday destination rather than a full-time residence. But for those who crave solitude and want to live like the locals do, this place is an ideal choice.
There is a vast range of price points in the village with regard housing, but in general, a higher end villa with a sea view will cost €1 to 3 million, and smaller homes and town homes can be had for as little as €250,000-€300,000.
Charm factor #
Banyalbufar, despite its trickily spelled name, is an adorable mountain village that has managed to escape mass tourism, whilst still being a destination for those in the know. For that, and its breath-taking natural beauty, it’s a place for those who enjoy beauty, a peaceful life and year-round access to the great outdoors.
Video of Banyalbufar
Travel with us on this breathtaking journey.
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Por Stephanie Horsman
1 junio, 2023