Biniamar, Selva and Caimari and the Camino to Lluc
Three seemingly sleepy towns, connected by one spectacular hiking trail- a pathway to paradise!
Steeped in history, dating all the way back to 1232, the Arab settlement of Selva has managed to retain its rustic charm. Practically unaffected by tourism this quaint little town depicts traditional Mallorquin living - it’s almost as though you’ve stepped back in time.
Just down the road and slightly more famous than it’s next door neighbour is the town of Caimari. Renowned for producing some of the best olive oil here on the island, this agricultural haven is home to seven spectacular hotels, which are responsible for putting this town firmly on the map, as a place for luxurious and romantic breaks away.
We mustn’t forget Biniamar, previously a mining community that lies at the base of the Tramuntana mountains. Everywhere you turn in this tiny town there is an indication to its industrial past, whether it be a mining wagon at the side of the road, or simply a roaring coal fire alight in a cosy local bar- Biniamar possess a wonderful historical charm.
Located just outside of Inca and around twenty minutes from the coastal town of Port d’Alcudia, Selva, Caimari and Biniamar are all incredibly accessible!
My personal recommendation would be to hire a car from the airport, as your journey time will only be around 35 minutes, heading straight along the motorway, and turning off just before you reach Inca. Although some of the roads do become a little narrow as you approach these pint-sized pueblos, the main run of the journey is simple and speedy- meaning you have more time to enjoy the sights when you arrive!
However, if you would prefer to be chauffeured to your destination then local bus services from Palma Intermodal Station in Plaza España (330 to Caimari and Selva and 331 to Biniamar) will have you at your destination within an hour and a half. Although the journey time is longer, it means you can indulge in some of the fabulous locally produced wines from the nearby town of Binissalem!
There is also a train station in Lloseta. The average journey time from Palma to Lloseta is 45 minutes, and from here you could take a taxi to your town of choice, which will take anywhere between ten and twenty minutes depending on traffic- the options are endless!
Selva was first recorded to be an Arab farm, that was established in 1232, and didn’t receive town status until the year 1300. Despite being relatively overlooked by tourists, it holds the key to a colourful past full of bandits, rebellions and revolutions, there is far more than meets the eye in Selva!
Caimari is a perfect demonstration of an ever changing Mallorca. During the industrial revolution, manual farming became difficult and families who couldn’t afford to invest in new materials, saw their businesses crumble. However, seven large fincas saw a gap in the market and formed the ‘Som 7’ collection. Scattered throughout Caimari and the little hamlet of Binibona, these vintage farmhouses and fincas that tell a tale of a previous agricultural lifestyle are now converted to manor house hotels, equipped with exquisite grounds and stylish décor. Combining countryside living, with close proximity to Alcudia's beaches and Inca’s shopping centre - it’s been a winning formula for many many years!
Biniamar’s history is not quite as colourful as Selva’s or as glamorous as Caimari’s. However, its pivotal role within the mining community meant that it was at the heart of Mallorca’s industrial development for many years. Biniamar’s proximity to the base of the Tramuntana meant that it was a prime location to extract coal. Although now only home to four hundred residents, during the height of the mining years Biniamar had double the number of residents. It was only as the island became inundated with tourists during the late 1960’s and 1970’s that mining ceased in this little town, but relics of its history can be found wherever you go.
Local Sights #
The most spectacular local sight that stretches across all three towns is that of the rolling Tramuntana mountains. From every angle these natural giants encompass the area, and display Mallorca’s finest work of art - its landscape.
All three towns are home to impressive gothic style churches, that take pride of place within the main square. Standing tall within the miniature winding streets and stone buildings, they are certainly eye-catching. Biniamar renovated it’s church in 1910 showcasing a far more modern design. All three are architectural delights and combine Mallorca’s past and present, perfectly.
Selva is also home to the 17th century Valella Cross depicting eight famous saints of the island. It was marked as a feature of cultural importance back in 1963 - a perfect photo opportunity for all you budding photographers!
Points of Interest #
* Nearest Beach: Alcudia - 20-30 mins drive (depending on location)
* Nearest Hospital: Inca - 5-15 mins drive (depending on location)
* Nearest Train Station: Lloseta - 10-20 mins drive (depending on location)
* Nearest Shopping Centre: Inca - 10-20 mins drive (depending on location)
Food & Drink #
Across the entire island we are spoilt with fabulous places to eat, and these three towns certainly render decision making hard, as they offer an array of exquisite eateries!
Established in 2013, Villa Vegana is the first vegan-based hotel and restaurant, here in Mallorca. Whilst edging on the higher end of “affordable,” the prices are quite reasonable when looking for a treat! The extensive menu and clever culinary combinations will have your taste buds hitting overdrive! Hiring a car is a must to reach this remote location, but if you fancy a drink - you can always book a room for the night!
Cami d’es Pedregar, Selva 07313
Telephone: 971-515- 841
Sa Tafona de Caimari
Popular with locals, cyclists and intrepid explorers, this large restaurant provides big flavours with small prices (our favourite!). Delivering a large menu of mediterranean classics, Sa Tafona de Caimari is open all day, every day! Renowned for its impressive array of BBQ meats, you can guarantee a hearty portion, that will be served with a smile! Perfectly positioned, close to several hiking trails, make sure you give it a whirl! This restaurant also sells local olive oil and olive oil based products - shopping and scoffing, who could ask for anything more?
Carretera Inca Lluc, Caimari 07314
Telephone: 971- 875- 026
Mirabona Restaurant at Finca Ca’n Beneït
(Directly from Ca’n Beneït’s website is this illustrative history of the finca and area) “Ca’n Beneït was the main estate of the Binibona hamlet, northeast of Selva. Originally known as Benimala, and then Benibona, the old little town’s origins date back well before the conquer of the island of Mallorca in the year 1229, when King Jaume I established the island as a kingdom. As a reward for their military success, and well documented in the thirteen century “Llibre del Repartiment”, or Mallorca’s land distribution book, the King awarded the lands of the valley to the Marquis of Palmer, one of the knights from the Catalan nobility that fought alongside him.
Under Muslim rule for centuries, the island of Mallorca has reminiscences of it not only in its distinctive architecture and its unique centuries old dry stone works used for terracing the fields and for irrigating the plains, but also in the names of many of its towns and villages. This way we know for a fact that Binibona (from the arabic word “bini”, meaning the “house of”) was inhabited well before the thirteen century, and the valley in which our rural hotel is located was an strategic stronghold as one of the few entry points into the central Tramuntana mountains.
On the other side of the valley, and visible from our hotel, are the grounds of an old Arabic castle built on a hill that was used for the protection of the mountain pass. Legend has it that some sort of treasure was hidden in the fortification, the quest of which made the castle the object of much desire and prompted its dismantling many centuries ago. Some of its old stones were probably used to build some of the constructions in the hamlet bellow, as well as in other parts of the island.
Legend or not, the road uphill from Binibona remains as untouched and pristine as it once was, and our guests can take the very same trail leading up to the mountain tops and valleys that were once used by the dozens of guarded men defending the monastery of Lluc, sheltered in the Tramuntana range, from outer attacks.
According to our grandfathers, the rise of the hamlet in Binibona occurred in the turn of the XXth century, when thirty houses in town and ten in the nearby Fincas and smaller properties were inhabited. The main and almost exclusive activity back then, as well as their only means of survival, was agriculture.
Back in the days the landscape changed with the seasons, and so did the harvests, traditions and festivities in the little hamlet. That very essence of slow paced life still lingers in Ca’n Beneït somehow, and along with our honest service and our rooted to the land philosophy, we find it to be our most valuable treasure.
After the Spanish civil war, and the second world war, most of the inhabitants had already fled for the city and the better opportunities it offered. The extreme dedication needed for laborious agriculture activities, as well as its modernization and the flourishing of industry on the island, along with better paid jobs and more educational options available in urban areas, precipitated the gradual abandonment of the sleepy village, leaving its beauty and authenticity almost frozen in time.”
What about the clothes?! Don’t fear, amongst the local boutiques in each town, you are a stone's throw from Inca Here you can find all your favourite high street retailers as well as individual boutiques and traditional stores - panic over!
Sports & Recreation #
Selva, Biniamar and Caimari are all connected by one fabulous hiking trail! In 2013 the brand new circular route connecting Arta to Lluc, joined these three towns together. The local council said that they wanted to reinstate the joy of being able to walk from one town to another, something that was lost during the 1970’s. Now this route not only connects these three towns, but many other towns across the island, meaning you can walk for miles and experience the true beauty of the island. The dry stone route allows walkers of all abilities to meander at their own pace; so whether you’re a wanderer or a speed demon, you can ramble through the Tramuntana and see the real Mallorca!
This route, and others, can also be accessed via bike. But be warned, the rocky terrain is not for the faint hearted! All walkers and riders must be fit and sure of their ability, before undertaking this journey.
Lluc a Peu - The Symbol of Mallorquinidad #
Hiking plays a pivotal role in Mallorcan life, and possibly the most impressive example of this is the Lluc a Peu, the once-a-year epic pilgrimage to the exquisite Lluc Monastery. The 42 kilometre trek begins in Palma, and takes around eleven hours to complete (walking at a steady pace).
On average, almost 10,000 people take part in this spectacular (yet slightly crazy) hiking challenge which has become something of an institution on the island, since it began in 1973. Each year it sees a harmonious union of tourists and residents alike, young and old, joining together to undertake this journey.
The route trails all the way through Selva, as well as towns such as Binissalem and Santa Maria - so if you’re feeling a little lethargic you can always stop off and partake of a well deserved drink and bite to eat; building up your stamina for the next leg of the journey!
The hike occurs on a warm August evening, and as the sun sets on Mallorca, you can really appreciate the island’s true beauty. By night, the lights of towns and houses below twinkle like stars and you feel transported into another world. On this night, cars are replaced by thousands of pairs of boots, road noises swapped, momentarily, for laughter and chatter- and by sunrise Mallorca is just beginning its transformation back to what it was before.
Cami de Lluc
El Santuari de Lluc acull l'exposició de l'artista pollencí Joan Bennassar: Camí de Lluc, refugis d'amor i d'oferiment. Parlarem amb ell i visitarem el conjunt d'escultures.
If you don’t quite make it to the top, fear not! All of the local towns across the island sponsor buses to collect weary walkers from various spots along the trail. However if you are victorious, and complete the trail, it’s strongly advisable that you arrange for someone to collect you by car (as buses can be a little slow)!
Art & Culture #
Selva is very blessed to be the birthplace of local artist Joan Lacomba, who creates beautiful artwork and installations from plastic and rubbish. His ethos is that any plastic that can be recycled into something beautiful, ensures that one less piece makes it into our oceans. Well said, Joan!
Joan’s spectacular handiwork is displayed within his workshop in the centre of Selva, for anyone to admire and help save the environment by purchasing a unique piece. What are you waiting for?
Talent clearly runs through the Lacomba family as Joan’s son, Gabriel, is a famous, incredibly talented photographer in his own right. His cinematography and unique natural shots have built up his reputation. His online presence is huge, and his work takes him across the globe- yet the essence of Mallorca can be seen in many of his photos.
Living in Biniamar, Caimari or Selva #
All three locations are quite comparable in terms of price. When it comes to purchasing property, they provide countryside living and a town lifestyle all at once, with property styles ranging between rustic fincas and modern apartments - appealing to whatever you fancy!
On average you can expect to pay anywhere between 200,000 € and 600,000 € for a three to four bedroom property. The more expensive properties are located just outside of the town centres and offer large amounts of land alongside the property itself. This could provide opportunities to develop, extend or simply enjoy the country views!
As for rentals, with prices ranging between 1,500 euros to 3,000 euros per month, they are quite expensive in comparison to the nearby town of Inca. For this amount you will secure a three-bedroom apartment-style property, furnished and in a good location, making all town amenities (transport, shops, etc.) accessible. However, looking a little further out towards Lloseta or Inca could secure you a larger property at a lower price, but the charm of the mountainside towns could be too hard to say no to!
Charm factor #
Step back in time and experience the true beauty of Mallorca's mountains. You won’t regret it!
Por Zoé Holmes
15 septiembre, 2021