Small mountain village with big mountain views
What strikes you driving into Esporles is how pretty it is. Tidy stone pavements, well-kept traditional stone townhouses and a river running through make this picture postcard of a town someplace you want to not just visit, but to live.
Getting there #
From Palma Airport, it will take about 25 minutes to reach Esporles by car. It’s an easy, picturesque drive. If you’re without a car, bus service is available. From Palma Airport, take the EMT Bus 1 to Plaça de Espanya in Palma city centre. Then grab the TIB Bus 200 to Esporles. The bus service is fairly regular. There is no train service.
The Moors founded Esporles in the early Middle Ages. The name originated from the Latin word sportulis which means basket. It is assumed this is because Esporles was a basket-weaving centre at that time.
The village also once had a thriving textile industry, due to the significant rainfall and the resulting abundance of water, and this was a major contributor to the economy until the mid-19th century. Today, the factories are mostly ruins, though some have been converted into modern buildings and used for housing. Across from the town hall, you can still find La Filadora, a sculpture paying tribute to this time in Esporles’s history.
Additionally, Esporles was a centre for orange and almond growing.
Local Sights #
Esporles is home to one of Mallorca’s most interesting and important historical buildings. La Granja d’Esporles is a 17th century mansion with a stunning and varied 20,000m2 garden. It houses a museum, traditional crafts centre and restaurants. This heritage site allows visitors to see what it was like to live and work on a massive agricultural estate, including being able to view several rooms that are like stepping back in time. Kitchens, sitting rooms, bed chambers, and children’s paly rooms look just as they would’ve in their heyday. There is even a torture chamber, for those who like a bit of maudlin fun.
The Neo-Gothic church, Sant Pere, sits in the oldest part of town, and was reimagined in the early 20th century into the grand structure we see today. With a nave and 12 chapels separated with ribbed vaults, it’s a fantastic example of this type of architecture.
In nearby Banyalbufar, you can see the ruins of old Moor-made terraces, used in the 10th century to grow produce on otherwise inhospitable land. It a wonder of ancient technology and a must-see.
Food & Drink #
Esporles has no shortage of fine options for dining.
Mesón La Vila
A pricier option, but visitors say it is well worth it for the incredible lamb and suckling pig, served with garlicky potatoes. Rustic is a word often used to describe it, but not as often as the word “delicious” when describing a meal.
Address: Calle Nou de Sant Pere 5, 07190 Esporles, +34 971 61 09 01
This restaurant combines fabulous food with terrific service. There is a gorgeous covered terrace and even a play area for the kids so they can run wild whilst the adults sip wine and enjoy the meal.
Address: Ctra. Esglaieta-Esporles, km1, 07190 Esporles, +34 971 61 17 77
Beautifully presented dishes and a lovely ambient setting under sycamore trees. This family-run restaurant makes traditional Mallorcan fare with a modern twist.
Address: Paseo Rei 10, 07190 Esporles, +34 971 61 05 39
Shopping and Market #
As a sleepy residential village, there is not a huge amount of shopping, save for the basics (chemist, tobacconist, etc) and a few boutique shops. But don’t despair! There is a weekly Saturday market in Esporles from 8h-13h. You can find local ceramics, bags and other crafts on offer, as well as a nice selection of produce, wines, and olive oil.
Es Verger, a family owned and run wine and olive oil producer, boasts gorgeous organic products at the s’Hort des Verger estate just 4km outside the village. Their award winning wines and oils are for sale on site.
Sports & Recreation #
For the sport-orientated, there are some wonderful hiking and cycling options. A popular walk is the Old Post Route, part of the famed GR221 Dry Stone Route, between Esporles and Banyalbufar, where you get a bit of everything from sea views to forest trails.
For cyclists, there is challenging terrain all around. It’s a great place to base, or to just make a stop for a coffee or snack!
Esporles' Annual Highlight: The Pastry Festival #
Like sweets? Every October since 2005 Esporles hosts the Fira Dolça, celebrating the best pastry on the island. Over the years, as the fiesta has expanded, the range of sweet treats has grown from traditional pastry to jams, sweeties and cakes. It’s a once a year indulgence that can’t be missed.
Living in Esporles #
The beauty and desirability of the village have drawn a rather large and affluent expat community which has pushed prices up in recent years. Despite this, you can still get bargains, andtwo2-bedroom flats in the village can be had starting at €225,000. Price/m2 runs at €3600 and is a useful guidepost when looking at property here.
Charm factor #
Esporles is what would be called a bedroom community, so you’re out of luck if nightlife is your schtick. But if you want a quiet lifestyle, in a pretty mountain village only twenty minutes from Palma with oodles of charm, this is your place!
By Stephanie Horsman
12 June, 2019