After watching a BBC television series entitled ‘Great Continental Railway Journeys’ which featured a delightful old wooden train that runs between Palma and Soller we wanted to take a ride on it ourselves.
The train line was established in 1929 to link Palma with the north west coast of the island. Trains depart from its own attractive heritage station which is just across the road from the city’s main line station in Placa D’Espana. A return ticket including a ride on the old wooden tram between Soller and Puerto Soller costs €30 per person but do remember to bring along sufficient cash as the booking office does not accept card payments. Details of the Soller railway can be found here.
The electric trains run on a narrow gauge track (914mm). We boarded the first train of the day at 10.10 am as we were staying nearby at a hotel in Palma. The vintage trains have several carriages and as we arrived early we managed to get seats in the front one as this was the original first class coach which had superior seats and light fittings. The other carriages also have wooden panelling and are attractive but not quite as comfortable as the front one.
The journey to Soller takes around an hour and makes a couple of brief stops at viewpoints for passengers to alight and take photographs in addition to scheduled stops at a few stations along the way. As the train travels at quite a slow pace I also managed to take some photos from the open window. The journey starts along a road out of the city centre passing outer suburbs and industrial zones but on leaving the city the scenery dramatically improves. The small train travels through the Tramuntana Mountains twisting and turning on its uphill journey, passing through several tunnels hewn out of rock, one of which is quite long. On arrival in the pretty village of Soller we decided to firstly take the little old tram along to Puerto Soller and then look around Soller before boarding the train back to Palma.
The old wooden tram is also delightful, there’s a tram stop just outside the station and the journey along the 4.6 km track to Puerto Soller takes a further 20 minutes. The tram rattles along through Soller’s main square almost touching tables and chairs as it winds its way through the village and out through fields of orange and lemon groves before arriving along Puerto Soller’s seafront where it continues around the bay, terminating by the marina. This tram service has operated between Soller and Puerto Soller since 1913 and as well as carrying passengers it was also used to bring freshly caught fish back from the port The tram is scheduled to make 14 stops along its route but I only noticed passengers getting on and off at each end of the line.
Puerto Soller is a charming small coastal town with a wide sweeping bay, has an attractive marina and the promenade is lined with stylish cafes and restaurants. We strolled through the town and along the seafront where we spotted two brave people taking a swim and a few others sitting on the beach . After enjoying coffee and churros dipped in chocolate sauce we caught the tram back to Soller.
Soller was bustling with life, people enjoying the early afternoon sun sitting out at pavement cafes (it felt quite warm here, around 20 degrees) to cyclists clad in lycra taking a short break from their hill climbs. It’s a picture perfect village and although busy it seems to have not lost any of its charm, welcoming visitors without becoming over touristy. There was time for us to enjoy drinks and tapas sitting outdoors watching the trams clatter along before we returned to Palma for our return journey on the vintage train.
I’d highly recommend taking this train and tram journey if ever you are visiting Mallorca as it has definitely been a highlight so far during our stay, and as well as riding the vintage train and tram, both Soller and Puerto Soller are certainly attractive small towns to visit, too.