Find Your Way Home--Bestselling Sat NavsPlan ahead and avoid traffic jams with one of our bestselling sat navs from top brands including TomTom and Garmin. We also stock a great range of up-to-date and fully-routable maps for your device, including popular destinations such as France, Portugal, North America and Scotland.
- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Mallorca's Long Distance Walking Route - GR221 Paperback – 30 May 2009
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
excellent guide, 6 Aug 2009 I've become a bit of a fan of this series. Clear descriptions, plenty of background details, good maps, and no fudging the problems that remain around the route make this the book to buy if you're doing the Ruta de Pedra en Sec. It gave us enough confidence that we even bivvied out for a night, a first for us. A great adventure made possible by a great book. It's an amusing read in places too. Thoroughly recommend it. The refuges in Mallorca are wonderful, too. We also had the Triangle Postals book, but (apart from the pictures) there is no comparison. Jim Todd - London, England --amazon reader review
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is split into sections and step-by-step directions are provided along with a small map for each section. The maps however are very small and cover the day's section only. They are not sufficient if you plan to do the more adventurous parts of the route, nor do they provide much context to your surroundings (what's that mountain over there? how high are we? etc.). I would strongly advise a large scale map, like the 1:25,000 Alpina25 Serra de Tramuntana maps (split into North and South sections with the GR221 -and alternative routes- marked on. 20 EUR).
The step by step instructions are casual in tone, and at times slightly humours (along the lines of "look for an olive tree shaped like Basil Fawlty and take a right"). Each section has an interesting paragraph or so on local history, traditions or an explanation of a notable feature that certainly enrich the experience of the walk. Sadly, the authors lighthearted, humorous manner can sometimes become pompous and pretentious. The 'eccentric Englishman' routine soon starts to frustrate as you trawl through more of the authors rambling, blasé opinions on such-and-such when you just want to know what the next direction is!
Like many GR221 guide books, this guide assumes the walker is travelling South to North (Andratx to Pollenca). I am not sure why they all start this way. We decided to go North to South which, in my opinion, was far more rewarding although it did mean we were reading the directions in reverse (left becomes right, etc.).
If done in reverse, the walk starts off gentle from Port de Pollenca before some challenging, but rewarding climbing in the mountains on the 2nd and 3rd day. From then on, it's a very rewarding downhill all the way to Soller. Doing it in reverse meant we were hit with the dramatic views from the top of the Soller valley right away allowing us to enjoy them on a long, but relaxing descent into Soller. The 'official' way to do this section, if following the guide book, involves an absolutely knackering 4-5 hour climb out of Soller which I can't help but feel would dampen the 'wow factor' of the views as you trudge ever onward towards the top, and towards the best views. For this reason if nothing else, I would highly recommend doing the GR221 in reverse.
From Soller we did a leisurely half-day to Deia (not as well sign posted but only one path to follow) before getting the bus to Andratx (which annoyingly involved swapping at Palma as there are no 'north to south' bus routes). At Andratx, we tried to do 'Stage 1' of the guide to test out the descriptions. This is where the guide was much more useful. The trails on the Southern half of the GR221 are not sign posted at all, instead relying on unofficial, and unreliable, cairns. The descriptions in the book were useful here although in places it was still easy to deviate, especially when there were just too many paths to follow, as in some of the popular day trails around Andratx. In addition, the continual development and ever changing legal issues with some sections of the path also mean this guide is likely to become out of date quite fast. Although this is the most up-to-date version of this guide, it is already several years old and was sometimes inaccurate as a result. Checking the various GR221 websites and official tourist information (or the Hiking shop in Palma mentioned in the guide book were very helpful too) is a must if attempting the Southern sections.
If you only do the Soller to Pollenca sections, you do not need this guide. If you are tackling any of the sections from Valldemossa to Andtrax, I would recommend using this guide (and using it South to North to easily follow the directions/descriptions). However, if you are just a casual walker, I would not recommend these sections as the infrastructure is just not there (nowhere to sleep, unless you bring a tent, no food or water en-route, no sign posts). Whichever part of the spectacular and enjoyable GR221 you decide to attempt, I would recommend a proper map to go with this guide too.
The second walk we did was Sant Elm to La Trappa - almost exactly correct. We also did Valldemosa to Dehia - this was an excellent walk. However there's now a ranger hut after the track up from Valldemosa and the route described in the book ahs been changed due to issues with private landowners. Further on where you reach a plethora of cairns - if the book had said something like look sharp left here for a gap in the rocks. A lot of people were wandering round this area looking lost. Some people even decided to go back to Valldemosa rather than go onto Dehia. We persevered as we had faith in the book and found the correct path.
The sad thing is that the authorities seem unable to make the GR Route a protected right of way, so closures by land owners as threatened in the Valldemossa area could make such publications obsolete at the drop of a hat. Check before you set out!
The book is engagingly written but (and this is no criticism of the author) the tourist authorities in Mallorca are extremely poor at their job, and terribly slow at doing anything that may help visitors. Tourism locally is divided into sections, so if for instance you go into the Soller tourist office wanting information on something near the Andratx office, or the Calvia office, they don't want to know you and they have no information. Central reliable data is sparse. Despite over 75% of the island's wealth coming directly from tourism, in many parts the influx of visitors seems to be resented and they only want high-value tourists who pay lots of money for highly-priced hotels and meals. This doesn't easily square with the unemployment rate on the island, well over 20% (March 2011). There is also a serious political problem on the island where in many parts, only their version of Catalan is considered "proper", ( a bit like the fundamental attitudes that once existed, with reason I may say, in parts of Wales) and although 80% of the island are incomers who speak the wider-spread Castillian Spanish, the locals in official positions will often resent it. As an example, surgeons in hospitals who could not pass an exam in Mallourquin were told they should go back to the mainland! If you speak only English, French, German etc. as a tourist then your job becomes even harder because accessing information in your own language is either impossible or difficult. The island is crying out for one single easy to use up-to-date comprehensive website in a choice of languages - especially for walkers and mountain lovers - but so far there is only a mish-mash of inadequate ones.
I need to add that if you just visit villages to join in fiestas and events, then the local people have always been extremely welcoming to me and my family - you only get problems when you need to access those in authority, some of them, but not all, seem to resent outsiders.
The tourist people to whom I spoke on the phone when booking accommodation for part of this walk mostly had no English and I had to wait for several days before the English speaker came back from holiday for me to talk to her and then request a booking at a mountain refuge. Even then, paying them in advance was a nightmare, I had to visit a bank on the island to send the Consell de Mallorca a bank draft to pay in advance. The process took a week and I could not have done it from the UK. The author says this has been simplified and may now be achieved online so I'd like to hear from someone who has successfully done this.
If you do plan a night in one of the refuges that are up and running I can tell you they are excellent places at reasonable cost and with good food and service. They have a ban on taking alcohol, but bags are not searched and they do sell it at reasonable cost at each establishment. The idea that a refuge is just a stone shack can be dispelled, they all have at least some decent bunk beds, and some have privately-bookable rooms. They all have good kitchens, and some are in areas of astounding beauty. Be aware that local groups of students/schoolchildren/voluntary organisations seem to get priority on bookings, and at weekends or main holidays a lot of the places get booked out well in advance, so you MUST book ahead. Having said that, you can also be a walk-up and get in without booking, or just drop in for a coffee or quick meal, just don't try it at local holiday time!
It should be a simple matter of setting off with this book, with the confidence that a walk is well-marked and that the mountain accommodation at the end of each day is booked and sorted easily through the proper channels. The truth is that you need to be wary, and Charles Davis is honest about the many sections of the whole walk that do not properly connect, and also about the fact that many of the refuges are not yet finished - so being able to do the whole thing over, say, 7 or 8 connected days is just pie in the sky. The authorities putting this walk together do have some serious problems with landowners - the right to roam does not exist in Mallorca in the way it does in parts of the UK. Delicate negotiations are taking place to try to get agreed routes established.
If the book is used to do the sections of the walk that are well-marked and which connect to easily-bookable refuges, then it will help you a great deal, it's lovely scenery with great history, however most tourists will not have the insight or enthusiasm of the author for tackling or finding the alternatives to fill the gaps in the walk that are not yet finished. I'm sure he'd tell you that you could by using his book but I felt that in parts he rather glossed over those difficulties!
This book will serve you well for the sections of route that are already up to scratch, I've done those sections before getting this book and can vouch for the fact that having the book would have made them even better.
You will see if you get a reasonably good map of the island that several of the refuges (hostals, really, in quality) have an approach where a car can get you part of the way, so we were able to get my 83-year-old aunt up to one with only a 2 or 3 hours walk, and it was a most enjoyable experience. In fact, the one in the old lighthouse overlooking the port of Soller can be driven to, it even has a small car park.
Be aware that in height of summer, only a lunatic would do anything more than a short mountain walk before collapsing with heat-stroke, and be aware too that safe drinking water is not often found up in the mountains away from the refuges. If you use the information in this book to plan your time of visit, and also for its list of available facilities, you'll do well.
Let's hope the authorities pull their fingers out and join the various sections of the walk together as soon as possible. The scenery is stunning, it's well worth the planning, and this book will be a great help. Steve Riches, Northampton, UK.
Most recent customer reviews