Banyalbufar: small vineyard by the sea

The cliffs of the Tramuntana mountain range in the west of Majorca are counted among the most interesting landscape formations on the island. There, you can still find small, cosy mountain villages such as Banyalbufar, which is about 25 kilometres from the Majorcan capital of Palma. Even the journey along the winding MA-10 coastal road is an experience in itself. It gives you views over the sea and of the ancient watchtowers that once warned of pirates, who attacked the island time and time again. Then you have fabulously gnarled olive trees, some of which have stood their ground for hundreds of years. Veritably as old as Methuselah.

It’s spectacular to see the terrace cultivation in Banyalbufar, where the fertile land has been wrested from the mountain. Dry stone walls that have been stacked artistically drop down towards the sea, providing and ensuring the necessary support. In this manner, juicy, sun-drenched citrus fruits can ripen there in the orange and lemon groves, and tomatoes and other vegetables can grow as well.

Original grape variety

This form of cultivation goes back to the Moors, who ruled the island for approximately 300 years (901-1229). With it, they also set up a cleverly-designed irrigation system. It’s fascinating that parts of it still remain today. It was also the Moors who gave the small village its melodious name: Banyalbufar –“small vineyard by the sea”.

It goes without saying that the village produced many a good wine, and that’s still the case to this day. The protagonist in Banyalbufar is the fine Malvasia grape variety. In the 1980s, there was an exciting discovery when very old, neglected grapevines were tracked down and examined more closely. Lo and behold! Following an extensive genetic analysis, the minor sensation in the Majorcan wine world came full circle. The Malvasia family of grape varieties is a large one. However, Banyalbufar’s local white wine grape variety is unique – the Malvasia of Banyalbufar. Having successfully propagated it, the winegrowers are now cultivating this original variety again.

Sundowners with a view

Here’s a suggestion: after having explored this mountain village up and down between the sea and the Tramuntana slopes, you could head to one of the small bars in the heart of the village and try this exceptional white wine – well chilled, of course. Or else pay a visit to the Bodega Son Vives, which is one of the pioneers in the cultivation of this variety. Winegrower Toni Darder offers wine tastings in English, German, Spanish and Catalan just 100 metres from the vineyard. Surrounded by vines, this branch of the bodega is unbeatable, especially at sunset. The last sunbeams of the day make the white Malvasia droplets sparkle in your glass as your gaze roams across the vast sea, and then the red sun sinks down into the sea…

In the realm of the strawberry trees

If you like walking, you can hike from Banyalbufar to the fishing bay of Port des Canonge, through woods and meadows and past old Majorcan grand estates called possessions. In any case, this location on this unspoilt western coast is a good place for a property or an apartment for anyone who loves peace and quiet.

The trip begins at the entrance to the village and is called “Vuelta des General” – The General’s walk. It’s good to go in summer too, and Aleppo-pines by the wayside provide you with shade. And don’t be surprised at the trees bearing yellow, red or orange-coloured fruits, depending on the degree of ripeness. These are strawberry trees! The spherical berries of this plant, which is a member of the heath family, look like they’re made to be eaten. And actually you can! They are edible.

A swim and a natural shower

Another part of the village is the Cala de Banyabufar with its stony beach and small waterfall. This is extremely practical. It’s not often in Majorca that you can have a natural shower after your swim.