Bunyola: a village with special highlights
The village of Bunyola basically consists of two main streets, a few shops and the parish church of Sant Mateu with its church square. Residents enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a village while being only 20 kilometres or so from Majorca’s capital, Palma. Bunyola also has a small railway station. As this is part of Majorca’s famous, historic narrow-gauge railway, which dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, the “Red Lightning” train makes a stop here. Unflagging, it puffs its way from Palma to Sóller, and all the way back of course. Bunyola is a great place to board the train and take a trip either northwards or southwards.
A fun train ride
This kind of trip reveals entirely different views of the Majorcan landscape. The locomotive with its carriages in tow has to cope with many a climb in the Tramuntana mountain range. With hoots and screeches, the whole train rattles its way around adventurous-looking bends. In truth, you really have to experience being jolted and shaken around on the basic benches inside the train at least once. It’s a lot of fun, and especially great fun for kids.
The district of Bunyola itself has some highlights to offer too. Number one highlight: Jardines d’Alfàbia, the Arabic gardens of Alfàbia. Highlight number two is the estate of La Raixa – ideal for immersing yourself in the history of Majorca. If you’re extremely hungry for knowledge, you could visit both in one day, although actually that’s almost too fast. If you take your time, these exceptional sites have a much more intensive effect.
A magical place
The gardens of Alfàbia are some of the most beautiful on the island. This is a place where you can forget about time. The grounds are greener than green. Originally created by the Moors in the 12th century, the property later passed into the hands of a noble family. Wherever you look, there is water rippling, bubbling, gurgling, trickling and flowing. There are streams, springs and brightly sparkling fountains. Water features – very typical in Arabic gardens – are not only a feast for the eyes; now, as in the past, they obviously also provide irrigation. This spot was selected very deliberately; a steadily gushing spring from the surrounding Tramuntana mountains has always ensured a supply of refreshing water. On a sunny island like Majorca, this is a real treasure.
The water allows this “evergreen oasis” to bloom, grow, and flourish. Water lilies gleam in ponds. Roses stretch their heads towards the skies. Ivy flings itself over stone walls and climbing plants hug the trees. And amongst them is the Alfàbia historic house. Dating mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries, this mansion has been preserved also. It just beckons you to have a wander through it, giving you a sense of how the nobility on Majorca once lived. On the principal floor or bel étage, you’ll find walls covered with fine damask and wooden panels, and rooms adorned with paintings and sculptures.
Raixa and the Renaissance
Just a few kilometres away is the estate of La Raixa with its loggia in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The estate is so impressive that German fashion icon Jil Sander once intended to buy it herself, although the Majorcans didn’t want that. So the island Council and the government bought and restored the property.
Today, the stately building houses an exhibition providing information about the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 2011. If you’re there, don’t miss the walk through the distinctly different gardens, whatever you do! Likewise, take a look at the enormous water reservoir – typical for estates of this size on Majorca – and pay a visit to the pavilions.