History is alive in the Sierra de Tramuntana, an open air museum where there is still evidence of the Arabs who populated this rural area over 1.000 years ago. They created artifical water systems to irrigate crops and terraced the hillsides to prevent erosion and to facilitate the cultivation of many of the same olive trees that we see today.
Forming the western backbone of Mallorca, the Tramuntana meanders 90 km from Andratx in the southwest to the Formentor peninsula in the north where it abruptly plunges into the sea. Charming towns and villages such as Soller and Pollensa, Banyalbufar, Valldemossa and Deià each have their own individual architecture, gastronomy and culture. Recently, traditional dry stone walls have been restored along the original Roman roads creating almost 300km of paths for hikers to discover and live the "authentic" Mallorca. A network of refuges offer accommodations and information.
The natural beauty of the Tramuntana attracted the island's first travellers, artists and naturalists from Europe such as the explorer Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, 'Sissi' the Empress of Austria, George Sand and Frederic Chopin. In the 20th century, Robert Graves, Britain's most admired love poet, invited many personalities to his home in Deià such as Ava Gardner, Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Gabriel García Márquez and a young Stephen Hawking among many others.