By Racó de Sóller, 03 April 2023
Sóller is near the sea and nestled in a valley surrounded by the Serra de Tramuntana. It has a varied architecture both in its urban and rural areas. This privileged location has allowed the town to preserve its village status, avoiding large urban development projects, as has been seen in other parts of the territory.
The citrus fruit business has also had a significant impact on the architectural style of Sóller, on the one hand because of the many rural villas scattered throughout the valley, and on the other hand, as a result of the numerous mansions built by citrus merchants at the beginning of the 20th century. These merchants returned to the island after emigrating to Central America following the crisis in the late nineteenth century and, upon their return, they invested their savings into building mansions in the colonial style.
When you visit Sóller, do not forget to lose yourself in its streets and discover the varied architecture it has to offer. As you stroll through the streets, you can contemplate the different architectural styles, from the oldest, with the purpose of defending the territory, to the most stately or traditional buildings. Below you will find the secrets of the most significant buildings in the area, so you won’t miss a single detail!
Church of St. Bartholomew
The Church of St. Bartholomew (San Bartolomé), located in the central Plaza de la Constitución, is one of the most emblematic and historic buildings in the square, since its construction dates back to the 17th century.
Of Romanesque-Gothic style, its original dimensions were very different from those we see today, as it was reshaped and expanded several several times over the centuries, with one of the most important and significant occurring in 1688, when it partially collapsed, and was then rebuilt and converted into a baroque style church. During this 17th century reconstruction major changes in both style and size occur.
One of the most interesting features of this church is its spectacular façade, the work of Juan Rubió y Bellver, Gaudí's apprentice. Inside, the church has a rectangular floor plan with 7 chapels, the apostle Saint Bartholomew and Our Lady of Bonany.
The Bank of Sóller
Like the Church of Saint Bartholomew, the Bank of Sóller is located in the Plaza de la Constitución. The construction of the building dates back to 1899. The building was designed with the objective of providing a safe place to safeguard the money of everyone living there, but especially of the people who had migrated abroad and had now returned with a large fortune.
Architecturally, it stands out for the modernist details of its façade and the large portal. It was declared a historic-artistic monument in 1980.
The Bank of Sóller and the Church of St. Bartholomew form a perfect architectural bond thanks to the fact that they share the same architect, Joan Rubió y Bellver.
The Torre Picada is a must-see to learn the history of Sóller and enjoy wonderful views of Port de Sóller and the Serra de Tramuntana.
Its construction dates back to the 17th century, it is a watchtower designed to defend the Port of Sóller from possible maritime attacks. Circular in its construction, it is 11m tall and has 3m thick walls, it housed 3 watchmen who were responsible for warning of any possible attack by sea.
A magnificent place to take a walk from the Port of Sóller and enjoy the marvellous views all along the way.
Can Prunera Modernist Museum
Can Prunera is one of the most beautiful modernist houses in Sóller, built in the early twentieth century, commissioned by Joan Prunera, and it is said that it was also built by Joan Rubió y Bellver.
Before becoming a museum, Can Prunera was a family home and it is a clear example of modernist architecture: on the façade there are stones that have been chiselled by hand, wrought iron and hand-worked wood. What also stands out in this facade is its voluptuous ornamentation with undulating shapes and plant and floral motifs typical of Catalan modernism. Don't miss a single detail of the ornaments on the upper level and the undulations of the windows on the first floor.
Currently, the Can Prunera Museum of Modernism is housed in Can Prunera and has different exhibitions of national and international artists.
Sala Picasso and Sala Miró
The Sala Picasso and Sala Miró are in the railway station, located in the Plaza de España. Inside this magnificent station, whose construction dates back to the early twentieth century, there are rooms dedicated to Picasso and Miró. The magic of the work, and the energy of the building, create a combination of the two artists and friends which should not be overlooked.
In the Picasso Room there is a collection of ceramic works, which were donated by Pere A. Serra, a distinguished son of Sóller.
In the Miró Room, you will find two series of engravings by the painter Joan Miró: the "Lapidari" series (1979) and the Gaudí Series (1971). The first works reflect different properties of stone, and the second is a series of lithographs that pay homage to the well-known Catalan architect. Inside the same railway station, there is also a large tapestry by the Catalan painter.
Joan Miró's maternal grandparents were from Sóller, which is why the artist’s grandchildren donated the exhibited works as a homage to his origins.
Sóller Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Sóller opened its doors to the public in 1992, as a center for conservation, research and education about Mediterranean flora and especially the flora of the Balearics.
The Botanical Garden is well maintained and well structured, making it an excellent leisure activity for families. The main collection consists of living plants, where you can find wild flora (mainly of the Mediterranean and of its continental areas of influence) and flora related to human activity (where the genetic reserve of traditional varieties of fruit and vegetable trees and the vegetables from the Balearic Islands are worthy of note). Another highlight, even though it is not possible to visit freely, is the plant germplasm bank (or seed bank), which is an important collection of autochthonous seeds, which aims to maintain and conserve seeds of native species.
It is an ideal place to learn a little more about the plant species of the valley and of the Balearic islands.
Not many people know about the place we will show you, but it has a special charm.
Sa Capelleta is a modernist chapel that was built in 1917. At this time, the interior is closed to the public, but don't worry, because through the two holes you can see the interior perfectly.
If Sa Capelleta captivates you with its energy and construction, the road that leads you to the views of the Tramuntana mountain range will dazzle you as well. To get there, we recommend following the GR-221 route that links Sóller and Fornalutx.
The lighthouses of Cap Gros and Sa Creu
Finally, we bring you two of the most historic and relevant maritime constructions in Sóller: the Cap Gros Lighthouse and the Sa Creu Lighthouse. Located on either side of the bay of Sóller, they are the first things that sailors coming to Sóller will see from out at sea.
The Cap Gros Lighthouse was built in 1842 on the initiative of the Town Council of Sóller, being a 4th order lighthouse. Currently, the lighthouse is very well connected with Sóller, but in the 19th century this was not the case, and it took more than two hours to reach the small village of the port.
20 years after the inauguration of the Cap Gros Lighthouse, the Sa Creu Lighthouse was opened. The two lighthouses were the first to be electrified in the whole of the Balearic Islands around 1918.
1918. But you can imagine what the electrification was like in those first years: the line was very defective, and it constantly needed to to be repaired to guarantee the power supply.
Since that time, it has illuminated the way for navigators and traders who arrived at the port of Sóller.
About Racó de Sóller
Located at the very heart of “Sierra de Tramontana”, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Racó de Sóller sits on over eighteen acres of olive groves and Mediterranean gardens with stunning views of the valley of Sóller, the mountains and out to sea. This traditional Spanish estate retains all its rural charm with just enough modern updates for a sophisticated, peaceful and private family friendly retreat.