Mallorca has a pilgrimage too

Mallorca is one of Spain’s islands in the Mediterranean sea. Famous for it’s stunning and inspiring nature it is quite filled with tourists, but it seems that there is space and place for more or less everyone. If you go outside the biggest cities, you’ll find wild nature, many beaches to choose from within reachable by car or bike distances, affordable tasty Spanish food and a variety of accommodation. And of course, many hiking opportunities and some pilgrimage routes.

Pilgrimage in Mallorca

Before visiting it for the first time, the exiting fact about Mallorca was that it has a pilgrimage route. The less exiting reality was that it is unfortunately too hot to walk it in July (and August, best times for hiking are months between April and June, and then September through October). The temperatures were around 28-34 C so the beach and the clear blue water was the only choice. However, the beautiful everywhere island is definitely in the future travel plans. So is the Lluc monastery – the sacred destination for pilgrims in Mallorca.

According to the legend, in the area where the Lluc monastery stands today, a statue of the Virgin made of dark wood was found by a local Arab shepherd boy, a recent convert to Christianity in the 13th century. The boy brought the statue to the church but it miraculously got back into the cave where it was found. After the third time it did so, the local priest recognized that the statue needs to be left in the place where it was found and a shrine was built there. The boy’s name was Lluc and that’s where the name of the monastery comes from. (I would say this legend has some similarities with Tenerife’s Virgin of Candelaria).

Today the Lluc monastery is open for pilgrims and hikers visiting Mallorca as its surrounding area offers many hiking possibilities. You can find all the information about routes and book accommodation via official Lluc monastery website (also in English).

Routes to Lluc

Pilgrims who decide to reach the monastery on foot have several choices:

  • Palma de Mallorca – Lluc: if you choose to walk the entire route of ~42 km you need to start at Plaça Güell in Palma. There is also a traditional night pilgrimage that starts at 11 p.m. in Plaça Güell on the first Sunday of August each year.
  • Sóller – Lluc: you can catch an old wooden train from 1912 (timetable) in Palma and then take the Pilgrim’s Trail from Sóller. The route is ~25 km long therefore pilgrims usually stay overnight at Tossals Verds refuge and reach the Lluc monastery the next day. There is a bus operation from Lluc to Palma de Mallorca (with a connection at Inca).
  • Pollença – Lluc: or vice versa, you need to follow the Dry Stone Route also known and marked as GR221 route (stage 6). This stage is ~12 km long, easy hike from Lluc to Pollença but steep climb if you go from Pollença to Lluc.
  • Selva – Caimari – Lluc: would be a shorter day-walk of couple of hours to the monastery starting either from small town of Selva (~12,5 km), or Caimari (~8 km with 5 % ascend).
  • Cami De LLuc:  recently created chain of routes to promote the pilgrimage as a slow way to travel the island. The seven routes (Ruta de Ses Salines, Ruta de Manacor, Ruta d’Arta, Ruta d’Alcudia, Ruta de Formentor, Ruta d’Andratx, Ruta de Palma) are marked with heart shaped stone signs and each of them goes through the historical and natural places of Mallorca to the monastery of Lluc. Each route has a short description on the Cami de Lluc project website (in Catalan, Spanish, English and German). You can also buy a more detailed books for each of the routes and some music created to listen while you walk there.