21 The Archduke´s path (start in Valldemossa)
Archduke Ludwig Salvator's walk- and riding path, Camí de s'Arxiduc, on the edge of the Teix mountain and built in the 19th century, is one of Mallorca's most popular hiking trails.
Ludwig Salvator of Habsburg (Austria) came when he was 19-year-old to Mallorca in the mid 1800's and fell in love with the island.
He lived here for the rest of his life and made his impression on the island.
Among other things, he wrote an encyclopedia in seven bands about Mallorcas flora, fauna, history, archeology and topography.
He has also financed the preparation of many hiking trails in Serra de Tramuntana, visited by millions of tourists annually. Ludwig Salvator was appointed as honorary citizen in Mallorca in 1910.
In the middle of Valldemossa there are two big parking spaces. Our hiking starts from the easternmost.
Turn right onto Carrer De Namas until you cross Carrer Ermita Joan Mir and continue the stairs up to Carrer Pins - turn left until you reach Carrer Oliveres as you follow until you reach a locked iron gate.
Follow the path on the outside along the fence until you reach a small wooden shed where the "forest guard" has his place. If you are early you are lucky. The path is well-visited and restrictions allow only a limited number of people to pass a day.
This trip is shorter and easy to follow, but we had "bad luck" and had to go for another hour's walk. No loss in any way; most of our walk uphill through the holm oak forest, we had a great view of Valldemossa and all the way to Palma Bay.
We followed the sign "Camí de s'Arxid", "Deia" and "Cami de Ses Basses". The path upwards is sparsely marked with wooden signs, but the small stone cairns mark the way to the mighty mountain plateau.
Up the Teix massif, vegetation is less. The view is amazing with the Puig Major in the north and the coastline between Port de Soller and Banyalbufar in the west.
To the south east you can see all of southern Mallorca. To the west lies the characteristic cliff of Sa Foradada and the San Marroig palace.
The path downhills passes the hermit cave, Cova de s'Ermità Guiem. The signage here is a bit unclear.
Follow the sign towards Valldemossa until you reach two alternative roads "Valldemossa 45 min" and Valldemossa 55 min. " It ends in the same level, so choose "45 min".
In the holm oak forest you can see one and another sitja, "circulo de carboneros" (charcoal kiln) where the important coal was produced in the past. The charcoal-burner lived with his family up in the mountains in a small stone barn next to the sitja and made sure that the burning of coal was kept alive.
Our walk took about 6 hours, including a few stops and some "misguided missteps". Especially the signpost towards Valldemossa at the hermit cave was very unclear.
I have read in other guidebooks that the walk with "permission" from the forester will take about 4 hours.
A short film - The Archduke´s path