The mountains of the Sea: General description and introduction
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Surprising for some, well known to others, it might be paradoxical that you can find such a well preserved and atractive country area/mountain landscape as the Serra de Tramuntana in some of the most important tourist destinations of the Mediterranean: the island of Majorca
(in continuation written Mallorca
Almost alpine areas mixed with gorgeous sea-views; pure untouched nature mixed with traces of 1000 of years of human work and culture; the posibility to undertake everything from gentle strolls to rock-climbing, (sea-)bouldering, canyoning, espelology, MTB, sub-espelology, sea-kayaking etc etc, and of course the generally sunny and nice weather, makes Serra de Tramuntana an unique place for all kinds of Mountain- and outdoor sports (except maybe for ice-climbing!)
The range is about 90 km long, and cover most of the NE coast of the island; from Cap Fabioler (in the NW) to Cap Formentor inte NE. In its 1.000 sq km area there are over 40 peaks and subpeaks over 1.000 metres high, the highest one (Puig Mayor) beeing over 1.400 m. This might seem moderate heights, but bearing in mind that the rest of the island is sea-level, the mountains get impressive enough.
The island of Mallorca is the main and biggest island (and hence its name: MAJORca) of the Spanish archpielago and Autonomous Comunity Illes Balears
Its is a destinations of millions of (mainly European) tourists every year, most of which are coming here for the beaches, the climate, the partys etc.
A recent trend amongst many Nortern Europeans is also the buying of a "second house" on Mallorca.
Thanks to this influx of people, Mallorca has excellent, frequent and often quite cheap, flight-combinations from many European cities, especially from Germany and the UK. Check for instance the following airliners:
Flora, fauna, geology and ethnology
It might surpise those who are used to walk across other mountain ranges, that over 90% of the Serra de Tramuntana is privately owned. The great estates of mallorca - which includes entire mountains - go back originally to the "share out" made by King Jaume I to the catalan feudal lords and knights who took part in the re-conquest of the island from the Moors in 1229.
The efforts of the rural landowners have made it possible to conserve this important landscape heritage, and alos to protect it from urbanistic explotation. On the other hand, unfourtunately some of them are now starting to close paths crossing their lands, which often make guide-books obsolete very quickly, and new routes have to be found. A few others are now taking a small contribution for passing their lands. Knowing that the money goes to preservationof the area, the payment can be justified according to some, but is unaccaptable to others. The reason both for closing of paths or charging money is, according to the landowners, due to the vandalism occuring during the later years of "masstourism" also to some parts of the mountains.
The range is a "Natural Area of Special Interest", a denomination which only protects it from building speculation. The local authorities - mindful of the full-frontal rejection by some mayor landowners to convert it to a "Nature Park", is considering declaring it "Natural Area".
Typical Mediterranian vegetation, such as small bushes, diferent kind of wild growing herbs and flowers.
The mostcommon or distinctive flowers and shrubs are Rosemary, Asphodels, Myrtle, Euphorbia, Thyme, Foxglove, Pistacia, hellebore, Windflowers, Blue Tobacco and Orchids. You often see lone tress, or in small clusters, such as Holm Oakes, Pine, Strawberry Trees, Almond, Oleaster and Olive There are also Forests of mainly Aleppo pines and Holm oakes, often inbedding parts of the bases of the mountains.
There are also some 100 endemic plant species (found only on mallorca and the balearics).
Very common in all parts of the mountains is the Carritx
, a kind of pampas-like long, sharp diss-grass, which often makes it dificult to know where to put ones feet, as it covers stoney and uneven gounds. The trick is to step on it with one foot and trip it over with the other. Often used as a handy grip during scrambling, but beware: it can cut the hands rather badly!