The Mediterranean island of Mallorca holds a special place in my family's story. Its beauty played a significant role in the creative process of the renowned British writer, Robert Graves, whose memoir "Goodbye to All That" was penned on the island, cementing Mallorca's place in modern literature. The Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin, accompanied by the French writer George Sand, settled in the picturesque village of Valldemossa, and some of his most celebrated compositions, including the Preludes and the Polonaise-Fantaisie, evoke the island's lush landscapes.

Although I am not related to Frederic Chopin or Robert Graves, my father traveled to the island to meet Graves and was so taken by the place that he returned here on holiday every September for twenty years. However, he did not invite me to join him. So, I have always been curious to visit, and when a friend moved there to start a new family, his invitation to witness the blessing of his newborn baby was the perfect excuse for me to end decades of self-imposed exile. I did not invite my dad to join us.

Finca can coll

Our friend's invitation did not include accommodation, so we were fortunate to discover a charming Finca, or country house hotel, nestled amidst fragrant orange trees in the heart of the Sóller Valley, near the beautiful northern coast and Soller. This property, dating back to the 17th century, boasts traditional stone walls and terracotta roofs, and it has recently undergone meticulous restoration under its new owners, Sylvia Ottmann and Wolf Wilder. Throughout our week-long stay, we were treated like cherished friends at a delightful house party, engaging in conversations with new acquaintances over drinks on the terrace or casually dropping by the kitchen for a glass of milk. Although we were presented with a bill at the end of our stay, the warm and welcoming atmosphere made us feel right at home.

The Finca boasts a small number of rooms and suites, totaling just eight, each providing a unique and distinct experience. The accommodations are tastefully designed with handcrafted furniture and adorned with carefully selected artwork by artists connected to Mallorca. Our particular room afforded us breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic mountains and vibrant citrus groves that surrounded the property. One standout feature was the hyper-realistic landscape artwork adorning the walls, skillfully crafted by the acclaimed Spanish artist Antoni Social.

One of the daily highlights at Finca Can Coll were undoubtedly the delectable breakfasts prepared by Sylvia. Each morning brought a delightful surprise, whether it was a serving of scrambled eggs infused with aromatic herbs or perfectly boiled eggs. Accompanying the eggs were plates of mouthwatering Mallorcan hams and salami, reminiscent of the renowned Iberico delicacies. To top it off, we enjoyed glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice made from the oranges grown in the garden—a true taste of Mallorca's vibrant flavors. During our visit in early June, we took full advantage of the spacious swimming pool area. While the setting was perfect for relaxation and sunbathing, the water temperature, hovering around 21 degrees Celsius, was a touch too chilly for my liking.


A picturesque town nestled amidst the breathtaking Tramuntana Mountains is a mere fifteen-minute walk from the Finca. The town exudes a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, inviting visitors to explore its narrow streets on foot.

At the center of Soller lies Plaça Constitució, a vibrant town square adorned with elegant facades. Here, you can immerse yourself in the lively ambiance, surrounded by cozy cafes and restaurants. From the comfort of these establishments, you can leisurely observe the bustling activity of locals and visitors alike as they go about their day, adding to the charm and character of the town.

In the center of Sóller's Plaça Constitució stands the impressive cathedral of Sant Bartomeu, originally built in 1236. After a partial collapse in 1688, a new baroque church was completed in 1733, showcasing the town's rich history.

For a delicious lunch, we dined at Restaurant Luna 36, located in the heart of Sóller. Their menu features modern Mediterranean dishes with Asian influences, perfect for sharing and savoring the diverse flavors of the region.

The Tramuntana mountains

Beyond the comfort of the Finca, we explored the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Tramuntana Mountains. The winding roads offered stunning views, and we hiked the old Roman road to Fornalutx. For the more adventurous, there are treks to Puig Major, Mallorca's highest peak, or a scenic 3-hour hike to Deia, a charming village.

Port de Sóller

A must-try experience is the historic wooden tram ride that links Sóller with its coastal neighbor, Port de Sóller. This enjoyable journey takes you to a charming coastal town adorned with sandy beaches, azure waters, and a lively promenade filled with cafes and seafood restaurants. Our friend Victor treated us to a memorable sailboat excursion along the stunning coastline, venturing as far as Calobra. Throughout our stay, we had the pleasure of dining at two distinct restaurants by the port.

For a delightful dining experience by the port, Ses Oliveres is a fantastic choice. This family restaurant, located on the beach promenade, specializes in exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. You have the opportunity to select your own freshly caught fish, which is then expertly grilled and served at your table, accompanied by breathtaking sunsets over the port.

Another option is the Sunset Lounge at Jumeirah, situated on a hilltop with panoramic views of the bay. While the prices may resemble those in London, the local atmosphere is noticeably absent. However, the culinary offerings, such as the sushi and sashimi, are of impeccable quality, befitting a five-star hotel experience.


Deià beckons with its charming stone houses, winding cobblestone streets, and captivating vistas of the Mediterranean. The village's roots can be traced back to the 10th century, when it was settled by the Moors, whose influence is still evident in the architecture and cultural fabric of the village. Over time, Deià evolved into a sanctuary for artists, writers, and musicians drawn to its inspiring ambiance and natural beauty.

Deià's captivating allure extends to its breathtaking location, where the majestic Tramuntana Mountains meet the azure Mediterranean Sea. The terraced hillsides, adorned with vibrant bougainvillea, add to the village's scenic charm. The microclimate of Deià nurtures a diverse array of plant life, allowing olive and citrus trees to thrive in the fertile soil. As a result, the region produces some of Majorca's finest olive oil and citrus fruits. While strolling through the village, you'll be delighted by the sight of terraced gardens teeming with fragrant jasmine, bougainvillea, wild rosemary, lavender, and vibrant geraniums, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and scents. Deià is a true haven for nature lovers and those seeking a sensory journey through its enchanting landscapes.

During our time in Deià, we indulged in a memorable lunch experience on the terrace of Bens d'Avall, a family-run restaurant boasting a Michelin star. With its breathtaking views of the sea and mountains, the setting added a touch of magic to our meal.

As a child-free couple, we appreciated returning each evening to the tranquil ambiance of Finca Can Coll, an "adults only" retreat. The serene sensuality that permeates this part of Mallorca finally helped me comprehend why my father had chosen to visit this place alone for so many years. There's a captivating allure in the air that entices visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings, creating an unforgettable experience.