Deià, Mallorca Deià, MallorcaAugust 27, 2017 in Spain, TravelShare ThisFacebookPinterestTwitterPrintemail Something happens to me every time I peek around the window to view the Spanish island of Mallorca from the sky. As the aqueous landscape seamlessly transitions from royal blue to turquoise I remember the thrill of the cool Mediterranean waters refreshing my burnt skin under the hot white clouds. The protruding mountains beckons the call of nature. Dilapidated windmills sporadically dotting the pastoral lowlands conjures a feeling as though I’m stepping back in time, comforting my desire to embrace simplicity. As the wheels kiss the runway I exhale a sigh of relief that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Deià, Mallorca 18 miles northwest of the city of Palma lies a bustling village called Deià (deh-yuh). While many visitors of the island of Mallorca come in search of sun, nightlife, and beaches, the artist enclave of Deià offers a deeper experience and a welcome respite. The village’s location – wedged between the stark Serra de Tramuntana mountain ridge-lines and the breezy relief of the sea – gives it its own isolated bubble of spirit. Many of the village’s resident artists are vacationers who never left. The area is said to be a mystical vortex, tempting creatives with the oscillating energy of its magnificent natural landscape. The mountains exude wisdom of the ages while the ebb and flow of the sea cleanses the heavy energy. You feel the charm and you feel the weight. The idea is spoken amongst locals like a coruscating rumor, dancing in-between divinely romantic and elusively pragmatic. I came to believe this is why artists gravitate to this spot. Living inside the ambiguity of a constant paradox between expansive and oppressive energy burgeons possibilities of wild ingenuity. This is the space where artists create. Whether or not the energetic spark inundates you, there is no denying the breathtaking scenery and unending desire to laud the beauty. The high-tourist season of summer (June-September) resonates a light and playful spirit, while the quiet and isolated winters offer a more restful experience. Due to the island’s historical position on trade routes, Deià has become a melting pot of culture that is unique and somewhat satisfyingly ill-defined. Although obscure, there is a well-known distinctive character that draws one in and begs to be explored. The Artists The scenery, food, and activities are certainly a large part of the culture of Deià although, what lies at the core of this lovely little mountain town are the artists. They are the pulsating heartbeat inhabiting an intersection of light and roguish inspiration with serious artistry. Deià is famously associated with the English novelist and poet Robert Graves (most renowned for his historic novels: I, Claudius, and autobiography Good-bye to All That). Graves’ global influence marked the desire of many famous artists such as Picasso and writer Anaïs Nin to draw inspiration from this small yet profound village. In the 60 & 70’s Deià became a creative haven for iconic bands and musicians like the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, and Carlos Santana. In this spirit, locals exude a reverence and stalwart commitment to art. Esteeming the natural surroundings and tapping into the deep-embedded culture, Deià artists express their innermost selves by immortalizing fleeting moments that capture a glimpse of the elusiveness of what makes the village so remarkable. Deià’s micro-universe of creativity allows its residents to live, breathe, and celebrate personal expression. They feed each other drops of inspiration, encouraging the days to pass with purpose. The act remains a symbol of the time invested in the place and people they love. As inspiration breeds in mutual growth, Deià is a place to channel your own inner-creativity and capitalize on the astute artistry the village provides. Creators dabble in a spectrum of projects from music production, painting, ceramics, acting, writing, and other mixed-media. They sell their work, commission new pieces, and even offer workshops to inspire visitors to produce their own creations, making it attainable and approachable to all. Local artwork is displayed throughout the town, creating an engaging visual connection to the thumping heart of Deià. You can find these curations inside almost every restaurant and more formal exhibitions at the Sa Tafona Gallery within the 5-star hotel, Belmond La Residencia. ARTURO RHODES CECILIE SHERIDAN LIBBY PICKETT ALAN HYDES MATI KLARWEIN MANUELLA HOLLO DAVID TEMPLETON MARIA DE HAAN The Food & Restaurants TRADITIONAL CUISINE Romans, Arabs, Greeks, and French have all left their mark on Mallorca’s local gastronomy, offering snapshots of culture throughout the island’s cuisine. While Mallorca is a part of the Mediterranean, its cuisine celebrates a heavier focus on game, meat, and pork products, far from the light fare we imagine from the Greek Islands. However, many traditional Mediterranean ingredients are still widely used such as olive oil, fish, and local fruits and vegetables that flourish the surrounding countryside. No matter the ingredient chosen, Mallorcans know best that food need not be complicated to be good, allowing the thoughtful preparation and integrity of ingredients speak for themselves. They create dishes the same way they live life, simple yet far from mediocre. There’s nothing better than cold drinks and grilled sardines with just a spritz of lemon on a lazy summer’s afternoon. The simplicity is bliss. GAME, MEAT, PORK Game, meat, and pork are the most common animal products you will find within Mallorcan cuisine. Game includes rabbit, partridge, and quail. Meat praises lamb and beef while pork is typically served as sobrassada, suckling pig, and bacon. You will find various cuts of local heritage pig dangle from strings at the farmer’s market. “It may well have been Mallorca the little Chimneysweep described in the story when he praised the inn and said admiringly that five kinds of meat were served there: swine’s flesh, crackling, bacon, ham, and salt pork. I am sure that more than two thousand different dishes are prepared from the pig in Mallorca!” – George Sand (1841) FRUITS & VEGETABLES Local produce Mallorca is most known for include almonds, olives, citrus (particularly oranges and lemons), and salt. If you’re going to buy any food in Deia, take advantage of the area which hosts conditions perfect for the sweetest oranges and the creamiest almonds. Pa’amb oli and Tumbet are very popular and traditional vegetarian dishes you can find on almost any menu. Pa’amb oli is a common workingman’s lunch dating back as long as history of Mallorca serves. It’s a simple piece of toast, rubbed with tomatoes, and drizzled with olive oil. Many restaurants serve this dish with extra components such as various meats, fish, and tapenades to offer a more substantial meal. Tumbet is similar to ratatouille with a tower of bell peppers, eggplant (aka aubergine), tomatoes, and potatoes bathed in fruity local olive oil. SEAFOOD As an island, one item that remains a constant on everyones’ plate is fish and shellfish. Deià harvests a variety of shellfish, crustaceans, and squid; particularly mussels, oysters, prawns, and calamari. Typical fish include sardines and bass however options vary from day-to-day depending on the fresh catch that day. Paella is a fantastic way to savor a hearty dish of local grains and vegetables mixed with the freshest seafood available. Although paella is more traditional within the mainland of Spain it can be found in many restaurants catering to the local tourist cravings. WHERE TO EAT Today, due to the influx of tourists blending with locals, Mallorcan dishes straddle the line between a restless urge to innovate haute-cuisine and a desire to respect time-honored practices in this gastronomic melting pot. This offers the opportunity for modern, high-end visitors to mix effortlessly with deep-rooted Mallorcan values. Good quality local cuisine is in plentiful supply. Many establishments in Deià are seasonal, open only during busier times of the year typically April-October. When visiting these restaurants, get to know the food. Get to know when and where the ingredients came from. Ask about the owners and the staff that serve the food they’re so proud of. For Mallorcans, making food is not just a business, it’s an act of love. Learning the stories behind the cuisine allows direct contact with the soul of the village. When you’re connected to your food choices, the thoughts that arise create an unparalleled sense of pleasure and full satiation. S’hortet This cool little coffee shop opened in 2014 and has become a staple meeting place ever since. Owned and operated by a multi-generation Mallorcan family, this restaurant sources its ingredients organic and local whenever possible. Their menu offers a range of healthy options like fresh juices, smoothies, avocado toast, gluten-free pancakes, buddha bowls and so much more. It’s located just before the path to the Cala making it the perfect pit-stop before a day in the sun. The Village Café at Sa Cova The Village Café is a new pop-up restaurant located just around the corner from the main street. The restaurant offers a simple yet stunning menu of appetizers and main dishes but the real winner here is the local gin. The owner Barna walked me through some of his favorite options and they mix an innovative list of delicious cocktails. My choice cocktail was served with fresh basil and juniper berries. It was such a delightful start to a leisurely evening of great food and conversation. Sa Foradada This cliffside restaurant is technically located just outside of Deià but it’s too good not to mention. Only accessible by a 45-minute hike or by boat, this bucket-list worthy restaurant is famed for its traditional paella, slow cooked over century-old cast-iron skillets. Perch-up on their communal-style picnic tables or grab a two-seater overlooking the turquoise water. After eating and drinking sangria, be sure to scramble down the pathway to soak up the afternoon rays before venturing the picturesque hike back to the parking lot. Nama Delicious authentic cuisine from the orient, Nama offers an innovative menu with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. It’s located in a converted Mallorcan house with breathtaking views over looking the village down below and the mountainous rockface above. The space boasts a blend of asian and local decor which lends an inviting and stylish ambience. Closed from October – March. Ca’s Patro March The busier of the two cala restaurants, Ca’s Patro March offers excellent seaside fare in a rustic and cozy setting. It was recently the setting for a popular television mini-series, The Night Manager, causing a major influx of tourist desiring to experience the beauty of the area themselves. Seafood is caught fresh by local fishermen and simply cooked to perfection. You can arrive by boat, drive down to Cala Deià from the main road, or take the rustic path down from the village which is about a 30 minute hike (one-way). Closed November – April. Can Lluc Located adjacent to Ca’s Patro March on the rocky beach of Cala Deia lies Can Lluc. Both restaurants offer incredibly fresh seafood caught that day by local fisherman with gorgeous views. However I seem to enjoy the experience of Can Lluc over the other. In my experience (over the course of 2 months) the waitstaff was consistently less harried and much friendlier, creating a laid-back vibe I relish when perched at the beach. The menu is fresh and simple – seafood, tortillas, salads and refreshing Mallorcan spirits. Plan ahead as Can Lluc is closed on Wednesdays. Sa Fonda Well known as the epicenter of Deià, Sa Fonda is the go-to bar in town with a nocturnal atmosphere serving up cool beers and infectiously spirited live music. It’s where locals and tourist blend together in a space of freedom and fun. Whether perched on the terrace or delighting in the funky local decor inside, Sa Fonda offers a spontaneous bohemian vibe sure to soothe your desire to chill out. Forn Bakery This 4-generation family owned and run bakery lies at the heart of Deià. Forn Bakery is one of two markets in town to procure your groceries, produce, and other essential knick-knacks. I prefer shopping at Forn because it’s a one-stop shop. They offer everything I need in one trip including hard-to-find healthy foodie items like rainbow quinoa, organic snacks, a variety of healthy oils (I love toasted sesame oil), aduki beans, and even bee pollen! Forn is not only the place to get your goods, it also exudes the spirit of camaraderie in town. It’s well-known among locals and tourists alike that the owner, Vicente, will drop everything to help you out whether your car has a flat-tire or you’re looking for a place to stay that night. Vincente has your back. The Village & Culture Towering over the town is the church of San Joan Baptista, offering a place of sacred pause and a walk through the tiny graveyard (notably where Robert Graves is laid to rest). Deià also boasts an Archeologic Museum founded by the American archaeologist Dr. William Waldren and maintained by his wife, anthropologist Dr. Jacqueline Waldren. Here you will find displays of the prehistory of Mallorca and gain a bit of insight into the various conquered cultures throughout the centuries. While Deià has had many cultural influences from its past, today’s modern living takes on a similar mosaic of life. Multi-generational families local to Mallorca criss-cross between speaking Spanish, Catalàn, and Mallorquín. With the influence of British tourism and expats it’s not uncommon for locals to speak conversational english as well. In fact, you’re more likely to hear passer-bys babbling British pleasantries rather than Spanish chit-chat as you wander throughout town. Deià’s energy is a contagious whimsy creating a connection to one another that is palpable. Small talk turns into genuine conversation. New acquaintances become new friends. Weary travelers and transient visitors come as loners and leave feeling a part of the community. That is the essence of the people here, amiable and inviting. Although tourism has certainly made luxurious holiday living available, Deià isn’t exclusively conducive to a pampered lifestyle. There is the simple and quaint life that true Mallorcans live. They embody a deliberate commitment to pursue activities which bring them joy. Mallorcans demonstrate the work/life balance that honors responsibility while celebrating the enjoyment of the natural world. Accommodations through Airbnb is my recommendation to achieve a more intimate connection to the town. There is a certain romanticism of carrying water home from the fresh spring in town. You gain a sense of satisfaction ascending through winding paths of olive trees and smooth cobblestone to procure your daily groceries. Staring into the infinite horizon of the Mediterranean rather than an illuminated screen reminds us all of the significance of being present. Deià still values time honored traditions creating a truly intimate and authentically connecting energy. Which is exactly the reason to visit. Cala Deià & Surrounding Wilderness CALA DEIA Deià’s landscape is incredibly diverse for a such a small village. The tiered irrigation system hillside leading down to the sea is punctuated with gnarly olive trees and roaming donkeys stealthily watching the sea below. Runnel networks alongside garden walls intuitively lead you to the crowning jewel of the village, the Cala. During the hottest summer months, a foray to the cool waters of Cala Deià and shaded trails of the surrounding wilderness is a priority to locals and visitors alike. Providing a variety of landscape and activities, the environment of the cala simply structures and shapes how we’d like to experience who we are. You can partake in the tranquility of dawn with a cool morning swim, laze around sunbathing in the midday heat, or buzz in the vibrant energy of rock jumpers and sea farers. The two restaurants (highlighted above) conveniently provide that languorous meal which floats between the late afternoon and early evening as the waning summer sun fills the terrace amid the wealth of nautical beauty. The alluring scenery is so captivating I watch it intently with anticipation, as if it were trying to speak back. The sun mellows into the evening sunset symbolically providing a close to the day and a signal to journey back up to the village for a night on the town. THE SURROUNDING WILDERNESS Cala Deià is sandwiched between two hiking trails leading to must-see spots: The Watchtower and Llucalcari. LLUCALCARI Llucalcari (you-cauhl-carry) is a tiny village in the Deià municipality that offers a beautiful little cove just below the hill it’s perched upon. The 20-minute hike from Cala Deià to Llucalcari’s cove is saturated with wildly untamable pine trees. Their long trunks have been bent by the strong winter winds causing them to droop over the cliffs as if they’ve yearned their whole lives to touch the water’s surface. The rugged footpath weaves in and out of dense forest and bucolic hillsides, dotted with majestic openings to the sea. Lack of signage makes Llucalcari a bit of a hidden secret. However you can easily locate the destination distinguished by the archipelago of 4 large rocks enveloping its cove. The area is famously known as a nudist refuge and also it’s mineral-rich mud you can slather all over your body for a natural exfoliation treatment. THE WATCHTOWER The Watchtower is a secluded little area fit with rugged stone ruins that resonate a turbulent and restless history of warfare. You can almost feel the unsettling energy, envisioning the inhabitants defending their homeland behind the barricades. It offers alluring views and is a great place to find some peace and quiet to meditate on a rock as you overlook to vast horizon. The hike to the Watchtower is less intuitive yet worth the minor scrape here and there. Important Directions: As you near the final walking path to Cala Deià, the road diverges. Continuing to head straight and veering right up the footpath will lead you to the Llucalcari hike (and access to some hidden swimming coves just over the rocky promontory). Veer left to head toward the Watchtower. Once you take a left (on the concrete path toward the hillside homes), follow the path to the very top to access the beginning of the Watchtower hike. The Watchtower hike is not frequently visited due to it’s inconspicuous route to access the trailhead. There are gates along the way that look like private driveways. The first gate you arrive to, simply walk past it through the side opening. It feels as though you may be trespassing but you are not. Continue up the steep concrete hill for another 200ft and you will arrive at a second wrought-iron gate. You will not pass through this gate, but rather, look down to your right and you will see stone steps leading to the Watchtower pathway. Almost immediately you will see signs on the path that you’re going the right way. The watchtower is about 10 minutes from that point. Health & Wellness Deià is no stranger to catering tourists in need of a little rest and relaxation during vacation. There are a plethora of options available to reset yourself from one-hour massages to week-long health retreats. Below are a list of recommendations that I have either used myself or came highly praised from local friends. MASSAGE Zen Moments Mallorca Abby is the master masseuse behind the at-home massage therapy service, Zen Moments Mallorca. Her practice specializes in ancient eastern massage techniques including a traditional Thai massage, Indian head massage, and Kobido facials. I personally experienced a Kobido massage which focuses on light strokes within facial meridians and hone acupressure points that create balance. The non-invasive treatment a blissfully relaxing experience that left my face glowing the next day! Follow Abby on Facebook and Instagram. Daniel Alzamora After studying neuroacoustics and the therapeutic application of sound, Daniel decided to take his 12 years of massage experience and integrate the two therapy modalities into a unique and powerful experience for his clients. His mobile-friendly business makes this service experience extremely convenient, and Daniel’s welcoming and calming energy alone brings peace and comfort. Daniel is available for 1-3 hour massages and also as the resident masseuse for health retreats. SPA SERVICES Spa At Home Mallorca Spa at Home Mallorca is a well-known that offers a variety of spa services such as reflexology, cupping, acupuncture, ear candling, manicures/pedicures and more. This service hosts qualified professionals that will meet you at your home or hotel. They also offer yoga classes when you’re in some need of meditation while stretching. Centre Holistic Deià This quaint space for relaxation and healing is conveniently located in the center of town. Book and appointment or take a chance as a walk-in to book a variety of services from some of the best practitioners in town. Centre Holistic Deià offers various massages, sound healing, reflexology, nutritional services and more. RETREATS Ecocirer Just 10 minutes outside of Deià near the town of Sóller, Ecocirer is a delightful B&B offering a eco-conscious and vegan respite. I had the pleasure of staying at this lovely family-run nook, getting to know Barbara and eating absolutely delicious vegan food. Check out my review here! Their new hotel opening just down the street this Fall 2017, The Art Hotel, will offer spacious accommodation for a myriad of retreats. Ecocirer rents out the space for business wanting to run their own retreats and will also provide their own health retreats beginning in December 2017. Follow Ecocirer on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest updates! Deia Retreats Deia Retreats offers a unique blend of retreat experiences with an exceptional team of wellness experts, therapists and internationally renowned teachers. Retreats range from detox and nutrition to embodying your inner goddess and reiki. The accommodations alone are something magical with a large winding garden to play in (pictured above) and a beautiful Mallorcan home to rest and relax. GET TO KNOW MALLORCA The All About You Radio Show Michelle Pilkington is the owner and host of The All About You Show providing a fresh and fun look inside the minds and lives of Mallorcan residents. Michelle has a myriad of interviews from artists in Deià and well-worth a listen to get to know these individuals on a more intimate level. Listen to episode on her website and follow The All About You Show on Facebook! Luxury Taste Maker Luxury Taste Maker is a Mallorcan travel guide on where to eat, stay, and play on this tiny yet plentiful island. They are not only a superb guide for quality goods and businesses, they also act as a concierge service booking sailing trips, gourmet picnics, wine tasting tours, catering, and more! Even when I’m not in Mallorca I love following them on Instagram for sparks of inspiration for (and motivation to book) my next trip. Look Mallorca Look Mallorca is a lifestyle magazine celebrating the many interests including fashion, beauty, gastronomy, wellness & health, and much more. It’s a great way to stay up to date on the newest healthy resturants and other offerings in the wellness world. They even have a full-page spread of all of their favorite places to get a green smoothie in Palma. Nourish The Guide The essential guide to everything health & wellness in Mallorca. I love following this company’s latest reviews and features on everything healthy. Yoga and cooking classes, retreats, and other special events are also highlighted. Follow them on Instagram for a daily dose of inspiration! While artists live to convey the magnetism of the village, Deià is a breathing masterpiece in and of itself. My unabashed enthusiasm for this area is invoked by its charm, inviting locals, infectious art scene, and never-ending jaw-dropping scenery. Leaving here was not unlike leaving home – with the hope and expectation that I will, one day, return. If the best things in life are free, this hideaway is certainly worth the currency of your time and heart. You’re perfect as you are Deià. All photographs are © Julie Magnussen Photography, Healthy Julie, LLC. All rights reserved.