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Sóller, Deià, and the Tramuntana Mountains, Mallorca

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Spain's insider take:

The north and northwest of the island are all about beautiful villages and rugged coastline, with the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range stretching down the western shore. A picturesque wooden single-gauge railway connects Palma with the town of Sóller via a valley filled with orange groves and almond trees (El Tren de Sóller; 349-902-364-711; Sóller's square is a pretty spot to sit and enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. From here, a tram takes visitors to Port de Sóller, a bustling little resort that curves around a natural bay. Just south of Sóller, the village of Valldemossa has picturesque stone buildings and winding streets. Don't miss its monastery, which dates back to 1310, made famous by Frédéric Chopin and George Sand's sojourn there in the 19th century.

Further north, the road narrows to the tumbling, sea-facing terraces of Deià, where the poet and novelist Robert Graves was a longtime resident. A museum, Fundació Robert Graves, opened in 2006 at his home, Ca N'Alluny (Carretera de Sóller, Km 1; 34-971-636-185; Walk the narrow streets to the uppermost part of the town, where you'll find the cemetery where Graves is buried—there's a quirky mix of traditional Spanish and funky artists' headstones. The view of the coast from here is worth the hike. Today the village is also home to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones's summer pad, as well as a handful of superb restaurants.

Beyond Deià the road becomes a series of hairpin bends and steep ups and downs, but it's well worth persevering with the knuckle-biting ride to get to some of the island's loveliest and most deserted beaches, such as secluded Cala Tuent and Sa Calobra. The latter can also be reached by boat from Port de Sóller.

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