Travel across Mallorca in vintage style with a journey on board the historic Tren de Sóller train from Palma to Soller, where you can continue by tram to the Port de Soller for a great day trip from Palma.
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Running from the Mallorcan capital Palma to the town of Sóller in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, the vintage Tren de Sóller (also known as the Ferrocarril de Sóller) is the most stylish way to travel between two of the island’s top destinations.
This narrow gauge railway was originally built in 1912 to transport oranges. But today the antique wooden train carries passengers on a picturesque 27km train journey from Palma to Sóller through olive groves and rocky mountains. And from Sóller, you can connect on to a vintage tram for the journey on to Port de Sóller’s harbour and beaches.
The Tren de Sóller makes an easy day trip from Palma, as well as being a great way to see more of Mallorca without having to hire a car. I can never resist a scenic train trip, so this was top of my list of things to do on my trip to Palma. And if you’re planning a trip on board the train from Palma to Sóller too, here’s everything you need to know.
The history of the Palma to Soller train
The fertile soils around Sóller are perfect for growing oranges and lemons. But the mountainous terrain of the Serra de Tramuntana made it slow and difficult to transport produce to the island’s capital Palma, with goods having to be moved by mule cart.
After earlier proposals to build a railway to connect Sóller and Palma were rejected due to the high cost, work finally started on the line in 1907. It was partly financed by profits from the citrus industry, so the route was nicknamed ‘The Orange Express’. The line took five years to build, with 13 tunnels having to be dug through the mountains.
The Tren de Sóller was inaugurated on 16 April 1912 (coincidentally the same day the Titanic sank). And an electric tram line from Sóller and the Port de Sóller was added 18 months later, making it even easier to move fish, fruit and vegetables to Palma.
Improved road transport means oranges travel to the capital by truck these days. But the Palma to Sóller train has always been a passenger railway too. And with its vintage carriages and scenic views, it’s become one of Mallorca’s most popular day trips.
Where does the train journey depart from and go to?
In Palma, the Tren de Sóller departs from the Ferrocarril station in the Plaça d’Espanya, which is next to the city’s main train and bus stations (Google Maps link here). Look out for the metal arch over the entrance which says ‘Ferrocarril de Sóller’.
In Sóller, the station is also located on the Plaça d’Espanya (Google Maps link here), a couple of minutes’ walk from the town’s main square, the Plaça de la Constitució.
Then if you want to travel on to the Port de Sóller, you can catch the tram right outside Sóller station. Or there’s another stop located on Avenida Cristòfol Colom.
How often does the train from Palma to Soller run?
The timetable for the Palma to Sóller train varies through the year. In low season there’s only one return trip a day in each direction (and there are no trains at all in January when the line is closed for maintenance). But at the peak of high season there are six trips in each direction every day. You can check the current timetable online.
The train takes around an hour. And if you’re travelling from Palma to Sóller during the summer, the first trains depart at 10.10am and 10.50am. Return trains come back from Sóller to Palma up until 7.30pm, so you can decide how long you want to spend.
If you’d like to visit both Sóller and Port de Sóller, I’d allow a minimum of four hours to travel between them by tram and have a walk around. Allow extra time if you’d like to visit the museums or stop for lunch – six hours is a good amount of time to see it all.
Trams from Sóller to the Port de Sóller depart every hour on the hour and come back on the half hour. The journey takes 15 minutes (or you could walk it in around 45 minutes). Trams run from 8am to 9pm in summer with a reduced service during the winter.
What’s it like on board the train?
Boarding the train from Palma to Sóller is like stepping back in time to a glamourous era of rail travel. Some of the carriages used are the originals which were built when the line first opened in 1912. And others date from the 1930s and were first used on the trams in Lisbon and Bilbao. But they’ve all been carefully restored to their full vintage glory.
Inside the carriages are covered with lacquered wood, with shining brass light fittings, framed paintings and sash windows. The windows open so you can take photos – though don’t hang cameras or phones out of them as there are lots of trees and tunnels.
There’s only one class of travel and one ticket type, and no reserved seats so you can sit wherever you like. Seats in the different carriages vary though, with some wooden benches and some leather seats. So it’s a good idea to get there early to have your pick.
One tip to remember is that there are no toilets on board and no food or drink available, so use the facilities at the station before getting on board if you need them.
The trams down to the Port de Sóller date from the same period as the train carriages and are similar inside, with polished wood and bench seats. And in the summer there are a few special open-sided carriages called jardinieres which let in the breeze.
What can you see on the journey from Palma to Soller?
The journey from Palma starts with the train rumbling slowly through the city streets and out into the suburbs. Then it’s on across a flat expanse of farmland where you can see almond and carob trees, before stopping off at the town of Bunyola.
Bunyola lies on the edge of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, which has been made a UNESCO World Heritage site for its historic landscape of olive groves and dry stone walls. From there the train starts to climb, going through the first of 13 tunnels. The longest – the Tunel Major – is almost 3km long and passes the highest point of the line.
On some trips there’s a short stop at the Mirador des Pujol den Banya to stretch your legs and take photos. It has great views of the mountains and down through orange groves to Sóller – you can even spot the tiny train station in the middle of town.
From there the train starts to descend, crossing a 52-metre-long curving viaduct over the Torrent dels Montreals. Then it’s on through the ‘500’ tunnel, where the train turns 180º so Sóller is now on the other side of you – so everyone gets a good view whichever side of the train you sit on. And an hour after departing it arrives into Sóller station.
If you want to carry on to the Port de Sóller, the tram runs through the Plaça de la Constitució – just skirting the café tables – through back gardens, orchards and along the pedestrian promenade of Es Través next to the bay to arrive at an old streetcar station.
What is there to do in destinations along the route?
Things to do in Soller
The Plaça de la Constitució is the heart of Sóller, and is just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. It’s overlooked by the Neo-Gothic style Sant Bartomeu church, which was built in the 16th century and renovated in 1904 by Joan Rubin, one of Gaudí’s students.
Call into one of the Plaça’s cafés to try a glass of Sóller’s famous orange juice. Or if you’re visiting on Saturdays there’s a weekly market where you can pick up local produce, crafts and souvenirs. The square is also surrounded by a network of pretty, narrow streets.
You can see works by artists including Picasso and Miró at the Can Prunera Museum of Modernism and the Fundació Tren de l’Art in the train station building. Or take a stroll around the Jardí Botànic de Sóller gardens with their 400 species of plants.
Things to do in Port de Soller
Port de Sóller is a picturesque harbour town, with a waterfront promenade curving around the bay and a harbour filled with sailing boats, luxury yachts and traditional Mallorcan wooden boats called llaüts. There are also sandy stretches where you can take a dip.
For a panoramic view of Port de Sóller, head up to the Plaça de Santa Catarina to the north of the port. On one side it looks out over the harbour and the other over the sea. This is also where you’ll find the Museu de la Mar, a maritime museum in a former monastery.
You can also walk to the Cap Gros Lighthouse at the other end of the bay for more great views. The walk takes around 30 minutes each way from the tram stop so make sure you have enough time. There are also plenty of waterside restaurants where you can stop for lunch, a drink or an ice cream, as well as gift and craft shops to browse.
Things to do in Palma
If you’re taking the train from Sóller to Palma instead, there’s lots to do in Mallorca’s capital. The city’s best-known sights are its 14th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria and the neighbouring Royal Palace of La Almudaina. And the Casco Antiguo (old town) has plenty of charm, with cobbled streets, tapas restaurants, museums and the Arab Baths.
There’s also a lovely waterfront walk along the Paseo Marítimo. Or you can climb up to the unusual circular hilltop Castell de Bellver for views over the city and the coast. The walk is around 45 minutes each way or you can take a local or sightseeing bus.
Or admire artworks at Es Baluard, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Palma, or the Fundació Miró Mallorca. And if you have time to spare at the train station, there’s a small art exhibition in an old garage called ’50 Landscapes of Mallorca’.
How much does the train from Palma to Soller cost?
A ticket from Palma to Sóller (or vice versa) costs €18 one-way or €25 return for the train only. You can buy single tickets for the tram from Sóller to Port de Sóller for €8 each way. Better value is the €32 combination ticket (€16 for children, though only if they’re aged 3–6 years old), which includes return travel on both the train and tram.
How do I book a trip on the Palma to Soller train?
You can buy tickets for the Tren de Sóller at the station ticket office in either Palma or Sóller on the day. It does get busy and trains can sell out – especially in peak season and for the first departures of the day – so get there early and be prepared to queue.
The ticket office doesn’t take cards so bring cash. And if you’re booking a return or combination ticket, you need to decide in advance which train you’d like to catch for the return journey. Tickets aren’t flexible so you have to commit to specific trains.
You can also book tickets online, which saves having to queue. But the only tickets available online are combination train and tram tickets from Palma to Sóller and back.
You can buy tickets online up to seven days in advance, but not on the day you plan to travel – so if you’re doing the train journey on Saturday you can book up until the end of Friday. Once you arrive at the station you must show your email at the online booking desk to get your boarding passes. So arrive at least 30 minutes before the train departs.
Or there are guided tours* available from Palma, which include the return train to Sóller, tram to Port de Sóller and a boat trip along the coast to Sa Calobra Cove.