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The most beautiful railway lines in the world: the Ferrocarril de Sóller

The most beautiful railway lines in the world: the Ferrocarril de Sóller
photo: most beautiful railway lines in the world: the Ferrocarril de Sóller
27 / 11 / 2021

The Ferrocarril de Sóller is an intercity narrow-gauge railway that runs through orange groves, viaducts, and numerous tunnels. Since 1912, it has connected the metropolis of Palma de Mallorca with the town of Sóller in the northwest of the Spanish island of Mallorca. Tourists are taken along the line by a historic electric train, first through the fruit plains, then over the mountains, in short, through the most beautiful landscape, unreachable by any other transportation. The whole journey gets carried out in a nostalgic atmosphere - the carriages sway so much in some sections, just as they did 100 years ago, that passengers can hardly stand on the wooden seats.

The train sets off after the triple ringing of the bell on the wall of Palma de Mallorca station and heads at a leisurely pace to its first stop, the picturesque Bunyola station at the foot of the mountains. With views of orange groves, olive groves, and mountains, the journey to it is a breeze. At Bunyola, a station straight out of an early 20th-century film, a quiet plain end, and just beyond it, the train enters the Grand Tunnel (Túnel Major), which is just under 3 kilometers long. On the way to Sóllér, the line heads into the Tramuntana mountains and passes through 13 tunnels. Between them, there are views of mountain landscapes full of steep slopes and valleys. Along the entire northwest coast of Mallorca is a limestone mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011, whose highest peak, Pujg Major, reaches an altitude of 1,445 meters. During the climb to Sóller, the train must climb 199 m over a distance of just 7 km.

A few kilometers beyond the tunnel towards Sóller, the Mirador Pujol deʼn Banya sightseeing stop welcomes passengers. After looking at the romantic valleys and mountain landscapes, there is no surprise that the station got established in 1912 as a tourist destination. After a quarter of an hour's pause and the train passes in the opposite direction, it continues along the Cinc-Ponts viaduct over the deep valley, the most impressive technical structure of the Soller railway. It has a total of five arches, 8 meters in diameter, through which the fierce Monreals mountain stream rushes. In the last Cinc-cents tunnel, the train makes a surprise 180° turn and finally heads for its destination - Sóller station.

Construction of the railway began in 1911 thanks to the profits from the booming orange and lemon trade. That is why we sometimes see the name 'Orange Express.'