Bunyola lies at the south of the Tramuntana mountains in the northwest region of Mallorca. It’s one of the island’s largest municipalities and has a population of just over six thousand. With so many mountain peaks close by it’s a region naturally beloved by walkers and cyclists. The Sa Comuna forest located north of the town is the most extensive on the island and is the site of some notable prehistoric remains. Bunyola is only 23 km from Palma and, although predominantly a tranquil town, shows signs of life all year around.
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History and Culture
A number of prehistoric remains have been found in the municipality of Bunyola. These include the bones of a Myotragus Baleàricus, a cave goat thought to have roamed the lands over five thousand years ago. The best-preserved sign of ancient human activity is the circular Talayotic house in the Comasema farming estate. There are further Talayotic remains at Son Palou, Es Punjol and S’Alqueria Blanca. Lanterns were found from the Roman age at the lead sulphite mine of Galena de Son Creus. It is thought mining continued during the era of the Moors and the local name for it, Sa Mina des Moros, certainly suggests so.
Following the Catalan invasion of 1229, the residents of Al juz’ de Bunyula-Musu fled to the mountains where they organised a resistance from the caves. The victory of King James I ensued and the land was passed down to the count Nunyo Sanç, although returned to the Royal House after his death, and remained royal property until the death of King James III in 1349. Originally the parish was known as Santa Maria de Bunyola but changed patronage to Saint Matthew in the 14th century, the feast day of whom is celebrated every year on 21st September.
Shopping in Bunyola
When it comes to shops, the town has all the essentials. There is a supermarket, builders’ merchant, pharmacy, stationers and estate agencies. There is also a herbologists called Herbes i Paraules which sells a wide variety of organic and bio products. It’s also possible to book a holistic treatment here, such as acupuncture, massage, and flower essence therapy.
Bunyola’s has two weekly markets which take place on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the main square. They sell fresh vegetables, fruits, clothes, shoes and miscellaneous household goods. Fresh produce can also be found on a daily basis at Agromart, a supermarket which supports local farmers.
Major Attractions in Bunyola
Mountain peaks, forests, striking manor houses, a parish church, charming narrow streets and a lively square are the draws of this town on the spurs of the Tramuntana mountains.
The historic house of Alfabia is located just outside Bunyola and was once the home of the Moorish viceroy of Mallorca, Ben-Abet. The Alfabia Gardens are particularly beautiful with walkways and water features that instill a deep sense of peace. As for the house itself, it presents a variety of styles and influences including Arabic, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and even English.
The finca of Son Amar, located 5km from Bunyola, is a very different kind of manor. It is best-known for its contemporary entertainment. It hosts dinner and shows which combine live music, pumping dance choreographies, special effects and acrobatics.
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Things to do in Bunyola
There are a number of circular walks from Bunyola. The Penyal d’Honor is a popular moderate hike which will appeal to mountain bikers. Rocky paths and mountain views can also be savoured as you climb Puig de s’Alqueria. Alternatively discover the natural landscape on an excursion on horseback organised by Club Hípico La Gubía. The 18-hole course at Golf de Son Termes is another way of enjoying the surrounding scenery.
In addition to the must-visit Alfabia Gardens, there is the stunning Raixa farming estate which was refurbished in the neo-classical style of the 18th century. The monumental residence, which has appeared in a number of films, has beautiful gardens perfect for a picnic. Please note it is only open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.00 to 15.00.
Simply strolling through the town is a pleasant way of spending a day. Relax and soak up at the atmosphere at the cafés and restaurants at the main square of Sa Plaça alongside locals and visiting cyclists. If you fancy venturing further afield, the centennial Sóller train stops at Bunyola station before heading on through the famous valley of oranges.
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Restaurants in Bunyola
There are a number of informal bars and eateries which offer set lunch menus and are popular with the local residents. At the main square near the Town Hall, you’ll find Sa Plaça, Café Central and Ca s’Espardenyer with outdoor seating and extensive menus of Mediterranean cuisine. Nearby Café Paris is another casual spot perfect for people-watching when the weekend brings visitors to town.
At the entrance to the village you’ll find Moon, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria with a spacious terrace. Tastefully decorated Restaurant S’hort is located close the Alfabia Gardens and specialises in high quality modern Mallorcan cuisine.
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Hotels in Bunyola
There are a variety of accommodation options within and around Bunyola including apartments and villas for rent and rural hotels. Es Corte Vell is an adults only four-star hotel located within walking distance of the town centre. Its fresh and stylishly decorated rooms have terraces with hot tubs and are popular with couples looking for a romantic and relaxing break.
Hotel Alqueria Blanca is a four-star hotel set in a former Moorish farmhouse. It has been beautifully renovated to retain its historic features and provide all the comforts of 21st century living. Guests can enjoy the peace of its pretty garden and swimming pool. Finca Barcelona is another dreamy country manor nestled amid native Mediterranean vegetation and home to pasturing sheep.
Events in Bunyola
Bunyola celebrates numerous traditional fiestas, many of which are linked to the Catholic calendar. The town’s patron is Saint Mathew, honoured on 21st September, and an excuse for over a week of entertainment for all members of the community. On the programme of events there’s a rather famous underwear fun run which attracts a lively crowd of near-naked participants.
La Festa de Quarteró takes place on the last Sunday in January. It’s an ancient holiday which once marked the end of the harvest when the workers were invited to a feast by the landowners. Today the event is celebrated in one of Bunyola’s farming estate with typical food, music and authentic Mallorcan character.
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Living in Bunyola
Bunyola is a desirable place to live if you seek peaceful rural life but need to be close to Palma. It is only 23 km from the capital and public transport is available too. There are adequate services and shops for day-to-day living including banks, pharmacies, supermarket and a school. There are no housing developments but rather town houses and flats within the village which range from €200,000, and larger properties on the outskirts which stretch into the millions. Although it is naturally quieter in the winter, it doesn’t completely close down in winter like some other touristic towns on the island.
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The much-loved mountain villages of Valldemossa and Soller are both located only a 15 minute drive from Bunyola. Valldemossa is a pretty and atmospheric town with flagstone streets lined with cafés and boutiques. It is best-known for having been Chopin’s residence during one winter and counts the Royal Carthusian Monastery and King Sancho’s Palace among its main attractions.
Similarly, Soller, is a picturesque mountain town with plenty of historic buildings, art galleries and a traditional church square. Another town worth a visit is Esporles and grand country estate nearby called La Granja.
Bunyola is only twenty minutes from Palma but offers visitors a real chance to connect with the island’s traditions and natural landscape. Choose this pretty town as the setting for a relaxed meal of local cuisine or the starting point for an adventure in the mountains.