In late May 2014 we spent a week in Mallorca. Home to the infamous beach resort of Magaluf, Mallorca has a certain reputation, at least in the UK, and is certainly not the first place people associate with cultural gems. But hire a car and venture away from the south coast and you will discover that the island has many treasures, if you know where to look for them.
One of these can be found in the unlikely location of Sóller train station. Sóller is about an hour and a half drive south along the twisty coast road Ma-10 from Porto Pollenca, the family friendly north-western seaside town where we were based. The 37 miles of mountainous hairpins are hard work, but the views, and the destination, are worth the effort.
Set in a valley of orange groves and just in land from a natural harbour, Sóller has had a prosperous history and the architecture reflects this. Winding residential streets of sixteenth century houses mix with baroque churches, modernist mansions and art nouveau public buildings. Trams run through the town to the sea and a scenic wooden railway provides a link to the capital, Palma, for those unwilling to tackle the mountain passes under their own steam.
It is the train station that is home to this particular secret, a collection of more than 50 ceramic works by Pablo Picasso, ranging in date from 1948 to 1971 and all to be viewed for free.
Across the hall from the Picasso exhibition is a collection of work by Joan Miró, instantly recognisable with their bright colours and bold shapes. Miró’s maternal grandfather was from Sóller and the town is rightly proud of the connection.
Both galleries are well laid out and contain just enough information to provide context without detracting from the art itself, an excellent introduction to anyone unfamiliar with the two artists and not too big or over-whelming to induce museum fatigue.
If you would like to hear more about the lesser known attractions we explored during our time on the island please let me know in the comments below.