The mountain village of Deia in Mallorca has often been described as “paradise”, “magical” and “the other Mallorca”. After staying in this hillside town in Western Mallorca this past summer, I can tell you, it’s all true.
Prior to planning our vacation to Mallorca, we knew virtually nothing about the island. We didn’t know if we should head east, west, north or south. After talking to friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, and most importantly a friend who was born and raised on the island, we decided to head west to the mountains.
It’s in the west, we were told, where Mallorca’s wild beauty lies in that captivating landscape of mountains and sea. It’s in the west where the most picturesque of villages dot the range, tied to their hills and valleys, but always with an eye on the Mediterranean. And it’s in the west where the impossibly charming village of Deia lies.
We loved everything about Deia, from its bohemian vibe to its green and blue-shuttered houses to its lemon trees and olive groves scattered about. Deia is located on the west coast in the Tramuntana mountain range, in between the towns of Valldemossa and Soller. The Teix, the second tallest mountain in Mallorca, is the town’s backdrop. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, roads and paths twist around and up and down, allowing you to drive, walk or hike and take in the dramatic scenery of where mountains and cliffs meet sea.
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It’s no wonder that the beauty of Deia attracted many writers, artists and musicians, becoming an artist colony for years (and still is). Most notably, English novelist and poet Robert Graves first moved to Deia in the 1930’s, later returning after World War II for good, until his death in 1985. Writers and artists followed, and Deia soon had a reputation as an artist retreat. Inevitably, as with most magnetic places, celebrities and Hollywood followed suit, with people like Ava Gardner, Mick Jagger, and Princess Diana visiting and staying in Deia. Richard Branson at one point owned La Residencia, the most luxurious of all the hotels in town.
Things to do in Deia
Deia is tiny, with basically one main street (the MA-10) that passes through, and some smaller, narrow streets that wind you through the hills. Though small, the allure is big. Artsy stores and art galleries line the main street, and some of Mallorca’s best food can be found in the restaurants of Deia, most of them family-owned. The Village Café came highly recommended to us, and indeed it was so good we went twice, feasting upon the eclectic menu of fish, pizza, salads, even a burrito. By all accounts, the Michelin star-rated restaurant Es Raco d’es Teix is phenomenal, though we did not go, and Sa Vinya an experience.
Walk along the windy streets, though, and choose any one of the restaurants – they’re all good and bustling, and you’ll get the warmest of welcomes. We wish we had time for a drink at Café Sa Fonda, a Deia institution. Actually a bar and not a restaurant, it’s famous for its live music and bohemian scene. One of our favorite little spots was the main grocery store/deli in town, Es Forn, which sells fresh pastries, produce and cheeses. This was our go-to for picnics.
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The Robert Graves house, or Ca N’Alluny, is a big draw in Deia. His former house- turned-museum is a nice tribute to his life and work. You can see where Robert Graves was buried as well, by climbing Deia’s main hill, Es Puig, and going to the Esglesia de Sant Joan Baptista and cemetery. Make sure to take in the sweeping views of Deia and the Mediterranean while you are up there.
Another main draw in Deia is its beach, Cala Deia. We loved this little beach. It’s set in a beautiful and almost secret-feeling cove, one you can only access by foot. There is a road that takes you down to the beach, but from the parking lot you have to walk on a path before you reach the cove. Come mid-day it does get crowded, so go early, especially if you want to find a parking spot.
Cala Deia is a shingle style beach, with rocks and pebbles – not your traditional sand beach. What it may lack in sand, however, it makes up for in gorgeous scenery and crystal-clear aquamarine water. Caves can be found built into the rocks and cliffs, where people are hanging out, some jumping into the water only to climb up and do it again. There are two wonderful restaurants, seemingly built into the cove, that are fun to eat and drink at and watch the goings-on of the beach and the majestic scenery. Ca’s Patro March has the freshest of fish, and Can Lluc a great place to chill with a beer. Overall, Cala Deia is just a really cool spot to spend a few hours.
Hiking is also extremely popular in Deia and the surrounding area – the views you are rewarded with make every sweaty, steep hike worth it. The hike to Sa Foradada, a beautiful look-out point, is very popular. For us, in August, it was difficult to do much hiking in the heat with our girls. But should you want to explore the region by way of foot, any hotel can provide you with hiking trails.
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Hotel Es Moli
Most people who come to Deia are coming for one main reason, and that’s rest and relaxation. There may not be a place more serene and peaceful than this hillside town full of fresh mountain air and sea views. Enter the hotel experience. There are a few hotels in Deia, the two most well-known (and largest) being the 5 star La Residencia and the 4 star Hotel Es Moli. We stayed at Es Moli.
Es Moli is beautifully perched on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, with views that make you feel like you’re on a movie set. Each morning I would open up our shades and look out onto the sea. Impeccably manicured lawns, lush vegetation, pathways and shaded areas to rest, as well as one of the prettiest hotel pools I’ve experienced to date, made this hotel a true oasis.
Set a little out of town, there is a main walking path you can take into the village, so it’s quite convenient without being right in the center of things. There are tennis courts, ping pong tables, even a giant chess table. The breakfast buffet in the morning is amazing – so much so that we could practically get through the day without eating lunch.
My favorite part of the hotel, however, was its own private cove (cove Muleta) located 15 minutes away. You can take the hotel shuttle or drive yourself. This was what it was all about – spending the day at our own private cove, complete with restaurant, lounge chairs, even snorkeling gear. The lay-out of the cove was quite something – stairs lead you down to one lounging and vantage point after the next. All in all, there’s about 5 or 6 levels to the cove (so it never felt crowded, but still intimate), culminating in the bluest of water at the bottom, where we went swimming and snorkeling. The cove was a very special place, and every guest there knew it.
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I want to note that Es Moli is not a modern hotel, its décor is based on traditional Mallorcan design, and some of the rooms could use some updating. Everything else was so well-done, however, that it didn’t bother us.
We couldn’t have stayed in a more perfect area and would recommend Deia to anyone. If you have small kids it may not be as easy with the hills and rocky beaches, but for us, it was paradise. Deia truly stole my heart!