Majorca has a surprising number of guest-accepting monasteries for an island its size. A prime example, on the northern side of the island at Escorca -- 540 m (1,772 ft.) up a majestic mountain setting -- is Tossals Verds (FODESMA, Consell de Majorca; tel. 971-173-700; www.conselldemajorca.net; closed in Aug), which provides youth hostel-style accommodations in basic 8- or 12-bed dormitories (€20-€25 per person per night) with shared washroom amenities and a communal dining room serving hearty no-nonsense meals that are included in the price. Staff will give you full directions on how to reach other em>refugis on their books and provide you with bus or train schedules and walking routes. Book by calling between 9am and 2pm at least 5 days beforehand.
As basic, but a tad more, er, celestial are the digs at the Santuari de Lluc (tel. 971-871-525; www.lluc.net; cash only), near the tiny village of Escorca in a mountain valley on the road from Inca to the coastal gorge of La Calobra. The largest of Majorca's monastic sanctuary accommodations, this 18th-century building has 129 "cells" providing rooms for one to six visitors (€25 single, €32 double, €40 quadruple, and €50 6-bed room). All have writing tables, pictures of Jesus, and definitely no TV. There are also some self-contained two-bedroom apartments with bathroom and kitchen for €46 to €50 a night. Though this is no longer a working monastery, it does have a touch of the heavenly to it: A resident boys' choir known as Els Blauets, who have recorded various CDs and even sung in London's Westminster Abbey, sing the Salve every day in front of the monastery's statue of a Black Virgin (called La Moreneta like the one in mainland Monstserrat Monastery). Lluc is also regularly visited by day-trippers who have lunch in one of the monastery's four restaurants. In the evenings (from 6pm onward), after most visitors have left, it's extraordinarily peaceful.
At the top of the wooded Puig de María hill overlooking the town of Pollença you'll find more low-price (€25- €30) monastery accommodation in the Santuari del Puig de María (tel. 971-184-132; cash only). Though no longer inhabited by monks, this is one of the oldest religious centers on the island, located in a 14th-century stone building 333m (1,093 ft.) up with lovely views of the town. The 12 clean but, you guessed it, monastic-cell-like rooms have small writing desks and shared bathroom amenities, and there's a small bar providing snacks. Access is on foot in 40 minutes by winding path up through the pines, or in 5 minutes along an equally twisting road by car.
Along with these three, you may want to look into these other options (all between €30 and €40 per night, per double room). Rest assured, cleanliness truly is next to godliness at these places, so even though rooms will be quite simple, they should be immaculate:
- Santuari de Sant Salvador (Puig de Sant Salvador, Felanitx; tel. 971-82-72-82; cash only)
- Santuari de Cura (Puig de Randa; tel. 971-12-02-60; www.santuariodecura.com)
- Ermita de Bonany (at Petra; tel. 971-826-568)
- Santuari de Monti-Sion (at Porreres between Llucmayor and Felanitx at the southern end of the central plain of El Pla; tel. 971-647-185)
- Castell de Alaró (in between Alaró and Orient in the center of the Serra de Tramunta; tel. 971-182-112)
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This article is an excerpt from Pauline Frommer's Spain, 1st Edition, available in our online bookstore now.
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