The Snow Houses
The Snow Houses of Mallorca: A Journey Through History
Mallorca, is known for its beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches, and rich history. However, the island’s highest peaks hide a unique and ancient tradition that has been preserved over the centuries. The “cases de neu” (snow houses) are structures used to store snow during the winter, a system that was in use for several centuries before the first ice factories appeared.
The “nevaters” were the ones responsible for collecting and storing the snow. According to records dating back to 1619, a group of young men would go up to the mountains, collect the snow, throw it into the well to press it and cover it with ash and reeds. This was done to preserve the ice and in the summer, it was transported to the villages by mule or cart.
The remains of some of these constructions can still be found today, located on the peaks of the mountains of Mallorca. Three of these locations, Puig d’en Galileu, Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa, and Puig Tomir, are open to visitors and can be reached through several different routes.
Puig d’en Galileu is the most challenging of the three locations, with a difficult ascent that climbs from 475 meters at the starting point to 1188 meters at the summit. The route starts at Sa Font Coberta in Lluc and takes about five hours to complete. However, visitors will be rewarded with the first of the nine houses, Son Macip, and the recently restored Cases de neu d’en Galileu.
Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa is an easier alternative, with a route that starts at the Son Gual houses and takes about an hour to complete. The route is less steep and is a great option for families. Visitors will pass by charcoal burners’ “ranxos”, lime kilns, the Font des Polls and the refuge, and finally reach the snow house.
Puig Tomir is another challenging location, but well worth the effort. The route takes about five hours to complete and covers 12 and a half kilometers. The route begins at the Menut and Binifaldó estates and takes visitors to the summit, where they can admire the ruins of the “cases de neu”.
In conclusion, the “cases de neu” of Mallorca are a unique and fascinating aspect of the island’s history, and visiting them is an opportunity to explore the ancient tradition of collecting and storing snow and ice. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking for a new adventure, the snow houses of Mallorca are a must-visit. Plus, With winter fast approaching and snow blanketed the Serra de Tramuntana, now is the ideal time to add these historical structures to your list of weekend activities. So, gear up and experience some of the cultural heritage Mallorca has to offer. Are you ready for this exciting journey?
Snow Houses Route in Mallorca:
- Puig d’en Galileu: A 5-hour hike starting at Sa Font Coberta in Lluc, reaches the restored snow houses d’en Galileu.
- Son Moragues: A 1-hour, 4.1 km hike from the Son Gual houses in Valldemossa to the snow house, with a good trail and not very demanding.
- Puig Tomir: A 5-hour, 12.5 km hike with good physical fitness required, to reach the summit and see the ruins of the snow houses.