Selva is a small inland town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range in the north-west of Majorca, a few miles from the large regional centre of Inca. The pink and white sandstone buildings of the town cap a small hill surrounded by pine forests, almond orchards and orange groves, with several of the highest peaks of the sierra providing a dramatic backdrop. This area has escaped the attention of tourism developers, and Selva retains the organic charm of a venerable Majorcan market town. The region is popular with walkers, cyclists, artists, and many expatriate residents who treasure its tranquillity and traditions.
Selva is is situated on the road between Inca and Lluc, once an important route through the mountains for local people who travelled on foot or with pack animals. There has been a settlement on the site since before Roman times, and today the oldest buildings in Selva date from the Spanish Reconquest in the 13th Century. The heart of the town features many remarkable medieval mansions, religious monuments and churches, including the beautiful 14th Century parish church of Sant Llorenc that towers above Selva from the highest point of the hill. The view from the church tower reaches to the Bay of Alcudia, several miles away to the north.
Selva has a fair number of local shops, caf&eacute;s, and restaurants, and several nearby historic homesteads, known as fincas, have been converted into accommodations for visitors. Much of the charm of Selva comes from its unspoiled rural character, and yet it is only a few minutes drive from the outskirts of Inca, one of Majorca’s largest towns and the historic centre of the island’s leather industry. Inca also lies on the highway between Palma and the north coast of the island, and so it possible to drive from Selva to Majorca’s international airport in a little more than half an hour, and to the popular beaches near Alcudia in less than twenty minutes.
Selva and the surrounding villages celebrate several local fiestas throughout the year, and in late June the town hosts a renowned herb fair. The central streets and town square are strewn with fresh aromatic herbs for the occasion, and stalls and displays celebrate local herbal traditions such as the distillation of myrtle water – an ancient preparation said to have magical properties, once used in love potions and now an ingredient of some skin-care products.
The rural roads and mountain scenery of Majorca’s north-west are popular with cyclists, and one of the most scenic routes passes through Selva to Lluc, on the far side of the Tramuntana range. Lluc is the spiritual centre of Majorca, and site of a famed shrine containing the 14th Century image of the island’s patron saint, the Mare de Deu de Lluc. To the east of Inca, a small hill known as the Puig de Inca is popular with both cyclists and walkers for its expansive view of the mountains, plains and the northern coastline. The 307 metre peak is protected as a scenic park, and topped by the medieval chapel of Santa Magdalena.