Perfect Weekend: 48-Hours in Deia, MallorcaBy Caroline Patterson
Located north of Palma, Deia is a wonderful discovery. A gorgeous interplay of sea and mountains – Deia is located in a truly sacred place. As Robert Graves, the famous poet and playwright who arrived here in 1929 with Laura Riding said, Deia is located at the centre of a ‘magnetic field’ – created by the considerable deposits of iron ores in the nearby mountain ranges.
If you want to experience Deia at its best, switch off your computer and your phone, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity this region has to offer. Here the night skies are so clear that it’s possible to stargaze. If you’re looking for a weekend away, or a few days in the sun – here’s what you need to know:
Deia: Where to Stay
A wonderful place to enjoy your stay can be found in a wide selection of villas from Charles Marlow Rentals. Available to rent are 22 fabulous properties in the area. There is a wide range available all varying in size and price. From the superbly situated Villa Sa Quinta, with its infinity pool and sleeping up to 12, to many other smaller properties. All are fabulously located and beautifully equipped. We stayed at S’Era, situated in the superbly tranquil Serra de Tramuntana mountains just outside Deia. We marvelled at the extensive views and the wonderful light surrounding this magnificent villa. The quality of light has been a draw to many artists to relocate here, and the bohemian vibe is still very evident today.
You can hire a private chef or organise for an excellent catering company to come to your villa. Recommended in-villa catering company is Delicioso, who have a dedicated events teams to manage any occasion – they can even deliver prepared foods ready for you to serve on your yacht(!) or villa.
Again, in your villa are available private beauty therapies and massage programmes. Try a wonderful range of luxury treatments from Louise Loni and her masseuse partner Louisa, or try a spot of mountain yoga (which they also teach) if you fancy a few warrior poses. They offer a full range of various massages, as well as reflexology, facials and manicures.
Deia: What to Do
You will see many artists painting around Deia and their studios are open to visit. Among these is David Templeton who in 1978 came to Deia, where he lives and paints – and also sings with the Pa Amb Oli band.
He can arrange for private art courses in painting and drawing, and has an annual exhibition at the well known Hotel La Residencia, Deia. He has exhibited widely and his famous ‘Robert Graves drawings’ were shown in London at the Chelsea Arts Club, including one owned by Spike Milligan – then a regular visitor to Deia. Another artist is Arturo Rhodes the surrealist painter who moved here in 1980.
Rhodes paints in the glaze technique of the old masters transposing the classical oil techniques to acrylics. His paintings often contain a story or an unanswered question, or indeed a joke. His paintings are in many private collections including Lynne Franks and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to name a few. Seek them out and enjoy both their work and their stories.
Deia: Where to Eat
Deia itself is a UNESCO heritage site and it’s easy to see why. The name Deia means ‘village’, but what a village it is. Stocked with family run traditional tapas restaurants as well as a high-end Michelin starred restaurant, Deia has it all. Try Xelini whose hosts are passionate about local produce and indeed make their own wine with grapes from the nearby peninsula.
Deia: What to See
From your villa it’s just a short drive or stroll into Deia. Discover hillsides covered in olive, almond and orange trees that cascade into the sea. Inhale the beautiful scented air full of herbal notes reminiscent of Provence, or the more intrepid and energetic amongst you, swimming in the sea is another option. Explore the fabulously romantic pebble beach at Cala de Deia, or go further afield to explore some sandy beaches up and down the nearby coast.
There are plenty of interesting places to visit, including the museum dedicated to the memory of Robert Graves in Ca N’Alluny. Graves was the famous English poet, novelist, critic and classicist. He produced more than 140 works, earning his living from writing. He founded the Seizin Press with his lover Laura Riding. Amongst many other works in 1955 he published The Greek Myths, which retells a large body of that material. From this came his famous work The White Goddess, which has never been out of print. Irish literature deeply affected Graves’ White Goddess theories specifically the Irish poetic genre aisling (a vision or dream poem), which was developed during the late 17th and 18th centuries. A fascinating character and brilliant writer, the museum is a wonderful evocation of the man. Not to be missed.
Another point of interest is the Deia Archaeological Museum and Research Centre in Es Clot. This is a small museum founded in 1962 by the American archaeologist and painter William Waldren and well worth a visit.
Should you wish to try your hand at throwing a pot, Maria De Haan offers ceramic workshops from her idyllic terrace in the mountains. Her studio is located in the heart of Deia. These workshops are very popular activities, so plan ahead and contact Maria in advance of your visit if you wish to participate.
Other activities include biking, hiking or simply hanging out and enjoying the bohemian vibe. Several cafes and tapas restaurants are located in the town and a good place to rendezvous in the evening is the Café Sa Fonda.
Frequented by locals speaking Mallorquin (a local Catalan dialect), resident artists including David Templeton and Arturo Rhodes and tourists alike. It’s a very lively place to see and been seen until late into the night. You may even spot the grandson of Robert Graves who founded the ecological arts festival Ideadeia in 2010 to bring together arts, music and film to connect with older cultural traditions.
There has been some talk over Mallorca (the largest of the Balearic islands) being spoilt. Deia and its surrounding area has been saved from overdevelopment to an extent by the picturesque winding roads leading up to the village itself and beyond. But you will be rewarded in your endeavours by the beauty, history and delights, and indeed magic this region has to offer.