From Palma, the road to the Sierra Norte or Serra de Tramuntana begins by crossing an open, sunny plain. The valley slowly closes in until it runs into the southern side of the Coll de Sóller (Sóller Pass). At this point, an hour’s ride from Palma, is the house, sheltered by the surrounding mountains, hence the Arabic name of Alfàbia (vat). However, midday offers a splendid view of Palma’s bay.
Not far from the house, but higher by more than 60 metres, runs a spring that does not dry up even in the severest days of the driest summers. This font is supplied by the Serra, which at this particular place takes the name of Serra d’Alfàbia (1,068m).
This difference in elevation gave rise to three grain mills, registered since the thirteenth century, which functioned with wooden wheels. There are still perfectly recognizable remains. The area’s high rainfall and the Serra’s protection from the cold north wind bring together species with such different demands as fir and bougainvillea, cedar and geranium. Historical references indicate that Alfàbia was a residence of the wali (Arabic viceroy) of Mallorca. Touring the place, one can easily imagine that it was, since it would be quite difficult to find a spot on the island that rivals its qualities. Access from the Palma-Sóller road, at km 17, is a wide avenue or Romantic paseo de salón, with three lanes bordered by large plane trees, that comes up near the cIastra (the typical patio of Mallorcan country houses of a certain importance, called possessions).