Porqueres. A mallorcan tradition.
Getting to know the true essence of the destination we visit is, without a doubt, one of the best things about travelling. Enriching ourselves with the locals, their customs, tradition, history and those places that end up forming part of our fantastic backpack of unforgettable memories that we have filled with our travels. That's why today we bring you a perfect plan to carry out in a very special place in Sóller. A place where we can discover one of the most traditional and typical products of Mallorca and that will surely become part of our backpack of memories: The Ben Calçat porqueres and typical Mallorcan footwear factory.
Porqueres are typical Mallorcan shoes made with rubber soles and natural leather that were formerly used to work in the fields. Their origin goes back to the legend of a poor Ibizan who came to Mallorca and whose shoes broke. As he had no money to buy new shoes, he took the tyre of an old car wheel and a piece of canvas and made himself a pair of shoes: the first "porqueres". Since then, this typical footwear has been used with great success. However, nowadays, there are only 3 artisan workshops that continue to make them in Mallorca. One of them is Ben Calçat, located in Sóller, which has been able to adapt this historic footwear to the present day, making porqueres with higher quality materials, and with finer leathers and a great variety of colours and designs, making porqueres not only a shoe for work, but also an authentic piece of fashion to wear on a daily basis and on special occasions.
We will start our visit from the Hotel Aimia and we will walk to the tram stop located a few metres from the hotel. Once there, we will take the tram and enjoy the fantastic journey between orange trees until we reach the Market stop, next to the Plaça Constitució. There we can enjoy the local atmosphere of the Sóller Valley, discover the Parròquia de St. Bartomeu or the Banco de Sóller. A good place to stop at one of the cafés in the square and enjoy the atmosphere of the centre of Sóller. After this short break, we will dive into the commercial heart of the town: La Calle de La Luna. The liveliest street with the largest number of local shops in the municipality.
In La Calle de La Luna you can enjoy a large number of local shops selling both food and handcrafted Mallorcan objects. We recommend that you take a leisurely stroll along this street, discover its essence and get to know the local inhabitants, who do a lot of their shopping here. We will walk along this fantastic street in the opposite direction to the Plaça Constitució until we stop just before the Can Prunera Museum of Modernist Art, where the Ben Calçat typical Mallorcan shoe factory is located.
Entering the factory is not just entering a shop, it is a journey through history and tradition in a fantastic and picturesque journey. Opened in 1975 by the Mira family, Ben Calçat began with the manufacture of belts, bags, baskets and sandals, but after a few years they focused on the manufacture of Mallorcan footwear. Ben Calçat has been making 5 types of shoes for more than 30 years: Porquerres, Albarques, Bota Mallorquina, Patatera and Frailera. Each one of them has its own specific history which, if you wish, you can learn about from Paco, Maruja and Jaume, the factory's owners and craftsmen. In addition, currently there is another shoe that after many years of not manufacturing it, they have returned to incorporate among their models: the Paco Mira leather sandals. Each one of them is unique, special and with unique details such as the signature of the craftsman himself.
Once inside the factory we advise you to take out your mobile phone and immortalise this fantastic moment, as you will be surrounded by countless pairs of colourful handmade artisan shoes. And it is at this precise moment that we will see that we are in front of another fantastic and unforgettable souvenir to include in our travel backpack. A unique and exclusive experience that you can only have in the Sóller Valley thanks to one of the few remaining workshops on the island.
After immortalizing the moment, we will have all the necessary time and sympathy of the craftsmen to try on and choose the pair of shoes we like the most. It is true that at the beginning, the leather may seem a bit hard, but Ben Calçat, after years of work, has perfected its production, making its shoes with high quality materials and much finer and softer leathers, which now makes these shoes much more comfortable, functional and elegant to wear on a daily basis. Proof of this are the inhabitants of the municipality, who choose this typical Mallorcan footwear not only for their daily life, but also for one of the most important days for the town: the day of the Firó. You can read about the Fiestas de Sa Fira i Es Firó in another article, although we are sure you already know about this festival, which is always celebrated every year on the second Monday in May. A historical festival that commemorates the victory of the inhabitants of Sóller over the invasion of Turkish and Algerian corsairs in the port of Sóller on 11 May 1561. A sentiment experienced by all the inhabitants of the town, who dress up for the occasion in traditional clothing and, of course, with Ben Calçat porqueres.
So if you want to add a wonderful souvenir to your collection of unique places you have visited and take home a little piece of Mallorca, its tradition, its culture and its artisans, visiting this artisan factory, one of the few remaining on the island, is a fantastic option. We will also be able to take our favourite and unique shoes, boots or sandals with us.
Discovering the true history of the destination we are visiting, its tradition and culture, is one of the most wonderful things about travelling. And in this case, meeting Paco, Maruja and Jaume, artisans who, with great effort, maintain the Mallorcan tradition by opening every day one of the few artisan and typical footwear workshops left in Mallorca, is a unique privilege. Footwear that they have been making for more than 30 years with recycled tyre soles and conveyor belts like those at the airport for the soles and high quality leathers and threads in countless colours.
After visiting the Ben Calçat factory, we will return to the Plaça Constitució and, from there, we will go up to the Sóller Railway Station, a 2-minute walk along the street to the right of the Parish Church of St. Bartomeu. Once there, you will come across another picturesque little square: the Plaça d'Espanya. From here we can take the tram back to the port of Sóller and enjoy a fantastic Mediterranean meal at the Airecel Restaurant or complete our visit by tasting fresh, local, high quality products at Can Blau Restaurant, located inside the Gran Hotel Sóller! A perfect plan to get to know the essence and gastronomy of the place. If you are staying with us, do not hesitate to ask us for more information about this visit or others to discover the essence of the Sóller Valley.
INFORMATION OF INTEREST
|2 hours approximately
|Winter opening times Ben Calçat
|From 9 to 13h and from16 to 20h
|Summer opening times Ben Calçat
|From 9 to 20 h
|Port Sóller - Sóller: hourly at half past. Sóller - Port de Sóller: hourly at o'clock