"La Fira de la Taronja de la Vall de Sóller": A Highlight Event in Tramuntana
Find out why oranges are so important in this region
When visiting Sóller and its surroundings, it is essential to admire the beauty of the numerous orange trees that flood the valley and the streets of the town. The citrus fruits of Sóller have been the economic engine of the valley throughout history and have captivated artists and travellers throughout the ages. The geographical location of the valley of Sóller, with its special climate, the fertility of its soil, the Mediterranean sun and the water of its streams, are key factors for the good growth of citrus fruits. In homage to this fruit, which plays an important role in the history, culture and local commerce, the Fira de Sa Taronja (Orange Fair) has been held in Sóller, Port de Sóller and Fornalutx for two weeks since 2007. This fair brings back the splendour of the orange and the beautiful valley where it is cultivated, matures and grows.
A little bit of the history
The history of this region has always been closely linked to that of its orange trees, which were introduced to Europe by the Arabs in the 10th century. The sweet orange trees, which were originally from India, arrived in Spain centuries later along the Silk Route. The port of Sóller, the only natural refuge on the north coast of Mallorca, has been of great commercial importance for the region. Thanks to its communication channel with the outside world, Sóller became the most open Mallorcan town to the world. In 1772, the construction of the port began in order to export the region's famous oranges. In the 1830s, Sóller's economy experienced strong growth thanks to agriculture and the commercial importance of the port. The inhabitants of Sóller emigrated to America and the south of France to open new markets for their citrus fruits, which soon achieved international renown.
The highs and lows of citrus fruits in Sóller
However, in 1865, a plague devastated almost all the orange trees in the valley, which caused a strong emigration of the sollerics to the south of France, Switzerland, Belgium and eastern Spain. Years later, the descendants of the sollerics returned and restored the region's splendour. At the beginning of the 20th century, the orange trees once again flourished in all their glory. In 1905, King Alfonso XIII granted Sóller the title of "city", and in 1912 the Palma-Sóller train was inaugurated, putting an end to its geographical and natural isolation. Despite its rich history and past commercial success, Sóller's citrus production has declined significantly in the early years of the 21st century due to high maintenance costs. The local cooperative that marketed 2000 tons of citrus in the 1990s only managed to sell 500 tons in 2011. Faced with this new situation, Sóller's small producers were forced to abandon their orchards, depleting local orange production and forcing them to import from other producing areas. However, Sóller's struggle to be the valley of oranges continued thanks to the enterprising character of its people. In 2007, the first Orange Fair was held, an event that has helped to vindicate the importance of local orange production and has contributed to raising awareness of the quality of Sóller oranges.
How it is celebrated
This year 2023, Sóller celebrates its famous Orange Festival from the 21st of April to the 7th of May, with the fair taking place on the 29th and 30th of April. During this event, various activities are organised and the restaurants of the participating villages present innovative dishes that combine tradition and originality, where the orange is the star ingredient. In our Airecel Restaurant at the Aimia Hotel we are proud to participate in this event by offering a delicious midday menu, created with care by our Chef Mateo Lobillo and his team. We invite you to visit us and taste the Mediterranean flavours, with the orange as the star ingredient in every dish. Don't miss it! If you happen to be in the town of Sóller, we also recommend trying the orange menu at the Can Blau Restaurant in the Gran Hotel Sóller prepared by the Chef Rafael Torrens and his team.