Eastern Mallorca tourist guide
Sights and Excursions in East Mallorca
In this section we give some hints about the island‘s south-east, beginning with the fascinating caves around Porto Cristo, continuing with nice towns like Felanitx, Cala D‘Or, and Santanyí, the monasteries Santuari de Monti-Sion and Sant Salvador, up to the cape of Ses Salines.
Coves del Drac
An attractive tourist side are the Coves del Drac (dragon caves) near Porto Cristo. They are the biggest and oldest stalactite caves of Mallorca, and are named after a mythical dragon, who is said to have been guarding a treasure there in former times. Because there are no guided excursions through the path system inside 12 natural halls, decorated by illuminated stalagmites and stalagtites with strange names, you have to make more than 1500 m by yourself – until you reach the subterranean, constantly 20 degrees Celsius warm lake "Llac Martel". It‘s said that its extensions (177 m x 40 m, up to 9 m deep) exceed those of all other cave lakes on earth, but nobody knows if that‘s really true. Above there‘s a 17 m high cave. During the middle ages the caves served already as a hiding place when pirates attacked the island, but it was explored for the first time 1896 by the french scientist Edouard-Alfred Martel, by order of the archduke Ludwig Salvator. Martel found out that there even exists a connection to the sea, and that therefore the water has a certain salt content.
In the year 1922 a clever Majorcan bought the estate, built paths, staircases and seats, and opened a new access. Some years later he provided for a colourful illumination and background music, and already since the beginning of the thirties it has been possible to drive over the lake by boat. This has not changed until today, only the boats are modern, and the light and music show (once per hour) is more extensive. From the platform one can comfortably watch the spectacular show. The caves are situated 15 minutes south of the town‘s centre, and they are easy to find. They are opened at every full hour for visitors, but because of the rush it‘s better to come already at the first or at the last show, otherwise you might wait too long. At the exit of the caves there‘s free parking, about 200 m away from the entrance (Ctra. Porto Cristo - Cala Murada, 971 820753).
Coves dels Hams
Coves dels Hams, the second popular cave system of Porto Cristo, are comparable to the more famous Coves del Drac. These caves, situated at the road to Manacor, 2 km out of the centre, also have a colourful illumination, and the bizarre stalagtites are formed like harpoons (therefore the name "hams"). There are 14 halls and a small lake called "Mare de Venezia", and there is also a music show.
The dimensions of the cave, discovered in 1905, are smaller than in the Coves del Drac, but there are guided walks offered, 40 minutes long, along the narrow paths and through a nearly round, huge subterranean hall. There‘s less rush than at the bigger caves, and it‘s open all year long (Ctra. Porto Cristo - Manacor, 971 820988, www. cuevas-hams.com).
Felanitx and the church of Sant Miquel
Felanitx is a cosy little town in the south-east, where the residents are mainly still among themselves. On sundays the town gets really alive, because then the big market takes place and attracts also many visitors. The stands can be found over the whole centre, in the streets around the parish church Sant Miquel at the Plaça Espanya, with its impressive front steps, decorated with geometric mosaics made of pebbles. At first sight the sacral building seems to be a little oversized for this town, but the place has a long history: Already in 1248 there was built a church here for the first time. The present building, however, whose baroque facade is dominated by a renaissance portal, a beautiful rose-window and a statue of the patron saint Michael killing the dragon, is from the year 1762. Inside the church one can admire an elegant scenery, as i.e. a high altar and an impressing organ and beautiful coloured stain-glass windows. In one of the side chapels there is a neat wooden altar top, and the ceilings are decorated with chandeliers. A nice piece of art also is the Saint Francis chapel, formed by the Felanitx architect Guillem Sagrera, who also had worked on the trade centre of Palma (La Lonja) and the sea trade centre of Naples. Opposite the church a staircase leads downstairs, at its end one discovers a fountain, finished in 1980, with a source called "Font de Santa Margalida". In honour of the patron saint, a big feast is celebrated every year at the end of July. Restaurant tips: Estragon – mediterranean cuisine, nice atmosphere, cheap lunch menu. On sundays, after the market, there‘s also cheap lunch at the Café d‘es Mercat. Out of town: Son Colom – famous for cheap and extensive buffets (especially at lunch time!) with Majorcan home-cooking. Playground for children outside. Vista Hermosa (Hotel Villa Hermosa) – high style and high prize mediterranean international cuisine, in a fine hotel with a wonderful view from the terrace.
Santuari de Sant Salvador
The 509 m high monastery mountain of Sant Salvador and its hermitage Santuari de Sant Salvador lie 6 km north of Felanitx, and can be reached easily over a winding road (formely a pilgrims‘ road), which passes an impressing stone cross an the stations of the cross-road. The basic stone of the monastery was laid in 1348 by the administrator of the nearby Castell de Santuari, but the church was built in 1716. At first sight the building more resembles a castle than a sacral building, and that has to do with the adventurous past of the monastery: During the middle ages the monks had to suffer numerous attacks of pirates. In contrary to the simple facade the interior of the church is richly ornamented, a good example for gothic church art, the most impressing attraction being a particular alabaster altar top (16th century), which shows parts of the Supper and the Passion, built by the famous Guillem Sagrera or one of his pupils. From the church square one has a wonderful view to the castle opposite and the surrounding countryside. The monastery is an important pilgrims‘ location and attracts many visitors, who are supplied by the monks not only with souvenirs, but also with food and simple lodging. From the monastery one can take a beautiful walk along the ridge, up to the 7 m high Christ monument "Cor de Jesús", which was built up in 1934.
Santuari de Consolació
The monastery Santuari de Consolació lies near S´Alqueria Blanca, it was built in the 16th century. One enters the church with its statue of the "Madonna of the Consolation" through a round arched portal. According historical reports there once lived the pious woman named Scholastika, who strongly desired rain, so that her pleasure-seeking brother, the holy Benedict, could not leave the estate, but had to stay with her. Her prayers were granted, and since then she is included in many Majorcans‘ prayers.
Once a year, after Easter, a pilgrimage takes place here, which ends up with a big revel. The pretty, but also simple works with their dainty belfry stand upon the 200 m high hill, from where one enjoys a wonderful view over the surroundings and the southern coast area. A romantic spot for a picnic at sunset...
One of Mallorcas most popular holiday resorts. The town was founded in the thirties under the name Cala S‘Hort by the artist Josep Costa Ferrer. It especially shows an outstanding architecture: White washed one- or two-story-Ibiza-style-houses and luxurious gardens make up the visual impression still nowadays. The vivid centre of the town, with its many boutiques, art craft shops, souvenir shops, and numberless gastronomic establishments of all kinds, is mainly planted as pedestrian area is perfect for taking a walk, shopping, or just having a snack in one of the bars or restaurants. A must is a stroll around the picturesque marina of Cala D’Or.
It‘s not by chance that houses in Santanyí seem to look much softer than elsewhere – that‘s because here the golden Marés rock (sandstone) is obtained, which has been used for the cathedrale and the Llonja in Palma. The old city gate (Porta De Sa Murada) was also built with this sandstone, and it reminds us of Santanyí once having been surrounded by a city wall, mainly as a protection against pirates, who formerly concealed their plunder in the nearby quarries. Inside the church Sant Andreu Apostel there is a huge rococo-organ, designed by Jordi Bosch, and brought here from a big monastery in Palma. On Saturdays, in the streets around the church takes places one of the most vivid markets of the island.
The small fishing village surely belongs to the most picturesque spots of the island. It‘s sited at a fjord-like bay, that‘s much extended into the country, dividing itself in two branches at its end, and with numerous fishing-boats and sailing-boats anchoring there. There are beautiful restaurants with terraces. Tip: Take a walk to Torre D‘En Béu, an octagonal lighthouse of 6 m height, which lights up to 12 sea-miles in the night. Take the path leading around the narrow bay, walk up to the cliffs and enjoy the beautiful view back to the harbour.
Top beaches in southeast Mallorca
In town: Small beach directly beside the picturesque harbour. Tourist and gastronomic attractions are on hand. Rarely crowded. Nice for a short stop during an excursion ( walk through the town incl. a visit at the caves `Coves del Drac´ and `del Hams´). About 3 km south one reaches Porto Cristo Novo with the bays Anguila (about 120 m lenght and 200 m wide, accessible over a staircase), Mandia and Estany (100 m lenght, 150 m wide). All beaches are not very big and for parts are framed by wooded rocks. Further south there are the bays Cala Romantica and Barques. The first is surrounded by small hotels and holiday homes, about 100 m long, with fine sand and only a small beach bar. The other one lies without buildings, has no tourist services, and rocky shores. Because the `Coves del pirata´ are nearby, it is also called "pirates´ bay". They are both sign-posted (turning at the road Porto Cristo - Santanyí).
Cales de Mallorca
Cales de Mallorca are several small bays in the east of the island (about 10 km north of Porto Colom), at the steep shore between Cala Magraner and Cala Murada. Single bays are surrounded by hotels, others are only framed by urbanisation and decently established holiday plants. But there are also unpopulated bays, cosy and romantic (Cala Bota, Cala Magraner, unfortunately not easily accessible, by boat or on foot. The tiny sand beaches as Cala Antena (20 m long) are already occupied very early in the day.
Idyllic location (particularly the old part). Bathing possibilities beside the harbour and north of the town. Nice alternative at the south edge: the spit `Sa Punta´, with a small sand beach. Some tourist services. South of the location this is different: In front of some hotel buildings lies Cala Marçal, with all its services. A softly descending sand beach (suitable for children), cared for, very popular at season. A little bit further south the small, but fine Cala Bravi.
Cala Sa Nau
The small bay Cala Sa Nau (about 50 m large) situated 3 km north of Cala D´Or, and it‘s easily accessible. The bay with its clear water is framed by flatly descending limestone and it‘s relatively untouched – except of a small beach bar – there are no buildings – just natural landscape. Parasols and deck-chairs can be rented. The beautiful pine-woods around Cala Sa Nau invite for a walk along the shores.
The small sand bay north of the tourist centre Cala D´Or is accessible on a path from Cala Serena. There is a flatly descending beach, clear water and a beautiful landscape. You should take supplies with you, there are no bars or restaurants in the cosy bay.
There are several bays resembling fjords, which can be reached easily from the architecturally attractive holiday location. During the season they are connected by a little tourist train. Cala D´Or, the "gold bay", is framed by pine-trees and limestone. Lightly descending sand beach (suitable for children), but narrow, and sometimes crowded. Alternatives for sun-bathing: the flat rocks around. Beside: the Cala Gran (biggest of all), Cala Esmeralda, Cala Ferrera and Cala Serena: Narrow beaches, also surrounded by pine-woods. Partly descending very steep, and for that appropriate for diving and snorkling. Cala serena permanently is visited by the guests of Robinson Club. Cala Llonga is not appropriate for bathing, being a harbour bay - but good for strolling and "Après Swimming": many exclusive fashion shops, bars, cafés and restaurants.
Cala Mondragó / Cala S´Amarador
4 km south of Porto Petro (approx. 5 km east of Santanyí) lies the wonderful Cala Mondragó. A white, softly descending sand beach (220 m large, 70 m deep), surrounded by dense woods with pine-trees and stone-pines. A few hotels are hidden behind the trees. Parasol/deck-chair-renting. Nearby the café-bar Cafeteria Cala Mondragó, with snacks and grilled fish, mid scale prices, friendly to children. Tip: Take a walk along the rocks to the romantic Cala S‘Amarador opposite. There are no buildings disturbing the impression, the parking lot lies 500 m away. Both bays are wonderfully situated, parasols and deck-chairs can be rented. During the season they are sometimes crowded, but they are worth a visit! Another walk leads to the calm and distant small bay Cala Burxill. Thanks to a group of environment protectors the whole region ten years ago has been declared a "Parc Natural Mondragó" – with many seldom birds and plants.
3,5 km south of Cala Figuera (50 m large). A beautiful, softly descending sand beach (suitable for children). Framed by wooded rocks, also good for snorkling. All tourist offers on hand, beautiful footpath along the cliffs to Cala Figuera (about 40 minutes).
Beside the Cala Santanyí is the even bigger, but calmer Cala Llombards, surrounded by pine woods. Softly descending, beautiful sand beach (suitable for children). All tourist services, nice beach bar.
Cala S´Amonia and Cala de Sa Comuna
Two small, beautiful, but not yet overcrowded bays near Ses Salines. Park the car and walk downhill/the stairs carefully. There are no services, bars or restaurants. Take along your own drinks and snacks , parasols and mats. It‘s not appropriate for small children.
Locations in East Mallorca
- Cala Anguila
- Cala D'or
- Cala Mondrago
- Cala Murada
- Cala Ratjada
- Cala Sa Nau
- Calas de Mallorca
- Cas Concos
- Colonia de Sant Pere
- Costa de los Pinos
- Es Carritxo
- Lloret de Vistalegre
- Porto Colom
- Porto Cristo
- Porto Petro
- S'Alqueria Blanca
- Sa Coma
- San Lorenzo
- Santa Margalida
- Son Carrió
- Son Macia
- Son Serra de Marina
- Son Servera