Northern Mallorca tourist guide
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Sights and Excursions in Northern Mallorca
The following section will provide a wealth of ideas and tips for excursions and sight seeing in the North of the island, from the mountain lakes North of Sóller to the impressive Torrent de Pareis, the famous monastery of Lluc, Cape Formentor at the most Northern point of the island, the interesting towns Pollensa and Alcúdia, the caves of Campanet and the national park of Albufera close to Alcúdia.
Northeast of Sóller on your way to the Puig Major (the highest mountain on the island with 1445 m), there are two sparkling water reservoirs which are part of the national park, "Embalse de Cúber" and "Embalse de Georg Blau". Both reservoirs‘water is of an enchanting turquoise blue and they are surrounded by overgrown limestone mountains.
Sa Calobra with Torrent de Pareis
One of the most popular and impressive locations between Port de Sóller and Cala de Sant Vicenç. You get there either by car or by booking a bus tour (no public transport available). A small winding road of no less than 13 km length is leading down to the bay 800 m below. Also available are day excursions by boat, starting from Port de Sóller. Transfer takes about one hour. On arrival most visitors pass the pedestrian tunnel to the entrance of Torrent de Pareis, a perfect spot for an open air lunch in the midday sun or to simply enjoy the marvellous views through the 400 m high walls of rock to the sea and the light yellow sandy beach. In summer the river bed is nearly dried out and overgrown with shrubs which make it possible to explore the valley on a hiking tour through the river bed. During winter and at times in spring and autumn the water will be too high to walk in the river bed. Ask for local advice before you start for a hiking tour. Both beach bar and restaurant at Sa Calobra are expensive and of regular quality. We recommend bringing your own lunch. Hiking: A challenging and impressing trip of 7 km starts and ends in Escorca and will lead you through the Torrent de Pareis during a 5 hours walk.
The most important monastery and Mallorca‘s most cherished place of pilgrimage is located south of the C 710 (section Sóller-Pollensa) in a narrow valley of the Serra del Norte. Every year believers go on a pilgrimage to worship the Black Madonna, called "La Moreneta". As legend tells the icon of only 60 cm height was discovered by a converted Moorish boy after the Christian recapture of the island. In 1230 a chapel was built in her honour. The ground was given to the order of Augustines by King Jaume I in 1260 and the monastery was built to its present splendour over the following centuries. Most buildings are dating back to the 17th and 18th century. Don’t miss the impressing renaissance portal with a highly elaborated rose-window, rich decoration inside, and a museum with sacred and archaeological pieces. Part of the monastery is a music-boarding-school, with 60 boys aged between 9 and 14 living there. A very special and moving experience is their daily performance in the late morning (not during holidays). The boys choir Els Blavets is looking back on a long tradition and is as famous in Spain as the "Wiener Sängerknaben" in Austria.
Vall D‘En Marc
Following the C 710 from the Lluc monastery further to the North you will pass the romantic valley Vall d’en Marc. The rich green, the diversity of plants and some impressive mountain chains will make this passage a very special experience!
Pont Romà and Castell del Rei
At the end of Vall D´En Marc and before reaching Pollensa, you will come across some remnants of the Roman heritage. In 440 a.C. the Vandals destroyed Pollentia (today Alcúdia) and dispelled the Romans. Those then founded New Pollentia (today Pollensa). The old Roman country road crossed a river, the Torrent de Sant Jordi, at the bridge "Pont Romà" with two impressive stone arches. Hiking tip: Close to the bridge you can follow a track leading to the ruins of Castell del Rei (approx 8 km distance). The castle was one of three castles belonging to the former Kingdom of Mallorca (Note: the track is not always accessible as it crosses private property).
The town of Pollensa is supposed to be one of the most beautiful towns of the island. To discover the old town we recommend leaving your car outside the town centre as the narrow streets make it unpleasant to drive and find your way around. If you like a good walk, you should climb the 365 steps leading up to the Calvary and a small chapel. The views from the top are marvellous with the sea and Port de Pollensa in the distance. The old town of Pollensa has been lovingly renovated over the last years and offers a very genuine atmosphere, a vivid local scene, bars, restaurants and many interesting art galleries. Most are near or on the main square (Plaza Major) or tucked away in one of the small side streets. In August and September Pollensa celebrates the annual festival of classic music with many international stars around. On Sundays there is a lively market on the main square which is worth visiting.
Port de Pollensa
Unlike other seaside resorts the former fishing village Port de Pollensa had already developed its own character well before tourism hit the island. Take your time and join the English, French, and Spanish tourists for a stroll in the picturesque streets, along the harbour or the seaside promenade. Port de Pollensa has kept its authentic charm and is still a calm small town rather than a hot spot for night life. It is a popular starting point for cyclers and hikers to take a tour to the Formentor peninsula. Tip for bookworms: Agatha Christie‘s novel "Problem At Pollensa Bay" gives an insight into the life of Port de Pollensa during the late twenties.
The peninsula Formentor in the very north is famous for the spectacular landscape and the dramatic views. A small winding road is leading to the cape with the almost 150-year-old lighthouse along mountains, cliffs and the sea. (There is a kiosk, little restaurant, and parking available at the lighthouse). There are several spectacular lookouts, but the most famous is Punta la Nau (also called Mirador Es Colomer, with parking). The views over the port, a small island and the sea are just breathtaking. Opposite the lookout is a track, which is leading up to the watchtower Talaia D’Albercuix (16th century). Again the views are spectacular.
Ermita De La Victoria
This hermitage is located on a peninsula about 6 km north of Alcúdia. The name of the church goes back to a legend, according to which in the 13th century a young shepherd discovered a Madonna at this very same spot and built a chapel in her honour. Although the Madonna was stolen by pirates more than once during the 16th century, it miraculously returned to where it was originally found and was therefore named Mare de Deu de la Victoria ("Blessed Virgin of Victory"). The building was fully renovated in the 18th century, the architecture with the heavy walls and small windows still reminds of the difficult times of medieval attacks. The Madonna itself is part of the main altar of the chapel. Every July 2nd pilgrims will walk to the church from Alcúdia to warship the saint and to celebrate a joyful feast around the church.
Alcúdia, the oldest town of Mallorca, is in the North-East of the island and was founded by the Romans in the year 123 BC. The original name was Pollentia. After the Vandals had burned down the town in the 5th century the inhabitants moved further north and founded New Pollentia, the present Pollensa. 400 years later the Moors built a new town on the hill next to the Roman ruins. "Al-kudia" is the Moorish word for hill, and so this name was given to the new settlement. The Moors used part of the Roman ruins as a quarry, but a lot was neglected. Today the Roman heritage is omnipresent: the two town gates, the magnificently restored town wall, originally built as a shelter from pirate attacks and remnants of a Roman theatre (Teatro Romano). The church of Sant Jaume, which was built in the 13th century, is a must see for those interested in churches and architecture. Also worthwhile visiting is the archaeological museum (Museu Monográfico de Pollentia) in the former oratorium of the church. Or you simply relax in one of the cafés at the Plaça Carles V or the Plaça Constitució.
Port d‘Alcúdia (2 km from Alcúdia) is a busy seaside resort at the end of the Alcúdia bay. At the same time it‘s Mallorca‘s second largest harbour (after Palma). The modern, well-designed promenade directly at the port is a nice place to take a drink and observe the passersby. Overall Port d’Alcudia has all facilities of a modern holiday resort with an international selection of restaurants, nightlife, gift shops, hotels and apartment buildings.
Cova de Sant Martí
The cave church of Sant Martí which is an important memorial of early Christianity is about 2 km south of Port D‘Alcúdia. The limestone cave, trenched 20 m deep in the ground below Puig de Sant Martí, served as a secret shelter for Christians in the 2nd and 3rd century, who were persecuted by Roman troops. In this church the believers came together for the Lord’s Supper and for church services. Whether the cave was also used as a church under Moorish rule is not confirmed, however, the existence of two altars from the 13th century make it seem likely. Above the altars you can see faded images of St George fighting with a dragon and of St Martin. In another part of the cove the St. Martin spring fills a natural fountain.
National Park of S‘Albufera
The National Park of S‘Albufera (about 5 km south of Port D‘Alcúdia) is the largest wetland of the Balearics. The area was originally used as a hunting ground in Roman times. The name originates from the Arabian word “al buhayra”, small lagoon or lake. During the 17th century people started to mount small lots, separated by countless canals. In the 19th century an English company started a project to drain the area, but without any success. In the 20th century the area was used to grow rice, the reed was used to produce paper. When tourism started in the 60ies the government bought 830 ha of the ground to prevent destruction of this unique biotope. Today the “Parc Natural de S’Albufera” covers a total area of 1700 ha. The wide network of tracks along canals and lakes is only accessible by foot or bike. The park is famous for the rich flora and fauna including a spectacular variety of birds. More than 200 species can be observed from 4 look outs, binoculars are provided against a small fee. Apart from the wealth of birds, the park is also home to turtles, frogs, fish and insects. If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna in the area, you can pick up the information brochure at the entrance or follow the multimedia show in the official information centre.
Coves de Campanet
This cave close to Campanet was discovered in 1945 (follow the signs from the road Inca - Alcúdia) and is much less crowded with visitors than the caves on the East coast. There is no subterranean lake, but that doesn’t make it less beautiful. The real attractions are two 4 m high, but only 4 mm thick stalactites (also called "spaghettis"). As any “special effects” like lightshows and sound have been avoided, a visit is a very authentic experience.
Beaches in North of the island
Mallorca has than 200 beaches and small bays. The most populare beaches in the North of the island are:
Turnoff on the way to Sa Calobra on the C710 road. About 2 km before you reach the bay there‘s a turnoff on the left to Cala Tuent. The small cala is a beach with pebbles, quite romantic and not very crowded.
Turnoff from the C710. A 13 km long and at some points very narrow winding road which ends at the famous Torrent de Pareis at Sa Calobra bay. The place is a popular destination for bus tours and excursions, the beach bars are quite expensive. Very busy at high season, spectacular scenery. Sa Calobra is the starting point resp. destination of hiking tours (medium to high level).
Cala Sant Vicenç
The village of Cala Sant Vicenç (about 4,5 km north of Pollensa) is set on the seaside and has three picturesque bays and beaches, beautiful scenery! Cala Sant Vicenc is very popular with divers thanks to the deep clear waters and the variety of species. There is a sandy beach, but waters are steep, so be careful with children. All facilities available including various restaurants and bars, sun lounger hire, parasols etc.
Between the lookout Es Colomer and the lighthouse at the very end of the cape, you will find various small bays and beaches. The biggest beach is Platja Formentor right next to the Formentor hotel. This beach can be quite busy in summer and is a favourite spot for boat tours. It is 500 m long with shallow waters and framed by pine trees. All beach facilities available. Four smaller and less crowded bays can only be reached by foot (leave your car at the main road): Cala Figuera (formerly a landing-point of the pirates), Cala Murta (with a beautiful little chapel nearby), Cala Feliu and Cala Gossalba. No public facilities and no natural shade.
At the northern end of the Pollensa bay. This long sandy beach is softly descending and very suitable for children. It is framed by mostly two to three storey hotels and apartments. All beach facilities available, incl. a sailing and surf-school. Good selection of bars and restaurants along the promenade. The closer you get to the Alcúdia side, the more neglected seems the beach (mainly sea-weed and algae).
The Alcúdia bay is approx. 11 km long. It starts with the peninsula Victoria (with Cape Pinar) in the North. If you follow the coast to the South, you come to the fine sandy beach of Alcanada. All beach facilities available, incl. bars and restaurants. Port D‘Alcúdia itself is a busy seaside resort, with 2 to 3 lines of hotels and apartment buildings along the beaches. The beach is long, sandy and waters are mostly shallow and well suited for families with children. All beach facilities available. The area is popular with surfers, particularly in spring and autumn. Watch out for dangerous streams and swirls on stormy days and respect the flags. Further to the South in the direction of Muro, the beaches are less busy.
Platja de Muro
This beach is between Port D‘Alcúdia in the North and Can Picafort in the South and framed by dunes, pine-trees and a few villa urbanisations. Good water quality, shallow waters (suitable for children). Waters can be dangerous on stormy days. Beach facilities towards the Northern part.
In the centre of Alcúdia bay and highly popular with German tourists. The main beach is lined with hotels and apartment buildings, shops, bars and restaurants. Off the main beach, there are dunes and pine-woods, which are a popular destination for hiking or horse-riding. The beach itself has shallow waters (suitable for children) and is very popular. All beach facilities available.
Platja de Son Baulo and Son Serra de Marina
Further to the South is the Platja de Son Baulo, a small bay with a sandy beach. Even further South is the long sandy beach of Son Serra de Marina. As an environmentally protected area, there are almost no beach facilities available. Almost no shade, partly a nudist beach.
Colònia De Sant Pere
Quiet holiday resort that used to be a traditional fishing village A few hotels, some apartment-buildings and holiday villas. There is a small sandy beach well suited for children close to the harbour. Some restaurants, bars and shops at the small seaside promenade. In direction of Cape Ferrutx there are some romantic bays and beaches, surrounded by woods and rocks and only accessible by foot, and without any beach facilities (e.g. Calas Toró, Mata, Es Caló).
Locations in North Mallorca
- Cala Ratjada
- Cala Sant Vicenc
- Can Picafort
- Colonia de Sant Pere
- Costa de los Pinos
- Puerto Pollensa
- Sa Pobla
- San Lorenzo
- Santa Margalida
- Son Carrió
- Son Serra de Marina
- Son Servera