Southern Mallorca: Tourist guide and accommodations
Sights and Excursions in Southern Mallorca
In the following we make some more propositions concerning the South of the island, starting with the cactus area "Botanicactus", continuing with Cape Ses Salines (the most southern point of Mallorca), the day excursion to the archipelago of Cabrera, the salt-pits, up to the ruins of Capocorb Vell.
About 1 km east of Ses Salines, at the road to Santanyí, there lies Botanicactus, an area of 150.000 skm, with unnumerable mediterranean plants and trees, of course first of all the 12.000 species of cactus plants, that are exuberantly growing and flowering in a desert-like, hilly landscape. There is also a man-made lake, with swans and ducks, there are meadows, palm grounds, and bamboo plants. In the market-garden belonging to it you can also buy a little souvenir cactus.
Cape Ses Salines
South of the little town Ses Salines, the country road PM 611 leads through a private ground of the rich banker‘s family March, down to Cape Ses Salines (with only a few parking possibilities). There you can walk up to the lighthouse (used by the army), and there, at the island‘s most southern point, hardly 200 km away from the African coast, you can let the warm breeze blow around your nose, and watch the sea throwing high waves upon the shore. And you´re also invited for other marvellous walks to the north-western lonely and romantic bays.
Salines de Llevant
The coast between Ses Salines and Cape Blanc is Mallorca‘s driest area, because rain frequency here on the average is one third less than on the rest of the island. Here you can find some of the most beautiful beaches of the island (Es Trenc), with nearly snow-white sand. North-west of Ses Salines (at the road Campos – Colónia de Sant Jordí), salt is gained behind the dunes – by way of evaporation, the traditional method. In April huge quadratic basins are filled with the sea-water. Thus nearly 130 ha of salt lagoons are filled up in every spring. During the summer it "works" in the sun. In September caterpillars carry off the salt crusts, and pile them up to impressively shimmering salt mountains. After that the salt will be cleaned, filled, and sold.
Tip: As the first crusts, the so called "salt flowers", do form themselves (about in June), two hard-working German ladies since two years take away this fine upper crust, thus gaining Flor de Sal, which contains only the best active substances and minerals of the salt. Meanwhile they not only sell it in its natural form, but also in three other refined variations: with herbs, with olive, and with hibiscus. Information under www.gustomundial.com). It‘s offered in good delicatessen, and some of the best restaurants (as f.e. 'Read‘s' with the British chef Marc Fosh) offer Flor de Sal along with appetizers, bread and olive oil. But of course it‘s also a fine thing for amateur cooks!
A commendable day excursion leads from Colonia de Sant Jordi in the South of the island to the 17 km distant and 17 skm big archipelago Cabrera (= goats‘ island). The boats cast off from the harbour rather early in the morning, and one should be there in time because of a big request, even better it is to reserve the passage one day in advance. It‘s also important to carry supplies, because there are no restaurants on the island. 19 small, uninhabited islands belong to Cabrera, it was declared a national park in 1992. The archipelago captivates by its many species of animals and plants (f.e. the island is covered all over with rosemary plants), and as well by its history. Hannibal is said to be born here, a fortress reminds of pirates‘ assaults, and during the 19th century 9.000 French prisoners of war have been brought here, only 3.600 survived. Today‘s day excursions are much more fun... Before the boat in the evening returns to Colonia de Sant Jordi, it does a little wothwhile trip to Cova Blava, the "Blue Cave", on the small island Conills (= rabbits‘ island). This visit of the marvellous cave with its blue light reflections by many visitors is regarded as the enchanting climax of an eventful day...
The fascinating waterworld of Cabrera
This aquarium in the small seaside resort Colonia Sant Jordi has its focus on the waters around Cabrera. The official visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives a fantastic insight of flora and fauna of the archipelago, which is one of the most cherished nature preserves of the Balearics. More than 4000 fish and shellfish can be observed in 17 fish tanks. Guided tours will start every full hour, the tour includes 2 short films about the archipelago. The aquarium is open all year from 10:00 to 14:30 hrs and from 15:30 to 18:00 hrs.
Ruins of Capocorb Vell
Capocorb Vell is one of the biggest Talaiot settlements in the western Mediterranean, and it‘s located at the road from Llucmayor to Cap Blanc, 4 km away from Cala Pi. Talaiots are prehistoric stonehouse-settlements from the age of the so called Megalith culture. The ruins of Capocorb Vell consist of three round towers, dated between 1400 and 1000 b.C., two square towers, which have probably been built in the 6th century, and as well rests of appr. 28 living-houses. During the last centuries, many of the beautiful big stones have been carried away and used for other buildings, f.e. Palma´s cathedral 'La Seu', or the old stock-market "La Llonja" in Palma. Unfortunately there are no guided excursions, but an information sheet tells something about the excavations and gives explications of the Talaiot culture.
Cap Blanc itself, with its beautiful lighthouse, is part of a closed military area, but one should not miss driving along the rugged steep coast in the direction of Cala Blava, passing through a seemingly untouched and uninhabited landscape. You will be fascinated by different fantastic panorama views.
Beaches in South of the island
Mallorca has than 200 beaches and small bays. Water quality is generally very good or good, with a few exceptions close to towns or ports. Many beaches are rewarded the Blue Flag every year– the quality sign for excellent water and protection of the environment. Most beaches (except of some small and/or distant bays along the west coast) offer the usual infrastructure like renting of parasols and deck-chairs, beach bars, sports facilities. Prizes vary considerably. For parasols and deck-chairs there is a fee of about 8,00 € to 14,00 € a day. A cheaper alternative is to bring your own parasol and beach towel (available in most beach shops).
Please pay attention to the colour of the beach flags! The red flag means stay out of the water / no swimming allowed, the yellow flag means swimming allowed but dangerous. Only the green flag means green light for water fun. At first sight, the warnings might appear to be exaggerated, especially when the sea seems to be calm on the surface. However, there might be dangerous currents below the surface so trust the experienced judgement of the life guards and follow their recommendations.
The most populare beaches in the South of the island are:
Colónia de Sant Jordi
Of course the wonderful beach of Es Trenc, which begins west of Colónia de Sant Jordi, is the main attraction here, but also near the town, and south of it, you can find many nice beaches. As f.e. Platja d'es Port, directly at the port.
At the town‘s south edge follows the beautiful, nearly circle-like, 1 km large Platja des Dolc (softly descending, suitable for children, kiosk, renting of parasols and deck-chairs), and a little bit further you come across Platja Carbó (300 m large, about 50 m deep, softly descending), Sa Roqueta, and the marvellous beach Es Caragol (about 500 m large, 50 m deep). They all lie about 30, 40 minutes away from the port, and they are all very quiet, because you cannot go there by car, and there a no touristic establishments. Also friends of nudism meet here. Several other, not very frequented bays follow, each of them can only be reached by walking from Colónia de Sant Jordi, or from Cape Ses Salines.
The beach of Es Trenc, which extends from the north-western edge of Colónia de Sant Jordi to the yacht harbour of Sa Ràpita, is one of Mallorca‘s largest and most beautiful natural beaches. Strictly speaking, there are two beach sections, divided by the holiday settlement of Ses Covetes (and because of that the part of the beach which lies between Sa Ràpita and Ses Covetes sometimes is also called Platja Sa Ràpita). All together the beach is nearly 5 km long, famous for its particularly white and fine sand, and because of its flat access it is also very suitable for children.
The beach is surrounded by a unique dune landscape, without buildings, and grown with pines, Aleppo stone-pines, mastic shrubs, and rosemary, where many water birds sit, and which was declared a protection area during the eighties, after strong efforts of the Majorcan environment organisation GOB. Parasols and deck-chairs can be rented, and near the bordering settlements there are beach bars available, as well as some aquatic sports offers. Friends of nudism prefer the beach section west of Ses Covetes. On weekends also many Majorcans come here. Parking places (subject to tax) are available. To approach there are several signposted possibilities. Tip: You might also combine your beach visit with a little excursion to the salt-pits (see excursions).
Of course most visitors prefer the Es Trenc-beach, which begins south-east of Sa Ràpita. But also north-west of the village there is a nice beach, not as beutiful as Es Trenc, but less crowded: S‘Estanyol. With kiosk, parasols and deck-chairs available.
Near Cape Blanc. A narrow bay, which cuts deeply inside the country, with a sand beach, that‘s only 50 m large, but about 150 m deep, accessible over a staircase. It‘s surrounded by woods and many bungalows and apartments. Attractive for snorters, but also suitable for children (playground available). Parasols, deck-chairs, beach bar.
Platja de Palma
Probably the most popular beach of the island. Beginning near S‘Arenal, it extends over kilometers up to Ca‘n Pastilla. Clean, softly descending, and with fine sand, it offers the best conditions (suitable for children). Along the beach there is this nice modern palm-tree promenade, traffic-calmed and perfect for bikers and inline skaters. At regular distances there are the 15 so called 'balnearios', pavilions that mark the correspondent beach sectors. The most popular, and most frequented zone lies between balnearios 4 and 9, including the famous "German sector" - "Ballermann 6". All touristic establishments, sports, and gastronomical enterprises are available. Good idea: Going along the whole Platja by the little tourist train. The hinterland mainly is built with hotels and apartment plants.
Ciudad Jardín and Cala Gamba
Between Platja de Palma (beginning at Ca‘n Pastilla) and Palma there are further nice beaches, mainly frequented by Majorcans. As f.e. the Cala Gamba-bay (appr. 100 m large, half-round, with marvellous sand beach and few tourists, or the beach of Ciudad Jardín: a wide, beautiful sand beach (appr. 450 m large), with parasol and deck-chair-renting, and as well beach bars. Little minus-point: one is near the airport‘s approach path.
City beach of Palma
Perfect for a short refreshing bath during a Palma excursion: Beginning opposite the big GESA building, Palma‘s home beach extends up to the yacht harbour of Portixol. It‘s a softly descending sand beach, suitable for children, with nearly no touristic establishments. Tipp: The Nassau Beach Bar offers a nice variety of snacks, cocktails and chill-out-music on the beach.
Locations in South Mallorca
- Bahía Grande
- Cala D'or
- Cala Figuera
- Cala Fornells
- Cala Llombards
- Cala Mondrago
- Cala Murada
- Cala Sa Nau
- Cala Santanyi
- Calas de Mallorca
- Cas Concos
- Colonia San Jordi
- El Toro
- Es Carritxo
- Es Llombards
- Palma de Mallorca
- Portixol-El Molinar
- Porto Colom
- Porto Petro
- S'Alqueria Blanca
- Sa Rapita
- Sa Torre
- Sant Elm
- Sant Joan
- Santa Maria
- Santa Ponsa
- Ses Covetes
- Ses Salines
- Son Macia
- Son Vida