Tour in the southeast of the island
Those who are on holiday in the southeast of Mallorca will enjoy some interesting diversions. For example, there is not only the possibility to enjoy bathing in the well conserved natural beaches of Cala Mondrago, but also take the opportunity there to walk through the forest that is under natural conservancy. Also, at both sides of Cala Mondrago there are further adjacent bays like for example Cala d'Or or the more little beaches at the southeast of Santanyi.
At the same time, those locations like Porto Colom, Porto Petro or specially Cala Figuera offer a little impression of the traditional fishing. Those little locations like Cala Figuera almost transfer one some few decades into the past and the atmosphere that is experienced there is unique in Mallorca. These harbour places offered small but quaint restaurants and coffee bars so that it is also possible to go out in the evenings without getting bored or not be straight overwhelmed by the party hype.
At some kilometres in northern direction from Santanyi, a little montain range begins, the eastern mountains that are also called the Serra de Llevant that runs parallel to the eastern coast up to the north and is extended far behind Arta. Here, there is a difference of altitude of approximately 400 metres and it is possible to enjoy the view from the convent Sant Salvador by Felanitx even from 509 metres altitude. Generally, the Ermita de Sant Salvador, the Castell de Santueri and also the Oratori de la Consolacio by S'Alqueria Blanca that are located there are perfect places to enjoy some meditative quietness not only in a churchy ambient, but also to admire the wonderful panorama of the east coast that is visible from here.
In order to actually enjoy all stations of this tour through the southeast without any hectiness, one full day is definitely sufficient. The distances between each of the stations are fastly done by car, as one can comfortably get everywhere; We started our tour in the little place of Cala Figuera, went through the forests of Cala Mondrago and had a little stop at the beaches of Cala Mondrago for a bath. Indeed, the little place Porto Petro is tiny, but we really had there two fantastic weeks during our holiday in the hotel there, at the little idyllic bay. The wide stations of our southeast tour led us to three wonderful lookout points: Oratori de la Consolacio, a little chapel by S'Alqueria Blanca, and the heights located close to Felanitx with the Castell de Santueri and the Ermita de Sant Salvador. The ending of our tour was in the little harbour town Porto Colom, where it is either possible to bath and also to eat something in one of the cosy places.
Cala Figuera: Fishing village that seems to be of a different epoch
In the centre of Cala Figuera we first parked out car beside some tourist busses, as we only could continue on foot through the narrow alley alongside the bay. The many little restaurants invite to abide and so we watched the other guests there how they were enjoying the fresh fish and the different sorts of paella. Cala Figuera rather seems to a place for individualists who prefer more origin. There are no beaches there and the vision of those artificially raised hotel complexes is completely missing.
But we were very pleased of the panorama of the steeply increasing coast in front of us which cliffs were so flooded with sunlight that the trees of this place radiated in a green play of colours; Also the view to the light house in front of us aroused our sportive ambitions to get there. But how? Actually, the only thing to do was to follow the way to the bay in order to get soon to this little delightgul spot that looked lonesome but promising from there.
So we started to circle around the bay. We followed a narrow path right alongside the water that partly was a little bumpy but anyhow it seemed to be safely arranged. The backmost part of the bay was getting more a more narrow and forked into two arms. There, the houses and the boat garages were partly built straight into the precipitious cliffs and disembogued straight into the water. By this way, the numerous little boats appeared to be parked cars, one beside the other. The nativeness and the atmosphere of this harbour actually search the likes of them to no avail.
So we had to take care not to loose our balance by being stunned as we were passing the boat garages, as otherwise we would have quickly landed in the water. We also had to skip some little areas so that this little walk slowly developed to be an increasing strain. When then people who came from the opposite direction had a slight gleeful grin on their faces, we somehow didn't find this tour funny anymore. "In case we want to circle the bay, this still would take a little while!" Even if our feet already slighty ached, we first didn't let stress get to us. But as we saw that the path on the other side was steeply rising, we were ready to capitulate. So then we had to go the whole way back alongside the bay.
After a footpath that seemed to be endless to us and mostly reminded us to be a pilgrimage, we finally arrived exhausted to the parking place. But suddenly our ambition came back: we did want to go to this light house - no matter what the costs. And now by car!
The light house is a little hidden in the area and only accessible by car through private roads. Unfortunately, there is no signposting at all so that a little patience is needed to look for the way. One drives from Cala Figuera in direction to Santinyi and shortly after the village's exit one turns to the right back in direction to the coast. If one is lucky, there already are one or two cars that indicate the access into the path, otherwise one should drive slowly and keep one's eyes peeled to a stony path that should only be accessed with sturdy shoes. But the walk through the path that has a lenght of a couple of metres is worth the effort. Here, we shared with few other people the wonderful view and the atmosphere was impressive: the view went far up to the lovely blue sea with white sail boats and the few people there nearly seemed to meditate and except ourselves, nobody took the usual foto equipment with him. But due to the reason this area is not saved and the hillsides fall precipitously downwards, it is important to be free from giddiness.
If one wants to visit Cala Figuera in order to have a typical meal of the country, the side trip to there is surely recovering. But if one wants to see more from the bay and the boat garages, one should get prepared for a longer march. At first sight, the bay seems to be quite small and visible, but due to the bifurcation, a quite long distance results, specially if one wants to climb up the cliffs at the opposite side. Thus: a good equipment and fitness are advantageous. Anyway, ourselves, after the visit of Cala Figuera, we were pleased to go for swimming to the beaches of Cala Mondrago.
Cala Mondrago, Cala S'Amarador & Calo d'es Burgit: nature in the essence!
The Park Mondrago which is under monumental protection is located between Santanyi and Porto Petro in the south east of Mallorca and its characteristics are three beautifully located bays with a fine sandy beach. The most famous of the bays is Cala Mondrago, that also got in the year 2006 the blue flag due to its excellent water quality, high bathing safety and its accounted measures of environment protection.
The way to Cala Mondrago is very well signposted from S'Alqueria Blanca, Santanyi or Porto Petro and leads to a bigger free parking place at the upper side of the bay. Persons who are interested in the protection of the environment and the natural park with its flora and fauna get free brochures and informative literature from a cabin located at the right side of the path. In order to get to the bay it takes an approximately 15 minutes walk on a well paved road that can be only accessed by the local residents of the domiciled hotels there.
Cala Mondrago is a beautiful little bay which is protected on the part of the sea (approximately 200 metres length/70 m width) with lovely blue water and a fine sandy beach sloping even into the water. The bay watched over by the lifeguards is perfect for families with children, surf beginners and snorkeling tourists. The panorama is characterized by dense stone pine forests and aleppo pines and the little sail boats that can be seen from the beach.
Indeed, it is not completely lonesome and idyllic, particularly because of some few (view-hedged by trees) hotels there. But in relation to the other beaches there are enough offers to find some space not only under the burning sun but also in the shade. It is possible to lie there and rent a parasol on the beach, have something to eat in the restaurant or get prepared at the kiosk with stuff for a picknick on the park benchs and tables at the park forest at the edge. There are plenty of tables and due to the shade trees, the place invites to stay there for a longer time. There were opportunities for children to swing and play and the toilets were appropriately well-kept.
If you swim far enough from Cala Mondrago you will soon have a wonderful view to the widely extended Cala S`Amarador at the right. In order to get there, you must either have a 10 minutes walk from Cala Mondrago alongside the rocky road or park the car at the parking place located right there but we could not find it due to the confusing signposting.
Cala S'Amarador can be surely described in good conscience to be a nice located bay, with a widely extended and even sand beach surrounded by pine stone forests. Unfortunately, the time we were there was unconvenient, as it was a few days after a storm through which lots of green stuff was washed ashore. In order to get into the water it was not only neccessary to struggle through several meters width of dry waste but also first to wade through a dogged mush in the water until we were able to swim undisturbed in the clear water.
Apparently, this did not bother the people who were there at the same time; Either in the beach as also in the water there was a lively hustle and bustle and the rental for deck chairs and parasols must have been pleased. Indeed, we did not see any guard but instead, a kiosk with snacks and beverages.
The real insider tip of Park Mondrago is a tiny hidden bay, Calo d'es Burgit, which can be only discovered by walking through the forest. It is not specially signposted and you get there through a path that first leads behind the park at the level of the hotel into the forest.
Those who have robust sandals and can abstain from parasol and deck chair rentals, kiosks, lifeguards and toilets and can look forward to the footpath to Calo des Burgit. Indeed, the path is rooty and partly with stony ground but soon you realize that this is something different: the ease and quietness that can be experienced there. You hear the whispering of the trees in the tree tops - nothing else.
Also the bay itself appears to be still very primordial. We just met 15 persons there and a part of them were lying naked on the rocks or the sand beach having a sunbath. Everything appeared to be very natural, discreet and particularly very clean.
Porto Petro: Little fishing village at the harbour for divers and sailors
Porto Petro is a little fishing village at the eastcoast of Mallorca at the northeast of Santanyi and only approximately 3 km distant from the nature protection area of Cala Mondrago. Due to its modest size and the few tourists there it probably seems to be a little quiet but it offers enough bars and coffee bars alongside the little habour esplanade in which one can enjoy the country typical specialities. Due to the few hotels that are settled here, there are, beside the usual shops of stuff for the daily use also some diving schools and in the harbour it is not only possible to eat something but book additional events like water ski or some tours on glass bottom boats.
Right in front of the harbour esplanade it is possible to look at the nice path that passes the two bay beaches and running alongside the coast up to the light house. Even if it is only a little decayed light house, it is still one of the few in Mallorca that actually are directly accessible without any barrier so that one has a wonderful view to the bays and to the open sea.
Oratori de la Consolacio: lonesome church by S'Alqueria Blanca
Oratori de la Consolacio is a thoughtful church that rather reminds of a bigger chapel. Here, one finds enough shady places to rest and to enjoy the wonderful view to the east coast and the environments. The quietness is glorios if one turns a blind eye to some few excursionists who bomb upwards in their motocross cars.
Actually, this hill is proper for a wonderful walk on foot, as the way upwards partly runs independantly from the traffic road and is surrounded by shady trees and wild cacti. Surely, it's rather worth to come here in the evenings. It's not that one has to escape from the crowds that would get here by bus, but because of the atmosphere in the sunset light and the sunset above the sea.
Castell de Santueri: the sources go back to the romans
Castell de Santueri is already visible from a long distance. From the bottom of the hill to the top at Castell, there are approximately 5 km, but they are the bomb! The private road leads through narrow serpentines with lots of potholes upwards, that apparently have a special attraction to mountainbike and motocross fans. Indeed, the way seems to be a long haul but if the traffic is not too extreme one needs - as we did - approximately 10 minutes to get there.
That what is stately called "Castell de Santueri" are the relicts of a castle consisting on walls, towers and aplenty of stones; People say that during the roman times, the hill was used for military purposes; Today, one can watch at some sheep and goats pasturing there. However, we parked our car at the parking place there and had a little climbing tour upon us on pathless rocks. Once arrived, we stood in front of a gate at which an iron chain was adjusted. Luckily, the iron chain was already broken up so that we were not the only ones who explored the interior of the ruin. One needs sturdy shoes in order to be able to explore the bumpy area overgrowned with brushwood and grass. Very decayed is an understated expression for this hilly castle, but therefore, the well-fortified atmosphere is very impressive.
Even if the ruin should be locked and no one should get into the interior, the look-out from the parking place is, in any case, worth the effort. Those who are not able to walk a lot can abstain from the scrambling in the castle and gaze off into the distance. Each of the bays of the eastern coast can be identified in good visibility and it is funny to see one's hotel from a distance through a telephoto lens.
Ermita de Sant Salvador
Also, the convent Ermita de Sant Salvador, that is located at a height of 509 metres, is already impressive from a distance. The castle and the Ermita are not connected to each other. I order to get to the Ermita, one has to drive from Felanitx approximately 6 km in direction to Porto Colom. But here, there is also a very narow street with lots of serpentines that leads upwards.
The street is not only surrounded by countless bus-notice boards but also by a continuous little wall that shall prevent people from falling down. If the traffic is favourable, it needs aproximately 10 minutes to get upwards. Shortly before the convent is reached, there is a parking place from which one can walk on a narrow footpath to a huge stone cross that was built in the year 1957.
If one drives up to the top, one gets to a parking place with an impressive reception. The huge stone statue with a blessing hand is also for not pilgering tourists an authorative monument. Depending on the personal preference, the true destination of this excursion is either the convent, in which can also stay over night or the restaurant, where one can enjoy the home-style cooking at a relatively reasonable price.
The interior of the church is costly equipped and affectionately well-kept with fresh flowers. From there, we had a wonderful view to the west and into the heartland of Mallorca. It can really be worth the effort to get here in the very morning, not only because of the many busses that are on the way at day time but because of the wonderful lighting and visibility conditions through the position of the sun in the mornings.
After the event we can say that the Ermita de Santueri surely belongs to the outstanding highlights of Mallorca. The atmosphere and the view from there is simply breathtakingly beautiful.
Porto Colom: colourful flowerages and pure recovering
Comming from S'Horta, the wide main road leads through the harbour area of Porto Colom. The location extends in a semicircle around a huge dock that invites with its brightly blooming esplanades to an extendend walk up to the light house at the opposide side.
It is possible to let the car on one of the numerous and free parking places at the entrance to the harbour or drive straight away through to the light house which entrance, however, is barried. But in any case, the drive to this place is worth the effort. This is not only due to wonderfull green villa district that one sees while driving there. From the other side, the narrow thoroughfare to the sea is specially visible and the view is open to the wonderful little town with its little harbour houses, the colourful shutters and the boat garages.
In many travel guides, Porto Colom is described as a place without beaches or at least as a place with lack of beaches. This is excellent! Because then, Cala Marcal remains to be an insider tip for those beach vacationers seeking for calmness. Actually, this realy beautiful little bay beach is unique.
In order to get there, you have to drive all over the long extended dock around Porto Colom until you get to the villa district at the other side. We were very surprised about the fact that we immediately got one of plenty parking places on a shady street right at the front of the bay. Indeed, some people were already there but rather the kind of people who seek less action but the possibility for undisturbed bathing. The children enjoyed the slides which were positioned in the water and ourselves, we enjoyed a drink at the kiosk while listening to lounge music and getting the Cafe-del-Mar spirit. In order to get absolute quietness it was possible to lie on one of the numerous rocks or straight on the fine sandy beach.
The versatile panorama was also beautiful but unfortunately, it does not appear on the pictures as nice at it really is. The view one obtains while lying on the beach is up to the dock of the other side of Porto Colom and by swimming a little deeper into the sea, on the way back it was possible to have a view to the newly built villas on the hillside and to the forrests. The smell is of stone pines and there was enough space for deck chairs, parasols and towels; Additionally, there was the possibility to sit on the stone chairs located at the right and the left of the bay. There was an abundance of shady places provided by the plenty of trees at the edge of the bay. The water was very clear and shallow so that children could have a lot of fun there. The toilets were very well-kept and also the lifeguards seemed to take their job seriously although the water was calmed.
In total, we experienced Porto Colom as a suprisingly good and recovering end of our southeast tour. If we look back to the places and the little places of Mallorca after the event, Port Colom has grown dear to us, as specially there, we lived an unexpected positive impression.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz