For decades, the east of Mallorca has been a beacon attracting travellers from around the world. Unlike other regions on the island, mass tourism has yet to take hold here. In the Llevant region, solo explorers can discover countless havens that retain the authentic Mallorcan hospitality and traditions. The artisan heritage is lovingly preserved here and has even lured in modern artists, craftsmen, and designers. If you’re passing through the region, you simply can’t miss some of the east’s hotspots, including the historic town of Artà, the serene Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, and the charming Porto Cristo.
Arta, a charming town located in the eastern part of Mallorca, is an ideal destination for travellers looking for an authentic and individualized experience. Although it is not situated directly on the coast, it boasts 25 kilometres of stunning coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in the region. The historical fortifications of the old town and the magnificent parish church, Transfiguracio des Senyor, are just a couple of the sights that are waiting to be discovered here.
However, the real gem of Arta can be found on the Way of the Cross to the Santuari de San Salvador, a fortified hill featuring a 17th-century pilgrimage church, reachable via a climb up 180 steps. Visitors can not only marvel at a statue of the Madonna but also a historical painting that depicts the transfer of power from the last Arab ruler to the conqueror, Jaume I.
Arta is also famous for its handicrafts, which can be purchased in numerous shops and manufactories in the old town, as well as in the town’s weekly market. Additionally, farms and wineries offer their products, providing a unique opportunity to sample and experience the region’s local produce.
In the eastern part of Mallorca lies Manacor, a town that has become a hub of commerce and a shopper’s paradise. The town’s merchandise is diverse and includes ceramics, handmade olive wood products, and, most notably, the celebrated Majorica pearls. The pearls are crafted in two modern factories, which have become one of the city’s premier tourist attractions.
However, Manacor was already a significant trading center and cultural epicenter during the Middle Ages. Numerous architectural gems, such as the Gothic parish church of Nostra Senyora dels Dolors, constructed on the remains of an ancient mosque, bear testimony to its illustrious past. The convent church of Sant Vincent Ferrer, built in the 16th century, and the old defense towers of Torre de Palau and Torre de ses Puntes, the latter now functioning as a cultural center, also serve as reminders of bygone days.
The Manacor History Museum, housed in the Torre dels Engagistes, provides a comprehensive overview of the town’s and region’s history. Though historical Manacor is only a small portion of today’s town, it remains an important part of the town’s heritage and identity.
Cala Ratjada – a name that evokes images of sun, sand and sea for many German holidaymakers. But beyond the lively seaside resort on Mallorca’s north-east coast lies a wealth of history and natural beauty waiting to be discovered.
As you venture beyond the town, pine-clad hills rise up, offering stunning views of the turquoise waters below. The rocky coastline is nothing short of awe-inspiring and is sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. But it’s the bustling harbour in the south-east of the village that really steals the show. Protected by a sturdy concrete wall, the harbour is home not only to colourful fishing boats but also to historic lobster houses. The crustaceans are kept alive in seawater tanks until a buyer is found – a testament to Cala Ratjada’s enduring relationship with lobster fishing.
The beaches in and around Cala Ratjada are just as impressive. From family-friendly stretches to secluded coves, there is something for everyone here. But the area also offers plenty of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts and hikers.
The history of Cala Ratjada dates back to the 17th century when it was founded as a small fishing settlement by the inhabitants of Capdepera. Lobster fishing was a major economic sector at the time, and it remains so to this day, with Cala Ratjada holding the title of Mallorca’s second most important fishing port.
Despite the influx of tourism in the 1970s, the historic centre of Cala Ratjada has managed to retain its charming small fishing village character. The harbour, old lobster houses and colourful fishing boats are a testament to the town’s past and make for an unforgettable experience. And while Cala Ratjada may be synonymous with sun, sand and sea, it’s clear that there’s much more to this picturesque destination than meets the eye.
Porto Cristo, a charming harbour town on the south-east coast of Mallorca, has become a popular destination for tourists on the Balearic island. Its position on an idyllic bay, framed by low rocky cliffs, has made it a beloved spot. Unlike many other tourist resorts on Mallorca, Porto Cristo has managed to preserve its original appearance, remaining free of sprawling hotel complexes and noisy discos.
The most notable feature of Porto Cristo is the Cuevas del Drach, a vast system of caves near the coast that attracts throngs of visitors and can be crowded in summer. Lake Martel, the largest underground lake in Europe, is a spectacular feature of the stalactite cave. Tourists also flock to Porto Cristo’s well-kept beach, which extends for about 300 metres between the rocky coast and the marina. The crystal-clear turquoise waters sparkle in the sunlight, while sailboats with snow-white hulls bob on the waves.
Porto Cristo has a rich history, marked by thousands of years of settlement, although the foundation of the present town only took place in 1888. The bay, with its natural harbor, was an important fishing port for the inland town of Manacor long before it was given its name. Archaeological excavations in the municipal area have revealed the existence of a Roman settlement on the bay. In 1909, the stone foundation walls of an early Christian basilica were discovered, including a baptismal font dated to the 5th century.
According to an old legend, the name of the harbour town is linked to a sailor who was rescued from distress in the waters near the coast in 1260. In gratitude, he erected a cross in the bay, which unfortunately no longer exists today. The Torre del Serral dels Falcons watchtower, dating from the late 16th century, stands at the entrance to the bay. It was constructed for defensive purposes, as Mallorca’s coasts were repeatedly threatened by pirate raids until the 18th century. The restored building is now open to visitors. During the Spanish Civil War, Porto Cristo was occupied by Republican troops in 1936 and later conquered by the putschists under General Franco.
Porto Colom, located on the southeastern coast of Mallorca, is a captivating seaside town that combines old-world charm with modern amenities, creating a unique maritime atmosphere that attracts visitors from all over.
Although the town was established in the 13th century as a shipping hub for wine presses, it is commonly associated with Christopher Columbus, though there is no concrete evidence that he was born there. Today, Porto Colom is renowned for its stunning natural harbor, which serves as both a private marina and an important fishing port. The town is divided into an enchanting old town area and a more tourist-centric new town that borders the Cala Marcal bathing bay.
Thankfully, mass tourism has never taken root in Porto Colom, and visitors are free to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and Mediterranean flair at their own pace. A leisurely stroll around the town’s bay is highly recommended, offering a chance to see traditional fishing boats called llauts with their bulbous hulls, and locals fishing and tending to their boats.
The historic old town centre is also well preserved and worth exploring, and visitors can venture out further to the villa district of Sa Punta and the Porto Colon lighthouse at Punta de Ses Crestes by walking along the bay to the east. Those looking to explore the new town and tourist quarter can head west from the port.
All in all, Porto Colom is a perfect destination for travelers who wish to experience the authentic charm of Mallorca without the crowds and commercialization that can sometimes come with mass tourism.
Cala Millor, the darling coastal resort on the eastern shores of Mallorca. With a name that translates to “better bay”, it’s no surprise that visitors flock here in droves to bask in its Mediterranean climate and to explore its sandy beaches, which stretch out for nearly three kilometers.
But it’s not just the beaches that make Cala Millor so alluring. The beach promenade, which runs along the water’s edge, is a delightful place to take a leisurely stroll, while the lush green spaces offer the perfect spot to relax in the shade of the swaying palm trees and take in the breathtaking views of the sea. And let’s not forget about Sa Coma, the neighboring village that boasts yet another dreamy beach and a serene atmosphere that’s hard to resist.
For those looking for a bit of adventure, a visit to the Punta de N’Amer nature reserve is an absolute must. This pristine natural wonderland is home to a network of winding hiking trails that meander through the awe-inspiring landscape and lead to an old castle, where visitors can take in panoramic views of Cala Millor and its surrounding area. If hiking isn’t your cup of tea, you can always take the small tram to reach the castle.
But that’s not all – Cala Millor has plenty more to offer. A trip to the weekly markets in town or to the charming fishing harbor of Cala Bona is a great way to experience the authentic Spanish vibe and to soak up the local culture. Be sure to check out Bar Rafael and La Siesta, two of the town’s beloved cafés and restaurants.
And for the ultimate coastal adventure, hop aboard a boat tour and explore the picturesque bays and charming coastal villages that dot the shoreline. The romantic harbor of Porto Cristo is a particular highlight, and a visit to the Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves) is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Here, visitors can explore the largest stalactite cave system in the Balearic Islands, complete with one of the world’s largest underground lakes.
For a fun-filled day out with the whole family, be sure to swing by the Safari Zoo in Sa Coma. With a blend of safari park and leisure attractions, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones.