Cala Mondragó sits in a picturesque bay, with Mediterranean pines and cliffs tumbling into an azure sea. This small and low-key resort is the perfect holiday destination if you want to chill out and relax in gorgeous surroundings, perhaps heading out into the surrounding nature reserve for some wonderful walks, strolling around the harbour in neighbouring Porto Petro, or browsing around the market in nearby Santanyí. If you’re looking for some nightlife and shopping, you could head up the coast to the larger and livelier resort of Cala d’Or, or even spend the day in the enchanting island capital of Palma, which is about an hour’s drive away.
Holiday-makers return again and again to Cala Mondragó for its beautiful natural setting and blissful tranquillity. The main beach is truly spectacular: a small curve of golden sand hugged by ochre cliffs and Mediterranean pines. It may be small, but this Blue Flag beach is well equipped and there are plenty of places to eat and drink within a short stroll. The sleepy little town is set in the Mondragó nature reserve, which has lots of fantastic walks, including paths around the coast to more unspoilt coves. You could pop into the traditional little towns of Santanyí or Felanitx to pick up supplies and souvenirs at the market, and, if you’re in search of some lively nightlife, Cala d’Or is just 10 minutes’ drive up the coast.
Cala Mondragó has a smattering of cafés and restaurants, some of which are located in the hotels and apartment complexes. There are more eateries in the neighbourhing resort of Porto Petro, including some restaurants that overlook its lovely harbour. You’ll find a much wider choice in the larger resort of Cala d’Or, a few miles up the coast. As you’d expect, seafood plays a big role on local menus, along with classic Majorcan and Mediterranean dishes such as tumbet, a delicious baked vegetable dish, fidueà, which is similar to paella but is made with tiny noodles instead of rice, or roast lamb and pork. The ensaïmada, a sugar-dusted, spiral pastry, is the perfect accompaniment for your coffee at breakfast.
The sheltered beach at Cala Mondragó is perfect for families with young children, who will happily play in the sand and paddle in the shallow waters. Older kids will be happy jumping off the low rocks into the crystal-clear sea, or perhaps exploring the rocky coastline with a snorkel in search of strange aquatic creatures. There are pedaloes and kayaks for rent, and, if you feel like a boat trip, you could head to nearby Colonia de Sant Jordi where boats departs for tiny, isolated Cabrera Island, a beautiful nature reserve. Santanyí has a colourful street market, where kids might enjoy browsing through the arts and crafts, before heading to a café terrace to enjoy an ice-cream.
Action & Adventure
Cala Mondragó is set in the Parc Natural de Cala Mondragó, a protected nature reserve. There are lots of fantastic hiking trails, and the park information office runs special events such as guided nature walks and photography tours. The sheltered bay is perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking, and you’ll find a full range of other water sports, including jet skis and parasailing, up the coast in Cala d’Or. You could also head up to Alcudia, where there is a skydiving and paragliding centre. If your idea of adventure is a round or two of golf, you’re in luck: Majorca boasts some of the best courses in Spain.
The beach at Cala Mondragó is small but perfectly formed, and is regularly voted one of the prettiest in all Majorca. It has been awarded a Blue Flag for the cleanliness of the water and its excellent facilities, which include sunbed and parasol rental, plus a beach bar and lifeguard post, and you will find a choice of cafés and restaurants within a short walk. A beautiful path leads around the coast to the resort’s second beach, Cala S’Amarador, in about 30 minutes. This is another wonderful sandy beach, with shallow, clear waters, but you’ll need to bring a parasol and a picnic as it has no facilities.
The nightlife in Cala Mondragó is quiet and low-key, with a handful of cafés and bars where you can relax over a drink as the sun sets but little in the way of clubs or nightspots. Many people are quite happy to open a bottle of wine on the hotel terrace and soak up the balmy nights. You’ll find a few more bars in Porto Petro, the next resort up the coast, which is arranged around a yacht-filled marina, but most of the nightlife in this part of Majorca is concentrated in Cala d’Or. This has a wide choice of bars and clubs to keep you partying all night long.
The blissfully unspoilt setting of Cala Mondragó provides the ideal backdrop for romance. You can soak up the sun on the gorgeous beach, go snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters, and take a stroll around the coastal path to find your own secluded cove or picnic spot. You might fancy a day in the lovely island capital of Palma, with its romantic historic quarter and chic boutiques and cafés. Or perhaps you’d like to take a boat trip out to the island of Cabrera, a tiny, uninhabited island that is now an unspoilt nature reserve. And, if you’re in the mood to let your hair down, you’ll find bars and clubs galore in Cala d’Or, which is just a 10-minute drive up the coast.
Most of the biggest cultural sights in Majorca are concentrated in its beautiful capital, Palma, which is just an hour’s drive from Cala Mandragó. The narrow lanes of the historic quarter have barely changed in centuries, and twist around the vast Gothic cathedral and the 14th-century Royal Palace. It’s a delight to stroll these ancient streets, now full of atmospheric tapas bars and chic boutiques. Among the best of the many museums is the outstanding Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation, where you can visit Miró’s studio, visit the exhibition galleries and stroll through the lovely gardens. Also worth a look is the La Caixa Foundation, a superb turn-of-the-20th-century hotel that has been converted into a stunning exhibition space.