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Coastal view of Illa de sa Dragonera island, shaped like a dragon's back, off of the coast of Mallorca, Spain.



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What is Sa Dragonera?

Sa Dragonera is an island and a nature park found off the west coast of Mallorca. The name of the island comes from the unique shape that makes it look like the back of a dragon.

Sa Dragonera offers scenic and fertile vegetation, and a varied wildlife to explore as you make your way through the beautiful unspoiled nature.

The island measures almost 4 kilometer in length and 1 kilometer in width. Highest point is Puig de na Pòpia at 360 meters.

Sa Dragonera is a part of the Tramuntana mountain range. Actually, the mountain range has it roots all the way south of Malagá from where it springs on the bottom of the sea.

Highlights of Sa Dragonera

Beside from the scenic and unspoiled nature of Dragonera, you will also meet some of the inhabitants, namely the black lizards. If you have ever passed or stopped by a souvenir shop in Mallorca, you will most likely have noticed various articles featuring lizards. This is because these black lizards are iconic to Mallorca. They live all over Mallorca, but on Sa Dragonera they are so used to human contact that it is possible to make them crawl on your hand. There are literally millions of these lizards on Sa Dragonera, many of them close to the small harbor area, so you’re almost certain to meet them.

Important! It’s NOT allowed to feed the lizards.

In the most southern end of Sa Dragonera, you will find the lighthouse of Llebeig, and close to this, the remains of medieval watchtower of same name. The old watchtower was built in 1580, when pirate attacks against Mallorca was on its highest. Even though only the remains of the old watchtower are left, you can still enjoy the magical views of the sea from up here.

One of the itineraries leads to the highest point of Sa Dragonera, Puig de na Pòpia, which offers the most breathtaking panoramic views, an absolute must-see viewpoint, very instagrammable!

The 4 itineraries at Dragonera island

There are 4 marked trails on sa Dragonera, all of them offer tremendous views.


Route 1: Na Miranda

It is the sole circular route available, providing the shortest path spanning 1.12 km and requiring only 30 minutes to complete. The highest part of the route consists of steps. This itinerary is specifically designed for visits that are limited to an hour or less. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to observe the old agricultural areas surrounding Cala en Lledó, which are currently undergoing restoration to expand the feeding grounds for migratory granivorous birds.

The route includes a picnic area where you can indulge in a snack amidst the natural surroundings. Additionally, there is a viewpoint offering a picturesque panorama of Freu and the Sant Elm coastline. This particular route serves as an excellent choice for a brief excursion with children, especially during the warmer months, or for those seeking a less adventurous experience.

Difficulty: Easy

Time (1 way): 35 minutes

Variation in elevation: 34 meters


Route 2: Tramuntana lighthouse

The route spans a distance of 3.88 kilometers, featuring a 69-meter variation in elevation, and takes approximately one and a half hours to complete. The trail presents an uneven terrain, consisting of well-trodden paths and rocky ground. Throughout the journey, one can relish panoramic views of both sides of the island.

Facing the Mallorcan coastline, culminating in the Tramuntana lighthouse, the expansive western facade of the Serra de Tramuntana unfolds, offering a breathtaking spectacle known as “es Freu.” The name of the lighthouse originates from this awe-inspiring vista.

On the opposite side, a small viewpoint allows visitors to witness the aerial acrobatics of sea hawks and ospreys amidst the magnificent cliffs of the northwestern face. Binoculars or one’s own eyesight can be employed to observe these mesmerizing displays.

Difficulty: Easy

Time (1 way): 1 hour and 30 minutes

Variation in elevation: 69 meters


Route 3: Llebeig lighthouse

Experience the breathtaking beauty of western Mallorca on this incredible 9.22 km route. With a total elevation gain of 228 meter, this hike will take you on a captivating journey lasting about two and a half hours. Unlike other paths, this is the only route paved with asphalt, offering a unique experience.

Throughout the hike, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the rugged coast of western Mallorca, stretching all the way to the enchanting Port d’Andratx. On clear days, when you reach the impressive Llebeig lighthouse towering at a height of 110 m, you might even catch a glimpse of Ibiza and Formentera in the southwest horizon. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you in awe of the vastness of the surrounding seascape.

As you make your way along the route, don’t miss the opportunity to take a detour towards the old watchtower of Llebeig. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the watchmen who once patrolled this fortification, keeping an eye out for pirates and corsairs. From this vantage point, spotting dolphins is not uncommon, adding an extra touch of magic to your adventure.

Difficulty: Moderate

Time (1 way): 2 hours and 30 minutes

Variation in elevation: 228 meters


Route 4: Na Pòpia

Experience another stunning linear route that spans 8.4 kilometers, lasting approximately three hours, and boasting an impressive elevation gain of 340 meters. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes of Tancat’s cultivated areas, ancient olive groves, and the distinct vegetation that culminates at the cliff’s edge. Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots as the terrain is rocky, but the breathtaking views at the destination of this journey offer the most panoramic vistas of the island and its strategic location in the Mediterranean.

At the summit, you’ll discover the ruins of the ancient na Pòpia lighthouse, one of Mallorca’s oldest. It was built atop the old defensive tower of the same name. Although it ceased operations in 1910 with the introduction of the Llebeig and Tramuntana lighthouses, which are still functional today.

Difficulty: Moderate

Time (1 way): 3 hours

Variation in elevation: 340 meters

How to get to Sa Dragonera

Getting to Sa Dragonera is fairly simple. There are two ways:

1. Booking a ticket at Cruceros Margarita. The boat departures from the docks at the delightful fishing village of Sant Elm and will take you across the strait in less than 15 minutes. When you book, you need to say when you want to go back from the island. The boat sails every 30 minutes during high season. Information below.

2. From the docks of Santa Ponca, catamaran boats departure multiple times a day. These trips will get you an hour at Sa Dragonera, which is not enough to walk any of the trails, but you will meet the lizards and get a glimse and feeling of the amazing reserve.

A bit of history of Sa Dragonera

Dragonera island has been visited and used by humans for ages. A necropolis found near the Lladó cove suggests that this place was used during the Roman epoch as a burial site.

Later, in the Middle Ages, the Moors seem to have used Dragonera either for habitation or at least for visits. Ethologists have a theory that the Moors came here for freshwater supply. By the time of the Catalan-Aragonese conquest, king Jaume and his men used the islands of Dragonera and Pantaleu to plan their attacks on Mallorca. Following the successful conquest, the island was given to the bishopric of Barcelona.

Up through the 15th, 16th and 17th century, Sa Dragonera was used as camp site for pirates and smugglers who could hide and plan their attacks on trade ships off the coast. In 1585, the watchtower of Llebeig was constructed to counter these violent attacks.

Up through the 1960’s and 70’s, several groups of investors purchased the island with plan on turning it into a luxury resort featuring hotel, casino, restaurants, bars, tennis courts etc. However, a group of environmental activists wanted it different. They had seen the consequences of the high impact of tourism in Mallorca, and would not allow for Sa Dragonera to be industrialized. It took a decade to fight the battle, but in 1988 the investor group surrendered and ended up selling the property to the Balearic government. After the transaction, the Balearic government chose to declare it protected nature reserve, along with the two smaller islands, Illa de Pantaleu and Illa de Mitjana, close to Dragonera.

Currently, the protected area of the Natural Park of Sa Dragonera encompasses 274 hectares of land, including the islands of Pantaleu and sa Mitjana. Moreover, various community protection initiatives, such as the Natura 2000 Network, have been implemented to safeguard the remarkable biodiversity of avian species and other flora and fauna. Since 2016, efforts have been made to reinforce the protection of the submerged coastline, leading to its designation as a marine reserve. This conservation strategy perpetuates the enduring connection between the sea and the island, a historical and natural dichotomy.

Birds to spot on Sa Dragonera

More than a hundred species of birds have been observed at Sa Dragonera. Some of the most common species include:

  • Falcon
  • Scopoli’s shearwater
  • Balearic warbler
  • Blue-rock thrush
  • Seahawk
  • Cormorant
  • Black-headed warbler
  • Eastern Osprey
  • European serin
  • Eleanors falcon
  • Spotted Flycatcher

What are the rules on Dragonera?

Here comes the boring, yet important stuff 🙂

There are some rules about what things are not allowed on the Dragonera island.

  1. Do not go to the park outside the visiting hours (10 am – 5:30 pm)
  2. Do not leave the marked trails
  3. Smoking is prohibited, except in the harbor area.
  4. You can’t start a fire.
  5. No listening to music without headphones.
  6. Do not damage living things or minerals.
  7. No coast fishing.
  8. Do not feed the animals.
  9. You can not access with pets, except dogs on a leash.
  10. No camping.
  11. No flying drones.
  12. Do not practice sports, except walking.
  13. Do not access the Pantaleu island (small island close by).
  14. You can not dock your boat at the Cala en Lledó cove.

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