Porto Cristo local holiday guide
Things to do in Porto Cristo
Porto Cristo is a great place to either stay or visit, there is a wide range of leisure activities and attractions available in the local area. Aside from the wonderful beach, some of the island’s major tourist attractions is found here, the caves of Cuevas del Drach and Cuevas del Hams. Moreover, Porto Cristo is located close to Manacor where you will find many cultural offers, the beautiful headland of Punta de n’Amer and many hidden beaches and secret coves.
Attractions & Points of Interest
Cuevas del Drach
Cuevas del Drach, or in English ‘Dragon Caves’, is one of the major tourist attractions in Mallorca. As you descent lower underground you start to realize why they have gotten their name. At the bottom at the caves you will find the largest underground lake in Europe where boats will take you across while you enjoy a live classical concert. Visiting the caves is a truly amazing experience and something you should try at least once.
Cuevas del Hams
Cuevas del Hams, also known as ‘the fish hook caves’, are caves more than 10 million years old. These caves are not quite as “touristed” as the Dragon Caves, but they are still very beautiful with the colored lights that create curious figures and a mysterious atmosphere.
Sirena (mermaid in Spanish) is the symbol of Porto Cristo. She guards the waterfront. The statue was partly destroyed in 1936 during the Civil War, but in 1988, it had a major makeover by artist Pere Pujol.
Església de Nostra Senyora del Carmen
The church of Mare de Deú del Carme was originally built in 1890, just two years after the founding of Porto Cristo as a colony. The church seen today is the result of multiple renovations which has given it its Neo-Romanesque architectural style and it’s Way of the Cross.
Torre del Serral dels Falcons
The old watchtower of Serral dels Falcons from 1577 still stands tall overlooking the coast of Porto Cristo. The tower was built to guard the coast for pirates, but was later abandoned as the threat disappeared. In the 1960’s the tower was rebuilt after being partly destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
The caves of Coves Blanques were the center of the first settlement and lasted until the mid-19th century. The caves have probably been used by humans since prehistoric times, and today you can enjoy a peaceful stroll in them while enjoying the stunning sea views.
In the street of Avinguda d’en Joan Amer, you will find the remains of the paleo-Christian basilica of Sa Carrotja. The basilica dates from the 5th century and you can clearly see the cross-shaped baptismal font that is the only thing visible through the glass cabinet.
There are plenty of opportunities and options when it comes to leisure activities in Porto Cristo.
Majorica is a famous producer of artificial pearls, their products are sold as high fashion accessories worldwide. Come visit the outlet store and experience a live demonstration of how the pearls are actually made.
Rafa Nadal Experience
Come enjoy a good time in the Rafa Nadal Experience, a fun combination between a museum and interactive fun park. Sport is the true hero and protagonist here where you compete against your friends in the many activities while learning about the values of being a good sport.
Discover a fascinating underground world on this half-day sea caving adventure tour in Mallorca. Explore the Cova des Coloms caves with a professional guide and swim in the natural lakes. This is an adventure for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Beaches in Porto Cristo
Porto Cristo is home to three beaches, one main beach that features most amenities and two minor natural beaches; Cala Petita to the north and Cala Murta to the south.
The main beach of Porto Cristo is about 350 meters wide and 25 meter deep, and located just next to the marina area. The beach offers soft golden sand, toilets, showers, lifeguard (during the summer) and great accessibility to nearby kiosks, restaurants, bars and shops.
Every Sunday morning from 9 am, the weekly market is held at the seafront promenade. At the market you can shop for local products, leather goods, clothes, jewelry, crafts, souvenirs etc. The sellers are always up for a haggle and you can get some really good prices from them.
During the month between June and October, the market is extended to also include Thursdays.
There are two major events in Porto Cristo every year; the Natical Fair and the celebrations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Porto Cristo Nautical Fair
The nautical fair of Porto Cristo is held every year in mid April. The fair offers a great variety of fun and interesting activities, performances and food servings. There will be a maritime themes market and organized boat trips around the coast.
Festes de Mare de Déu del Carme
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patron saint of Porto Cristo, and celebrated on July 16. However, the festivities begins about a week before this day with cultural events and fun activities all over the town. The entire week is full of joyful holidaymakers and locals mingling enjoying the many offers.
About the area of Porto Cristo
Porto Cristo is an old fishing village that was turned into a popular tourist destination in the 1950’s and actually one of the first beach destinations on the island. The area is most famous for its mysterious underground caves which has been some of the greatest attractions on the island and landmarks of the area.
Porto Cristo belongs to the municipality of Manacor, which town is located about 12 km inland, and is the second largest population center in Mallorca.
The area of Porto Cristo has been occupied by humans since prehistoric times, probably from the Bronze Age when indigenous people lived in caves. It is very likely that people lived in the corridors of Cuevas del Drach and Cuevas del Hams and Coves Blanques.
Mallorca was first conquered by the Romans in 123 BC and remained under Roman rule until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, around the end of the 4th century. The island was presumably already abandoned by the Romans in the beginning of the 4th century.
However, the paleo-Christian basilicas of Sa Carrotja and Son Pereto dating from the 5th century testify to the presence of the first Christian communities on the island which probably came from the Byzantine empire. Emperor Theodosius I (347-395) proclaimed decrees that effectively made Nicene Christianity the official religion of the empire. The find of the remains of a Roman ship near the shore confirms the Romans presence in Porto Cristo.
In 1260, a boat with Italian fishermen arrived at the coast during a storm. The fishermen carried a figure of Christ along with an image of the Virgin Mary holding a child in her arms. The promise of landing safe and sound was fulfilled and the name ‘Port of Christ’ was born. According to legend, the figure of Christ is the one venerated in the parish church of Manacor.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Mallorca faced a brutal threat from the sea, the Ottoman empire and their allied corsairs. As a result of the many raids, a network of watchtowers was erected on the coastlines of the island to communicate whenever danger was near. In Porto Cristo, a watchtower was erected in 1577, on the hill called Serrals dels Falcons. The tower was initially solely a watchtower, but later on a bronze cannon was installed turning it into a regular defense tower.
However, present day Porto Cristo was actually founded as an agricultural colony in 1888. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Spanish government came up with an initiative to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. The government sold plots of land for very discounted prices based on the requirement that the new landowners would irrigate and cultivate the lands and hire workers that could live there. These were called agricultural colonies and were the result of the Law of Population.
Under the Law of Population, nine agricultural colonies were founded in Mallorca in the years between 1874 and 1891, of which only four still exist; Colònia de Sant Pere, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Portocolom and Porto Cristo.
It was Jordi de San Simón and Maqués de Reguer who signed the deed of the lands belonging to the Sa Marineta property. The colony was to be named “Colònia de Nostra Senyora del Carme”. Along with the agricultural activities the harbor was also supposed to handle import and export of goods.
In 1896, speleologist Eduardo Martel discovered the Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves), along with the underground lake which belongs to the largest in Europe. The lake has been named after him.
In 1905, adventurer and businessman Pedro Caldentey Santandreu discovered the Cuevas del Hams during a quest to find onyx. A few years later he managed to keep the caves lit for 16 hours at the time using water turbines.
The two caves became some of the very first tourist attractions in Mallorca.
The colony of Carme continued to grow gradually in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1910 there were already 20 men, 22 women and 33 children living permanently in the colony. The primary activity was fishing, but soon the inhabitants of Manacor started to come here during the summer to bath on the beach.
In 1913, three nuns of the Sisterhood of Charity settled in the area. A few years later, in 1916, Llorenç Caldentey donated a plot for their convent in the Carrer de les Monges street. General vicar Mossèn Antoni Alcover blessed the convent the same year. The nuns assisted in maintaining the church, but were also highly dedicated to healthcare and teaching of children, and kept functioning up until the 1980’s. In 1992 their convent was transformed to residential suites for the sisters.
In the decade between 1920 and 1930 the fishing community had grown significantly and the need for a public school arose. Another important milestone of this decade was the opening of the first hotels such as Hotel Felip which is still in operation.
The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 and Franco’s Nationalist infantry, civil guard and volunteers. In an attempt to re-conquer Mallorca, the republicans of Barcelona assigned Captain Alberto Bayo the mission whom assembled a delegation of about 8,000 soldiers on the coast of Menorca ready to engage. The operation was neither agreed by the government in Madrid nor the Republican Ministry of War, it was an improvised operation set up by the Government of Catalonia.
Bayo and his militia disembarked on the coastline between Punta de n’Amer and Porto Cristo in the morning of August 16th, occupying a stretch of 7 kilometers. The stretch was later named Porto Rojo. Bayo’s forces managed to advance about 12 kilometers inland but was so baffled by their own success that they needed to slow down and organize which allowed the Falangists to plan a counter attack. On August 31st, the republicans met a growing resistance forcing them to re-organize and prepared to attack Manacor.
Moreover, the Falangists soon received reinforcements from Italy. It was the fascist Arconovaldo Bonaccorsi, known as “Count Rossi” and Luigi Cirelli, who were in command of a squadron of fighters and bombers sent to Mallorca. The air forces started bombing forcing Bayo’s militia to withdraw towards the coast. On September 2nd, the republican’s ammunition depot was bombed and destroyed on the headland of Punta de n’Amer.
The republican forces soon ran out of medical services, field hospitals and supplies, and were unable to cope with the counteroffensive of Falangist and Italian forces. On the night of September 4th, the republican forces was ordered to withdraw and leave the island.
During the 1950’s and 60’s, the great tourism boom happened in Mallorca, sending thousands of people to the island for holidays. Porto Cristo was one of the first destinations to receive holidaymakers, and in the 90’s the town had grown considerably and consolidated itself as a well-known European tourist destination. Today, tourism is the main source of income in Porto Cristo.
Location and map
From Palma airport
The Llevant region
Llevant has its name from the Serra de Llevant mountain range that dominates the norther landscapes of the region. Llevant is an exciting region to travel in; you get wonderful beaches, impressive mountains, scenic nature, interesting heritage and a wonderful combination of authenticity and modern tourism.
Artà is the cultural capital of the east side of Mallorca, the town and surrounding area is like an open-air museum exhibiting the most emblematic building constructions on this side of the island. Artà is a great choice of holiday base if luxury and romance is to be combined. The accommodation and holiday offers in Artà are plenty and indeed versatile, because you can choose from fincas, flats, villas, hotels and agroturismos, you can even choose if you want an urban holiday base or a rural countryside oasis. The local area of Artà is full of treasures and cultural heritage, exhibiting the long and interesting history, such as the fortified church of Sant Salvador, the talayotic village of Ses Païsses and the many impressive manors documenting the wealth of the area. Artà is also the gate to the Llevant mountain park where amazing and scenic wildlife and vegetation awaits you, along with breathtaking viewpoints and historical constructions. If you have not yet visited Artà, now is the time.
Cala Bona is the perfect destination on the east coast if you are looking for an atmospheric and lively restaurant environment and charming harbour area. Cala Bona is great for couples and small children families, who come to the Mallorcan east coast to enjoy the versatile area and international audiences. Cala Bona offers a wealth of charming sea front holiday rentals, as well as a wide selection of superb hotels for both families and adults only. You want to choose Cala Bona for your holiday on the north east side, if you want to mingle in a charming marina area.
Cala Millor offers you a 2 km wide sandy beach, hundreds of bars and restaurants, modern amenities, simply an all-round family fun holiday destination on the Mallorcas east coast. Holiday offers in Cala Millor includes beach front holiday flats and modern family hotels, packed with all modern facilities and amenities to create the perfect frame for your holiday here in Cala Millor. Cala Millor attracts an international audience, so you are sure to find dishes all all kinds in the restaurants and bars.
Cala Ratjada is a charming old fishing village located on the northeastern tip of Mallorca. Cala Ratjada accommodates both adult couples, families traveling with children and infants and groups of friends traveling together. Holiday offers in Cala Ratjada consist of modern flats, villas and hotels in the town, some even with sea and beach front location. You want to travel to Cala Ratjada for activity offers, vibrant restaurant life and international audience.
Cales de Mallorca
Cales de Mallorca is a young holiday destination found on the east coast of Mallorca. This purpose-built holiday destination enjoys two wonderful golden beaches, all brand new hotels and a great location close to infrastructure. In other words, this is a destination made to accommodate diversity and versatility.
Canyamel is a golfers favourite holiday destination when it comes to sea and beach resorts. Canyamel offers a fantastic selection of adults only hotels and holiday rentals for you to choose from. Canyamel is a great choice for romance and active holidays on the Mallorcan north east coast, especially golfers and cyclists loves Canyamel for its great location close to some of the best and most challenging golf courses on Mallorca, and the hilly terrain with asphalt roads. Canyamel is renown for its selection of luxury hotels and resorts, meaning that the audience here are adults only.
Capdepera is a cozy and charming little village isolated at the top of a mountain, offering stunning views overlooking the shorelines and the Llevant mountains. Capdepera is home to the emblematic old castle of same name, from where you can see all the way to Menorca. Accommodation offers in Capdepera include an famous luxury agrotourismo (producing finca/farm), and some lovely holiday villas and flats for rent. Capdepera is located close to the nature and marina area in Cala Ratjada, resulting in a versatile luxury destination
Font de sa Cala
Font de sa Cala is a small holiday resort located in the north eastern area of Mallorca, close to Canyamel and Capdepera. Font de sa Cala is an obvious choice for adults looking for a romantic and picturesque holiday resort located in solitude in a small cove on the north-east coast. Accommodation and holiday offers in Font de sa Cala, are stunning hotels with seafront location and charming villas and flats for rent for you who wants to go self-catered. Regardless of your preferences, Font de sa Cala has all facilities and amenities to spoil you and your partner.
Manacor is the second largest city on Mallorca. Manacor holds a big cultural heritage and offers a wealth of interesting places of interest to explore and indulge in. Accommodation offers in Manacor are many, and the area also attracts a mixed audience due to its enormous size. However, Manacor is especially loved by people who wants a little of everything, but still enjoys a withdrawn holiday base in tranquil surroundings. Many accommodations offers in Manacor are fincas and villas situated in the rural countryside around the city, allowing direct access to the huge network of country roads.
Sa Coma is a very popular summer holiday destination on the east coast of Mallorca. Sa Coma offers a large range of hotels with fantastic views over the beach and sea from the balconies. Sa Coma is a great choice of destination if you are looking for an all-round resort on the east coast to accommodation family and friends. Sa Coma is a relatively new holiday resort, with modern facilities, international restaurants and superb new hotels to choose from.
Sant Llorenc des Cardassar
Sant Llorenc des Cardassar is a rural village that not everyone hears about. Sant Llorenc is a great choice of holiday base, if you are looking to escape the mass tourism on the island, but still have good access to a versatile scenario of fresh countryside and beaches. Accommodation and holiday offers in Sant Llorenc are many, and very different, however, recommended is on of the finca or petit hotels in the area, offering serenity and luxury for you and your partner.
Son Servera is a small and sleepy village located a few kilometres inland from the popular summer holiday destination of Cala Bona. Son Servera is particularly popular among golfers, hence of the many challenging and beautiful golf courses situated in the nearby area. Accommodation and holiday offers in Son Servera includes some of the most charming and romantic finca hotels and luxury resorts in the local area, a guarantee for the perfect escape.
s’Illot is a rather small beach resort located on the east coast of Mallorca close to Sa Coma. s’Illot is popular amongst adults and active tourists, who come to enjoy romance and the many activity offers in the surrounding area. s’Illot is a good resort to visit most year round, except maybe November – March where it is too cold on the east coast, thus no restaurants and bars are open. Choose holiday in s’Illot if you are looking for adult audience and a more intimate feeling.
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