Son Servera local travel guide
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN SON SERVERA
The probably most iconic construction of Ártà, is the pilgrimage church of Sant Salvador situated at the summit of the holy hill. A 180 step stairway leads from the feet of the hill to the top from where you will enjoy the most magnificent views over the town and beautiful area that surrounds it.
MARKET & EVENTS
Weekly market in Son Servera
Every Friday morning in the Plaça de Sant Joan (main square), the weekly market is held. It is a traditional farmers market selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, crafts, herbs, meats etc. Visiting the market gives you a good opportunity to know some of the typical products of Son Servera, such as figs, almonds and sausages. There are also a selection of typical Mallorcan crafts like palm-leaf basketwork and painted ceramics.
Annual events and happenings
The celebration of Sant Antoni is one of the most tradition bound in the Mallorcan calendar. Sant Antoni Abat is the protector of animals, and in traditionally rural areas such as Son Servera which has a long history of raising cattle and sheep, the honoring of this saint means a lot to the people. The official feast day is January 17, however, the festivities begins several days ahead with fun and cultural activities and events for all ages. Some of the most emblematic traditions you will experience, are the dancing devils, the correfocs (shooting fireworks) and the bonfires lit in the streets. On the day of Sant Antoni, it is tradition for people to bring their pets to the church to receive blessings.
Sant Ignasi d’Antioquia
In 1820, the most deadly epidemic of bubonic plague stroke the town of Son Servera and killed more than 1,000 people, resulting in a cordon of the town to prevent the plague from spreading. On the 21th of February 1821, the mayor dissolved the cordon declaring the epidemic gone. Every year, on February 1st, the town of Son Servera remembers and pay homage to those who lost their lives, families and, those who helped rebuilding the town.
Festes de Sant Joan
Sant Joan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) is the patron saint of Son Servera and every year in June he is celebrated for an entire week. The celebration has been a tradition since the erection of the parish church of same name in the beginning of the 18th century when Son Servera was starting to take shape as a town. A week of fun and cultural events awaits for young and adults such as games, competitions, sports, exhibitions and various performances. The festivities are kicked off with the traditional “Pregó de les festes” and an open-air community dinner.
Festivities of Mare de Déu del Carme de Cala Bona
Around the 16th of July, the beloved holiday resort of Cala Bona celebrates its patron saint, Carme. Carme is protector of seamen and plays an important role in the culture of the coastal areas on the island. The celebration of Carme includes a range of wonderful events and activities for as well locals as tourists. Some of the highlights include the procession at sea and the havanera concert.
Festes de Mare de Déu dels Àngels de Cala Millor
Patron saint of the church in Cala Millor, Our Lady of Angels, is celebrated with a series of traditional events during late July. The festivities include popular Mallorcan dances, concerts, exhibitions, processions and much more, all in the spirit of celebration. These events usually attract a large number of locals and tourists, and a great opportunity to discover a traditional Mallorcan celebration.
During the last week of September, Son Servera and Sant Llorenç de Cardarssar joins up and arranges one of the most extensive festivals of the year, the Tourism Festival. All over the areas of Son Servera, Sant Llorenç des Cardarssar, Cala Bona and Cala Millor, you can look forward to a full stacked program of fun, cultural and tasteful activities. On the tapas routes, you can get unique and delicious tapas and pinxos for almost no money, along with free tapas tastings in some of the hotels and bars. There will be a series of fun sports competitions and games, such as a beach volley tournament or the traditional Catalan Human Tower competition. There is also opportunity to meet some of Mallorca’s most beloved traditions such as the dancing giants and firework shows. Exhibitions and extended markets, workshops, open house events in the Pula Golf and other leisure businesses and of course a lot of concerts to set the mood. It is an entire week of just fun and good times, and a really good time to be visiting!
Christmas and new years eve are the two protagonists of December in Mallorca. On Christmas eve, after having enjoyed a good meal with the family, it is tradition for the people of Son Servera to go to church to attend a Christmas mass. At the mass, an ancient tradition is performed; a sibyl walks to the altar to sing a song about the end of the world, the judgement day and the disasters of nature. However, the Erythraean Sibyl is here for salvation.
Typically, the role of the Sibyl is performed by a boy or girl dressed in colorful coat and hat, carrying a sword to the altar. Back in the classical antiquity, the sibyl (sibylla) was a prophetess whom answered questions regarding the future.
New Years eve is special too. The inhabitants gathers in the Plaça de Sant Joan, the main square in front of the church, to celebrate the coming of the new year. There will be fireworks, champagne, speeches, music to set a festive atmosphere.
ABOUT THE AREA OF SON SERVERA
Son Servera is a town and municipality located in the northern part of the Llevant region, Mallorca’s most eastern region. The area borders the surrounding municipalities of Capdepera, Ártà, Sant Llorenç des Cardarssar.
Son Servera is home to some of the most popular beach areas of Mallorca, namely Cala Millor and Cala Bona, but also the secluded area of Costa del Pins.
Typical products of the area
Facts and numbers
Surface: 4,254.22 ha
Protected zones: 1,230.10 ha
Population: 11,378 inhabitants
History of Son Servera
In the following, you will be able to read and discover how the area of Son Servera has developed all the way back from prehistoric times. We will go through some of the major periods and events which has affected the municipality played a role in the local history.
The area of the current day municipality has been inhabited by humans for more than 3,000 years. About 42 archaeological sites scattered over the municipal border testifies the human activity all the way back from pre-Talayotic times (2,400 – 1,100 BC). From this period, the caves of Sa Font Gata, Es Rafal Baix and Ca s’Hereu gives us some of the best ideas about how life was back in the early days.
From the Talayotic culture (1,100 – 100 BC), Pula, Sa Pleta, Son Gener, des Puig, Mestre Ramon and Ca s’Hereu shows us the life on the island in the early villages and fortifications.
Mallorca was officially annexed to the Emirate of Cordoba in 902-3, when Issam al-Khawlaní conquered the archipelago. The capital was named Madina Mayurqua, while most of the communities outside the city were grouped in small farmsteads and hamlets (alquerias) if not just in huts (rafals) scattered all over. However, the Muslim settlers did divide the island in multiple jurisdictions, the ajzà (singular: juz), whereof this area belonged to Juz d’ Yartan, which also included current day municipalities of Ártà and Capdepera.
Some of the biggest and most important farmsteads was those of Benu-Quinena Algarbia and Benu-Quinena Exarquia, belonging to the tribes of Quienena as the names suggests. These two farmsteads or hamlets was undoubtedly the most important of the community, and located where the current village is today. The Muslims irrigated the soil, started cultivating crops and built water transportation systems. Some of these elements are still part of the physical presence of Son Servera, such as the fountain of Sa Jornada and the water mills of Son Comparet and Son Sard – but indeed also in the cultural heritage of the island. Another important remain from the Islamic period, was the one of Banyeres, a villa located close to the Port Vell where remains of a bath has been discovered. This could have been a public washing house or the property of a high standing tribe leader.
The Aragonese conquest
In September 1229, King Jaume I of Aragón and his 27,000 men landed at the shore of Santa Ponca. The campaign was a part of the reconquista and to extend the territories of the Crown of Aragón. At the end of the same year, the Aragonese troops had already triumphed in Madina Mayurqua, and soon after renamed it to “Ciutat de Mallorca”. About 20,000 Moors had fled to the Tramuntana and Llevant areas during the battles, some had fled to the neighboring island of Menorca. The upcoming spring, the king set off to capture and conquer the rest of the island and those Moors that had fled. The Muslims living outside the capital were farmers and not warriors, and the resistance was easy to overcome for the trained Almogavars. One of the most notable battles in the Llevant area, was in March 1230, when the troops faced a resistance of about 2,000 Moors hiding in caves in the area of Ártà, The Llibre del Fets (Book of Acts) describes the battle in detail how the soldiers camped at the feet of the mountains next to a river entrapping the Muslim resistance in the caves of the mountains. Another anecdote from the Llibre del Fets, from these areas, is the signing of the Treaty of Capdepera on June 17th, 1231. This event took place in the neighboring area of Capdepera, when the king pretended to prepare for battle against Menorca, and scared the Moors to come to him to negotiate a peaceful surrender.
The lands of Mallorca was divided amongst participators and supporters of the conquest, this was written in the Llibre del Repartiment de Mallorca (Book of Division of Mallorca). The lands of the Yartan district was partially granted men of Marseilles, while the king kept some of the lands himself. In the time following, the manor of Benicanella, which was the Catalan name of the farmstead, was sold to a noble family of Porreres, namely the Cervera family. It is here we find the origin of the name of the village.
The Cervera family, along with the Ferri family, were two of the major landowners in this area renting out land to small peasants. There are also documents stating that some farms named Beni-Dahom and Beni-Alfamah was knights of Sant Jordi d’Alfama (Knights of Saint George), and some lands were given to the infant Pere of Portugal.
The disperse of the population
Until the late 15th century, there was no urban nucleus of the area, only the lands of the Benicanella farmstead. However, with the death of Salvador Cervera in 1474, the farmstead was divided among his two sons and became the possessions of Son Frai Garí and Ca S’Hereu respectively. This also resulted in the disperse of the small population of the area which now settled outside the lands of the farmsteads.
During the 16th century, the threat from the Ottoman empire made life by the coast unsafe. The Ottomans were looking to capture the Balearic archipelago, and as a part of the strategy, they paid Berber privateers to interrupt maritime commerce of the Mediterranean. To better protect and guard the lands and population, the tower of de la Vicaria was erected between the two lands, in what is now the current village of Son Servera and the parish church.
In 1560, another great partition of the lands happened. It was the lands of Ca S’Hereu that was once again divided among children of the Cervera family, which gave rise to new possessions such as la Plana, Son Esquerrà, Son Corb and Son Floriana. Documents from 1580 and 1596 indicate a small urban nucleus surrounding the Torre de la Vicaria.
The foundation of Son Servera
The 17th century gave rise to the current village of Son Servera. The two brothers, Salvador and Sebastià Cervera, owners of the Son Frai Garí possession had accumulated a massive debt which they could not pay. As a consequence of this, the possession was confiscated by the Royal Hearing of Mallorca and sold on a public auction in 1666. The buyer was the University of Ártà looking to divide the lands of the possession and sell it to new landowners. The terms of the sale was based on two major factors; 1. each plot could not exceed 0.71031 ha (7,103.01 m²), 2. only children of the municipality of Ártà (current day Árta, Capdepera and Son Servera) was allowed to purchase.
Between 1666 and 1684, the lands of former possession Son Frai Garí had been converted to 71 new houses. The new houses faced a public road, the current Carrer del Doctor Servera, which divided the lands of Son Frai Garí and Ca S’Hereu.
The intense growth of the population and congregation led to an expansion of the former primitive chapel located by the tower of Vicaria in 1741. In 1750, the population almost reached 1,000 inhabitants, and in 1755, Bishop Llorenç Despuig Cotoner made the temple a vicarage.
The independent municipality
The Constitution of Cádiz (1812) proclaimed the creation of city councils for all those population centers with more than 1,000 inhabitants. In 1813 the population was counted, with a result of 1,651 inhabitants in January of this year: 1,233 in the town itself and 418 outside the town. On January 18, 1814, Son Servera is segregated from the municipality of Ártà for the first time. However, with the suspension of the constitution already in August the same year, Son Servera lost its newly gained independence again.
With the Trienio Liberal between 1820 and 1823, Son Servera once again acquired independence as a municipality. It was, however, not until 1837 that Son Servera was definitively segregated from Ártà.
A terrible chapter in the history of Son Servera is the 1820 bubonic plague, which killed more than half of the population. The town was seized by the military disallowing anyone from leaving or entering the town borders, completely in quarantine. The inhabitants went from 1,808 people in 1820 to 768 by the end of the year. The bubonic plague also affected Ártà, Capdepera, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Manacor.
The change in economy
Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, Son Servera remained a predominantly agricultural area mainly dedicated to the cultivation of dry land. The neighboring municipalities of Ártà and Capdepera had expanded their economical activities to also include sewing and palm-leaf crafts respectively. Son Servera was also raising livestock, mainly cattle and sheep. In 1921, the railway connecting Manacor and Ártà too arrived here, a sign that it was an important economical center.
With the tourism boom in the 1960’s, the economy of Son Servera really started to take off. The development of Port Vell, Cala Bona, Cala Millor and Costa del Pins, gave rise to a new and primary economy of the municipality. In 1987, there was already about 77 hotels with about 6,800 beds
LOCATION & 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 harbor 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 favorite 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 in 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.
Porto Cristo is the perfect holiday destination on the Mallorcan east coast if you fancy a charming marina area with many restaurants, cosy atmosphere and amazing views over the sea. Porto Cristo is almost full of tourists every day during the summer season, because of the world-famous stalactite caves, Cuevas del Drach, which gives the town a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Porto Cristo is mainly an adult holiday destination, where the good life and relaxation is in focus.
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.
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.