Vilafranca de Bonany local destination guide
Things to do and see in Vilafranca de Bonany
PARISH CHURCH OF SANTA BARBARA
As with many other Mallorcan villages, the parish church is one of the most important buildings in Vilafranca. The church stands on the original ground on which it was built in 1627. It was extended in the years between 1815 and 1842 and again in 1935. One of the main features of Santa Bàrbara, is the sculpture of Jesus Christ standing on the top of the dome.
L’ESCORXADOR (THE BUTCHER’S HOUSE)
This building stands in high contrast to the remaining buildings of the village with its unique regional architecture from the early 20th century. There are several interesting details to observe on the exterior of this building, which currently houses the cultural center of Vilafranca.
Market & Events in Vilafranca de Bonany
The weekly market in Vilafranca is held on Wednesdays from 9 – 13 in the Plaça Major. The weekly market is an excellent opportunity to sample some of the local products of Vilafranca such as melons which the municipality is renown for.
Other things worth looking for at the market in Vilafranca, are painted ceramics and embroideries which both are considered of high quality.
Annual fairs and festivities
Sant Antoni Abat (Saint Anthony) is the protector of domestic animals and everything related to livestock, which makes this saint very important especially in the rural areas of Mallorca. On the evening of January 16, the town is lit with bonfires and you can see various dancing groups perform to the sounds of traditional Mallorcan xeremirs (bagpipes). On January 17, the official day of Sant Antoni, blessings of animals is done and the festivities continues with parades, dances, food etc.
Día de les Illes Balears
On 1st of March, the town of Vilafranca marks the day of the independence of the Balearic Islands as an autonomous region of Spain.
Festes de Pasqua
Easter in Vilafranca means several cultural and religious acts and events. On Good Friday, enjoy the reenactment of the descend of the Lord in the park of Josep Maria Llompart, as well as a procession through the town. On Easter Sunday, there will also be a procession in the town to mark the day. On the first Thuesday after Easter, a community climb to the Santuari de Bonany with snacks and lunch where also a mass is held.
Mercat del Llibre
On the last Sunday of April, the annual book market is held in Vilafranca. During the week, the town celebrates books and writers with a range of interesting activities and events.
Festes de La Beata
The last week of July is one of the best times to visit Vilafranca de Bonany as this is when the annual town festival is held. Some of the highlights of this festival, are the dancing demons, a traditional Mallorcan act worth seeing. During the week you can also indulge in many other fun and interesting cultural events and activities, such as outdoor dinners, games, concerts, competitions, exhibitions, performances, races, market etc.
Festes i fira de meló
The annual melon fair is unique to Vilafranca de Bonany and there is no reason for not stopping by during this festive weekend. Come and enjoy the various contests in biggest melon, best quality melon etc. and indulge in a range of delicious products made of melons. Also, during the fair there will be animal shows, auction of Mallorcan black pigs, as well as many other wonderful events and shows. The entire weekend is themed agriculture of Vilafranca and has everything you could ever expect from an autumn fair.
Fira de Teatre Infantil i Juvenil
During the third weekend of October, Vilafranca turn its focus towards the children of the area. The children’s theater fair is a wonderful and joyful event, where workshops, theatrical performances, animation shows etc. are on display all over the town.
Festes de Santa Bàrbara
On December 4th, Vilafranca celebrates its patron saint of Santa Bàrbara. On this day, there will be a mass in the parish church, servings of traditional Mallorcan bunyols (pastry) and muscatel, followed by an extensive program of fun activities and events all day long. The center of the town will be occupied by various performances, exhibitions, stands, screenings, sports competitions, talks etc.
Nit de cap d’any
New years eve is celebrated at the stairway to the parish church, where we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new.
About the area of Vilafranca de Bonany
Vilafranca de Bonany is a village and municipality found in in the southeastern part of the Pla de Mallorca district, and borders the other municipalities of Manacor, Petra, Sant Joan, Porreres and Felanitx. Vilafranca de Bonany covers a surface of just about 2,400 hectares making it one of the smallest of Mallorca.
The lands of Vilafranca de Bonany is mainly used for agricultural activities such as cultivation of melons and for livestock such as sheep. Vilafranca is also characterized by the many small family owned businesses, many of these sell directly from their houses or farms.
History of Vilafranca de Bonany
Ever since prehistoric times the area of Vilafranca has been occupied by humans. This is evidenced in more than 14 different archaeologic sites scattered around the municipality with the most interesting being the Pre-Talayotic site of Sa Moleta and the Talayotic sites of Castellot Vell and Son Pou Vell.
During the Moorish period between 902 and 1229/32, the area belonged to the district known as “Yiynau-Bitra” which also comprised the current municipalities of Sineu, Sant Joan, Lloret de Vistalegre, Petra and Ariany. The Moorish presence in the area is seen in the estates of Albadallet, Alcúdiarrom and in the well of Viguet, all still part of the cultural heritage of the area. Although not confirmed, it is likely that is was the Berber tribe of Zenata that occupied the areas these lands in this period.
Following the Catalan conquest of Mallorca in 1232, the Llibre de Repartiment de Mallorca (Book of Distribution of Mallorca) was written to declare the areas of the island and to whom they belonged. The king distributed all areas amongst counts, knights, lords bishops etc., people who had supported or participated in the campaign. Ramon de Castellbisbal came to own the estates and lands of Albadallet and Boscana, the knights of Lleida was granted Alcúdiarrom and Ramon Saclusa was given the lands of Alanzell, the lands of which the current village is located.
In 1242, Saclusa sold Lanzell to the Knights Templar who renamed it to Sant Martí de Lanzell, however, with the abrogation of this order in 1312 all of their properties went to the Knights Hospitallers. The king of Mallorca was not satisfied with this transfer as he saw these lands become under his ownership and led to a series of prosecutions. Eventually the king gained rights of the lands and granted them his treasurer, Sant Just. As of 1391, the lands fell in the hands of nobleman Arnau Sureda, whose descendants changed the name to Sureda de Sant Martí.
In 1620, the owner of Sureda de Sant Martí, Pau Sureda i Campfullós, obtained permission to expand his lands and include the lands of the Son Pere Jaume in order to establish a small community where his workers and servants could live. This allowed him have full jurisdiction of all people that lived within his property, thus the workers would not have to pay taxes or contributions to the country. This was how Vilafranca was born, as the name means “Free Town” (red. free of taxes). In 1633, the historian Joan Dameto mentioned the place as Vilafranca de Sant Martí.
In 1812, Vilafranca segregated from the parish of Petra, and on June 27, 1916, when the last successor of the Sureda family past away, the village was given the “de Bonany” ending in order to differentiate it from other municipalities in Spain with same name.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the farmers of Vilafranca faced an increased and difficult competition in the market for cereals and wheat which had been the main source of income for centuries. The competition was simply too hard to ever give a sufficient trade margin. The farmers instead turned to cultivation of melons and extraction of clay from the ground, which opened a new market in Mallorca with high demand from the other municipalities.
Today, melons are still synonymous with Vilafranca de Bonany which occupies the majority of the lands. Other activities in the municipality include livestock such as sheep and production of construction materials.
From Palma airport
The Pla de Mallorca region
Pla de Mallorca is a region consisting of municipalities located in the geographical centre of Mallorca. Pla de Mallorca has gotten its name from the plain flat countryside that dominates most of the local areas in the region, only with exception of a few. When you travel in the Pla region, you will notice that tourism is far from the main source of income in strong contrast to the many coastal areas of the island. Out here, agriculture and production are the main sources of income and occupies most people.
What makes Pla de Mallorca an interesting region to travel in, is the authenticity and charm that dominates these rural districts. Moreover, traveling around in the Pla region is really easy due to the great infrastructure, broad roads, low traffic load and flat landscape.
Algaida is to many people the manifestation of the Mallorcan soul and cultural heritage. The town carries a rich and long history going all the way back to the Catalan conquest of Mallorca, stunning nature and an indulging kitchen. Algaida is a great place to spend your rural holiday on Mallorca, because of the unique location just 20 minutes from Palma. Accommodation in Algaida is just as unique; do yourself a favor and try a few days at the epic sanctuary of Cura and enjoy the most amazing views overlooking the bay of Palma and the stunning countryside.
Ariany is a small and sleepy village in the north-eastern area of the es Pla region. Ariany is beautifully situated on top of a hill allowing for stunning views overlooking the rural countryside up here. Selecting Ariany as your holiday destination in the rural Mallorca, means complete solitude and tranquility. There is almost no noise in this area, no car traffic and no stress.
Ca’n Picafort is a highly popular holiday resort located in the bay of Alcúdia, with its roots in the rural village of Santa Margalida. Yes, Ca’n Picafort is a mass-tourism holiday destination, especially during high season in the summer, but offers splendid accommodation all year round, especially the many villas and fincas situated in the back of the area are very popular during the winter season due to the rise of cycle tourism in this period.
Costitx is one of the smallest villages in the es Pla region out here on the rural countryside, yet one of the most popular holiday destinations amongst tourists looking for beauty, tranquillity and rural ambience. Costitx is well-known for its many interesting places of interest to explore closer, therefore, it is not a rare sight to see tourists walking or driving in the local area with the cameras ready. Your accommodation in Costitx will be in one of the many beautiful fincas or villas in the rural surroundings, offering modern yet authentic facilities.
Lloret de Vistalegre
Explore rich agricultural heritage of the es Pla region, Mediterranean wildlife and vegetation, while relaxing and enjoying in the charming village life of Lloret. Accommodation offers in Lloret consists of charming fincas and villas situated in the surrounding countryside around the village itself. There are also a few holiday rentals and flats inside the village, if you really want to get close to the local community and the soul of Lloret.
Llubí is known as the “honey town” of Mallorca, due to its rich traditions within beekeeping and honey production. In Llubí, you can enjoy real silence, an undisturbed and unspoiled agricultural area that has not yet seen much impact from tourism. Llubí only have one single boutique hotel in the village itself, meaning that most accommodation here is fincas and villas in the rural areas surrounding the town. You should choose Llubí as your rural holiday destination, if you are going self-catered and want to enjoy the tranquillity and central location of this base.
Maria de la Salut
Historic old fincas and agritourism is what can you expect to find in Maria de la Salut, an old and wealthy area in the northern part of es Pla. Located in the northern areas of Mallorca, Maria de la Salut makes a perfect rural holiday destination if you want to combine the windless countryside with fresh sea breezes found in the bay of Alcúdia running not far from here. Recommended accommodation in Maria de la Salut, includes the historic olive farm and agritourismo of Roqueta and the rebuilt finca hotel of Finca Son i Roig named after one of the children of the village.
Medieval village located at the summit of a mountain here in the middle of everything. Montuïri offers a wealth of stunning natural spaces to explore. Moreover, Montuïri is home to the emblematic prehistoric settlement of Son Fornés. Your rural holiday in Montuïri can be in a finca situated in solitude, or in the amazing SPA & Wellness hotel of Can Manera. Whatever choice triggers you the most, you are sure to meet the real soul of Mallorca here in Montuïiri.
Muro is mostly known for its popular summer holiday destination of Playa de Muro, but the main town holds a great treasure of local cultural heritage and charming village life. Muro is located in the northern part of the es Pla region, allowing for easy access to the coastline in the Alcúdia bay, as well as the many great roads for road cycling. Accommodation offers in Muro includes some amazing and very charming rebuilt fincas and finca hotels, offering every facility and amenity to complete the perfect rural holiday in Muro.
One of the most pastoral and charming little villages in the rural heart of Mallorca. The village breaks record of how many religious buildings a village of this size can hold, nevertheless, it offers a great selection of places of interest to explore, as well as ambient bars and restaurants. Choosing accommodation for your rural holiday in Petra, typically includes a charming finca or agroturismo in the local area, especially the latter is highly recommended trying here. Another choice is the cosy and charming small boutique hotel situated in the very heart of Petra.
Playa de Muro
Playa de Muro is the perfect holiday destination in the north of Mallorca if you are looking for stunning beaches and a versatile local area. Playa de Muro offers a wealth of fantastic accommodation options, thus more than 500 local restaurants and bars. You probably won’t associate Playa de Muro with a typical Mallorcan rural holiday, and during high season it probably isn’t either, but that the charm of this huge area, it is indeed versatile. During autumn, winter and spring, Playa de Muro is packed with active tourists enjoying the combination of beach and rural countryside.
Porreres is located in the southern area of es Pla, a wonderful small village with a rich cultural heritage to explore and indulge in. When it comes to accommodation in Porreres, it is highly recommended to go for one of the agroturismos in the local area, producing fincas equipped with all modern facilities and amenities to complete your perfect rural holiday on Mallorca. The village of Porreres is quite interesting too, a bunch of new and interesting restaurants has seen the light here in the middle of the traditional urban core, giving you even more dining options to choose from.
Sant Joan is the core essence of Mallorcan agriculture, located in the heart of the island. The area is so agricultural, that each year an entire fair dedicated to agritourism is held here in the town. Choose Sant Joan as your rural holiday destination, if you are attracted to silence and solitude, because that is what you will find here among the many interesting places of interest and fields of almond trees covering the surface. Moreover, Sant Joan enjoys a central location in the Pla region, allowing for easy access to most other small villages in the region.
Santa Eugénia exemplifies an agricultural rural escape, yet keeps its touch to bigger urban areas. Santa Eugènia is located in scenic nature, with great views and surrounding by a varied natural environment. Santa Eugenia enjoys a unique location just a 10 minute drive from Palma, yet not a sound of a car is to be heard out here. Choose Santa Eugenia for your rural holiday, if you want luxury and access. Especially golfers rents fincas and villas in Santa Eugènia because of the many golf courses close by.
Sencelles is located in the heart of es Pla and exemplifies what es Pla is, an agricultural community developed throughout thousands of years. Sencelles consist of the town itself, with three other small hamlets located in the nearby area. Accommodation offers in Sencelles are petit finca hotels in the rural countryside and holiday villas for rent. You will find everything you need for your rural Mallorcan holiday in Sencelles thus a wonderful central location.
Sineu was home to the first jurisdiction of the rural areas on Mallorca, thus home the king’s summer palace. Sineu is by locals not only seen as the heart of Mallorca, but as the heart of the world. Sineu is very popular among tourists on Wednesdays when one of the biggest markets on Mallorca is held in the town. Accommodation offers in Sineu includes some of the most charming rustic fincas in the local area equipped with everything you need to complete the perfect rural holiday here.