Sant Elm; beach with first class services but without overcrowding
Services and features
Sant Elm beach is located in the municipality of Andratx, in the town of the same name, at the westernmost tip of Mallorca. It is the largest sandy area in the municipality of Andratx, 130 m long and up to 40 m wide. It is also known as Es Geperut (The Hunchback) and also Sa Gran. Next to it there is another smaller one of sand and gravel that is known as Sa Petita, which is about 60 m long and about 15 wide, surrounded by holiday homes. They are separated by the hotel terrace built on the rocks.
The waters of Sant Elm are usually very calm, and the slope of the beach is very gentle, so it is a highly recommended place to go with children
It also has access for people with limited mobility on the large beach, access to the small one is through several stairs.
Sant Elm has gone from being a fishing village that lived from fishing and salting to being an important tourist center, with all the services of a first-class destination, but far from the overcrowding of larger centers.
The beach is protected by the islet of Es Pantaleu. Thanks to its presence even when winds blow from the southwest, west or northwest, the waters of the beach are quite calm. Only with strong winds from the west or southwest the waters of this beach curl.
These characteristics make Sant Elm also a highly appreciated anchoring point.
This beach and its surroundings are steeped in history. This was where the army of King Jaime I of Aragon anchored in 1229 as the first step towards the conquest of Mallorca. According to tradition, the first royal mass was celebrated on the islet of Pantaleu. There they had the help of Alí del Pantaleu, a Muslim contrary to the Valí of Mallorca and who provided valuable information to the Christians about the situation in Mallorca and the location of the defending army. With their information they decided to make a night landing on the beach of Santa Ponsa, where the conquest really began.
This historical heritage is reflected in the construction of the Sant Elm castle, several defense towers, and the nearby La Trapa monastery.
How to get to Sant Elm
The route to get to Sant Elm is very simple as it is well signposted
From Palma we will take the Vía de Cintura Ma-20 towards Andratx, to join the Ma-1 highway. We will take the Puerto de Andratx / Sant Elm exit and from there on, we will only have to follow the indications until we reach Sant Elm.
As soon as we arrive at Sant Elm we will see a public car park on our right, but with a fee: € 4 a full day. For now there is no free parking other than trying to find a place to park in the streets of the town. The beach is right in front of the parking lot.
If we want to go to Sant Elm by public transport, we have line 100, which leaves from the center of Palma and passes through Andratx and the small town of s’Arracó. The stop is right next to the beach.
If we are not far away, a good option is to get to Sant Elm by bicycle
From Palma there are several possibilities. One of them is to take Andrea Doria street and exit by the Ma-1043 road, which has little traffic, and then link with the Ma-1016 until you reach Calviá. From there we will continue towards Andratx, s’Arracó and finally Sant Elm.
Sant Elm is an optimal place for anchoring boats
As we have already said, the islet of Pantaleu, which already sheltered Jaime I‘s fleet, protects the beach from the strongest winds. The best point to anchor is precisely between the islet and the beach, with a sandy bottom about 6 m deep.
These good conditions for anchoring mean that there is a notable presence of boats, so it is necessary to proceed with special caution.
Contrary to what might be thought due to the small size of the town, Sant Elm beach has the services of a top-class tourist center
There is the possibility of renting hammocks and umbrellas, and bathers have showers and toilets at their disposal. There is access enabled for people with reduced mobility and there is a lifeguard service.
There are also a good number of bars and restaurants with terraces that provide spectacular views over the beach.
There is also rental of equipment for various water sports.
The main activity on Sant Elm beach will undoubtedly be diving into its clear turquoise waters
At the southern end of the Sierra de Tramuntana, Sant Elm and its waters benefit from the particular light that illuminates this part of the Mediterranean.
The tranquility of its waters and the gentle slope, added to the available services, makes it a perfect beach to go to with children
If we are not so much sand at the ends of the beach there are areas of rocks. In the vicinity, without leaving Sant Elm, there are several coves of a few meters also of rocks and pebbles.
The most daring swimmers can swim to the islet of Pantaleu, about 400 m from the shore from the beach
However, it must be taken into account that the islet is part of the Dragonera Natural Park, and its access is restricted for environmental reasons. For less swimmers there is the possibility of renting a pedal boat to explore the nearby waters. We can also rent paddle surf boards or kayaks to explore the coast of Sant Elm and get closer to other nearby coves.
The waters of Sant Elm are perfect for snorkeling and diving
The environment close to the rocky areas provides a great show. But above all, the surroundings of the Dragonera are perfect, with around thirty dive sites. In Sant Elm there are facilities where you can rent equipment and which also organize boat trips and initiation courses.
Inland Sant Elm and its surroundings are a hiking and mountain biking paradise
Here begins a route that runs through the entire Sierra de Tramuntana. If we don’t want to go so far we can get to La Trapa, or take the opposite direction and head to Puig d’en Tió.
- Sierra de Tramuntana: Sant Elm – Estellencs
- Sant Elm – La Trapa
- Sant Elm – Pas Vermell – Puig d’en Tió
The most fanatics of the bicycle can start here a route of 165 km that crosses all of Mallorca to Capdepera
If we are not so ambitious we can walk around to La Trapa.
And of course you should not miss visiting the small town of Sant Elm
We will find jewels such as the castle of Sant Elm, ordered to be built by Jaime II as a hospital for sailors and fishermen and which has a defense tower and an oratory. It is completely restored and can be visited. To the north is the Cala en Basset tower, another defense tower from the 16th century, and from where there are spectacular views over the Dragonera.
It is precisely from Sant Elm that boat trips are organized to visit this island, which is the center of a natural park that includes several islets and the waters that surround them. Among the variety of plants and animals present on the island there are several endemic species to Mallorca. But the three old lighthouses built on this small island are also worth visiting.
Going back to more mundane activities, Sant Elm has a good variety of restaurants
Specialized especially in fish and shellfish (as befits a fishing village). In addition, most have incredible views over the coast.
Last but not least, since Sant Elm is the most western end of Mallorca, the sunsets over the sea are impressive, it is a spectacle that we should not miss.
Sant Elm has a not very wide offer in places but it is very varied. There is everything from a one-star hostel, perfect for hikers and other not very demanding tourists, to three- and four-star hotels and aparthotels. There are also offers of holiday rentals in the town and on rustic farms.
In case of not finding accommodation in Sant Elm itself, the closest tourist center is Puerto de Andratx, about 7 km from here.
Take a look at Sant Elm beach in 360º