Cala d’Or is a town and tourist center in the southeast of Mallorca, mostly belonging to the municipality of Santanyí. The urbanization was planned and built from the 1930s. Until then, there was only a small fishing port and an abandoned coastal fortress since the mid-19th century. It is one of the oldest and most important tourist centers in Mallorca, but with a very particular character and design.
Since its creation, the urbanization has practically multiplied its population by 10, up to around 4,000 current inhabitants, making Cala d’Or the largest urban center in the municipality of Santanyí. In summer, the population doubles with around 4,500 tourist places. Cala d’Or is divided into three neighborhoods: the center of Cala d’Or itself, the original urbanization; the Cala Ferrera urbanization to the north, which belongs to the municipality of Felanitx; and to the south, Cala Egos.
The coast of Cala d’Or is typical of the southeast of Mallorca: coves protected by rocky cliffs of low height and at the bottom of which small sandy beaches form. Some of the most picturesque coves and beaches in Mallorca are located in this area, and we have excellent viewpoints from which to recreate the beauty of this part of the Majorcan coast.
Cala d’Or offers a vacation experience for all tastes. Families with children have calm water beaches and an amusement park for the little ones. Couples can find romantic spaces where they can share special moments. Boaters have one of the best marinas in Mallorca.
For cycling or water sports fans, the environment of Cala d’Or and its facilities provide an incomparable setting for your hobby. Finally, lovers of nature and hiking or curious about local history will find their curiosity satisfied with the Mondragó Natural Park and different buildings of historical and cultural interest.
How to get to Cala d’Or
Cala d’Or is located just over 60 km from Palma, and somewhat less from the airport. To get from there we will take the Ma-19 highway following the indications to Campos / Santanyi / Felanitx. At about 25 km we will pass by Llucmajor and we will stay on the same Ma-19 until we reach Campos. After about 10 km we will reach this town, and from there we can go to Cala d’Or by Felanitx or Santanyí, the distance is practically the same.
In the first case, at the entrance roundabout we will take the third exit, towards the Ma-5120. We will arrive at another roundabout, where we will follow the same Ma-5120, and after about 700 m we will reach a last roundabout, where we will take the third exit, again to the Ma-5120. We will continue a little more than 10 km and we will already be in Felanitx. At 300 m we will turn right, following the signs for Cala d’Or, on Calle Gabriel Vaquer. At the end of this street we will turn left and then right to follow the Ma-14. After 4 km we will come to a fork: we will take the detour to the left, towards Cala d’Or, on the Ma-4016. After 5 km we will arrive at another roundabout where we will take the second exit, towards Calonge, and we will follow the Ma-4013 that already leaves us in Cala d’Or.
If we decide to go through Santanyí, when we reach Campos we will cross the town following the Ma-19. At the entrance roundabout to the town we will take the third exit, following the same Ma-19. We will arrive at another roundabout, where we will continue straight, and at the next we will take the second exit, and follow the indications to Cala d’Or. Before we will cross the village of l’Alqueria Blanca, but the directions are very simple.
If we are in the north or east of Mallorca, it is best to head to Manacor and from there take the Ma-14 towards Felanitx, and from there follow the indications to Cala d’Or.
In Cala d’Or there are several public car parks so we should not have much trouble parking our car.
If we opt for public transport, Cala d’Or has good connections with the rest of the island. Line A51 directly connects Cala d’Or with the airport passing through s’Arenal. Line 501 connects Cala d’Or with Palma passing through, among others, Santanyí, Campos and Llucmajor. In the Levante area we have line 425 from Manacor, and 441 from Cala Ratjada. In summer from the north we have line 449, which goes to Puerto de Alcudia and Puerto de Pollensa, among other destinations. Line 453, also in the summer months, connects Cala d’Or with the Sierra de Tramuntana, reaching Valldemossa, Deiá, Sóller, etc. As a curiosity, also in summer there are several lines to visit from Cala d’Or some of the most popular markets in Mallorca: on Mondays line 841B brings us closer to Manacor; and on Thursdays we can visit the Inca market taking the 831C.
The main cove of Cala d’Or is called Cala Gran, a busy sandy beach. Continuing northeast, we find the second largest cove: Cala Esmeralda, also known as Es Caló des Corral. Separated from it by Punta Grossa we come across a wide mouth that leads to two coves: Cala Ferrera and Cala Serena, already located in the municipality of Felanitx.
To the west of Cala Gran we find the authentic beach of Cala d’Or: Cala Petita, also known as Es Caló de ses Dones. Next we have the old Cala Llonga, a sea inlet of more than one kilometer and which was used to build the Cala d’Or Marina. At the mouth of this cove is a small inlet that forms the Caló (or Caleta) des Pou.
Surrounding the point on which Es Forti is built, already in the Cala Egos area, is the small Cala Es Fortí. And finally, further west, we find Cala Egos itself, with its sandy beach and natural rock pool.
The calm of the waters of the different beaches of Cala d’Or make these a perfect place for family vacations. Many of them also have accesses enabled for people with reduced mobility. These facilities together with the services that most have, make the influx of visitors somewhat high and the atmosphere boisterous. There are also several companies that organize catamaran tours along the coast, in order to admire these places from a new perspective.
Diving fans have a magnificent point in Cala d’Or to enjoy this activity. The clarity and cleanliness of its waters, as well as the variety of sea beds, provide snorkeling and diving fans with an incredible experience. If we have some experience, there are many dive sites near Cala d’Or with different depths and levels of difficulty. And if we have not yet started in this sport, we have several diving schools for it.
Cala d’Or is also a good destination for a romantic couple trip. The busiest beaches alternate with other smaller and more remote places where you can find some tranquility. And once out of the water we can enjoy a relaxing time or a romantic evening in one of the bars or restaurants in the area. We also have commercial areas where international firm stores are mixed with small craft and local product stores. We can finish off those evenings by making our purchases at the Thursday night markets in Cala Egos and on Sundays in the center of Cala d’Or.
Sailing lovers also have an excellent holiday destination in Cala d’Or. The marina (divided into two areas: Port Petit and Porto Carí) benefits from natural protection, and in addition to a shelter dam that protects the bottom from the storms of the east. It has a wide variety of services (mechanics, painting, etc.), which together with the good number of shops and restaurants make it one of the most luxurious in Mallorca, at the level of Palma, Andratx and Port Adriano. On the nearby coast we can enjoy some of the best coves in Mallorca to anchor our boat.
Nature and culture
A visit to the Mondragó Natural Park is a must for nature lovers, just 4 km from Cala d’Or. You can get there by car and then follow the routes inside the park, but you can also go on foot. In the summer months, line 507 connects Cala d’Or with the natural park. In addition to several virgin beaches, the park has 766 Ha of extension where totally natural areas alternate with others shaped by ancient and traditional human activities.
If we are trekking practitioners, we have several routes to explore different surroundings near Cala d’Or. We can start by going through all its coves, getting closer to Mondragó and then Portopetro, or taking the opposite direction and heading to Portocolom.
For cycling fans, Cala d’Or is an excellent starting point for numerous routes. The roads that run along the coast offer a more relaxed experience, and can also stop at some of the most beautiful coves on the coast of Mallorca. Inland routes offer greater technical difficulty. The ascent to the nearby monastery of San Salvador, next to Felanitx, or to something further away, the Puig de Randa, near Llucmajor, offer a little experience of a mountain route.
Finally, the neighboring municipalities of Santanyí and Felanitx offer magnificent opportunities for cultural tourism routes. These lands have been inhabited since prehistoric times and you can visit sites from the pre-Talayotic and Talayotic times (Bronze Age), such as the Talaies of Can Jordi, just 11 km from Cala d’Or. Closer, next to s’Alqueria Blanca, is the Consolació sanctuary, at least 400 years old, now converted into a hostel and from where you can enjoy exceptional views of the east coast of Mallorca.
Next to Felanitx is the imposing sanctuary of San Salvador, with its early 18th century church and which also offers spectacular views of the east of the island. Near the sanctuary stands Santueri Castle, one of the three rock castles in Mallorca. It is privately owned since 1811, so access is paid. Between 2010 and 2011 an important restoration of the castle was carried out. You can also visit several defense towers from the 16th and 17th centuries. In Cala d’Or itself is el Fortí, a fortress built in 1730 and which, after decades of neglect, was restored in 1995, being used as a cultural center for concerts, exhibitions and other events. It is also a magnificent viewpoint from which to recreate the landscapes near Cala d’Or.
Cala d’Or’s gastronomic offer is so varied and of such quality that it is difficult to choose. However, one of the essentials is Port Petit, specialized in Mediterranean food. It has both a menu and gourmet menus offered in a sophisticated setting with excellent views of the port.
At the other extreme of sophistication, tapas, we can visit the Churchills Tapas Bar. Excellent service, great atmosphere, especially at night, and excellent food. One of the best culinary experiences in Cala d’Or.
Halfway (gastronomically speaking) from the previous two we will find the Yaya’s, another excellent restaurant located in the Port Petit area, in the Cala d’Or Marina. It offers us an experience of fusion of international cuisines in the form of tapas. Of course, for daring palates.
If we have a more traditional taste, an excellent choice will undoubtedly be the Da Marcello restaurant-pizzeria. Authentic Italian food, its excellent pizzas stand out, all with exquisite and attentive service.
Finally, if what we are looking for is an economic option but without giving up quality, without a doubt our choice is the Cafeteria Marfil. Very varied menu, for all tastes, without sophistication, and generous portions at a good price. Very agile service and excellent treatment. A safe bet to go with family or friends.
As a reference tourist destination, Cala d’Or offers a wide variety of tourist accommodation. From hostels for more informal travelers to five-star hotels for the luxury lover, or exclusive villas for the most demanding visitor, any tourist will find their place in Cala d’Or.
But to speak of hotels in Cala d’Or it is essential to start at the beginning, and the beginning was the Hotel Cala d’Or, founded in 1935 by Médard Verburgh and located on Avda. De Belgium, recalling the nationality of its founder. It is currently a four-star hotel with an unbeatable location on the beachfront, with parking for customers, three restaurants and all the services to enjoy a comfortable and unforgettable stay.
If we are looking for real luxury then we are talking about the Meliá Cala d’Or Boutique Hotel. Rooms, facilities and luxury services, a paradise within a paradise. Two swimming pools in the midst of spectacular gardens, a spa, two restaurants and an exclusive bar, all capable of meeting the highest expectations. And located a few minutes from the main beaches of Cala d’Or.
More thought for families is the Barceló Ponent Playa, a three-star hotel located in Cala Ferrera, in a privileged location with direct access to the beach, where one of its bars is also located. Very good value for money, excellent treatment, and great entertainment service, both for adults and children, to make the most of your stay.
If we prefer a more independent experience, a good option is aparthotels such as Sol Cala d’Or Apartamentos, a three-star complex with all the comforts to make us feel at home. Fully equipped rooms, spectacular swimming pool surrounded by gardens, solarium, supermarket, children’s playground … and all in an excellent location near the center of Cala d’Or, just a few minutes from its beaches and shopping areas.
And if what we are looking for is a simple but familiar accommodation, a great option is the Hostal Mistral. Located in the center of Cala d’Or, it has spacious and bright rooms, and above all it stands out for the friendly and close treatment of its owners.
Prehistory and Antiquity
The municipalities of Felanitx and Santanyí, where Cala d’Or is located, contain numerous archaeological remains from the Talayotic and Pre-Talayotic periods. Next to the access road to Cala d’Or, in the place known as s’Antigor de ses Roquisses, there were remains of constructions from the Talayotic period, as well as ceramic remains from later periods.
Cala Llonga constitutes a magnificent natural port that was already used by Phoenicians and Carthaginians. In its vicinity, remains of pottery of indigenous, Phoenician, Carthaginian, and later Roman origin have appeared, indicating that it was an area very frequented by merchants from all over the Mediterranean.
Near Santanyí, in Ses Salines, was where the Roman troops landed in 123 BC. In a short time they conquered all of Mallorca and the local population quickly assimilated the Roman culture. In Son Danús Nou, near Santanyí and just 10 km from Cala d’Or, there are vestiges of Roman tombs along with remains from the Talayotic period. However, large structures are not preserved, since they were used in later periods.
Middle ages and Reconquest
During the Muslim period, the Cala d’Or area belonged to the Manaqur district. The Arabs brought great innovations in agriculture and contributed to the dispersion of the population in farmhouses. This contributed to a certain abandonment of the land closest to the coast due to its low agricultural yield. Thus, the coves of Cala d’Or were reduced to small fishing ports that lived in the inland villages.
After the conquest by Jaime I, the lands of this region were granted to Nunó Sanç, prince of the House of Aragon and count of Roussillon and Cerdanya. During this time there were no changes in the way of life in these lands, which remained basically agricultural. It was at this time that sanctuaries were built in the nearby mountains of San Salvador and Consolación. Beginning in the 16th century, attacks by pirates, both Berber and Ottoman, increased, creating the need to build defense towers along the coast.
The coast of Cala d’Or met the war again in 1715, when the Bourbon army, some 12,000 men led by Claude François Bidal d’Asfeld, popularly known as Caballero d’Asfeld, landed in Cala Llonga, Cala Ferrera and Cala Figuera to end the last Australian resistance in the War of Succession. They faced a small force in Calonge to then go to Alcudia, at that time the second largest city in Mallorca, and finally surrender Palma, the capital.
A few years later, in 1730, Felipe V had a fortress built next to the mouth of Cala Llonga, known as Es Fortí. In 1755 an earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, which reached about 2 km inland, destroyed it. However, given its strategic importance, it was rebuilt in 1793. By the end of the 19th century, it had already fallen into disuse and was auctioned. It was declared a Site of Cultural Interest but no maintenance was done, so it suffered a progressive deterioration until it threatened ruin. It was not until 1995 that it was restored and currently serves as a cultural center and the esplanade on which it sits, as a magnificent viewpoint over the Mediterranean.
In 1932 the Josep Costa Ferrer from Ibiza acquired the land between Cala Gran and Cala Llonga, parceled and built it, and offered friends of his to establish their summer residence there. The houses were built in the Ibiza style: square volumes, low-rise, and painted white. A small recreation of the promoter’s native Ibiza, and that distinctive style has continued to be preserved in the successive extensions of the urbanization.
The popular name of the area where the urbanization was built was Ses Puntetes, but it was renamed Cala d’Hort because its developer reminded the area of a stream with that name in Sant Josep de sa Talaia, in Ibiza. But soon the place began to be called Cala d’Or.
Costa Ferrer’s circle of friends included many artists and people related to show business. Among others were the modernist painter Anglada Camarasa (already linked to Mallorca, resident at that time in Cala San Vicente); the stage designer of the Liceo de Barcelona, Olegari Junyent; film producer Ramón Balet; designer, producer and screenwriter Natacha Rambova, ex-wife of silent movie star Rodolfo Valentino. A short time later, the Belgian painter Médard Verburgh joined this group, who opened the Hotel Cala d’Or in 1935, the third oldest in Mallorca still in operation.
With this, Cala d’Or joined other destinations in Mallorca to start an incipient tourism industry. The ravages of the Civil War, World War II, and the harsh post-war period halted all this development, which did not partially recover until the 1950s. Josep Costa donated land for the construction of the church of Santa Maria del Mar, built on once more following the patterns of traditional Ibizan architecture.
In the 1960s, during the so-called Developmentalism, the nucleus that had grown together with Cala Llonga, Cala Gran and Cala Petita grew to the north with the construction of the Cala Ferrera urbanization. In the 70s it grew towards the south, until the area of Cala Egos, but always respecting the original style with which it was planned: low-rise white blocks that did not stand out excessively on the landscape. It also preserved the atmosphere of a favorite place for artists, hosting the summers of figures such as Joan Manuel Serrat, Camilo Sesto or Rita Pavone.
Since then, the nucleus has not grown in size, although its population density has increased. Thanks to its surroundings and the type of establishments, the nucleus of Cala d’Or is one of the most representative destinations in Mallorca for family tourism, and also for luxury and shopping, more linked to its magnificent marina.