Cala Ratjada; where the sun rises in Mallorca
The weather in Cala Ratjada
The town of Cala Ratjada is located in the northeast of Mallorca, in the municipality of Capdepera. It is located at the easternmost end of the island, next to Cala Mesquida, Canyamel, Font de sa Cala and others, which is why they receive the nickname of First Sun Mallorca.
The settlement dates back to the 17th century, when fishermen’s huts and shelters were built
In the 19th century it began to be inhabited permanently and took its name from one of the usual catches in these waters: the ratjada (stingray). In the 1930s, it became a residence for intellectuals, like other incipient tourist centers on the island, and after the Civil War and the post-war period, it emerged as a top-level tourist destination in the years of developmentalism.
Despite having about 60 hotels and more than 5,000 hotel beds, the town has managed to preserve the charm of the original residential nucleus
The Capdepera coast, where Cala Ratjada is located, is representative of the east of Mallorca. It is a very jagged and steep coast with more or less small coves protected between cliffs of a certain height. They are usually very protected from the winds, and the largest have sandy areas with gentle slopes towards calm waters. These characteristics have permeated a mostly family tourism.
Around these coves, important tourist centers have developed with a great variety of complementary offerings
In addition to families, groups of friends and trips for the elderly are common. The offer ranges from water sports for all tastes to quiet stays with entertainment in the hotels and quiet walks through shopping areas facing the sea.
The roads of Mallorca are highly appreciated by cyclists from all over Europe to practice their favorite sport, and also by professional teams
There are not a few who carry out their preseason here. Most of the roads in the area have good hard shoulders to facilitate coexistence between bicycles and cars, and there are also a good number of bike lanes on the promenades of the main coves.
As in all of Mallorca, culture and nature tourism also has its place
In the vicinity of Cala Ratjada you will find the Natural Park of the Levante Peninsula, the majestic Caves of Artá or the imposing Capdepera castle.
Last but not least, there is a great gastronomic offer where, of course, the fish and seafood dishes caught in the nearby waters stand out.
How to get to Cala Ratjada
Cala Ratjada is located just over 80 km from Palma and its airport, but it has good communications.
How to get to Cala Ratjada by car
- From Palma: we will go to Manacor on the Ma-15 and once there we will only have to follow the indications to Cala Ratjada. There are several car parks in the town.
- From the north (Pollensa, Alcudia, Can Picafort): we will take the Ma-12 towards Artá and then we will follow the signs for Cala Ratjada.
- From the southern area (Llucmajor, Colonia de Sant Jordi): we will go first to Porreras and then we will follow the indications to Manacor to connect with the Ma-15. Finally, there will be nothing left but to follow the indicated path to Cala Ratjada.
- From the east (Cala d’Or, Portocolom, Calas de Mallorca): first we will follow the indications to Felanitx, but as soon as we connect with the Ma-4014 we will head towards Porto Cristo. Shortly before reaching this town we will continue towards Manacor, and once there we will take the Ma-15 to follow the indications to Cala Ratjada.
How to get to Cala Ratjada by public transport
Line 411 reaches Cala Ratjada from Manacor.
To get to Manacor we have several options:
From Palma: we have bus lines 401 and 501 that connect Palma with Manacor (the first is direct, the second through Campos and Felanitx) and transfer to the 411. We can also use the T3 railway line and then change to bus.
How to get to Cala Ratjada by boat
Cala Ratjada has a marina and is a common destination to arrive by boat since it is the closest point of Mallorca to Menorca
Thus, those who want to make the crossing between the two islands are very likely to pass through here.
If we want to save the mooring, or it is not available, it is not recommended to anchor in Cala Ratjada
The bottom, about 5 m deep, is rocky, and not very suitable for anchoring. It is better to go around the small cape where Cala Ratjada is located and anchor in Cala Agulla, 2.5 miles away, where the bottom is sand and stone. But always paying attention to the winds and the state of the sea.
Cala Ratjada offers its visitors a good number of activities to enjoy their stay: swimming in its coves and beaches, practicing sports, exploring the nearby natural spaces or visiting historical or picturesque places.
Beaches of Cala Ratjada
Next to the same urban nucleus of Cala Ratjada we have the beaches of Son Moll (or Cala Moll) and Cala Gat. They are small sandy areas perfect for families, the first is more crowded, and the second is somewhat quieter. Following Son Moll is Cala Pedruscada, which, as we can deduce from its name, is a small cove mainly made of rocks.
Surrounding the tip of Capdepera (or crossing to the north of Cala Ratjada) is the beach of Cala Agulla, the largest sandy area in Capdepera. We also find L’Olla and Na Lliteres, two secluded coves with practically virgin rocks. Continuing further north we arrive at the nearby beach of Cala Mesquida, another first class tourist center. And to the south, past Cala Pedruscada, we have the small Cala de n’Aguait and Es Carregador.
All these beaches and coves can be explored on foot along paths along the coast, or by sea, kayak or paddle surf, which gives us a new perspective of this rugged coastline.
Sports in Cala Ratjada
One of the main attractions of Cala Ratjada as a tourist destination is its sports facilities
Next to this town is the Es Figueral sports center, which has a soccer field, athletics track and sports hall. It is managed by the city council and its spaces can be reserved for the practice of different sports.
There are also several tennis clubs and hotels that have clay courts for their guests, with the option of hiring private lessons. On the beaches of the municipality there are nets installed for the practice of beach volleyball.
The roads in the area are highly appreciated by cyclists
There are several hotels that as an additional service include garages and bicycle workshops, and bicycle rental services.
Regarding water sports, practically any specialty that occurs to us can be practiced in these waters
The yacht club has a sailing school, and if we have the corresponding title we can also rent a motor boat. If not, there are several companies that organize boat trips in the area.
If we are lovers of diving there are also facilities where to rent the necessary equipment and companies that organize courses or outings
Hay una veintena de buenos puntos de inmersión para distintos niveles de experiencia.
Finally, for lovers of adventure and risk sports, the orography of the coast near Cala Ratjada provides good opportunities to practice torrential descent, climbing or psychobloc
There are options for adventurers of all levels, from beginners to the most expert.
Nature and culture
The surroundings of Cala Ratjada offer a good number of opportunities to enjoy the nature of this part of Mallorca and also learn a lot about its culture and history.
From this town there are many hiking routes, both coastal and inland, to visit different places.
Essential visits in Cala Ratjada
Very close to Cala Ratjada is the mythical Capdepera lighthouse, immortalized by Serrat in his Cada loco con su tema. Built in 1861, it marks the easternmost point of Mallorca, and the westernmost point of the Menorca channel, in front of the Artrutx lighthouse.
In addition to getting to know this construction closely from its location, you can contemplate some privileged views that on clear days reach the island of Menorca.
Next to the road to the Capdepera lighthouse is this old watchtower, documented for the first time in 1769, although due to its style it must have been built in the 17th century. Its nickname of Esbucada (demolished) is not due to its current dilapidated state, but because it was damaged by the explosion of the magazine caused by British sailors in 1808.
It is in a very poor state of conservation, even threatening ruin. Its perimeter has recently been fenced to avoid accidents.
Vila March and Sa Torre Cega
In 1915 the businessman Juan March, a native of the nearby municipality of Santa Margalida, acquired the land where Sa Torre Cega (blind tower) stood, so called because it was not in sight of other towers of the defense system of the coast of Mallorca and it only protected Cala Ratjada. Of course the place is of extraordinary beauty, and the views are unbeatable.
The villa that was built became a benchmark for the regionalist architectural style later spread throughout Mallorca. Guided tours are held several days a week where the mansion, its spectacular gardens, and the views it enjoys are shown.
Just five minutes from Cala Ratjada stands the Capdepera castle. At the top of this hill Jaime I ordered in 1231 to light many bonfires to make the Muslims of Menorca believe that a great army was preparing to invade them. The ruse was successful and the Menorcans became vassals without fighting.
The fortress that was the nucleus that would give rise to the municipality of Capdepera was built on these lands in 1300. Behind its walls, more than 100 houses were built, and it was inhabited until the 18th century, when the danger from pirates had already disappeared. Since then it has remained only as a military fortress. Since 1983 it has been owned by the city council and is open to visits.
Caves of Artà
Just 15 minutes by car, next to Canyamel beach, are the spectacular caves of Artà. Although not as well known as the Caves of Drach, they are another remarkable work of nature worthy of admiration.
Although there is evidence that they were known since prehistory, they were rediscovered and explored in the 19th century. They were enabled for tourist visits and there are guided tours that include games of lights and sounds in some of its impressive rooms.
Levante Peninsula Park
Less than 20 km from Cala Ratjada is the access by car to the Levante Peninsula Natural Park, shared between the municipalities of Artà and Capdepera. If we are fit it is possible, and not very difficult, to get there on foot from Cala Ratjada passing through Cala Mesquida.
In its more than 1600 Ha we can enjoy the particular landscape of this part of the island, half shaped by nature and by thousands of years of human exploration. We can also visit different ethnographic samples to discover the most traditional way of life in Mallorca.
There are several itineraries to explore it with which to discover the natural and cultural curiosities that the park houses.
Restaurants in Cala Ratjada
In Cala Ratjada we can enjoy a wide range of restaurants for all tastes and pockets. Obviously the places that offer fresh fish and seafood from these same waters stand out, but there are many more options.
In the center of Cala Ratjada we find this place with a simple appearance but for many it is the best restaurant in the town
The food is simply exceptional, highlighting its very fresh fish dishes. But its meats and other specialties are not far behind. The service is excellent, with friendly and attentive staff whose recommendations are worth considering. Very good value for money, a choice that will hardly disappoint.
Near the seafront of Cala Ratjada, but in a quiet area, we have this cozy restaurant specialized in beef but with a Mediterranean touch
It has a discreet and charming interior courtyard where you can taste its dishes away from the hustle and bustle of the street. The service and setting are the perfect complement to a high quality meal prepared with care.
Le Seazon bistro
Located on the seafront of Cala Ratjada we have this elegant place specialized in fish and seafood prepared with an innovative touch
Fresh, quality ingredients, prepared and presented with exquisiteness and elegance are its keys. The price can be somewhat high, but according to the quality of the product, the excellent service and the privileged location.
With more than 30 years of experience, this beautiful place has established itself as one of the best Italian restaurants in the region, and obviously its exquisite pizzas stand out
It has a terrace with splendid views of the sea. The price can be a bit expensive but in the average for such a touristy place and in that location.
In the Cala Moll area, a few meters from the beach, we find this place with several spaces (restaurant, cafeteria, bar, cocktail bar, beach bar) where we can eat, have a drink or spend an evening having a few drinks in an elegant and sophisticated environment
The food includes a wide variety of dishes from Spanish, Mediterranean and European cuisines in general, which is perfect for the wide variety of customers it serves, all made with good ingredients. The value for money is adequate given the privileged location of the place and its special atmosphere. The drinks are somewhat expensive, it is advisable to always check the prices to avoid surprises.
El Gaucho del Mar
In a fishing village it may be surprising that there is a restaurant specializing in meat barbecue, but this is what El Gaucho del Mar offers
In an elegant place with an unbeatable location on the seafront, we can enjoy spectacular barbecues. But as it could not be missing in a coastal town, it also offers us excellent grilled fish dishes and mixed grills and vegetables. All palates are thus satisfied.
The service is impeccable, the portions are generous, and the value for money is very good. They even have children’s menus so that the little ones can also enjoy the food.
This simple family restaurant somewhat remote from the first line gives us what is expected of a business of this type: homemade food, abundant portions, close and familiar treatment, and a good price
The atmosphere can hardly be more cheerful and welcoming, and its food is not far behind. Its fish and squid dishes stand out, but what deserves a special mention are its paellas, especially those with seafood, a real delight.
If our budget is limited we do not have to give up the quality of the food
Somewhat away from the promenade we find several fast food places like this burger joint. Here we can enjoy tasty hamburgers and fries or assorted pinchos in an informal, and above all inexpensive environment.
Especially on weekends and in high season it can be a bit crowded and the service will not be as fast as the food, but it is compensated by the friendliness of the staff.
Accommodation in Cala Ratjada
Cala Ratjada has become a first-class holiday destination in Europe. This town and its neighboring coves have more than 70 establishments and more than 15,000 hotel rooms of all kinds, so we are sure that we can find the establishment that suits our tastes and budget.
In the center of Cala Ratjada, about 500 m from the beach, we find this excellent recently renovated hotel
It has rooms of all sizes (single, double, family), making it perfect for a wide variety of guests, both couples looking for a romantic setting and families. There is even the possibility of reserving the entire hotel for company events, weddings, etc.
Formerly it was the Villa Massanet pension, one of the oldest establishments in Cala Ratjada, established in 1929. The reform has preserved the original charm of the building and the interior garden next to the swimming pool. In an effort to seek efficiency and sustainability, the hotel has solar panels and has improved its air conditioning to avoid wasting energy.
It has a bar, and the hotel environment is away from the busiest area of Cala Ratjada. The treatment of the staff is familiar and welcoming, and they can help us to manage the hiring of sports or leisure activities during our stay.
Lago Garden Apart-suites & Spa
If what we are looking for is luxury and sophistication, one of the options to consider will be this complex just 500 m from the beach but totally isolated from the hustle and bustle of a tourist area
Its first-class facilities combine luxury without fanfare, elegance and comfort. It has spacious rooms of various categories: from doubles to suites, including family suites.
It has two swimming pools, a lush garden, a restaurant where you can taste market cuisine and two bars. It has a very complete Spa where we can enjoy different treatments: sauna, jacuzzis, contrast pool, massages, etc.
In addition to the services offered in the hotel itself, they can organize different sports and leisure activities: golf lessons at one of the four courses near Cala Ratjada; tennis lessons on their own clay courts; riding lessons and horseback riding; rental of equipment for nautical sports, or even boats. Without a doubt, an exquisite service for the best experience.
The Sky Hotel – Adults only
As an adults-only hotel it is ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway
This hotel completely renovated in 2020 is located in the center of Cala Ratjada, less than 400 m from its promenade. Here you will find an elegant and quiet environment with rooms of different categories for all budgets.
On the upper terrace of the hotel there is an outdoor pool with a chillout bar during the day, and evenings enlivened by DJs at night. It also has its own restaurant, El Cel, where we can taste the best of typical Mallorcan and Spanish cuisine.
Petit Hotel Ses Rotges
Staying at this hotel is a unique experience in Cala Ratjada. Built on an old 18th century possessió (a type of farmhouse), the rooms, although modernized, retain all their charm with their terracotta floors and exposed wooden beams.
The rustic-style decoration blends in perfectly with the traditional architecture and the surroundings, where a spectacular garden that surrounds the outdoor terrace stands out.
It has from economic rooms to suites. Especially noteworthy are the rooms for cyclists, which include services such as closed parking and bicycle wash, workshop and filling of the water bottle. Also thinking of cyclists, it offers a bicycle rental service and route recommendations.
The hotel has a restaurant, courtyard and rooftop solarium, and stands out for its quiet surroundings. The staff provides their guests with an exquisite treatment and can help us to contract activities outside the hotel or recommend visits or tourist routes.
Hostal Port Corona
If our budget is limited it does not mean that we should give up comfort. This hostel located in front of the marina and only 400 m from the beach offers us simple but clean, bright and comfortable rooms with sea views
If we can do without the luxuries it is an excellent choice. The hotel has a casual restaurant with a terrace with great views. Breakfast is not included in the price, but it is good and plentiful. The treatment of the staff is attentive and exquisite, with nothing to envy to superior category hotels, which makes our stay more pleasant.
Prehistory and Antiquity
The lands near Cala Ratjada were populated since prehistoric times
A few kilometers away, next to Canyamel beach, the so-called Claper des Gegant or Talayot de s’Heretat still stands. Its age of about 3000 years places it in the middle of the Talayotic period (during the Bronze Age). The existence of a wall in its first phase of construction indicates that the coasts were already visited by not always friendly foreigners.
The presence of Phoenician and Roman remains indicate that these cultures also had a notable presence in the area.
Middle Age and Reconquest
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the large cities lost population in favor of rural areas. This was accentuated during the Muslim rule
Few remains of this period remain since their use continued for centuries and successive reconstructions of infrastructures have hidden them. One of the most notable examples is the Torre de Canyamel, a watch and defense tower from the 13th century but built on a building from the Arab period.
In 1231, two years after the conquest of Mallorca by Jaime I of Aragon, on the hill where the Capdepera castle is located, the king ordered a multitude of bonfires to be lit to make the Muslims of Menorca believe that a great army had gathered to invade them. The reality is that the forces had been greatly diminished by the harsh campaign in Mallorca, but the ruse paid off. Some emissaries crossed the channel that separates Menorca from Mallorca to render vassalage to the Christian king.
In the year 1300 the castle was built, which came to house 125 houses, and is considered the foundation of Capdepera, although still under the management of the Artà district.
In the 16th century the first houses began to be built in what is now Cala Ratjada. They were fishermen’s refuges that were not inhabited all year round, only during certain seasons
The threat of the Barbary and Turkish pirates and corsairs was still present throughout the Mediterranean.
As this danger passed, some of these houses became permanently inhabited, with fishermen arriving not only from the town of Capdepera but from all over Mallorca: from Portocolom, Pollensa, or even some families from Valldemossa, on the other side of the island.
Capdepera became independent as a municipality in 1858, and shortly after, in 1861, the lighthouse was built. With this aid to navigation, the port of Cala Ratjada began to grow. The proximity to Menorca also favored some freight traffic between the two islands, and in 1885 the first hotel in the town, Cas Bombu, was founded.
The grounds of an old watchtower next to Cala Ratjada were the place chosen by Juan March to build his luxurious summer residence, but it was not the only one
The beauty of these places attracted more wealthy owners who built their summer mansions here. In the 1930s, Cala Ratjada followed the path of other incipient residential centers on the coast of Mallorca (Cala San Vicente, Cala d’Or, etc.) and were the summer resort, and even residence, of notable intellectuals from all over Europe.
With the outbreak of the Civil War and the subsequent postwar period, the economic development of the region suffered a strong halt
In the 40s and 50s a strong local industry of the palm heart or dwarf palm (in Majorcan, garballó or llata) emerged, whose dried and bleached leaves are used to make a great variety of utensils and utensils: hats, baskets, baskets, brooms, carpets… In the Capdepera castle is the Museu de la Llata, which hosts an exhibition of this traditional art.
Already in the 60s the new tourist industry was added to the sources of wealth of the town, added to the commercial activity of the port of Cala Ratjada
Despite the boom in hotel construction, the town retained much of the traditional style, and the natural environment was largely respected. Thus, outside the most touristy area of Cala Ratjada, we have already seen that good samples of traditional architecture can be found, and remarkable natural spaces, including several virgin beaches.