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Blick auf Santanyi, Bild: Konstantin Tronin / shutterstock

Santanyi, small town of charm

Overall, Mallorca is no larger than the northern German district of Vorpommern Greifswald and yet the island appears as diverse as the whole world. Between the Cap de Formentor, according to the Mallorcans the “meeting place of the winds” and the touch of the South Seas on the dream beaches of Cala Mondragò and Cala Llombards, it can be idyllic and lonely as well as loud and crowded, exclusive, cheap and beautiful. Less than four kilometres behind the white beaches on the Mediterranean Sea lies the small town of Santanyi in the south of the island, where the original charm of Mallorca still exists.

Magical place on a favorite island

The small town appears to be made of one piece and its image is characterized by the golden yellow sandstone of medieval as well as modern buildings. Santanyi’s sandstone comes exclusively from quarries in the surrounding area and it ensures Santanyi’s unmistakable attitude. In addition, particularly atmospheric contrasts appear through the lush green palm trees, whose spreading leaves sway in the gentle wind in front of the sandstone houses on Plaça Major and the blue sky.

This place has origins in ancient times and the time of the Romans. In the 13th century, the village had become a town from which plundering pirates did not stop at all. The citizens of Santanyi first countered the buccaneers with a city wall and the city gate Porta Murdada and later a fortified fortress at Cala Llonga.

The city’s five and a half thousand people were probably poor until the 1960s, when the emerging tourism ensured an economic boom. Many rich Spaniards built their summer residences in the area, but the first Europeans also settled here in the south of the sunny Balearic island.

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Experience Santanyi

Market in Santanyi
The popular market in Santanyi, Image: panoglobe / shutterstock

To this day, remains of the old city wall surround Santanyi’s historic town center. The old city gate Porta Murada has a tower from the 16th century and is considered a popular meeting place for locals and tourists on their way to Plaça Major. Beautiful three-storey sandstone houses frame the central square. On the lower floors, restaurants and cafés invite you to visit, while life pulsates in the warm season under the large parasols on the Plaça, while the large green shutters protect interiors from great heat.

The town hall, built in 1902, and the church of Santa Andreu are among the sightseeing highlights. The church from the 18th century is equipped with a valuable baroque organ and in the immediate vicinity the artistically worked ribbed vault of the old rosary chapel Capella del Roser is particularly worth seeing.

Visitors will find art studios and boutiques all over the city, the renowned Galeria Sailer in a neat baroque townhouse offers special glass art, carpets, sculptures and paintings, and the Casa de Arte offers regular graphic workshops.

From designer jeans to aromatic sea salt: Around Plaça Major, not only the hearts of art lovers beat faster, but also those of fashion victims – and after total shopping, relaxation is on the agenda: Santanyi’s restaurants invite you to enjoy Mallorcan hospitality at the latest. There are wonderful romantic candlelight dinners in the evening and during the day the bistros invite you to enjoy tapas and wine. While the parents relax, the children romp around the car-free square.

Sun, wind and sea – on the way on beautiful island paths

Just five kilometres from the centre of Santanyi is the species-rich nature reserve of the Parc natural de Mondragó with rare animals and precious orchids, and the Cap de ses Salines is considered the southernmost point of Mallorca: an old lighthouse is located on this headland. A winery invites you to wine tasting in the associated bodega on the spot.

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Speaking of wine: A few kilometers north of Santanyi there is also an ecologically operated wine-growing area near Felantix, where old vines produce the best wines that can be tasted and bought on the spot.

In the distance, paths lead to the Tramantuna Mountains with a particularly intact nature. Anyone who was able to observe the rare, majestic black vultures from a plateau in the shadow of Mallorca’s highest mountain Puig Major will certainly never forget this magic moment.

Of course, sun, wind and the Mediterranean Sea also offer beautiful moments en masse when visiting the small harbour of Cala Figuera with the adjoining bathing bay. Cala Santanyi is considered a real bathing paradise for families and the nearby Vall d’Or golf course is considered the ultimate for golfers.

Last, but not least, a detour to the small island of Cabrera in the south of Mallorca is also recommended. The ferry crossing to this natural paradise with a fortress and the bright blue grotto takes 75 minutes. Finally, everyone sits on wooden benches in the harbour bar, drinks cold wine from glasses of water and is very surprised that the landlord doesn’t have a wooden leg. Because here on the small island, everything is like in Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel “Treasure Island”.

So the Mallorca holidays always turn out to be a holiday treasure – and the small town of Santanyi as a special gem for all those who appreciate the Mallorcan lifestyle and want to enjoy their holiday time away from mass tourism in an unadulterated ambience.