Puerto Andratx is a town nestled among the Serra de Tamunan mountains in Majorca’s south-west, which has become popular with holiday-makers who want to get away from the main tourist resorts. It was founded in the early Middle Ages as the port of the nearby regional centre of Andratx – which, like many Majorcan towns, was built a few miles inland to protect it against pirate attacks.
Today the town’s harbour is dominated by a marina and yacht club, filled with hundreds of luxury yachts taking advantage of the shelter provided by the surrounding hills. Local fishing boats also use the port, unloading the days catch just a short distance from the many excellent seafood restaurants that line the waterfront. In the 13th Century this region was an important centre of Majorcan culture – and King Jaime I of Aragon, one of the most powerful kings of the reconquest period, had a palace here. Almost eight centuries later Puerto Andratx is still a very desirable place to live, and many international celebrities own villas in the town and surrounding hills.
The old buildings and narrow streets of Puerto Andratx give the town an authentic Majorcan feel. The pace of life is very low-key, and it makes an excellent holiday choice for anyone who wants to escape the crowds at Majorca’s busiest resorts. The local night-life is generally limited to walking along the waterfront during the warm evenings and dining in its restaurants – but most visitors to this region have not come to party all night. Instead, many holiday-makers use Puerto Andratx as a base to explore the remote coves, beaches and mountain landscapes of the west of the island.
There is just one small beach in the town itself, Ses Bassetes, between the waterfront promenade and the pier – but one of the best beaches in the region is just five kilometres away at Camp de Mar, a small and exclusive resort set in a peaceful sandy bay. Beach-lovers can also reach the small island of Sa Dragonera by boat trip from Puerto Andratx, or from the nearby town of Sant Elm. Sa Dragonera is now protected as a wilderness reserve, but it was once the haunt of pirates and smugglers. Today there is a small settlement on the island, but no tourist accommodations The island is home to several sea-bird species, and was famed in the Middle Ages for the hunting peregrine falcons that nested here. Visitors can take a number of easy walking routes around the island, including a climb to the lighthouse on its highest peak, where they will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Majorcan coastline and mountains.
The inland town of Andratx is very picturesque, with several old buildings and the remains of the defensive wall that once protected it from pirates. The upper part of the town features narrow cobbled streets and the fortress-like church of Santa Maria. The view back over the old town over towards Puerto Andratx makes the walk uphill worthwhile. Compared to Majorca’s heavily developed resort regions, there are relatively few few hotels and holiday complexes in the Puerto Andratx area, but there are many private villas and apartments available to let on a long or short-term basis