The secret city of the Mediterranean perfect for a beach holiday in summer 2022

The secret city of the Mediterranean perfect for a beach holiday in summer 2022

Santanyí holidays where to stay Mallorca secret cities Mallorca Santanyí holidays Mediterranean beach holiday summer 2022 - Mark C. O'Flaherty

Santanyí holidays where to stay Mallorca secret cities Mallorca Santanyí holidays Mediterranean beach holiday summer 2022 – Mark C. O’Flaherty

While the west coast of Mallorca gets the most attention and you must definitely dive off the rocks of Deià after a once in a lifetime seafood lunch, the southeast of the island is arguably more beautiful. Avoid the resorts of Cala d’Or and stay inland in Santanyí, a golden stone town that dates back to the 13th century. It is almost too perfect; each alley looks like a meticulous film set, especially when the golden hour casts the sharp shadow of the palm trees on the walls of the church of Sant Andreu. The city is as peaceful as it is pretty. Around 3,000 people live here, but sometimes you’ll barely see a soul as you cross the town square.

It is that tranquility and that visual patina that has led people here to open small chic interior design shops, art galleries and restaurants with walled gardens and citrus trees. There are relatively few places to actually stay, which keeps it uncrowded: there’s the mid-range Hotel Santanyí (hoteletsantanyi.com) on Plaça de la Constitució and some nice Air BnBs, including the two-bedroom apartment. Ponç Parra artfully decorated bedroom (airbnb.co.uk/can-ponc-parra). However, last year the hoteliers behind Sant Francesc, one of Palma’s most luxurious and contemporary hotels, opened their doors to Can Ferrereta (see below).

They transformed a 17th century mansion into what may be the most perfect vacation spot in Europe, from the monochromatic interiors and Joan Miró’s artwork, to the wine list, fish croquettes and suckling pig. Despite only having 32 rooms, it has received more attention than anything else in the Balearics for years. However, you would barely know the hotel was there; it blends perfectly with the rest of Santanyí. There isn’t a late night bar scene and it doesn’t seem plausible that the city is on the same island as Magaluf.

Can Ferrereta’s success is likely to be the first tremor in seismic changes: the 16th-century city walls, built to keep out Ottoman invaders, are now an invitation to newcomers more than anything else. Go now, while you don’t have to book a month in advance for tapas.

10 reasons to go to Santanyí this summer

1. It is really tiny

You can walk from one part of the city to the other in 10 minutes and you will have the lie of the earth in one afternoon. From the city center to one of the main tourist attractions – the stone horse sculptures of the late artist Rolf Schaffner – it’s nine minutes. Santanyí is the kind of place where everyone knows each other and people stop and chat while talking to their dogs for a walk. The landscape is totally flat and the narrow streets give plenty of shade, so it’s never difficult to navigate, even in the coldest heatwaves.

2. It is close to Palma, but not too close

You don’t have to cross the city to get to Santanyí when you arrive by plane, so you’ll avoid traffic jams. But you are also just an hour from Palma, the capital of Majorca, if you want to shop, eat a paella with cuttlefish ink in one of the city’s beach clubs or dine at El Camino (elcaminopalma.es), the brother of Palma to Barrafina restaurants in London. Parking in Palma can be the stuff of nightmares, so you might as well take a taxi back and forth, especially as car rental prices have soared over the past couple of years. But if you have a car, it gives you the chance to explore more beaches and there is free and plentiful parking in Santanyí.

best beaches Mallorca Balearic Mediterranean sea holidays beach break summer 2022 - Mark C. O'Flaherty

best beaches Mallorca Balearic Mediterranean sea holidays beach break summer 2022 – Mark C. O’Flaherty

3. It has the most perfect beach

One of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the Balearics is Cala Llombards, a six-minute drive or 10-minute bike ride along a winding lane. There are always plenty of sun beds and umbrellas to hire for the day and a beach bar serving great chips, bocadillos with ham and sangria. The beach is nestled in a rocky bay, with steps carved out on each side, leading to stone ledges perfect for diving into the luminescent blue waters. If you were able to design the perfect sandy beach, you couldn’t do better. Swim with tropical fish in deeper water, to a single eye mural carved into the rock face, and then return to shore for a piña colada.

4. It has surprisingly good restaurants

For such a small city, there is a full week of dining rooms and their gardens to eat in, more imaginative than you might expect. Most of the places around the town square are fairly predictable and fine for a snack and spritz, but Laudat (restaurantlaudat.com) and Es Cantonet (es-cantonet.net) are both doing creative things with traditional local ingredients. While the parking lot and facade of Henry Like’s Pizza (henrylikespizzasantanyi.com) hint at something lackluster, it’s actually a really nice green space beyond the gates, with a decking and a bright orange Aperol bar for pre-dinner drinks. For some of the best traditional tapas on the island, head to Es Molí (00 34 971 65 36 29). Wherever you are, make your way through local Mallorcan reds: 12 Volts is a particularly good blend of Callet, Fogon, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Where to eat Santanyi best restaurants Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 - Mark C. O'Flaherty

Where to eat Santanyi best restaurants Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 – Mark C. O’Flaherty

5. It has possibly the best hotel in the Balearics

The swimming pool of Can Ferrereta (hotelcanferrereta.com), surrounded by olive trees, is the stuff of dreams. Under-14s are banned from the hotel, so it’s a very couples place, with people whispering on plush loungers. Everything is calm and perfect, with attentive service and fantastic food from chef Alvar Albaladejo at Ocre, the hotel’s restaurant. Superb locally caught seafood, grilled meats, and lush salty chocolate desserts are served in the courtyard or elegant indoor dining room. Can Ferrereta’s predominantly black, white and natural wood interior design mixes rustic understated minimalism with sleek modern art and furniture and will make you want to redecorate your entire house as soon as you get home. The smaller ‘Nest’ rooms (€ 276 / £ 235 per night including breakfast) are also wonderful. Read the full Telegraph Travel review here.

Can Ferrereta best hotel Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 - Mark C. O'Flaherty

Can Ferrereta best hotel Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 – Mark C. O’Flaherty

6. Comes with a pinch of salt

There are good wineries a short drive away, but the most famous local product is the handcrafted fleur de sal of Es Trenc, a beautiful seaside resort (popular with nudists and families), a 20-minute drive away. It’s definitely worth a visit, but you can also buy all the imaginative brilliantly packaged sea salt you could want at Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc at 15 Plaça Major right here. This is a great gift shop – there are a myriad of flavors, from smoked to saffron, beet to orange and chilli, and the circular boxes are as beautiful as anything you can find in a high-end chocolatier. flordesal.com

7. It is a market town

While Santanyí may seem deserted at times, on Saturdays and Wednesdays it transforms, with masses of German and British tourists coming to town for the market. Every table in every bar is busy and the Plaça Major and adjacent streets are filled with people bargaining over the price of questionable Gucci accessories. Ignore the bland tat and head to the stalls near the church for artisanal gastronomic offerings of priapic-looking olive oil, cheeses, sobrassada, and salami.

What to do Santanyi what to do Markets in Mallorca Mediterranean beach break summer 2022 - Mark C. O'Flaherty

What to do Santanyi what to do Markets in Mallorca Mediterranean beach break summer 2022 – Mark C. O’Flaherty

8. It has festivals galore

Majorcan people love festivals, and Santanyí has ​​its fair share of quirky annual events, including the Santo Domingo de Guzmán festivities in Es Llombards on August 8, with huge alfresco dining, dancing and all sorts of games and oddities for celebrate the patron saint of astronomers. Before Domingo has his day, the city is occupied for the last two weeks of July by the Festival of Saint Jaume, with live music and fireworks and the “parade of the giants” on July 24th. On January 17th, Santanyí joins the island-wide feast of Saint Anthony, with animal blessings, bonfires and devil hunting.

9. You will always know what time it is

The bells of Església de Sant Andreu ring every hour and every half hour and ring through the streets. The bell tower is also the best way to orient yourself in the city. The church dates back to the 18th century and was remodeled to house the organ, one of the most impressive and decorated in Europe, built by the famous luthier Jordi Botsch in 1762 for Santo Domingo in Palma. When the town church was demolished in 1835, the organ was moved east to Santanyí. It was restored to its original glory in 1999 and is regularly used for concerts by visiting artists. Even if nothing is planned, go check it out – it’s a cool item straight out of a Disney movie.

Sant Andreu church Santanyi Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 - Getty

Sant Andreu church Santanyi Mallorca mediterranean beach break summer 2022 – Getty

10. It’s a great place for a retreat

Cal Reiet (calreiet.com) is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Mallorca, a holistic 15-bedroom retreat with yoga programs, spa treatments, raw and vegan workshops, and a 20-meter pool in the garden. Rooms cost from € 300 (£ 256) a night, and it’s worth booking even if you don’t plan on eating healthy or meditating while in town (calreiet.com).

Covid Rules

Visitors over the age of 12 must present valid proof of one of the following: be fully vaccinated; a negative Covid-19 test (both a PCR performed within 72 hours before departure, and an antigen test performed within 24 hours before departure); or evidence of recovery from Covid-19 in the past six months.

This article is kept up to date with the latest information.

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