Dress up to come here, or you will feel seriously out of place. Port d'Andratx is one of Mallorca's classiest resorts, popular with the yachting fraternity and with film stars whose Italian-style villas can be seen climbing up the hillsides. But don't let that put you off; come here all the same.
The village itself is very small, and is set at the bottom of a funnel-shaped valley (Andratx town lies at the top of the valley about 5km away). Villas dot every conceivable space on the surrounding hillsides as development went a bit haywire in the 80's and 90's. However, the harbour is one of the prettiest in Mallorca and a table at one of the many excellent waterside bars and restaurants is really the perfect place to watch the sunset.
History of Andratx
It is likely that the name 'Andratx' has Latin roots, where 'antra' translates into caves - the caves at Son Bosc & Son Fortuny are a couple of examples that were used by humans in pre-historic times. Talayotic cultures (1300-1000 BC) are evident at Son Fortuny (Biniorella Talayot) and Es Castell in s'Arraco. The Romans arrived in 123 BC but there are no significant remains on this part of the island. The Muslim rule from the 10th century brought irrigation techniques.
After the Catalan conquest in 1229, the area was ruled by feudal lords. Pirate raids in the 15th century saw some attempts to buuild a defensive wall around Andratx, but this was never finished, probably because Andratx is situated several kilometres away from the coast and up a hill - not exactly a pirates dream we imagine!
The 16th & 17th centuries were blighted by poor harvests, leading to hunger & poverty and an exodus to the city. It was not until the 18th century that a recovery took hold, when Sa Coma and s'Arraco were established. The implementation of a centralised state administration promoted agriculture & fishing to provide for the growing population.
The town of Andratx expanded further in the 19th century when industries such as soap manufacture and timber processing plants. This was not to last however, and by the end of the century, large numbers of the population migrated to the Americas and France. The next major boom was not until the 1960's when tourism began to establish itself. Major construction created residential areas in Port d'Andratx, Camp de Mar & Sant Elm, and tourism remains the main economic force in the area today.
Things to Do in Port Andratx
Port d'Andratx is centred around the nautical and fishing industries. The well equipped marina, the Club de Vela has moorings for 500 boats. The club also offers sailing lessons & canoeing throughout the year. There was talk recently that the fishing boats should be relocated away from the main promenade, but such was the outcry from both locals and holiday makers that these plans were shelved. The presence of the fishermen and their daily catch gives the port it's character - you can buy their fresh fish directly in the evenings.
The port has several small beaches which offer easy access to the crystal clear waters. If you have transport, you may prefer to go to Camp de Mar or Sant Elm where larger and sandier beaches await - have a look at our Beach Guide for more information. There are a number of small boutiques in Port d'Andratx which makes for a pleasant few hours of gentle shopping.
For more cultural pursuits, head to Andratx which boasts a fabulous contemprary art gallery, the CCA - Andratx Art Centre. On the other side of town you'll find Sa Taronja - a cultural centre which provides concerts, exhibitions and workshops for adults and children. In the centre of Andratx is the domineering town hall, Son Mas, a former (very grand!) Arabian farmhouse originating from the 15th century. The town's market is held around Son Mas every wednesday.
This area of Mallorca is blessed with glorious countryside. The main island off the coast is Sa Dragonera, which has been a Natural Park since 1995. You can take a short boat trip over to the island and explore the hiking trails & coves, and get friendly with the many native lizards who live here! The other Nature Reserve on the mainland is La Trappe. The remains of a village surrounding an ancient monastery are here and there are spectacular views out to sea and over to Sa Dragonera island.
As you might expect, this lovely scenery attracts hikers and cyclists, and there are plenty of trails to follow. Hiking maps are available at the tourist offices. Cyclists will enjoy the coastal hill roads, or you can delve deeper into the Tramuntana mountains for more challenging rides. An 18 hole golf course (opened 1999) is situated towards Camp de Mar.
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