MALLORCA HIDDEN SECRETS: SANTANYI AND CALA FIGUERA
Mallorca is an amazing little island that lives up to its reputation as Europe’s corner of paradise. I am not going to talk to you about its main city, Palma but I rather tell you about the hidden tiny spots that have retained all the authentic flair of the place.
Let’s go to the southwestern side of the island, to Santanyí. This is a little town that appears on the map halfway between Barcelona and Algiers; situated in the middle of the Balears Islands in the Mediterranean sea.
Santanyi is about only an hour car’s ride from Palma, but visiting this side of the island is like stepping into another world. The drive sets you up for what is about to come. Fields of wheat alternated by patches of Mediterranean vegetation, sheep grazing peacefully, an open and bucolic landscape.
Santanyi, contrary to Palma, is a typical small village with its Mediterranean flair that has preserved all its charm and original sandstone buildings. The town centre is dominated by the main church that opens onto the ever present Piazza, as you would find in most Italian and French villages.
Cafes are the perfect place to hang out and soak in the atmosphere. They all serve drinks and light lunches.
The Holistic Retreat of Cal Reiet is the only address you’ll need for the perfect stay in town. This blissful place lies on the outskirts of the village and is hardly a slow-paced, 10 minutes’ walk to the main square and town centre. So, why did it take me nearly three hours to complete the trip? I just let my eyes wander from place to place while following various roads scattered with little boutiques selling bohemian/beach style clothes and pottery, art galleries and home furniture shops. With all these diversions, by the time I reached the heart of the village, rehydration was in order. I opted for a tapas bar for a light meal and lots of water.
There are many interesting addresses in Mallorca however several shops sell very similar beach town merchandise. Don’t get me wrong, you will enjoy popping in to buy a dress that gets you in the holiday mood or picking out a swimming costume or hat you may have forgotten at home or even finding a nice pair of slippers that you don’t necessarily need but, are too adorable to pass up; all the while the lovely weather makes it such an enjoyable experience!
Then there’s the spots that are such little gems they deserve a visit.
These are my favourite addresses:
Lovely store selling a selection of ceramics, Homeware,Boho fashion and accessories
Carrer Bisbe Verger 25
This is a pottery shop selling beautiful clay pots for cooking. These pots can change the taste of your food completely due to the way they distribute heat during their slow cooking process; producing deep flavored cuisine with many different layers. They are very similar to those used in central and southern Italy. I really loved the clay trivets. The cups and plates where gorgeous as well!
Carrer des Celler, 13
This shop is a cutie with its mélange of fashion accessories and decor items and the courtyard at the back is filled with delightful cactus and other succulents, all to die for.
I almost forgot to mention, they sell sunglasses, jewelry and summerwear.
Carrer de Sant Andreu, 6
This flower shop is lovely! The flowers are so beautiful and reasonably priced here that I would have bought them all if not for the stringent plane regulations. I particularly adored the succulent plants, some of which I had never seen before. They were out of this world! Since you can’t take them home, just enjoy looking at them and maybe snap a picture. What you can take home instead are the lovely candles and home diffusers that smell like a Mediterranean summer; fresh, crisp and full of promises.
Here I found a very sophisticated and tasteful collection of homeware and interior décor items, lovely colours speaking of the sea and a lazy summery afternoon of al fresco dining on the veranda overlooking the Mediterranean.
Carrer s’Aljub, 29
The holistic retreat of Cal Reiet is the one address you need to make your stay in Santayi truly special. An old country villa restored to perfection, this is a magic place to rest, relax, heal and recharge your batteries. Every part of the experience is thought out down to the most minute detail in order to provide you a truly authentic experience in the most amazing settings such as, light and muted coloured gardens of rosemary hedges and olive trees that allow your eyes to rest from the excessive stimulation we expose them to. Equally, you’ll find rest for your ears as they become tuned to the sound of the wind gently whispering through the trees as nearby birds sing throughout the gardens.
To complete the holistic approach to wellness, the restaurant serves only vegetarian and vegan food, the SPA offers a small but very special selection of treatments and Yoga lessons are available every morning.
Carrer de Cal Reiet, 80
Another plus for Cal Reiet and Santanyì is the proximity to the beautiful fishing village of Cala Figuera; perfect for a few hours excursion and some of the most unspoiled beaches on the island.
On Wednesdays, the town is taken over by a street market that attracts tourists and locals from all over the island and transform the town into an open-air market. Don’t miss it! The atmosphere is exceptional and you can take home some real bargains if you allow the time to go through the stalls that are selling everything from cheese, vegetables, jewellery, clothes and bags.