A municipality and town in the island’s south-east, Santanyí is pretty, rural and authentically Mallorcan. Occupying a privileged position slightly inland from more than 48km of ravishing coastline, next to the second-largest nature park in the Balearics, this golden-stone village is blessed with stunning natural surroundings.
Combine this with a serene atmosphere and some fine places to eat and stay, and you have the ingredients that give Santanyí its special quality. Here we provide all the information you need to enjoy a visit to this quietly enchanting southern town.
History & Culture
The surrounding environment, the light and the atmosphere of the town seems to be made for creative people and has attracted many international artists over the years. Today art seems to play a central role, and you can find many types of galleries and workshops in the narrow alleys of this quiet country town.
The local people know each other well and like to stop for a chat with their neighbours. Visitors enjoy watching the daily routine sipping a café con leche or a glass of wine on one of the many terraces on the square.
You don’t have to look far to see marks from Santanyí’s pirate-suffering past. The fortified city wall and Porta Murdada (gate) still stand as symbols of past generations’ fear of the constant threat of pirate attacks which plagued their town. Moorish invasions got so bad in Santanyí that many people took to sleeping in the town’s locked church.
Take a trip to nearby Cala Llonga and you’ll see the remains of an 18th century fort built to repel invasions, complete with embrasures used to house cannons. Several defence towers are located along the coast, including Torre d’en Beu, in Cala Figuera.
The town’s original name Santi Annini means ‘Lamb of God’, the symbol for which can be seen in the church and Santanyí’s coat of arms.
Be it for the scenery, curiosity or interest in art, Santanyí is well worth a visit and the best time to go is at the weekend. Saturday is market day in Santanyí, so you better start off early. Enjoy a breakfast in one of the cafés and watch the continual coming and going on one of the nicest markets on the island. Take a look around the galleries or stroll around the market stands with their vast selection of curiosities.
You should plan for an early dinner in one of the excellent restaurants in Santanyí and don’t miss the live music in Sa Cova (starts at around 09:30hrs). If you are lucky, owner Juan will join in with the band and play the guitar; regardless it will be a night to remember.
A great way to spend the Sunday is a boat excursion to the nature park Cabrera. The island is famous for its beauty, rare species and fauna, and the crystal clear waters are a paradise for divers. The day tour can be booked directly at the harbour of Colonia Sant Jordi, with boats leaving at 09:30 hrs. Don’t forget your picnic basket as you’ll have all day for walks, sunbathing or snorkelling.
The boats are back in Colonia Sant Jordi at around 05:00 pm – a good time to wrap up the weekend in one of the bars on the new promenade of the marina with a cool sundowner and the best views over the harbour. Enjoy!
A list of the daily markets taking place all over the island of Mallorca selling lots of interesting local produce and great souvenirs to take home. […] Markets in Mallorca
Things to do in Santanyí
There are many galleries and art workshops in Santanyí, and a stroll around the side streets is well worthwhile if you are looking for that special piece of art or decorative item for your home.
One of the most fascinating galleries, Galeria Sailer, is located directly on the main road. The Austrian Sailer couple offer a stunning selection of pre-Columbian textiles and antique Kalims combined with modern paintings, sculptures and glass objects in a renovated townhouse dating back to the 17th century.
From carpet shop apprenticeship to opera singer to rare kilim trader – 50 years later, and Franz Sailer is still learning. […] Sailer Gallery Santanyí
Visit Casa de Arte to explore the vibrant work of successful Dutch-born artist Gemma Leys. Gemma also periodically runs workshops for aspiring painters at her Santanyí house.
For fun boutique shopping, head to Plaza Mayor, the location of Italian designer fashion store Es Centre, and Cult, which showcases young fashion and designer jeans.
The sight of Flor de Sal d´Es Trenc products, in their eye-catching canisters, is ubiquitous on the island. This wonderful natural gourmet ingredient is harvested just up the road, on the salt flats of Es Trenc. Foodies and gift-shoppers will adore the official Flor de Sal shop, also in the main square.
Flor de Sal d’es trenc was the first to make salt from Mallorca famous, with the vision and drive of a very special lady at the helm. Read Katja Wöhr’s story here. […] Flor de Sal d’es trenc
For dive organic wine tasting, the Son Alegre wine cellar in nearby Calonge is hard to beat. One of a number of Mallorcan bodegas cultivating wines under strict ecological conditions, Son Alegre welcomes visits by appointment.
Miquel Manresa at the eco-concious Son Alegre Wine Cellar is producing some of the happiest wine in Mallorca. Why not sample some soon at the Santanyi market? […] Son Alegre Wine Cellar
If you love secluded walks, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Santanyí, thanks to the network of coastal paths the area boasts. Visit the nature resort of Mondragó (follow signs on the road from Santanyí to Cala Figuera) or drive over Llombards to the lighthouse of Ses Salines.
Here you can either walk along the beaches to Colonia Sant Jordi (approx. 1.5 hours) or you can take the opposite direction and follow the cliffy coast to Cala Llombards (2.5 to 3 hours, good shoes necessary).
A ten-minute drive from Santanyí will take you to the Vall d’Or golf course, a short but beautifully-presented course with magnificent Mediterranean views.
Close to Mallorca’s southeast resort of Cala d’Or and the attractive fishing port of Portocolom, this 18-hole course offers spectacular views of the coastline. It’s not a difficult course, but first-time players here will encounter some surprises. […] Vall d’Or Golf
Your complete guide to the BEST things you can do and see on Mallorca in 2015…. Read about the secret spots, the best restaurants, ideas for kids and lots more. Read the Mallorca Magazine online Now! […] 101 Best things to do on Mallorca 2015
Santanyí Bay & Beaches
The picturesque harbour of Cala Figuera is only a few kilometers away from Santanyí, and the romantic Mediterranean feeling is hard to match. Here you will get an authentic idea of what the island was like before the times of mass tourism.
Some 6km from Santanyí village, backed by a cluster of large hotels, Cala Sanyanyí is slightly more developed, and can get busy. It’s still a lovely beach, though, with pristine shallow water, surrounded by pines and palms.
Cafés & Restaurants in Santanyí
Santanyí is a food lover’s paradise, with countless wonderful and interesting restaurants contained within its handsome streets.
Find out why you should take the time to eat out in ‘the Migjorn’ – our experts present the very best food in Santanyí and Ses Salines in the southeast of Mallorca. […] Best Restaurants in Santanyí
On the market square, two restaurants have responded to the trend for combining food with art. Sa Botiga offers daily German-style buffet breakfasts, and changing art exhibitions on its upper floors.
“We would like to make the access to art easier for people” explains owner Bernd Tonagel, who manufactures small pieces of light-art himself using old tejas (typical Mallorcan tiles). The café itself is cosy and inviting and a meeting point for many regulars.
Some buildings further down the road, the French L’Art de Vivre invites visitors to experience art and gastronomic pleasure. The owner Danielle is a passionate artist and her paintings decorate the walls of the restaurant. Look out for changing exhibitions of local artistic talent.
Dannielle’s daughter Dominique is responsible for the menu, at least from May to October. She spends the rest of the year in California, where she is a celebrated chef. During the day, L’Art de Vivre offers breakfast and light lunches, while at night the café turns into a sophisticated restaurant with French cuisine. With two days’ advance booking the restaurant also offers brunch, serving a selection of mouth-watering brunch dishes for 12 Euros at the table – a very nice alternative for those tired of buffet brunching.
Eternally popular Es Cantonet offers elegant Mediterranean dishes with a hint of Asian influence, in a beautifully romantic old building.
It’s a place to enjoy light Mediterranean cuisine, with Mallorcan and Asian influences. […] Restaurant Es Cantonet
If you fancy Italian food in a casual and quirky setting, try Bacco, with its colourful courtyard. An evening savouring tasty tapas in the warm, lively atmosphere of Bar Sa Cova is a must.
A few kilometers away in the village of Ses Salines, and much deserving of a visit is Cassai, an enchanting café restaurant with a fresh, flavoursome menu, and a commendably tasteful design team.
This restaurant is located in a Mallorcan mansion in the village of Ses Salines, between Santanyí & Es Trenc. Good quality ingredients used for home-made pasta and pizzas, fish & meats. […] Cassai
Whatever your budget, taste, style or location, we have a superb option for you in our thoroughly-researched list of the best restaurants on Mallorca in 2016. Read Now! […] 101 Top Restaurant Guide 2016
Hotels in Santanyí
Should the way home be too far and you want to stay for the night, you could do a lot worse than S’Hotelet de Santanyí. This beautifully stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the village features lovely artwork by artist Gemma Leys.
Located in Santanyí, a traditional Mallorcan Village, this 5- bedroom hotel displays modern furnishings giving it a homely feel, close by the beautiful white sand beaches. Book now! […] S’Hotelet de Santanyí
A few kilometres from Santanyí in Ses Salines, two fine accommodation options await. Hotel Rural Es Turo is a charming finca hotel with views of Cabrera island, while C’an Bonico is a characterful historic manor infused with Scandinavian style.
The newly opened health and wellness hotel Cal Reiet, on the edge of Santanyí, brings a whole other level of luxury in terms of boutique hotels in the area, with its own dedicated yoga studio, organic restaurant and spa facilities, this is an ideal retreat location.
A holistic retreat hotel in Santanyí focuses on the mind-body-spirit connection, to help guests recuperate, rejuvenate, and relax. Highly recommended! […] Cal Reiet – Mallorca’s prime wellness retreat
Mallorca’s 101 best boutique and finca hotels for 2015 have been carefully selected for you, by the editors of luxury lifestyle magazine abcMallorca. […] Mallorca’s 101 Best Boutique & Finca Hotels
Events in Santanyí
Artists need an inspiring surrounding, which they find at Bar Sa Cova, where everybody meets at night. Jazz fan Juan realised his dream of owning a bar nine years ago, creating a platform for locals and expats, artists and musicians. The cosmopolitan audience is easygoing at Sa Cova, and the atmosphere unrivalled on the island. There is live music on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and Juan’s latest invention is a small theatre in the backroom, which stags French, Spanish, English and German plays on Sundays.
Saint Anthony’s Day, held on 17th January, is a magical night in Santanyí. Animals are blessed – a deep-rooted tradition in Mallorca- and bonfires are held the previous night.
Santanyí’s Festival International de Música takes place from April through to September. Held in special and symbolic spaces including the churches and monastery, concerts are free and bring a rich array of talented artists to town.
Living in Santanyí
A sizeable proportion of Santanyi’s 3000-strong population is expat, lending the town a slight international vibe, and bringing overseas wealth to the economy.
Germans in search of the good life discovered Santanyí long ago, and the area is hugely popular for both holidays and home for many German nationals. Reliable southern sunshine, close proximity to Palma and attractive rural surroundings combine to make Santanyí a highly desirable place to live.
Thinking of moving to mallorca? Here you will find out where are the best regions and towns to live on the island and why they may be interesting for you. […] Mallorca’s Best Areas to Live
Conversant with the traditional, authentic nature of this corner of the island, the real estate market is geared towards fincas. Town house restorations are increasingly hard to come by, many Germans having already snapped them up and beautifully restored them with characteristic efficiency.
Sshhhh! Mallorca’s Eastern region is a well-kept secret; sidestep the resorts and you’ll find yourself in a land of pristine bays and historic villages. […] Your guide to living on the East coast
Located a few minutes’ drive from Santanyí, the Lucie Hauri Real Estate agency in Alquería Blanca specialises in south-east Mallorca property, including Santanyí.
Interested in property in Alquería Blanca, Porto Colom and south-east Mallorca? Lucie Hauri and team have over 30-years’ real estate experience in East Mallorca. […] Lucie Hauri Real Estate
Surrounding areas of Santanyí
Mondragó Nature Park is accessible via the S’Alqueria Blanca or Cala Figuera roads. This huge area holds a variety of ecosystems including an unspoilt coastline, dunes, lagoons and pine forests, and is the perfect spot for a picnic. Escape to naturally gorgeous Cala Mondrago beach for a glimpse of one of the park’s many red seagulls swooping overhead.
Cap de Ses Salines, 10 kilometers south of the village of Ses Salines, is the most southerly point of the island, and the place to go to experience wild rugged beauty far from the crowds. Home to a lighthouse built in 1863, the cape makes an excellent starting point for hikes along the coastal path linking a succession of simply stunning beaches and coves.
Twenty minutes’ drive from Santanyí brings you to the tranquil fishing port of Colonia Sant Jordi, surrounded by some of Mallorca’s most exquisite, unspoilt beaches, and the starting point for excursions to Cabrera Island.
Likened to the Caribbean for its white expanse of pristine sand and gleaming blue waters, platja Es Trenc seems to stretch on forever, and has a quality quite unlike the rocky coves elsewhere on the island.
Mallorca has over 50KM of beaches – from secluded bays to long stretches of white sand and clear turquoise waters. Here is your guide to the top 20 beaches on Mallorca. […] Mallorca’s Top 20 Beaches