It’s hard to imagine that this sleepy seaside town was once one of the largest tourist attractions on the North East coast. After the expansive resort of Cala Millor began to attract tourists from across the globe, Porto Cristo returned to its relaxed pace of life; and has since become the perfect place to stop and enjoy a cool drink in the hot summer sunshine. Nestled along the picturesque port you will find an assortment of bars and restaurants, and during the summer months the harbour is alive with the chatter of happy holidaymakers and lively locals; it really is the perfect getaway!
Getting There #
Located just an hour from Palma, Porto Cristo is situated close to the larger town of Manacor. The drive is simple, heading straight onto the motorway, passing through Inca and Manacor, before arriving into Porto Cristo. For non-drivers there are regular airport buses that run throughout the summer months, and when these aren’t available there are regular buses into Palma centre, where you can hop on the TIB 412 bus, which serves the majority of the East coast, and operates a year round service.
Local Sights #
Cuevas del Drach
Undoubtedly the most impressive local sight are the nearby ‘Cuevas del Drach’ (Dragon Caves). Originally discovered in 1880, and with further discoveries made in 1896 the caves have been attracting visitors for hundreds of years. During the 1920’s and 30’s the entrance to the caves was built, and lights and stairways introduced, cementing the Cuevas del Drach as a tourist attraction, which has been enjoyed for years to come! Nowadays tours run regularly throughout the day, and the caves are open all year long. Average ticket prices are 14 € per person, and the tour will take around an hour. Upon finishing the tour, you are entertained by a stunning string quartet who enter the cave in a small row boat and perform from the lake - it’s truly magical! Within the grounds of the caves there are several bars and cafes, as well as a souvenir shop, so you can purchase a memento to remember this truly unforgettable experience!
Points of Interest
Food & Drink #
You’re not short of places to eat and drink in Porto Cristo; and all of them offer great food at affordable prices!
Situated along the water’s edge, this authentic Mediterranean restaurant, offers a varied menu at a great price. The service is warm and friendly, and the setting hard to beat! Whether you fancy hand-made pizzas accompanied by local wine, or great cuts of meat cooked along the large BBQ grill, Porto Bello has something for everyone! The perfect spot to while away the summer days - what’s hard not to love?
Address: Passeig de Rieut, 1, 07680, Porto Cristo
Telephone: 971 82 12 96
Vibes by Quince
When it comes to cool and quirky, Vibes hits the nail on the head! Artisan style dishes, served in a rustic, yet stylish, setting and overlooking crystal waters- it doesn’t get better than this! Vibes own the renowned Quince Cantina (just down the road), which offers an array of authentic dishes. Vibes delivers the same great flavours, but with a modern twist, combining fusions and inspirations from across the world to provide innovative and interesting creations. With regular live music sessions, and other events, Vibes is a great place to grab a coffee or relax for hours, with a cocktail in hand - you won’t be disappointed!
Address: Calle Bordils, 51, 07680, Porto Cristo
Telephone: 971 82 07 96
Sports & Recreation #
Yachts and sailing form a huge part of daily life in Porto Cristo. During the summer months, regular boat trips head in and out of the harbour and take passengers across the coastline from Porto Cristo to Sa Coma, Cala Millor, Cala Bona and Cala Ratjada. Although not the most affordable trips available, many of these excursions include lunch or breakfast onboard, as well as regular swim stops in hidden coves and caves. Journey times can differ from 1 hour to 3 hours, depending on your chosen route - it’s the perfect way to catch some rays and discover the island.
For those of you who are accomplished sailors, various companies operate ‘rent a boat’ services, where you can charter your own sailboat or yacht for a number of hours and enjoy the open waves. Although many companies don’t require a boat licence, it is recommended that you are a confident sailor, as the waters can be choppy outside of the harbour! Whilst hiring a boat, take advantage of visiting some of the tiny calas (such as Cala Romántica) and experience the joy of snorkelling in some of Mallorca’s clearest waters.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Along with the majority of the island Porto Cristo celebrates Sant Antoni (16th January) - a celebration of the patron saint of animals, commemorating his battle with the devil. During this fiesta the towns comes together and lights bonfires in the street, and enjoys cooking an array of local meats (sobrasada and butifarron) on the fire, whilst watching the processions and dances of the Demonis.
The summer calendar is also full of fairs and street parties, with the most famous being the Festes del Carmen. During July concerts, markets and street entertainment happen over the course of the week, and are brought to a conclusion with a spectacular firework display and bonfire- it’s a real sight to behold!
Living in Porto Cristo #
Porto Cristo offers a combination of traditional apartments and fincas, alongside modern, contemporary properties. Whilst providing a vast selection of properties, Porto Cristo is one of the more affordable areas on the island with purchase prices starting from as low as 160,000 € (based on a 3 bed property) and reaching up to 500,000 for the larger fincas and villas on the outskirts of the town.
On the rental market prices are also affordable, with most properties sitting between 600-800 € per month, although those with land or sea views are priced slightly higher at 1200-1500 € per month. Based on the close proximity to Manacor, with its great train links into the centre of Palma, these prices are certainly very affordable!
Translating as ‘The Port of Christ’, Porto Cristo gained its name when a fishing boat, adorned with a crucifix, washed onto the shores during the Christian invasion. This small fishing village has had a, mainly, peaceful history; although it was the only town within the entire island to be caught up in the Spanish Civil War. During 1936 Porto Cristo was under Republican rule (albeit briefly!); yet it certainly adds a bit of drama to the town’s historical roots! Although tourism grew during the 20th century, Porto Cristo is very much ‘untouched’, and still possesses an original and authentic charm.
Shopping & Markets #
Porto Cristo isn’t quite the shopping centre of the island, apart from a few souvenir shops and the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers- it doesn’t offer much for shopaholics!
However, just a short 20-minute drive away lies fabulous Manacor One of the largest towns on the island Manacor offers all your favourite high streets stores, as well as local boutiques and some outstanding outlet stores! These range from homeware to jewellery and offer everything you could want (and more!) at great prices! Alternatively, (if you feel you need a little more shopping time) Manacor has a train station that runs a service directly into Palma, so you can shop until your heart’s content!
Porto Cristo’s location means that it is within easy reach to many of the island’s most beautiful towns, and one of the most striking of all is Artà. This historic place offers tiny winding streets, spectacular architecture and also, a fantastic market!
A short 25-minute drive from Porto Cristo, Artà’s markets operate every Tuesday and Saturday between 8am and 1pm. Artà offers an array of fresh fruits and vegetables at its indoor market, and outside on the street, stall holders display clothing and handmade crafts; including jewellery, pottery and footwear. Many tour operators offer organised trips to the market, although it’s incredibly easy to jump on the local bus or hire a car, and experience this vast market for yourselves!
Charm factor #
The epitome of beachside tranquillity - Porto Cristo is the perfect place to relax and wash your troubles away!
Por Zoé Holmes
27 febrero, 2019