Andratx: Life in an Ancient Southwest Port Village. #
Located at the base of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range in the far southwest point of the island, Andratx and Port Andratx are known for great weather and sunny skies in winter. The refreshing sea breezes, stunning coastline and beautiful sunsets make summer over-the-top livable.
Andratx is a village on the southwest tip of the island of Mallorca. The area is 81.46 km2 (31.45 sq mi) with a population that hovers around 11,000. 300 days are “playable” every year for golf, hiking and biking. With marked and unmarked trails surrounding the village and the Camp de Mar Golf Resort, you’ll never run out of outdoor activities all year long.
Recent History #
Until Spain joined the EU in 1986, the 1 hour 45 minute drive time from the airport to Andratx meandered through Portal Nous, Paguera, Camp de Mar then up to Andratx or from the north, from Deía, Banyalbufar and Estellencs to drop down into Sa Coma. When you see the La Mola de s'Esclop mountain looming behind the village at 926 m (3,038 ft) and drive through two tunnels cut through granite hills, you’ll get a glimpse of how Andratx developed as an independent area on Mallorca. After Spain adopted the Euro in 1999, infrastructure for the island - sanitation, roads and electricity - were modernized.
In the last few centuries, inherited lands were divided among families with the men taking the village properties because the agricultural lands were more valuable than coasts. Almond, olive, orange, lemon, pomegranate, olive and carob trees stood in columns as goats and sheep grazed with red poppies scattering the terraces. The women were given coastal properties. Today, those properties are more valuable because of tourism. But if you walk into the valleys in spring and close your eyes and inhale, you’ll feel like you are inside a vat of the most divinely scented honey on the planet. Open your eyes and you’ll see blossoms on the trees. That is worth a fortune!
The coast offers stunning hideaways in the Mediterranean, with coves and caves that dot the area that were perfect for pirates. Today, hikers or sailors looking for a retreat from the outside world. In the 1880s, a drought hit the area hard. Many of the men left Andratx and took jobs in the Caribbean diving for sponges. During Franco’s reign, families were pitted against one another with many fleeing to Cuba. Some local families still have ties to the Caribbean island.
Andrachium, as the Romans named Andratx, dates to before 2 BCE. You can see remnants of roads, towers and shepherd huts if you walk trails to the north of the village, past Sa Coma Caliente. If you drive west from the village, to Port Andratx on the Ma-1, look off to your left and see a private residence that is the renovated tower originally constructed in 1520 by "Red Beard," the pirate whose real name is Hayreddin Barbarossa.
Take a walk along the Roman trail from Andratx through Sa Coma Freda into a valley filled with wildflowers. This trail drops into S’Arraco and leads through the village before you wind your way to La Trapa Monastery past the crossroads to Sant Elm where you will find a magnificent view of Sa Dragonera and beyond. The sunsets here have inspired artists, poets and songwriters for centuries.
If you are anything like me and enjoy exploring - I’m spending part of my lifetime doing it - a visit to the Castell Son Mas gives you an idea of medieval life. This was the resident fortress of a local family that was converted to the Town Hall or “Ayuntamento.” This is where you’ll go to register your address and deal with other issues related to legalities in the municipality. The Police are in this building, too. If you find a stray dog, they will help track the owner through the local vet who comes to scan the microchip.
Village Life #
Andratx is one of the most populated villages on the island. The 11,000+ residents of Andratx are Mallorquin, Spanish, Expats, from all ages, walks of life, and levels of economy. Most of the shopkeepers speak four languages: Spanish, Catalan, German and English. But please try to speak Spanish - it’s endearing and goes along way with the locals if you want help or to be a member of the local community. My Spanish is abominable but people put up with me and appreciate my striving to connect. Plus, it’s a great way to practice Spanish.
Living in Andratx is super easy. Banking, the pharmacy, the medical clinic, the car repairman, the post office are all within blocks of each other. If you have a question about your utility bills from Endesa or a question about your water bill, both offices are within an easy walk from the square.
The municipality has a good water management system, reliable electricity, telephone and internet plus newly laid gas lines. While you may see graffiti in the backstreets, the village is generally one of the safest on the island.
On the downside of the ledger, the local administration is not the most reliable for deeds. If you find a property you like here, take extra time and spend a little money to make sure the "Escritura" is legal. This is a village that you need to protect your heart and your wallet, you might lose sleep sorting out issues.
Life here is full - the mornings start early and the days end late. Many of the residents work locally or in Palma. Cafes open around 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. Andratx is a working village. Whether you need to buy car or have it serviced, buy groceries, get a haircut, have notary or bookkeeping services, you can find it all here. Rarely does anyone HAVE to go to Palma except for entertainment.
The village is surrounded by green space so birds are plentiful and the melodies are divine at dusk and dawn. Any evening of the 300 days a year when it’s not raining, you can find locals on the town square with children playing in the well-lighted center and the parents and grandparents at tables in surrounding cafes, drinking coffee or eating dinner with the children licking ice cream cones, playing with balls and jacks, skateboards and engaged in other games.
Food & Drink #
Locals have many options for eating and drinking. Just wander through the square and along the main street, you’ll find places. Here are a few you may miss if not clued in:
Bar Cubano, near the Church, is a hangout with the locals and a meeting place for visitors on Market Day
Address: Plaza Des Pou 1, 07150 Andratx
Sa Societat, a local’s favourite because the "menu del día gives everyone a day’s worth of food.
Contact: 971 23 65 66
Av. Juan Carlos I 19, 07150 Andratx
La Consigna, on the walkway, is a sister cafe and bakery to the one of the same name in the port. The service is excellent and the food is good. Cyclists stop here, locals hang out here. All around, great value.
Contact: 971 23 63 86
Carrer de sa Constitució 18, 07150 Andratx
Mille Gusti - Italian, local and delicious. Good food, good value. And if you happen to like liver, this is the best liver and onions on the island.
Contact: 602 62 48 48
Carrer Dr. Don Pedro González, 9, 07150 Andratx
Meson C’an Paco, Sa Coma. Traditional and good value. Locals love this place for its atmosphere and good food at reasonable prices. Their "menu del día is great value for money, and if you need a nice place to host a party on a budget, this is it.
Contact: 971 13 79 08
Carrer Pere Seriol, 8, 07150 Andratx
For shoes, I highly recommend Esperdenyeria Es Sarrio. Spanish made on the island and mainland, you’ll find familiar brands at competitive prices. Best of all, you’ll support a local business.
Address: Av. Juan Carlos I, 84, 07150 Andratx
Iphone earphones or HP printer ink, household appliances or anything else you might need, don’t drive to Palma, buy it at Palmer 1956 – especially if you are purchasing appliances or any item that comes with a warranty.
Address: Carrer son Esteva, 7, 07150 Andratx
Sports & Recreation #
If sun and sand are your thing plus you enjoy hiking and biking, Andratx is surrounded by trails and between the greatest variety of small coves in the southwest of the island. With the 300+ sunny days of the year, you’ll need to protect your skin from potential harm.
The walking trail between the Village and the Port is accessible from the bottom of the Pueblo/Village main road or from several side roads between the village and the port, including Cami de Morella. In the late afternoons, you see groups of locals walk here with their friends and their dogs. The little outdoors gym nearby offers a fun break and great exercise – and it's totally free.
A great resource for exercise for everyone are the Municipal Pools. You can purchase a day pass or have a season pass at great rates. The open-air pool near the municipal soccer field in Carrer Aragó is open only in summer, but the indoor pool in Carrer de Son Prim, 50, is open all-year round (although it sometimes closes in August for repairs).
If you are a sailor on a budget, you can rent a daysailer in the Port across from Club de Vela. Many days, I’ll take my trusted SeaHorse, otherwise known as a paddle board but my husband calls it my “personal yacht,” and drop into the water in on ‘Baby Beach’ (Cala Fonoll) past Club de Vela, or in Sant Elm.
Affordable Mallorca TIP: If you have the time and a little extra €30,000, you can find a nice 28’ in good shape and mooring fees in the Port are reasonable IF you have legal residency. Thinking About Buying a Boat?
As for beaches, go to nearby Sant Elm, Camp de Mar, or, for a quick dip the little pebbly Cala Fonoll in Port Andratx (passed the Club de Vela, nicknamed"Baby Beach"). Or treat yourself to a spectacular beach experience at Cala d'Egos.
Education & Learning #
School Ramon Llull “Andratx” is a catholic-run school open to all, offering an artistic education for primary and secondary ages with special classes for other ages.
Joan Riera,16, 07150 Andratx
Colegi Públic Cp Es Vinyet is the local primary school
Carrer Galicia, 07150 Andratx
IES Baltasar Porcel is the local secondary school
Carrer de Son Prim, 07150 Andratx
The local library is a great resource culturally and for learning. Classes for languages and other special presentations are open to visitors and residents. If you are curious about the history of the area, this is a great place to start your investigation.
Plaza Miquel Moner, 1, 07150 Andratx
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 2 pm and 4 pm - 9 pm, closed Sat & Sun
Recycling plastics and glassware is crucial to keeping our village pristine and our environment free of waste that could contaminate our coasts. Affordable Mallorca supports a Clean Environment and we strongly request that you search out your closest disposal facilities in and around the village and use them. We thank you, in advance, for helping keep our villages clean and free of waste.
For the disposal of bulky items (i.e. household appliances, furniture etc) and prunings, use the “Punto Verde” at Camí es Vinyet, 07150 Andratx. With prior arrangement, the town hall will also collect large items from your home.
Punto Verde Andratx
Points of interest
Art & Culture #
This area is also full of hidden gems. The Cultural Center of Andratx (CCA) is the largest centre of contemporary art not only in Mallorca, but in the whole of Europe: 4,000 square metres of exposition space in a monumental minimalist building featuring elements of traditional architecture. It was founded in 2001 by Jacob and Patricia Asbaek with the objective to offer a unique cultural experience to their visitors and collectors, and to provide free studio space for national and international artists. The CCA has regular exhibits and artist work spaces, and a lovely café well worth visiting.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Andratx is busy with fiestas all year long. The Ayuntamiento publishes an events booklet every quarter that gives you dates, times, event name, location and cost. It’s thick with activities including annual fiesta activities, concerts and art exhibits. Find out all about it on their website http://www.andratx.cat which is available in an English version,
Adjacent to the Cultural Center of Andratx (CCA) you find is a children’s playground and the town’s rally trail where you’ll feel like a local if you can watch a foot races for children and adults that is followed by a BBQ for a many of the Fiestas.
Living in Andratx #
Some of the most expensive properties on the island are found in Andratx municipality. The village has hidden gems just waiting for the right owner to add renovations or special touches. A few opportunities to watch for: Calle Cuba has townhomes with large backyards that tend to be underpriced. Calle Norte is a quieter area except when the church bells are ringing. Any place along the walkway will be popular most of the year with locals hanging out.
Affordable Mallorca TIP: Several townhouses were renovated prior to Brexit. With uncertainty in regulations and the dramatic drop of the £ to the €, the cost to carry properties for some is too expensive. Many properties are available at or below €300,000 for a 140 m² basic townhouse.
If you use an online listing service to search for available properties, we strongly urge you to google any real estate agent prior to a conversation to be sure that you will be interacting with someone reputable who is not involved in illicit activities.
Getting there #
The drive on the MA-1 takes 25 minutes to the center of Palma. The 102 autobus takes a little longer but will drop you at the Estacio Intermodal to other parts of the island or for a quick dash to the airport. A taxi from the airport costs less than €50, not affordable but sometimes the best way to get there if you have a very early or late flight.
Charm factor #
As you crest the hill on the MA-1, the Castell, the village and a verdant valley stretch the canvas entwining the ancient and modern. Andratx, a place like no other.
By Memphis Holland
20 December, 2018