I can assure you that this academy project could have been located in several placed in the world where we were offered important benefits and a lot of facilities. But though it was a higher economic cost, I wanted to do it in my home, in Manacor, where this project could be positive for my region and the Balearics. ~ Rafael Nadal
Located just 10km from the coastal resorts, on the East of the island, Manacor was once a simple farming town and is now Mallorca's second city. The addition of a railway line in 1879 transformed it and granted it city status, placing it at the very heart of Mallorca’s industrial and commercial development. Now host to a variety of spectacular buildings, businesses and historical sights, Manacor effortlessly combines Mallorca’s past with its present.
Getting There #
Manacor is nestled between the popular resorts of Sa Coma, Cala Millor and Porto Cristo, laying just a few kilometres inland. The city is well connected to the centre of Palma via a fantastic train line, motorway and regular bus services - so you need never fear of being stuck, if you choose to visit Manacor!
The railway operates an hourly service, taking passengers on a glorious ride through some of Mallorca’s finest countryside. This route is particularly popular with residents, who travel into Palma for work. It is also a great way for tourists to see the island, without breaking the bank! Check here >>> Train Routes and Pricing to check current pricing and schedules. You are able to sit back and relax in the comfort of your carriage, it certainly would be my personal recommendation.
However, if you prefer to be behind the wheel, or travel via bus the journey will take just 55 minutes, and cost around €6 each way on the bus and of course a little in petrol! Either way, Manacor is accessible no matter how you choose to travel!
The town was first recognised as a municipality in the year 1200, although the remains of ancient dwellings and burial sites suggest that the town has been inhabited from as early as 2000 BC! Originally a farming community, the installation of the railway line transformed the place almost overnight, leading to official town status being granted in 1912. From then on Manacor has been responsible for supplying, shipping, building and creating a range of products; from the infamous Majorica pearls to pottery and textiles - anything you want, you are sure to find in Manacor!
Local Sights #
Manacor certainly has a lot of sights to see, the combination of old and new is rather awe inspiring, and sure to entice you! One of the most beautiful buildings in this great town is the stunning church. The ‘Eglesia dels Delors de Nostra Senyora’ stands proudly in the town square, and its spire-style tower can be seen for miles around - it really is breathtaking! Every year pilgrims travel from miles around to kiss the feet of Jesus who is depicted, quite unusually, in the centre of this fabulous construction.
However, if historical churches don’t ‘wow’ you, then something a little more modern may be up your street! Manacor is the birthplace of global tennis superstar, Rafa Nadal, and his presence can certainly be felt within the town.
The Rafa Nadal Sports Centre houses an array of interesting activities, including tennis courts, spas, hotel rooms, interactive technology and a fabulous restaurant - there really is something for everyone! Take a look at the Sports Centre. Prices are reasonable for the experience whether you are a young protégé looking for a combination of school and tennis or adult looking for an active week including great lodging, tennis and swimming in the Olympic-style pool.
This expansive building is also home to the Rafa Nadal Xperience; a virtual reality and sports stimulation centre, which Rafa has been deeply involved with. Whether you are a sports fan, or prefer a glass of prosecco and a dip in the pool- the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre really does cater for the whole family!
For more on the museum and attending the academy, click here >> Rafa Nadal Museum
My personal recommendation for another excursion is the ‘Cuevas Del Drach’. These incredible natural caves are just a short drive from the centre of Manacor, towards the coastal town of Porto Cristo. These cavernous nooks and crannies have been wonderfully preserved, and are some of the largest caves here on the island. Open every day, and all year round, time slots are allocated to visitors at the Caves, ensuring they never get too busy - even in the height of the summer.
As well as the natural beauty of the ancient stalagmites and stalactites, the tour concludes with a wonderful orchestral concert, where a string quartet enter the cave via row boat, and the entire cave is plummeted into near darkness, except for a few warm lights glistening from the water of the lake. This experience is haunting and enchanting all at once, and sees visitors returning year after year, to witness this extraordinary sight.
The site itself is home to several bars, cafes and gift shops, which makes for a full day out! Click here for the price of tickets and more information >> Cuevas del Drach. This excursion is simply unforgettable; the memories will be imprinted on your mind forever.
Food & Drink #
Like any large town or city, there are bars and restaurants by the dozen here in Manacor- but knowing the best spots to go to can be tricky!
Most people are fans of pizza and Italian cuisine, which has a large presence here on the island. If the sound of a crispy pizza base topped with oodles of tomato, cheese (and anything else you can think of!) makes your mouth water- then Franky’s is the place for you! This small artisan pizza and pasta restaurant combines bistro style dining, with full flavour and substantial portions.
Franky’s cater for all dietary requirements and also offer vegan and vegetarian options- so no matter what your preference, you’re sure to find it here at Franky’s! Prices start at an incredibly affordable €6 and reach a maximum of €18; so the whole family can enjoy a delicious Italian feast at a fabulous price!
Calle Jaume Domenge 4 Catedral, Plaza de Las Verduras
Tel: 673 659 143
From city centre, check out Somnis Espai Gastronòmic. The young chef, Engrique Cañete promotes a full sensory experience that combines delicious food with music and art. Combined with his wine list, this is an oasis. Another find is Tomeu Bauzà's "Culinary Creativity Factory." This place is a fusion of gastronomy that provides real value for your money.
Pushing The Boat Out…
If I could recommend anywhere to eat on the island, then Quince would have to be at the top of my list. Just a few kilometres from the centre of Manacor, overlooking the exquisite harbour of Porto Cristo, this restaurant epitomizes everything that is wonderful with Mallorquin and Mediterranean cuisine. With a small menu, that is changed according to the seasonal produce available and an array of regular fresh dishes (that vary on a daily basis) - Quince never fails to impress.
The staff are exquisite and the attention to detail, within the service and the restaurant design, is truly remarkable. Every item on the menu, from fish to wine, is sourced here on the island- and the very best chefs are sought from across the globe to deliver these dishes. Although not quite as affordable as Franky’s, and also a little drive from the centre, you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t make the journey to sample this tantalising menu.
An average 3 course menu will set you back around 50 euros per head (inclusive of a glass of wine or soft drink per person) but I can promise you that this is an investment- it’s a dining experience that you will never want to depart from!
Quince Restaurante and Cantina
Carrer del Veri, 1, Porto Cristo
Tel: 971 821 830
Shopping and/or Markets #
We love a market here in Mallorca and Manacor is no exception to the rule! The sheer size of the town is reflected by this expansive market which is held in the main square (Plaza Ramon Llull). Expect to find one of the largest fresh fruit and vegetable markets here on the island, accompanied by many clothes and handicrafts stalls too!
Market day is Monday from 8.30am - 1pm
If glitz and glamour appeals to you, then Manacor is also the home to the largest Majorica Pearl shop (credit cards at hand ladies and gents!). This enormous showroom displays the finest imitation pearls on the island, ranging from affordable, to not so affordable! In every colour, shape and size that you can possibly imagine - this really is heaven on earth for all pearl lovers! .
Sports & Recreation #
The land locked location of Manacor doesn’t necessarily make it a perfect environment for sports and recreational activities. However, the addition of the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre has certainly improved this! Despite not having a beach of its own, Manacor is within easy reach of some of the best coastline on the East of the Island.
Just ten minutes away is the quaint cove of Porto Cristo, a perfect spot for relaxing and taking a dip in the warm Mediterranean waters. However, if water sports and beach side runs appeal to you, then journey just a little down the coast towards Sa Coma and Cala Millor. These resorts are popular with tourists around the world, and their endless stretches of sandy beach and shallow waters make the perfect home for a varied selection of summer activities!
Affordable Mallorca Tip: If you’re a budding sportsperson then maybe try competing in the Super League Triathlon, Mallorca. Running all the way along the East Coast, and happening in early November!
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
As with many resorts on the island, Manacor participates in the celebration of several island wide fiestas. The most impressive are the fiestas of San Antoni and San Jaume.
San Antoni is celebrated on the 17th January, where a large procession takes place throughout the town, and then heads in to neighbouring Porto Cristo. By night the square is transformed, a large bonfire takes centre stage and processions, dances, food and drink are enjoyed late into the night!
In September Manacor celebrates Diada de Mallorca, a traditional fiesta that is celebrated by every town and village on the island. Residents commemorate the oath that was made by King Jaume II in 1276 and which lay the foundations of jurisdiction for the island. The grand celebration is marked with traditional song and dance, including the dance of the giants who enter the town square and perform for the locals. It really is a sight to see!
Living in Manacor #
Manacor is one of the more affordable areas of the island, and is incredibly popular with commuters and lovers of city lifestyle - who don’t love to pay city prices!
Prices are rising everywhere on the island and Manacor is no exception. But this area of the island does have less expensive finds that Inca, Alcudia and Palma. You'll find studios starting at €75,000. But a three bed apartment will cost around €350,000, many available on complexes with shared pools - which makes up for missing out on a beach side location. In comparison to the centre of Palma, this price really is a steal! The place may need a special decorator's touch but this is a less expensive area so plan to spend a bit on updating.
However, if you prefer something with a little more land, and maybe a little more rustic, then do expect to pay a starting price of €495,000. Although that looks a large figure, you can guarantee you’ll have a property with a minimum of three bedrooms, several acres of land, views and (if you’re lucky) a pool- you certainly get your money’s worth here in Manacor!
Rental properties in Mallorca are not always the cheapest, although Manacor offers relatively reasonable prices. For 2-3 bedroom apartments, average costs range between € per month (excluding utilities). However, moving a little further out into Porto Cristo, could find you spending €700+, for the same style property - although instead of having countless amenities on your doorstep, you’ll have the sea! Not a bad compromise in my book, but it does of course depend on what you’re looking for!
Manacor has a huge benefit of a train station, meaning that a car is not essential, whereas the more remote areas surrounding the centre will require access to transport. It must also be noted that larger properties (fincas and detached villas) will set you back around €1,900 to €3,000 per month (before utilities) which will be costly over the course of a year so it’s important that you compare the pros and cons of buying versus renting.
Whatever you’re wishing for, you can be sure to secure it for a less expensive price than other locations on the island. Prices are subject to change because demand has jumped and inventory is super low.
Charm Factor #
A winning combination of culture and history - Manacor captures the heart of every visitor.. This city is constantly changing. With the new residents from northern Africa, Afghanistan and other diverse locations, the sights, sounds, and smells are creating a new ambience that will add to this city's cultural heritage.
Personal Knowledge and Experience
By Zoé Holmes
2 May, 2023