A sleepy town, tucked away on the Northeast coast of the island, offering panoramic views across the Mediterranean.
It’s hard to imagine that this sleepy seaside town was once one of the largest tourist attractions on the Northeast coast. After the expansive resort of Cala Millor began to attract tourists from across the globe, Porto Cristo settled into a relaxed pace of life.
This small town has since become the perfect place to stop and enjoy a cool drink in the hot summer sunshine. Nestled along a picturesque port, you will find an assortment of bars and restaurants. The harbor is alive with the chatter of happy holiday makers and lively locals during the summer months. Porto Cristo really is the perfect getaway!
Getting There #
Located just an hour from Palma, Porto Cristo is situated closer to the larger town of Manacor. The drive is simple from the airport: drive west onto the motorway, passing through Inca and Manacor, before arriving into Porto Cristo. For non-drivers, you'll find 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 is the nearby ‘Cuevas del Drach’ (Dragon Caves). Considered the Four Great Caves of Mallorca, this is a must-see. Originally discovered in 1880, further discoveries made in 1896. In the very bottom of the caves, you will see Europe’s biggest underground lake, the Lago Martel, named after the man who discovered it in 1896, Edouard Martel.
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 world-class tourist attraction. Tours run regularly throughout the day and the caves are open all-year long.
Average ticket prices are €14 per person. The tour will take approximately 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. All of them offer great food at affordable prices!
Situated along the water’s edge, this authentic Mediterranean restaurant offers a varied menu at great prices. The service is warm and friendly with a 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, 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 flavors 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 harbor 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 a good 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 license, it is recommended that you are a confident sailor. Be aware: the waters can be choppy outside of the harbor. When hiring a boat, take advantage of visiting some of the tiny calas (such as Cala Romántica) and experience the joy of snorkeling in some of Mallorca’s clearest waters.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Along with the majority of the island, Porto Cristo celebrates Festes de Sant Antoni (16th January) - a celebration of the patron saint of animals, commemorating his battle with the Devil. During this fiesta, the residents of the town come together and light bonfires in the street, enjoy cooking an array of local meats (sobrasada and butifarron) on the fire, while watching the processions and dances of the Demonis.
The summer calendar is also full of fairs and street parties. The most famous being the Festes del Carmen. During July, concerts, markets and street entertainment happen over the course of the week. At the end of the celebrations, you'll see a spectacular firework display and bonfire. This is a real sight to behold!
Living in Porto Cristo #
Porto Cristo offers a combination of traditional apartments and fincas, alongside modern, contemporary properties. While providing a vast selection of properties, Porto Cristo is one of the more affordable areas on the island. Purchase prices start 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 affordable. Most properties are listed between €600-800/month. If you want sea views, those places are priced slightly higher at €1200-1500/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 a peaceful history except when it was the only town on the entire island to be caught up in the Spanish Civil War. During 1936, Porto Cristo was under Republican rule (albeit briefly). This 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’. This village 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, you'll find fabulous Manacor One of the largest towns on the island, Manacor offers all your favorite high streets stores as well as local boutiques and some outstanding outlet stores! These range from homeware to jewelry 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. One of the most striking of all is Artà. This historic place offers tiny winding streets, spectacular architecture and 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. Outside on the street, stall holders display clothing and handmade crafts including jewelry, pottery and footwear. Many tour operators offer organized trips to the market. If you want a flexible schedule, 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 let your troubles slip away!
By Zoé Holmes
27 February, 2019