One of the most beautiful fishing villages on the island, with a fascinating historical past.
Located just 12km from the popular holiday resort of Cala d'Or, Portocolom is one of the island’s quaintest villages. This ex-fishing port once played a vital role in supplying wine to France, until the phylloxera plague eradicated many of Mallorca’s vineyards. As well as having a strong trade’s history, Christopher Columbus was (supposedly) born in this very town, so it’s no wonder its nautical roots are still very much present.
Dotted along the quayside is an array of idyllic, pastel coloured houses with fishing boats and pleasure crafts making perfect neighbours. As the boats bob along together in the harbour, they connect tourism and day-to- day life in perfect harmony. Although quieter outside of the seasonal months (November-April), there is still plenty to do in Portocolom. The vibrant community of nationalities makes it a fantastic place to call home!
Getting there #
Portocolom is situated in the region of Felanitx, which is around an hour from Palma airport. For a speedy arrival, car hire is your preferred mode of transport, however for those of you who don’t drive or prefer to soak up the scenery, transfers can be arranged through a variety of companies (Resort Hoppa and Rideways to name just a few) although do be prepared for the real ‘scenic’ tour, adding around an hour on to your journey. Sadly, a local airport bus service doesn’t currently run to this part of the island (yet!). But there is plenty of action like the Triathlon which I'll tell you about later.
Before tourism began to creep across the island during the 20th century, Portocolom was a working fishing port, mainly exporting wines across to France. However, its history can be traced back to 2,000 B.C., as you visit the prehistoric burial ground with some incredible ancient archeology.
The first recorded dates back to the Bronze Age. The first settlers came to the Castell de Santueri and Puig de Sa Mola. For a look at the architecture of the period, C’an Gaià and Son Maiol are two of the historical buildings that have been preserved. The Castell de Santueri served as a fortress during Roman and Muslim times, one of the most strategic and important places in Felanitx. The port of Portocolom had regular private raids.
In the mid-1700s, Felanitx was known for its distilleries, with brandy production topping the exports that were shipped through Portocolom. In the 21st Century, local craftspeople and artists create one-of-a-kind works that can be purchased in the local shops.
Local Sights #
Portocolom displays quaint coloured properties that line the harbour and many sweet little shops and restaurants that you can peruse for hours on end. Much of the beauty is easier to appreciate because this area has not been developed by mass tourism and hotels. The low-rise buildings are a good reminder of the quietier times when Mallorca was a haven for tranquility.
However, for real stunning scenery, a drive up to Santuari de Sant Salvador should certainly be on your agenda. The snaking roads trail all the way up to the Puig de Sant Salvador(the highest peak in this region) where this beautiful pilgrimage site can be enjoyed by all.
Affordable Mallorca Tip: Although no longer home to practicing monks, the sanctuary does open its doors to those who wish to spend a night sleeping amongst the peace of the mountains- with prices starting at 32€ per night, why not treat yourself to an affordable, yet unforgettable experience!
Food & Drink #
When it comes to finding somewhere for the whole family to eat, and at a reasonable price, it can be tricky. Fear not, El Baúl in Portocolom has got you covered! This chic and modern restaurant offers generous portions at very affordable prices. Combining local Mediterannean dishes, with family favourites and some fusion foods- there quite literally is something for everyone!
Address:Carrer Corb Mari, 18, Portocolom, 07670, telephone: 618 92 14 95
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll be keen to eat ‘where the locals go’; and nothing says local like a little cafe, tucked off of the beaten track and owned by two fabulous locals, Tomeu and Maria. Although not much to look at from the outside, the array of local dishes at brilliant prices, and every meal rounded off by a shot of homemade piña colada and fresh melon has its own charm and appeal. The service is second to none, and by your second visit (believe you me, once you discover this place you’ll keep going back!) Tomeu will know your name, and you’ll be whiling away the afternoon on beer and sangria like you’re friends of old!
Address:Alcala Galiano, Portocolom, 07670, Telephone: 97182 46 77
Shopping and/or Markets #
Tuesday and Saturday, 09.00-14.00
Every Tuesday and Saturday morning, a market containing fresh produce, handicrafts, clothing and artwork can be found at Carrer Marina. Great for holidaymakers but for those wanting something a little larger and more authentic, head to Felanitx on a Sunday morning for a true Mallorquin market experience!
Sports & Recreation #
In terms of sporting activities, Portocolom has a fabulous sailing school, and wide variety of water sports available in its vibrant harbour and neighbouring beaches.The Mallorca Diving school also offers PADI courses and accompanied dives around the coves and calas of the East coast of Mallorca. For keen golfers there is also the Vall D’Or golf club, which has a fabulous 18 hole course and driving range.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
As with many towns and resorts here in Mallorca, there is always a jam packed calendar of fiestas - and Portocolom is host to an incredibly popular Triathlon every April. For 2021, make sure to check the local listings to make sure restrictions are not in place for COVID-19.
For those who follow in my footsteps (we prefer to party!), then there is also a phenomenal rock concert every June, which showcases the island’s best local talent! And if that wasn’t exciting enough, all foodie's will enjoy the gastronomic festival that also occurs during this month! A very busy June here in Portocolom! For a brief time, this village is bustling and busy.
Living in Portocolom #
Unlike the neighbouring holiday hotspot of Cala d'Or, Portocolom is home to a vibrant international community all year round (todo el año as we say here in Spain); however, the cost of purchasing a property can be a tad on the expensive side. There is a large price scale, from around €170,000 for a 2-3-bedroom apartment to €580,000 for a standalone home or nice townhouse.
Rental prices are slightly more comparative, for example you can expect to pay in the region of €750-1000 for a 2-3 bedroomed property within this area. Although not the most affordable part of the island, Portocolom has an array of beaches, mountains, rural countryside and town living all within touching distance- so it’s easy to see why prices are a little higher than other areas!
With a €7 million investment by Port IB in improvements to renovate and restore the barroques or boat sheds in the areas of Riuetó and sa Bassa Nova used to store boats in winter, the pedestrian promenade will be a sought after place to live, work and play.
Charm factor #
A picture perfect port, steeped in history and Spanish charm, this is one of Mallorca's real gems. If you are looking for a place that has the feeling of a Mediterranean port town with a quaint feel, this is the place for you! Take a look at the video below to get a feel for this place and it's idyllic beauty. Better yet, come see for yourself.
By Zoé Holmes
6 January, 2021