The sleepy village of Sencelles is marked by a languid, easy charm found in many of the smaller villages on Mallorca. Narrow streets lined with cute town homes that house the roughly 3,000 residents ooze a kind yesteryear appeal. If you’re looking for peaceful Mallorca, you’re bound to find it here in Sencelles. This isn't the least expensive place to live on the island nor the most populated.
Getting there #
Located in the island’s central region of Pla de Mallorca, Sencelles is a quick 25 minute drive from Palma Airport. From the airport you take the Ma-19 motorway and transition onto the Ma-13 toward Inca (east). Take exit 25 and follow the Ma-3120 all the way into the village. A taxi will cost roughly €45-€55.
Alternatively, if you want a scenic tour, starting at Estacío Intermodal in Palma, take the T2 toward Sa Pabla Estacío. Get off in Inca. Walk to the bus station about six minutes away and take the 310 bus toward Palma. In 25 minutes or so, your stop in Sencelles will drop you at your destination.
To return to Palma, the bus will take you first into Palma on Line 1 where you transfer at the Plaça de Espanya to the 310 bus. The total trip, including a one hour transfer wait, is just under 2 hours and costs between €6-€10.
There are many remnants of the past well-preserved in Sencelles. The Talaiotic people lived in the many caves around the region during prehistoric times, before moving down onto the plain where they built the large naviform (boat-shaped) houses.
The name Sencelles was first mentioned in 1237, and conflicting theories on how the town came to be named abound. One is that it was taken from the Latin words for "a hundred cells" "cent celles", the other that it was named after a large land-owner called Pere de Centelles. Either way, the town was bounced from landlord to landlord until 1309 when Jaime II finally decided to combine the village with neighbouring Biniali, Costitx and Cascanar to form one parish to increase revenues.
Sadly, this plan didn’t work out well and the town spent the next 500 years in poverty due to drought, plagues, and poor harvests. In 1858, Sencelles and Costitx had an unpleasant divorce that ended years of petty squabbles, and started a short period of prosperity with a booming wine industry. This collapsed within roughly 30 years after a bug destroyed the vines, leaving Sencelles with only two working vineyards today.
Local Sights #
For fans of archaeology and history, the two round talaiots at Son Fred to the northeast of the village and two additional square ones at Can Canar to the southeast provide excellent examples of the ingenuity of these ancient people.
For star-gazers, the observatory is 5km away in the neighbouring village of Costitx and offers an audio-visual show in the planetarium every Friday and Saturday evening at 19h.
Additionally, there is the parish church, Sant Pere, with interesting opposing flights of stairs running up to the front door. The construction was a long process, starting in 1691 and finally ending in 1864. The distinctive square belfry topped with a decorative octagonal pinnacle is a local beacon and a rather pretty touch for such an otherwise austere edifice. Inside is where the magic happens, as with so many buildings in Spain. Lovely barrel vaulted ceiling and six chapels made in beautiful stone give the church an elegant air worth seeing.
Outside the church is the statue of local nun, Sister Francinaina Cirer (1781-1855), who was officially beatified for her charitable works and her reputed powers of healing.
Food & Drink #
There are more surprisingly good choices for restaurants in this tiny village. Here are a few:
This slightly funky restaurant has multi-level terraces with fab mountain views, a cosy interior for this cold winters' nights area, good food and service and priced right. Plus, they occasionally have live music on the terrace at the weekends, and the place gets packed with expats and locals alike, dancing a Sunday afternoon away.
Carrer Iglesia 21 07140 Sencelles / +34 971 592 070
Sa Cuina De N’Aina
Authentic local food and wines (the owner makes his own!), excellently prepared with attentive, professional staff. Nice little outdoor terrace for the warmer months. Locals travel to come eat here, so it must be good!
Carrer Rafal 31, 07140 Sencelles / +34 971 872 992
Pastry table to die for! Fantastic and interesting pizzas and burgers (no stale sesame buns here!) in a rustic setting. The terrace feels like you’re in a friend’s back garden. Welcoming and warm in all ways.
Carrer Rafal 6, 07140 Sencelles / +34 971 872 161
Shopping and/or Markets #
Wednesday is market day and you can find the usual fare, including a nice variety of fruits and veg.
Outside the basics, there is not a lot of shopping options in Sencelles, but there are plenty of places nearby to scratch that itch. The Festival Park Outlet Mall is only 15-20 minutes away in Marratxi, Palma is about half an hour, and Inca, Binissalem and Santa Maria both offer much more in the way of amenities and are only a 10 minute drive.
Sports & Recreation #
Hiking and biking are fantastic in the area, and many popular routes either begin there or pass through. Terrain is flat and easy. If you're looking for a place that is easy on the body, few cars and miles and miles of vineyards, Sencelles is the place.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
May is the village’s agricultural festival and it is celebrated in great style with local offerings such as olive oil and wine. There is music, dancing and entertainments for kids to enjoy. Sencelles restaurants also open their doors on a sort of mini tapas route and invite visitors to come sample their tasty treats.
If you are looking for a more year-round fiesta calendar, check out the nearby Town of Inca.
Living in Sencelles #
Sencelles has a number of country homes and fincas on offer. The town is conveniently located and there are plenty of deals to be had. There are lovely country homes of varying sizes with land, and most of the time a pool, in the €370,000 range, going up to just over €1 million. Townhouse are a bit harder to come by, and they hover around the €400,000 mark. There are few expats here, so be ready for Spanish immersion.
Charm factor #
The village is friendly, close to shopping, has good hiking and cycling, some nice restaurants and is perfect for wine lovers. If this is just what you’re looking for, take a look a Sweet Sencelles!
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By Stephanie Horsman
2 August, 2019