Blink and you'll miss it, unless you are captivated by the mosaics and murals. This is the real Mallorca.
Some would say the rural village of Ses Salines is a sleepy kind of place. But this small town has a big past that dates back to the Bronze Age and a lot to offer visitors who venture to this somewhat remote part of the island looking for the “real” Mallorca!
Getting there #
Ses Salines is located near the island’s southeast coast, close to the southernmost tip. From Palma Airport, it takes roughly 40 minutes by car to get there. There isn’t a lot in the way of public transportation, but once there, you can easily bike, walk or drive to the several points of interest in or near the village. The bus line 517 from Palma takes a few hours. The same line will take you down to Es Trenc, a 12 to 15-minute ride, which is a must do if you are in the area.
The town’s history dates back to the 9th Century Bronze Age, but, along with neighbouring Colonia Sant Jord, Ses Salines has traditionally been known for salt production. In fact, the town’s name translates as “source of salt”. The Romans began mining salt here soon after their conquest of the island, something that carries on to this day.
A small road off the Ma-6040 leads to a Talaiot village - - truly this area is pre-historic but you only feel it in the ethers. The buildings are more reminiscent of a more recent past from the 1930s to the 1980s with small hostels and hostels along the main road.
Local Sights #
Giving the best experiences of Ses Salines are walking the village, swimming the beaches and touring the salt flats. This area has a stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and a non-touristy feel.
The town itself was built with a mix of golden coloured sandstone found on much of the island, as well as a local grey and white stone from thisregion and offers some fine examples of Catalan architecture. The Church of St Bartomeu (Bartholomew) is a major landmark, and was historically important to sailors, who were able to see it from the sea, reassuring them that their journeys were coming to a safe ends.
The remains of prehistoric settlements are dotted in the areas around the town, the largest of which is Ets Antigors. Talaia Joana, a remarkable 9th century BC structure, measuring 5 metres high, still remains and is a can’t miss for any history buff.
To understand the local flora and fauna, take the tour at Es Flor de Sal. You might get a glimpse of the flamingos feeding in the pink-tinted marshlands or see the other birds that call this place home.
Food & Drink #
Whilst Ses Salines is known for salt and honey, there is plenty more than that on offer. The village has a surprising selection of wonderful restaurants to check out.
Off the beaten track, this local gastronomic favourite is gaining a big reputation. With a combination of excellent food, good service and a delightful atmosphere, this restaurant is worth the trip even if you aren’t in the area.
C/ Colonia St. Jordi, 07640 Ses Salines +34 971 64 92 30
Set in an old carpenter’s workshop, this village restaurant is loaded with charm. The menu is small, but the quality makes up for it. There is outdoor seating when the weather permits.
Calle Morell 28, 07640 Ses Salines +34 971 64 29 35
Situated in a 300 year old Mallorcan town house, this place oozes with romantic charm. Warm service and fantastic food make this a local fav. Stop in for lunch, dinner or tapas.
Calle Sitjar 5, 07640 Ses Salines +34 971 64 97 21
Shopping and/or Markets #
Ses Salines is primarily residential, so you won’t find any big stores here. There are some adorable village shops offering local products and souvenirs, though. Thursdays are market days, and you can expect to find the usual fruits, veg and flowers found in other markets, but on a smaller scale.
Sports & Recreation #
With stunning natural beauty, visitors can enjoy many outdoor pursuits. The coastline and beaches are ideal for snorkeling, kayaking/paddleboarding, sailing and good old-fashioned sunbathing! The relatively flat landscape leading to the coast makes biking a cinch, even for the novice rider. And walks along the rugged, rocky coast are plentiful and filled with unexpected beauty spots.
Birdwatching is another pastime of the area. The salt flats provide a perfect halfway point for many migrant birds making their annual trips between Africa and Europe and they are on full display every spring.
And if horticulture is your thing, Botanicactus, one of Europe’s largestbotanical gardens, sits just outside Ses Salines. The sunny, dry climate is the perfect place for a variety of cacti, as well as non-thirsty Mediterranean plants, plus there is a manmade lake showing off a splendid selection of tropical plants.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Every August, Ses Salines hosts one of the island’s oldest festivals, the Festival of Sant Bartomeu. The celebrations are marked with many sports and cultural activities, the most popular of which is an equestrian parade, where highly trained horse do jumps and tricks, and more impressively, raise up on their hind legs and “dance” to the beat of a folk song.
The end of every summer also marks the celebrations where the salt flats are turned into snowy white salt mountains after the annual harvest, which yields around 15,000 tons of salt. The method of harvesting is still the same as it was 2000 years ago, making it one of the few places in the world to still promote these traditional ways.
Living in Ses Salines #
As a more local rather than international village, Ses Salines is the kind of place you’d come to get away from it all. If you’re into an outdoor lifestyle with the benefits of a super cute village, this is the place for you. This area is off-the-beaten path, is one of the windiest parts of the island and has a beach feel.
Properties range from about €250,000 to well over € 2 million, and are generally older fincas, townhouses or villas. The selection isn’t vast, so it would be worth it to keep an eye on real estate to grab “the one” when it comes available.
There are doctors, supermarkets, and other amenities such as a small local school. But the bustle of town living is reserved for the high season from April through October.
Charm factor #
With a variety of things to do and enough life to keep it interesting, even in winter, this village is perfect for a second home, or for people without children. Ses Salines has a large expat community, full of artists and aficionados. You'll never lack for a friend to discuss culture. The lack of schooling options does make it a little limited for families, but not out of the question, just a bit more complicated. Overall, Ses Salines is a little gem!
#sessalines #esflordesal #salt #coloniasantjord #finca #birdwatching #santbartomeu #safusteria #espinaret. #windy #sal #flamingos #mallorca #prehistoricsettlements
By Stephanie Horsman
16 April, 2021