In Mallorca, my friends and I rented a car several times. Last time I told you about our trip to Pollenca, Port de Pollenca, Mirador Es Colomer and Can Picafort. Today I would like to tell you about the trip we did the day after. We went to the Bellver Castle, Palmanova, Mirador El Toro and Santa Ponsa.
In the late morning we left Cala Bona and we were driving to the Bellver Castle which is situated in Palma. It took around one hour to get there. Since we didn’t know if we can drive to the castle, we left the car in the street under the hill and we continued walking. When we finally reached the castle, we found out that there is a parking lot where we could have actually left the car. Anyway, we bought the tickets and entered into the castle. The castle is huge and from there you actually get a stunning view of Palma’s port and cathedral.
You can find all information about the opening hours, prices, guided visits and audioguides on its official website. Just to mention some important things. Every Sunday you get free entry, they also offer free guided tours in English (Mondays – Saturdays at 11:00) and you can also download castle’s audioguide for free.
About the castle
Bellver Castle is a circular Gothic building, built between 1300 and 1311 on the instructions of King James II of Mallorca. It’s located three kilometres from the city centre of Palma, on a hill 112 metres above the sea level. The building is located in Bellver forest, the only green space in the city, which is maintained by the municipality.
The Bellver was designed as a royal residence and defensive fortress. The hilltop constituted an excellent lookout point for keeping a close watch on any external threat by land or sea. In 18th century, the castle was converted into one of the island’s main prisons. It was especially useful when higly influential political and social figures needed to be silenced and kept in isolation. For more than 700 years it has witnessed some of the most glorious, turbulent, sad and cruel episodes in Mallorca’s history.
The most original element of the castle is its circular shape which is unique in the whole Spain. It’s arranged around a central courtyard and there are four large towers facing the four cardinal points. The inner courtyard arranges the rooms in two floors. The lower floor was used for services and supplies and the top floor had rooms for the royal family, the offices and Sant Mark’s chapel. The bottom floor is currently used for the City History Museum where visitors can learn about the history of Palma from prehistoric times to the 20th century. The top terrace still shows traces of many grafitti made by prisoners during the Peninsular War against French. It has beautiful views of the city and the bay of Palma.
Stop in Palmanova
After we visited the castle, we went back to the car and we drove to Palmanova. In Palmanova we had lunch in the Restaurant Cappuccino. They offer daily menu which is quite good, otherwise it’s way too expensive. After lunch we were heading to the Mirador El Toro.
Mirador El Toro
Mirador El Toro (Es Clot des Moro) is a viewpoint located in El Toro, Calvia. It’s situated at 114 metres above the sea level and offers a wonderful overview. Just at the beginning of “Toro island Marine Reserve”, you will find a staircase to go down the cliff. The stairs will take you to the beautiful cove where natural pools are formed. It’s a protected place where you should ask permisson to dive.
If you follow the path, unfortunately, it won’t take you much further. There is a military zone where is forbidden to enter. Even though there is a barbed wire to protect the area from visitors, at one point it’s broken so you can enter at your own risk in order to get stunning views from the other side.
Before going back home, we decided to stop in Santa Ponsa and have a coffee and snack there. First of all, we left a car on the public parking lot at small cove Es Caló d’en Pellicer. Then we were walking to find some nice cafeteria. We weren’t much impressed by this small town. The beach looked beautiful though. While walking, we saw many restaurants with outside terrace and the sea view. It looked quite nice. Nevertheless, at the end we sat down in the cafeteria called Old Vienna. The location wasn’t impressive but we finally wanted to have a coffee. The coffee was good and I also tried their apple strudl which was very tasty.
About the town
Santa Ponsa is quite popular family holiday resort. Two sandy beaches dominate the town – “small beach” (the one at the public parking lot) and “big beach”. The wide and long “big beach” lined by a lively promenade is the main attraction here. In the resort there are also many restaurants, bars, cafeterias, shops and all sort of activities for holidaymakers.
After we finished the coffee, we walked back to the car and we were driving back to Cala Bona. The places we visited during the day were very nice. I wouldn’t probably come again to Santa Ponsa but I really liked the castle and the viewpoint. The amazing views from both places impressed me a lot and that’s why I would recommend you to go there. As soon as it’s all located in the same area, it’s not a problem to drive around and maybe even discover more places or lookout points. Overall we had a great day and I hope you will also like it when you visit it.