The Mallorcan holiday resort of Cala d’Or lies 60km south-east of Palma de Mallorca Airport. This former fishing village has grown into a popular, family-friendly destination with some lovely beaches, a fine selection of accommodation and a surprising number of good restaurants for such a relatively small resort. The town centre has a fairly cosmopolitan feeling about it with a good range of visitors from the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. Transport around Cala d’Or and to the outlying beaches is provided by the resort’s well known ‘mini-train’. Key to its growth has been the development of the exclusive marina which splits the resort into two parts. The marina area welcomes holidaymakers and is home to a number of excellent yet quite affordable bars and restaurants.
Playa Cala d’Or is a lovely cove surrounded by pine trees but is very small so it very quickly becomes busy. Nearby is Cala Gran which, in spite of its name, is still not particularly big so it also gets very crowded during the peak summer months. The ‘mini-train’ links these and numerous other sandy coves along this stretch of coastline such as Cala Esmeralda, Cala Serena, Cala Es Forti and Cala Egos. Alternatively, you can head for the stunning Cala Mondragó which is only 7km south-west of Cala d’Or and is one of Mallorca’s best beaches. There’s an open top bus that leaves from the centre of town to Cala Mondragó every hour during the summer months. The journey only takes about 15 minutes and is highly recommended.
Getting to Cala d’Or
Palma de Mallorca’s Airport is enormous and it can take some time to get to the baggage collection point and you may have to wait a while for your bags to arrive but once you’re through the terminal you’ll have plenty options for getting to Cala d’Or:
Taxis: As with just about every other airport in the world there will be plenty taxis waiting outside the arrivals area. The price of the journey will be around 80 Euros but do bear in mind if you’re travelling with children that taxis will most likely not be equipped with child seats.
Private Transfers: A number of private transfer providers operate out of Palma Airport offering a selection of vehicles suited to group sizes. You can pre-book a car with driver, a minibus for your particular party or book a seat on a shared coach heading for your resort. Shuttledirect are well established at Mallorca Airport and offer a variety of transfer options. Advance booking is essential.
Tour Company Transfer: The major tour operators either include a coach transfer to your destination or make it an optional extra. Unfortunately, this service can prove very time consuming if you’re staying at the last drop-off point. Many holidaymakers are also forced to wait for passengers to arrive from other flights than the one you were on. You should confirm such details with your holiday company before deciding whether to reserve this transfer option.
Public Transport: There are no train services serving the east coast of Mallorca. You could take a bus from the airport into the centre of Palma then get a public bus to Cala d’Or but this is most inconvenient and barely worthwhile pricewise compared with the shared transfer service suggested above.
Car Hire: Of course the car rental business is a mainstay of the economy of Palma’s Airport. You’ll find many operators on site though the best deals tend to be available online before travelling. If you’re happy to drive abroad this is a good option as the journey to Cala d’Or is fairly straightforward and you’ll have readily available transport for discovering the island.
What to Do In and Around Cala d’Or
Take a Boat Trip: From Cala d’Or beach you can take a cruise up and down the coast with Starfish Cruises. Their glass bottom boats offer swimming stops and visits to places such as Porto Petro, Cala Mondragó and Cala Figuera.
Visit the Caves of Drach: These caves lie near the coastal town of Porto Cristo some 25km north-east of Cala d’Or and have long been one of Mallorca’s top tourist attractions. No need to take an organised excursion, just jump on a local bus to get there.
Visit Local Markets: It’s always fascinating to visit one of Mallorca’s country markets when on holiday there. Santanyi on a Wednesday or Saturday morning is well worth a visit as well as Felanitx on a Sunday morning. If you do make it to Felanitx be sure to visit the Sant Salvador Monastery.
Visit Palma: If you can drag yourself away from the beach and swimming pool then a day trip into the city of Palma de Mallorca is highly recommended even though it’s about 65km away (beyond the airport). The city with the magnificent La Seu Cathedral overlooking the Bay of Palma is one of the most beautiful in Spain.
Aqualand El Arenal: If the kids don’t fancy sightseeing in Palma then you could take them to island’s best water park in El Arenal which is only a 45 minute drive away on the same road to the airport.
Eat Well: Whilst there are plenty lovely spots nearby to go for lunch such as Porto Petro you can spend all your evenings in Cala d’Or as there’s a fine selection of restaurants. In the centre of town, Barlovento is a good choice for Spanish cuisine whilst Ca’n Trompe serves excellent Mallorcan dishes. For a great tapas bar be sure to look up La Bodega. There are some great places to eat at the marina including Prosper Chinese Kitchen which serves top quality Chinese food and Noa Restaurant which specialises in Thai cuisine. For excellent British and Irish food head for Molly’s Irish Bistro & Pub where you’ll find the best roast dinners in town.
Where to Stay in Cala d’Or
The holiday brochures of the major tour operators list a wide selection of family-orientated hotels and self-catering accommodation options along this whole stretch of coastline. Here are just a few recommendations which will appeal to different types of visitors to Cala d’Or:
Inturotel Cala Esmeralda (Carrer Cala Esmeralda, 8): This hotel has long been a popular choice amongst couples visiting Cala d’Or. It’s a friendly spot that welcomes back repeat visitors year after year. There’s a nice pool area but this isn’t large so not ideal for families with children who need to let off steam.
Melia Cala D’Or (Portinatx 16-18): The Melia is a better choice for families with children as there’s far more space and plenty entertainment provided to amuse the kids.
Hotel Rocador (3 Marques De Comillas): Another well established hotel which is in a perfect location near the beach and town. It has an excellent pool area but only caters for adults.
Fowlers Hotel (C/ d’en Rito, 12): If you’re one of those people who appreciates stumbling across a true gem when it comes to holiday accommodation then Fowlers may be the place for you. Lovely, family-run place overlooking the marina within walking distance of the town.