The Mondragó Natural Park, is located on the Mallorcas’s south-east coast, on the Llevant area, near the town of Santanyí. This green space, which was proclaimed a Natural Park on 18th August 1992, after popular demonstrations against the development of a tourist resort in this area. It has an area of 785 hectares, of which 95 are publicly owned and 690 hectares are in private hands. Its main aim is to fully conserve its natural heritage.
Vegetation, made up of various species of great ecological interest, is very important in these natural surroundings, which consist mainly of open ravines, streams, beaches and small dune systems. Botanical species growing in the dunes include the marine thistle, the houseleek, the violet, and the sea lily. Along the coastal cliffs, despite the hard rocky conditions, strong winds and high levels of salt, sea fennel, lentisco (an evergreen and aromatic bush) and rosemary can be found. In the more humid and shadier areas of the S´Amarador stream and the spectacular Ses Fonts de n´Alis cove, holm oak, honeysuckle, wild asparagus and many other plats grow. Tamarisk, fine brushwood, seaweed and species of the Chaetomorpha genus can also be found here. Another of the Mondrago´s most important landscapes is the heathland (where thickets abound) where there are numerous wild olive trees, and Mediterranean pines, some carob trees, rockroses and even orchids.
The animal life in the Mondragó Natural Park is very varied, as mammals, amphibians, reptiles and numerous bird species live there. However, there is a lack of maritime species in the coves, where it is only possible to find eels and a few other fish. However, reptiles and amphibians abound, such as the green toad, the common frog, the lizard, the turtle and the grass snake. The most common mammals are the hedgehog, which lives in pine trees and at the edge of fields, the mountain rabbit, the hare, the dormouse, and the weasel, among others. Bird life has a fundamental role in the Mondragó Natural Park, where the diversity of surroundings makes it possible for different types of birds to nest here with no danger. Fisherman eagles, falcons, common partridges, turtledoves and cuckoos are some of the birds that have made their home in Mondragó.
In the Mondragó Natural Park there are four itineraries, which enable the visitor to look at typical architecture and scenes of extreme beauty. They take each, from 25 to 40 minutes to complete.
The first route is a rising path to Caló des Burgit, trough the scrubland and the heather. This journey is well worth the effort because from the viewpoint there is a marvellous view of the coastal cliffs.
The second itinerary takes us along a path that goes up the side of a ravine to the viewpoint of Ses Fonts de N´Alis, near the Ses Fonts pond. The fauna and the flora of the damp area can be seen all along this pathway.
The third journey, with the use of nature as its theme, gives the opportunity to see important archaeological remains like those of the old storeroom, a lime oven and the Caló d´En Perdiu, where the coastal heath and the vegetation on the cliffs can be seen. Returning to the main pathway and going down towards S´Amarador, there is a pathway on the left to the bird observatory, where it is possible to see some of the species that inhabit the Mondragó Natural Park.
The forth itinerary starts on the S´Amarador beach, and continues along a path that crosses a small field and passes to the right of a group of houses. Nearby, there are the remains of an old waterwheel and a well. From the houses there is another path that goes the Can Biga hill in a gentle zigzag. The itinerary, along the edge of the small field and then leaving it behind, reaches another hill where there is a type of drinking fountain or turtle breeding ground.
How to get there?
Take the Palma de Mallorca to Santanyi road (PM-717). The way to the Mondragó Natural Park is clearly signposted from Santanyi, from S´Alqueria Blanca, and from the road to Cala Figuera.
The Nature Reserve Information Centre is next to the ses Fonts de n´Alis car park. Its opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm. Telephone number: +34 971 181 022. At the Information Centre there are three exhibitions about The Geology of Mondragó, Coastal Defensive Fortifications, and Mediterranean Rural Buildings. Guided tours with Environmental Instructors are available for groups of twenty people with at least 12 days advance notice. There are two different tours; Mondragó alive and Mondragó for everyone.
In the Reserve by the Information Centre there are two hostels, two bars and a restaurant.
Beaches of Mondragó
S’Amarrador: this unspoilt beach, which is 160 m long and 50 m wide, belongs to the Natural Park of Mondragó. It has fine sand and it´s surrounded by a pine grove, with dunes covered by vegetation at the back within a natural environment. At the right end of the shore there is a traditional building which is used by fisherman to keep their boats and tackle. The Natural Park of Mondragó is well signposted from the nearby villages of Santanyí, S´Alqueria Blanca and Porto Petro. As you get closer to the park, the signs indicate the way to the beach of S´Amarrador along a road which has a parking area at the end. You can also reach this beach by foot if you follow the 400 m promenade next to the sea from the beach of Sa Font de n´Alís.
Sa Font de n’Alís: this beach of fine white sand, which is 75 m long and 50 m wide, has a marshy area behind it. Although it´s in the Natural Park of Mondragó, this is not a completely unspoilt beach, as there are some buildings here, such as a hotel and a restaurant. This is where the Natural Park Information Centre is located, with a panel showing the different ecosystems, flora and fauna found here, as well as information on some clearly-marked walking routes. Near the beach, on the left, there is a leisure area in the shade, where there is a children´s play area and tables and benches for preparing a picnic. The path to the unspoilt beach of S´Amarrador begins at the right side of the beach. To get there, follow the same directions as for going to s´Amarrador; the signs indicate the way to Sa Font de n´Alís, where there is a parking area at the end of the road. A tourist train goes from Cala d´Or to the beach.
Services: a restaurant; showers; sun loungers, parasols and pedal boats for hire.
Caló des Burgit: this beach, which is the last beach within the Natural Park of Mondragó, is unspoilt and far from the heaving crowds of mass tourism, within a natural environment surrounded by a pine grove and low cliffs. It´s a small cove which is 18 m long and 15 m wide. There are some rock walls along the left end of the shore, cut in a series of steps and limiting the access to a beautiful estate with a house. To get here, head towards the Natural Park of Mondragó and the Information Centre, next to the beach of Sa Font de n´Alís. Before getting there, the road forks and the first turning to the right has to be taken, towards the beach of Sa Barca Trencada. As soon as you reach the hotels, you have to go along the road by the beach of Sa Barca Trencada until you get to a kind of shaded car park. From there, walk along a short path for 300 m between pine trees and you will come to the beach.
Majorca (Parc Natural of Mondragó)
The Mondragó Natural Parc is located in one of the richest bird areas of Mallorca. It presents a wide variety of landscapes, such as winding streams that flow into beautiful beaches and oak woods with an abundance of orchids. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.