Portocolom is a town on Mallorca´s east coast, within the municipality of Felanitx; it grew up from the 18th century onwards around its exceptional natural port, which has served as a refuge for boats since Roman times. It has a population of around 4,000, though this increases in summer with the arrival of tourists who stay in the town´s hotels and apartments, as well as in houses which are used as summer homes.
As for back as the Middle Ages there is evidence of Porto Colom being used as a trading port; however, due to the dangers of pirate attacks from the sea, only a few fishermen and those in charge of the coastal watchtowers lived here. In the 19th century there was a large expansion in the port´s commercial traffic, leading to the establishment of a customs house and the expansion of the settlement; this trade was led by wine, which was exported to the French city of Sète. The first fishermen´s cottages, next to the sea, were built during this period, with boatsheds for boats and fishing equipment on the ground floor. These houses, together with traditional Mallorcan fishing boats, as well as grander homes on the seafront and a long promenade around the port, make Porto Colom a highly attractive spot.
The arrival of tourism in the 1960s brought large-scale development, with hotels and apartments being built. However, the town hasn´t reached the heights of saturation seen at other resorts on Mallorca. The beauty of the surroundings, with beaches that have calm waters due to the protection afforded by the port, and a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, make Portocolom the perfect spot for family holidays.
Over the years the port´s commercial activities have disappeared, and fishing now has a token presence. However, the sailing club of Club Nàutic de Porto Colom is one of the most important and best-equipped on Mallorca, with many pleasure craft.
The most outstanding building is the Parish Church of la Mare de Déu del Carme, which was built in neo-Gothic style. Inside is a Baroque altarpiece which dates from 1656. The lighthouse at the port entrance stands at 31 metres above sea level and adds to the typically coastal landscape.
Cala Marçal: this beach, which is 90 m long and 150 m wide, has fine white sand; it is located in the residential area of Porto Colom and is surrounded by low cliffs. There is ample parking at the back, and the beach is well signposted.
Services: restaurants; sun loungers, pedal boats and parasols for hire.
Es Babó: this narrow beach, which is 135 m long, has medium-grain golden sand, with some rocks. At the back of the beach there is a narrow road that goes to the lighthouse of Es Far, where there are some low buildings.
S´Arenal Gran de Portocolom: this beach can be reached by following the road that leads to the lighthouse of Es Far, after passing the beach of Es Babó. It´s 75 m long and 40 m wide, and is very well protected from the wind; the water is calm and there are some tamarinds on the beach. At the back of the beach there is ample parking space.
Services: restaurant; WC; sun loungers and parasols for hire.
S´Arenal Petit de Portocolom: this is the last beach within the natural bay of Porto Colom and is very close to the beach of S´Arenal Gran de Porto Colom; it´s 18 m long and 25 m wide and can be reached by going towards the lighthouse. There is a bar with a terrace which offers a wide variety of drinks and dishes.