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02·FEB·2015

Discovering eastern Mallorca from Felanitx to Alcudia

Watch the rural landscapes change as you journey in your car hire through Mallorca´s eastern towns, passing vineyards, mountain ranges and deserted beaches along the way. There will be plenty of chances to step outside to visit historic monasteries, gorgeous town centres, mountains and beaches. Felanitx to Manacor There can´t be many better ways to start a road trip in Mallorca than at one of the island´s most scenic places. The Sanctuary of Sant Salvador is perched atop a 500m hill just outside Felanitx and offers sublime views of the island. This was formerly a monastery, and dates back to the 1200s. Sant Salvador was the last monastery in Mallorca to lose its monks, and today remains a place of pilgrimage and reflection, boasting a handsome chapel and couple of striking monuments outside: a 35m column topped by a statue of Christ, and a 14m stone cross.
Follow the winding PMV-4011 down to Felanitx, which is a lovely little town with an old centre filled with honey-coloured stone buildings topped with terracotta tiles. The two local industries are pottery and brandy; ceramics have been unearthed here dating back to before Roman times, and there are more than 60 brandy distilleries in the immediate area. If you are around on a Sunday, there´s a market in the morning. From Felantix take the Ma-14 in your Drivalia car rental for a few minutes towards Manacor, which is a straight road passing through flat countryside with vineyards, arable farms and almond groves. Manacor is another charming town, a little larger than Felanitx and with its own traditional industries. Here artificial pearls have been manufactured for well over a hundred years, so naturally there are plenty of jewellery shops on the streets of the old town. For a detour consider the nearby cave systems, of which the Caves of the Dragon in Porto Cristo are perhaps the most impressive - it´s a magnificent network of four interconnected chambers, with an underground lake more than a hundred metres in length. Manacor to Arta En route to the mountain town of Arta via the Ma-15 the landscape will become increasingly rugged; pine and scrub replace the wheat and vegetable farms, but there will still be plenty of almond, fig and olive groves along the way. You can take a short break at the sleepy village of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, which despite its small size features a handful of bars and restaurants, as well as a couple of bakeries where you can pick up an ensaimada, a traditional pastry, for a picnic at one of the many beauty spots on the way to Arta.
As you approach Arta you´ll be confronted by a sight that is truly memorable, the town´s hilltop fortress with a backdrop of the Llevant Mountain range. The defensive structure predates the Romans, but the design as it stands today, with its high battlements and defensive towers, is from Mallorca´s Islamic era some 1,000 years ago. Within the defences is another pilgrimage church, which like the one near Felanitx is also called Sant Salvador. The 180-step climb to this compound is well worth it for the gorgeous views and the carefully preserved history. Arta to Alcudia The C-712 heads off in a northwestern direction towards the coast. It will offer a glimpse of a Mallorca that few expect. Here you´ll see the stone peaks of low-lying mountains, and pasture dotted with sheep in the cooler months. Rows of almond trees flank the route, and in late-winter these produce a sublime snow-white blossom.
Gradually the coast will come into view, and the road will wind down slowly towards the Bay of Alcudia, a long sequence of coves and sandy beaches with a gentle arc. Stop off at Son Serra, Son Real or Can Picafort to dip your feet in the water or take a walk next to the Mediterranean. Just before you get to Alcudia there´s a stunning fragment of Mallorca´s ancient past - the Talayotic necropolis at Son Real, with wonderfully preserved tombs stretching from the 7th century BC right up to the arrival of the Romans. Finally, Alcudia is a fantastic destination, enclosed by old walls from the 1300s and replete with fabulous restaurants. In the summer you can revel in the soft late-afternoon sunshine at one of the local beaches or pay a visit to S´Albufereta, a wetland site at the confluence of three waterways. You can begin this car hire drive within 45 minutes of the Drivalia car rental depot at Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI). Enjoy driving, enjoy Drivalia!