If you like untamed mountains, tourist-free towns and unfrequented beaches then this unspoiled corner of Mallorca ticks all the right boxes. A natural park has kept the developers and hordes out, ensuring that those who do make the effort will have the freedom to walk, cycle or take a car rental drive across this beautiful part of the island undisturbed.
It might be hard to believe that any portion of an island 40 miles wide should be remote, but there are a few geographical quirks that have helped preserve the solitude of the Llevant Peninsula. It's a thumb-like protrusion, jutting out into the sea and forming the easternmost edge of the island. Its mountains and rocky shoreline make it an enclave of seclusion when compared to the tourist resorts that can be found along the coast to the north and south.
Full infrastructure and tourism have never quite penetrated the Llevant Peninsula, yet the peace and natural beauty it affords have attracted a few VIP residents, such as former tennis player Boris Becker. It's one of those places where a car rental is absolutely essential, not just to get to far-flung destinations, but to experience the full majesty and variety of the landscapes all around.
Arta is the main town here, and is picturesque and free of heavy tourism. If you've got the energy, the walk up to the pilgrimage church of San Salvador is rewarded with far-reaching views and imposing medieval walls. The weekly market takes place on Tuesday mornings, and is useful for souvenirs or fresh local produce.
If you're coming to this part of the island at any time of year apart from the height of summer then it's the kind of place where you can get out into the open country and not return to civilisation for a couple of days or more. Hikers can make use of mountain refuges that accommodate upwards of 15 guests per night. These were originally built as shelters for shepherds. For a bit more comfort you could pick an old farmhouse or the camping area near the S'Arenalet d'Albarca beach.
Visitors who choose the town of Arta as their setting off point could visit the local tourism office for detailed information on hiking routes and accommodation in the area. Those who would like to explore the mountains without disappearing off into the hinterland could try a variety of A-B or circular hikes, such as the walk from S'Alqueria to the Bec de Ferrutx peak. This is one of the best introductions to the countryside, which is quite unlike anything to be found on Mallorca. At the higher levels are heather and scrub set against bare rock mountains, crags and cliffs in a setting that evokes the Scottish highlands on a sunny day more than the Mediterranean.
Whether you're hiking, travelling by bike or driving the twisting upland roads here, you'll pass through pine and oak woodland and, if you're patient, will have the chance to see kestrels, eagles and owls. Mediterranean tortoises are often spotted, while herds of Mallorcan cows, sheep and roaming donkeys are a fixture, even in the remotest areas.
For secluded beaches
The beaches of the Llevant Peninsula belong to a natural park, so you can be sure that you'll find them as nature intended rather than crammed with facilities. Cala Font Celada is emblematic, in that it isn't easy to get to, but certainly merits the journey. It's on the northern side of Llevant, eight kilometres from Arta. There's nothing here, but a cove with fine white sand set in front of mountains that roll out into the distance. The waters are clear and on the fringe of the beach are scrub and pine trees. Es Matzoc and S'Arenalet d'Albarca are the other choices, both off the beaten track and undeveloped.
You can get to the Llevant Peninsula within an hour of the Drivalia car rental depot at Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI).