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Santanyi is a small town which has very much retained its unique rural character. As tourism across Mallorca grew during the latter half of last century, small scale modifications have been made in order to cater for the relatively small increases in visitor numbers to this region. However, these modifications remain small and to a large extent exist only to maintain the areas outstanding natural beauty. For this reason alone, many tourists attracted to the variety of conventional package holidays advertised en mass tend to give this area of the island a wide berth.
Whilst this might mean a lack of nightlife and densely populated beaches, what it does offer is peace and quiet set within countryside that has remained untouched. It might not appear surprising therefore that many of the attractions are in line with this more natural theme.
Should you choose to stay in Santanyi then it is highly likely that you will make a visit to the nearby Parc Natural de Mondrago. Established in 1992 as a government incentive, this area of land was designated nautral park status with the aim of preserving the areas otstanding natural beauty. Situated in under 2.5 km from Santanyi, the park is with in easy reach and blends forests, low hills and farmland with coastal scenery to create an area ideal for total relaxation.
However, for the more observant, this area of protected land is home to a substantial variety of wildlife, birds and even herds of endangered native turtoises! Covering an area of 785 hectares, the park is of considerable size and is disected with numerous footpaths and cycling trails. These are sure to appeal to young families with children, as the easy, leisurley riding makes for a gentle way to spend the long summer days.
And should you wish to cool off, the park contains the two beaches of s’Amarador and des ses Fonts n’Alis. Clean and sandy, the warm turquoise waters of the Meditertean sea create a sceneic backdrop to the dry, rural interior. The park also contains an information centre which is open from 9 am till 4 pm daily where guided tours can arranged.
Areas of interest within the town itself include the church of Sant Andreu , a historic piece of architecture to be found at the Placa Major. Built during the 18th Century, it is one of the only buildings anywhere to house a Baroque organ made by the famous royal builder Jordi Bosch. Many famous organists have taken their seat at this renowned instrument.
As is the case throughout many Mallorcan towns and villages, the church services are very much at the forefront of community life and many local festivals are based in and around here.
If you head in the opposite direction from the Parc Natural de Mondrago towards Palma, you will come across the old city gate ‘Porta Murada’. With a tower dating back from the 16 Century, this forms part of the walls that once surrounded the town with the aim of keeping invaders at bay. Such defences are thought to date back to times when the coastal area of the municipality was at risk from pirates across the Mediterranean.
The feature is quite symbolic of the passage of time throughout Santanyi and is testament to the numerous conquest attempts of approaching invaders. Rather than acting as a bar to entry today however, this imposing obstacle seemingly serves to retain the traditional customs and heritage that Santanyi offers.
Santanyi holds several annual celebrations in honour of its saints. However, as far as the visitor is concerned, the main festival held during the summer months is the celebration of St Juame. This is an annual event and is held on the 25th of July to commemorate the laying of the first stone of the current parish church. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the ‘festival of the works’.
Other celebrations are also held in nearby towns of the municipality. In Cala d’Or , the 15th August each year sees the festival of St Mary of the sea take place. Furthermore, S'Alqueria Blanca holds an annual celebration in the name of Saint Roch. The 16th of August marks the beginning of several days of cultural and leisure festivals.
Moving back to Santanyi, a more regular occurrence is the weekly market held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the Placa Major. Locally grown fruit and vegetables are sold, in addition to clothing and other accessories.
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