Cala d'Or Travel Guide

Cala Esmeralda, Cala d

Cala Esmeralda, Cala d'Or © Spanish Tourist Board

Overview Like most holiday resorts in Mallorca, Cala d'Or (Golden Cove) evolved from a local fishing village after its charms and idyllic setting were 'discovered', in this instance by a group of avant-garde artists who settled here in the 1930s. They built their white, flat-roofed houses around the picturesque fishing harbour, and soon the word spread. Cala d'Or became a desirable spot to have a holiday home, or at least a relaxing seaside vacation. The original village and harbour was situated in one of the small rocky coves with sandy beaches, called calas, which abound on Mallorca's east coast. The resort has now spread out to encompass several of these coves, all now beset with attractive hotels, apartment blocks and villas. It is a very chic resort, recommended for families because most establishments cater extremely well for children. There are numerous adjacent smaller resorts and quaint villages clustered around the calas all along the southeast coastline, connected by a good bus service, which means visitors can make excursions to explore the delights of places like Cala Egos, Puerto Petro, Cala Mondrago, Cala Figuera, Cala Santanyi and Cala Llombarts. The Cala d'Or marina is the heart of the east coast resort area, attracting the fashionable yachting set.

Shopping Cala d'Or is known as the best shopping district on Mallorca; its main shopping street, Avinguda Tagomago, is filled with chic boutiques, leather shops and galleries that appeal to locals and holidaymakers alike. Designer clothes and shoes, in particular, are available at reasonable prices. Souvenir shopping is fun with a wide variety of local crafts, traditional pottery and glass, and olive wood carvings available at several stores, and at the Sunday morning flea market in Felanitx. Visitors can also find bargains in designer sunglasses, jewellery and perfume. Those in self-catering apartments who need sustenance will find all they require at the resort's biggest supermarket, Caprabo, near the resort entrance. The supermarket opens until 9pm every night (except Sundays, when it closes at 2pm).

Restaurants Cala d'Or's upmarket restaurants are mostly situated around the marina, which is usually abuzz with a lively international crowd enjoying a variety of cuisines. The centre of town offers fast food outlets, tapas bars, pizza parlours, burger joints and several British pub 'n grub type establishments. Eateries that come highly recommended in Cala d'Or include Acuarius, Shangrila, Restaurante Vicente and Casablanca.

Nightlife Nightlife in Cala d'Or is tasteful and stylish, rather than frenetic, centred around the many cocktail bars and discos. Don Ron Heroes Bar is one of the places to go for a good night out in Cala d'Or. The latest music rocks Linekers, and the most popular nightclubs in town are Disco Alfa and Farrahs Planet Ibiza. Hollywoods is the local karaoke bar, while the Dirty Duck pub is known as the gay-friendly establishment.

Activities Cala d'Or has seven beaches, of which the largest is Cala Gran, all with fine white sand and clear shallow water for holiday makers to enjoy. The larger beaches have good facilities offering water sports including sailing, windsurfing and scuba diving. Those wishing to venture further afield can take a 'champagne cruise' along the coastline, ride a mini-train to picturesque Cala Mondrago with its two lovely coves, or take excursions to the villages of Cala Figuera, Puerto Petro, Sa Colonia de Sant Jordi or the isle of Cabrera. Most hotels offer full entertainment programmes for children, and there are trampolines and mini go-karts at Mallorcalandia, as well as mini-golf in the town centre.

Negatives Cala d'Or is definitely a family-oriented holiday resort, not really catering for the 18 to 30 single set, particularly those who enjoy a wild nightlife. The music bars and discos are usually quiet by 2am. The main resort beaches can become enormously crowded, particularly during July and August, and holiday-makers have to be up and about early if they hope to secure a sunbed for the day.

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