Isla Dragonera – Pirate Island And A Pleasure Palace

Today I’ll take you on my journey, in the footsteps of pirates and the secret pleasure palace of the Spanish King. Our journey goes to Dragon Island in the west coast of Majorca.

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San Elm – Old fishing village in the southwest

The name “Dragon Island” is not unjustified, because from the mainland San Elm to the island you can really see the outline of a dragon. In the southwest of the lighthouse Cap des Llebeig you can recognize the lowered head reaching into the water. If you follow the silhouette you will see the backbones with the scales at the level of the Puig of Aucells with a height of 312m. At the highest point of the island, the Na Popia with a height of 353m and the lighthouse Far Vell, a feathered drop tail to the Cape de Tramuntana in the north east.

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The sleeping Dragon on the horizon

Today Dragonera is an uninhabited island with an area of only 288 hectares which belong to the Balearic Islands. In 1987 the island was bought by the island administration and declared as a natural reserve in 1995 . In 2011 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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UNESCO  World Heritage

Meanwhile, it has become a breeding ground and home for many endangered birds and reptiles. Especially a small lizard species found its paradise here. Once you stop, they come in droves curious from the stones and bushes and are so tame that they want to climb up your legs.

Eleonora falcons formed the largest colony in the Mediterranean on the northwest coast. But also extinctive bird species like cormorants and coral-gulls found a protected home here. Until the 1950’s even monk seals have lived here.

If you are very lucky you can see dolphins today. The coast around the island has become a very popular diving spot, poseidon grass and corals invite you to a dive into the underwater world.

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Cliffs in the west of the island

For centuries pirates used this island as a sanctuary. Through a cave they reached a pond located in the middle of the island, which served as a hideaway. Two watchtowers were built later in order to prevent those hideaways.

Around this time a Spanish King recognized the advantages of the island and established a pleasure palace on the highest peak. A small way was created that could only been entered with donky carts. How many ladies and noblemen were brought up and down and whether they have just enjoyed the view are left to our imagination…

Today it serves as a trail for one of the four routes you can walk on.

With a fishing boat we docked at Cala Lladó. Translated this means roughly: Robber Bay! My fantasy has been awakened instantly. Since “Pirates of the Caribbean” I  assoiate something romantic with that period. I can see it clearly how Pirates anchored there with their black flagged ships. How they carried their chests full of jewels to the land and marked their hideout with a big X on a map.

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Robber Bay – Cala Llado

How life must have been back in the past as a pirate? Constantly exposed to the high seas, wind and weather to board merchant vessels and then to be constantly on the run from the law.

And while I’m still caught in my daydreams I have to go back to reality and opt for one of the tours we want to walk today.

There are 4 routes:

  1. Na Miranda – 1100 m distance – duration 50 min
  2. Far de Tramuntana – 1750 m distance – duration 2 hours
  3. Far de Llebeig – 4147 m distance – 112 m meters – duration 2 hours 40
  4. Far Vell – 4538 m distance – 350 meters – duration 3 hours

We take route no. 3 to the lighthouse Cap des Llebeig.

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Serpentine path to the lighthouse
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Lighthouse Cap des Llebeig

A good walk-way leads us to the southwestern tip of the island. At the end of the serpentine it’s indeed steeper to get up to the lighthouse, but the effort is worth it completely.

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Walking trail on Draonera

This blue at our feet is so bright that it almost looks like a painting! In the distance you can see the big ferries to Ibiza and Barcelona and a lot of small sailboats and yachts that frolicing in the straits under us.

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Our destination – the lighthouse

Yes, from here you can really look far to the horizon. Now I understand why this island was strategically so important!

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The straits between Dragonera and Mallorca

Much faster than expected we go our way back. So we actually have enough time to go down the steep cliffs in a bit dangerous way and jump into the nice and cool water in the little rocky bay.

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Hidden place to swim

It’s best to go there by a boat, the so-called Golondrinas, from Porto de San Elm and Porto de Andratx. The journey takes about 20 minutes and costs 13 €. The ferry operates from April to October from 09:45 every half hour. For groups larger than 10 people you require a free permit, which is relatively easy to obtain at the conselleria. Cruceros Margarita. http://www.crucerosmargarita.com/reservas.php

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Bay of San Elm

Did I mention already that I am very adventurous? I think I would have been a pirate bride if I was born a few centuries earlier!

I hope I could inspire you a bit and am already looking forward to tell you about my next adventure.

Yours

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