VILLA PASTOR, Cala Anguila, Portocristo
If you've never heard of the resort of Cala Mandia before, you can be certainly be excused, since most of the maps of the island don't as yet recognise this as being a resort in its own right. However, if you look closely enough you may see a reference to the development of Porto Cristo Novo, some 4km to the south of Porto Cristo on the east coast of the island.
Cala Mandia or Porto Cristo Novo, is still a relatively new resort destination that has been specifically developed to meet the ever increasing demand for tourist accommodation on the island.
If you've ever visited Majorca before, you may recognise that the town of Porto Cristo is synonymous with two of the biggest tourist attractions on Majorca, namely the Caves of Drac and Caves of Hams. As a result of this close proximity, Porto Cristo can sometimes become very busy during the summer months with coaches of day visitors. To a large extend Cala Mandia escapes this attention of the general public, and the only day visitors to the town are normally those looking for a relaxing day on the beach.
All things considered, it's a very quiet resort, perfect if you want to retreat and get away from it all, but still within easy reach of the more lively resort of Cala Millor which is only a short taxi ride away.
Because of the general lack of commercialisation of this area of the east coast, it is still possible even today to see evidence of mans earliest occupation of the island. A short distance away from Cala Mandia are the prehistoric remains at Sa Gruta and Son Moro, and at nearby Porto Cristo there's even a Roman basilica on the Avinguda de Joan Amer. It is also possible to see the site of the original Roman port behind the existing harbour, and it was here that a few years ago the remains of a Roman ship were discovered.
Cala Mandia has just about enough shops for the everyday essentials whilst you are away from home, however, if you do venture out of the resort you will discover the town of Manacor, which is the home of the Mallorcan pearl industry. In addition, a couple of traditional fruit and produce markets take place each week throughout the year. These are held at Porto Cristo on a Sunday morning and Manacor the following day. Being so close to each other, the same traders do tend to attend both events, and as a result the range of goods on offer does tend to be somewhat limited.
A holiday to Mallorca wouldn't be the same if you missed one of the local Fiestas that take place every year. Sa Rua or the children's carnival is the first of the year, and this takes place in early February. The highlight of the event is a fancy dress parade, which is taken very seriously by the participants. Some of the costumes have taken many hours of work to produce, particularly those for large groups. But whatever the costume, the main theme of the carnival is always fun, music and dance. The parade finishes at the main square overlooking the harbour in Porto Cristo, where everyone enjoys dancing to music from a local band.
As we mentioned earlier, about 2km to the west of Porto Cristo are The Caves of Hams, which are known for their peculiar formations and the marvelous underground lake.
Cala Mandia is still quite a new holiday destination and many of the bars and restaurants there have yet to really establish themselves. However, nearby Porto Cristo has a growing number of very good seafood restaurants around the marina area. Club Nautico is probably one of the best, but it is a little pricey and is best suited for a special occasion.
Running along the length of the marina is a strip of bars and clubs, but most are only open at the weekend when the locals descend on the resort, so things have a very Spanish atmosphere.
Twist's bar next to the marina is worth a mention. It has a very Spanish feel and also plays some good music.
Billy's Bar is the only British owned, and family run bar, that we found in Porto Cristo. They offer traditional British food and drinks most specially imported from the UK.
Worth a visit on a Thursday evening is Molly Browns bar where they hold a Karaoke show.
Restaurante Cap d'es Toi is traditional Mallorcan restaurant situated in a traffic free zone by the side of the small torente Es Riuet. The literal meaning of "Cap d'es Toi" is "a place with deep and tranquil water, between the river and the sea". The site of the restaurant was originally the bathing area for the residents of Porto Cristo, where men and women were separated, so neither could see the other. Today the restaurant specialises in fresh fish and meat dishes, and offers a choice of almost 20 home made pizzas and 50 varieties of "Pa amb Oli", a speciality of Mallorca. The current owners Maria and Antonio, have run the restaurant now since 1995. The kitchen being run and supervised by Maria, whilst Antonio looks after the restaurant and terrace.
The Ristorante da Gigi is an authentic Italian restaurant, albeit 500 miles away from Italy. But from the moment you Walk through the door you are in Italy. All the staff are Italians, Luca is the maestro of the kitchen, and Gigi looks after the front of house. Every day there is a choice of menu, based around the fresh produce of the days market.
The Golden Bay Restaurant is a good choice in Porto Cristo for traditional Chinese and Cantonese cooking, and their menu includes many popular and traditional Chinese dishes. The restaurant is decorated in a typical Oriental style in a traffic free zone by the side of the rivulet running into the bay of Porto Cristo. The restaurant is run by a young couple who originate from Shanghai, Chun Hua Shan fronts the restaurant, while her husband Dong Liang Liu, is the chef.
The original 18th Century country house of Sa Gruta Nova has now been re-developed into two good restaurants, each with its own distinct style. The first "Ca's Pastor" is located in the old house, whilst "Es Sestadors" is built in the former barn and stables.
The Restaurante Pizzeria Salvador was opened in 1979, and 7 years later in 1986 won the trophy for the best restaurant in the Balearics. The restaurant, which is owned and run by Salvador and his family, is very popular with locals. The menu contains many traditional Mallorquín dishes, such as suckling pig, lamb, rabbit and frito Mallorquín, along with fresh fish and paella dishes. The house wine is also of Mallorquín origin. Down stairs is the Pizzeria cooking a choice of 16 freshly made pizzas on a traditional wood burning oven.
The Restaurante Pizzeria Tammarell is located by the side of the river running into Porto Cristo harbour. Husband and wife team Gisele and Toni, own and run the restaurant, and between them have over 50 years experience the tourist industry. Gisele fronts the restaurant and Toni is the chef in the open fronted kitchen.
One of the most recent tourist resorts on Mallorca has been developed around this beach. Although development was approved in 1972, it wasn´t until the 1990s that this zone was subjected to excessive construction and urban growth. There are some hotels but the majority of buildings are single-family constructions and tourist apartments.