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Cap de Formentor

cap de formentor mallorcaThe northeast point of Mallorca is the windswept headland called Cap de Formentor, or what the local people call the ' Meeting Point of the Winds'. Nature has conspired here to form a breathtaking landscape of steep cliffs rising from the sea and while the rugged peninsula is twelve kilometres it is never more than three kilometres wide. The highest point is Fumat Hill at 384m above sea level while the steep cliffs form several steep sided coves including Cala Figuera, Cala Murta and Cala Pi de la Posada.

People have lived on peninsular since prehistoric times and there is evidence of a settlement called Les Arenes del Formentor on the slopes overlooking Cala Figuera. Remains have also been found in a large cave called Racó de Xot cave which has two entrances opening 8 metres above the sea. During the Roman era there was a settlement based around a pig iron factory on the headland.

cap de formentor mallorcaThe road from Port de Pollença to Cap de Formentor is 13.5 kilometres long and it twists and turns its way up and down the steep slopes, even passing through a tunnel at one point. It was built by the Italian engineer Antonio Paretti in the 1960s and he also built the spectacular Sa Calobra road in the mountains to the west (check out the Sa Calobra webpage in the Tramuntana East section). You can visit Paretti's memorial at the Mirador de la Creueta and, if you have a head for heights, walk along to the lookout point across Cap de Formentor. You can also see Albercuix Watchtower on the hill above where guards kept a look out for pirates (check out the Watchtowers webpage in the Organisations section). A side road from the car park heads up to the summit.

Continuing east, we come across the junction for the Barceló Formentor Hotel and Formentor Beach which both overlook Pollença Bay. The peninsular was owned by Miquel i Llobera but it was sold in plots when he died and the Argentinean artist Adan Diehl built Hotel Formentor on this plot in 1928. It soon became an exclusive holiday destination for the rich and famous, including Winston Churchill, Edward Windsor, Prince of Wales and Niceto Alcalá Zamora who served as the first Prime Minister and then President of the Second Spanish Republic.

cap de formentor mallorcaThe Spanish Civil War closed the hotel in 1936 but in the 1950s it held the first international congress dedicated to the 13th Century Mallorcan philosopher, writer and poet Ramon Llull (check out the Randa webpage in the Pla section). In 1960 the Formentor Novel Prize attracted top novelists and publishers with the highest value literary prize of the time and in the 1990s heads of state of the European Union met at the hotel.

Continuing east, the road twists and turns as it clings to the steep slopes and then passes through a tunnel where they are just too steep. The terrain gets more rugged with each turn and then there is one final turn and the lighthouse comes into sight. Cap de Formentor lighthouse was built in 1892 and as you take in the breathtaking views across to Alcudia and Menorca, spare a thought for the lighthouse keepers. Along the way you will have seen signposts for the Cami Vell de Faro - the Old Lighthouse Path; they had to make the long cliff top walk to get to work and then to get back home again; you only have to drive...

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