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Cala de Sant Vicenç (Cala San Vicente)

cala san Vicenç (cala san vicente) mallorca (majorca)People have been living in the Cala St Vicenç area since the Pre-Talayotic period and they buried their dead in a series of caves near the entrance to the village. The beaches look out to the rugged coastline of the Formentor headland, where the almost vertical cliffs rise out of the sea. Look out for the gothic style building overlooking the main beach.

Out of sight on the craggy summit to the west, 490 metres above sea level, is Pollença Castle, otherwise known as the Castell del Rei or the King's Castle. The castle was built when the Moors ruled the island and some believe it dates back to the 10th Century, not long after they occupied the island. While the structure is only small it has a commanding position and was virtually impossible to capture as Jaime the Conqueror's troops discovered in 1229. A Moorish warrior called Xiap brought his followers to the castle and they held out for eight years, making it the last place on the island to surrender.

cala san vincenç (cala san vicente) mallorca (majorca)The Alcazar de la Garriga, or Castle of the Mountains, was then given to King Jaime I and he in turn gave it to the Knights Templar, the owners of nearby Pollença and the surrounding hills. They strengthened the walls and built a chapel inside. The Templars were disbanded and all their possessions were given to the Hospitallers in 1314. Read the Knights Templar webpage in the Organisations section to learn more about this medieval order.

cala san vincenç (cala san vicente) mallorca (majorca)In 1284 Peter III of Aragon went to war with France and Jamie II of Mallorca joined in; only he joined the French against his brother. Peter retaliated in May 1285, invading Mallorca with over 110 ships loaded with troops and the island was soon his. But while Palma, Bellver Castle, Alaro Castle and Santueri Castle ceded peacefully, Berenguer Arnau l'Illa refused to surrender Pollença Castle because King Jamie was inside.

Jaime's flag was still flying when Peter the Great sailed for Barcelona at the end of June but the siege continued. The people of Pollença brought supplies and news to the castle until they were forced swear an allegiance to Peter at the end of July on "pain of body and goods" ; in other words with their lives and properties. At the end of August Jaime escaped in a ship and Berenguer surrendered on the 29th, having exhausted the supplies of food and water. From then on the castle was known as the Castell del Rei or King's Castle.

The castle then became little more than a watchtower and the garrison kept a look out for pirates looking to raid Pollença. The garrison dwindled to ten men and when Albercuix Fort which was built overlooking Pollença harbour the number reduced to two. The King's Castle was briefly used to hold sailors in quarantine in 1564 but its days were numbered. It was abandoned in 1715 and sold to Marques of Desbrull a century later; it served once again as a watchtower during the Spanish Civil War.

The castle is now on private lands and a limited number of walkers are allowed on the land each day, you still need to get permission and you may have to wait more than week . You need to obtain a form in person from the Ajuntament and then take it to the Tourist Information office with the passport number of the group leader. They email your details to the estate.

To find the footpath, get onto the Lluc road (Ma-10) and turn right onto Cami de Ternelles and drive north for one mile. You cannot park close to the gate because space is limited. You have to buzz at the gate and a warden comes to check your passport. Some days you are not allowed go close to the castle because endangered species of birds are flying in the area. The walk up to the castle takes over two hours.

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