La Calobra in Mallorca – Tour Guide
La Calobra is one of the most visited places in Mallorca, located in the Sierra de Tramuntana, in the municipality of Escorca. In this guide to visit La Calobra, we want to share a lot of practical information and curiosities. All for you can plan the visit and enjoy your excursion to the fullest.
Let’s start with a curiosity. What we visit is really the port of La Calobra, since the town itself is a bit further away. It is a small village with a set of houses, and located 120 meters above sea level, in an almost invisible place from a ship. This situation is due to the fact that it is located intentionally to avoid being discovered by the Algerian and Turkish pirates. They looted, mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries, the possessions of the coasts of the Mediterranean. Different houses form the nucleus of this small place. All of them forming an interesting architectural ensemble, where mills are located, and where the painted roof tiles stand out. So,from the port of Sa Calobra, we can reach the town in a walk of about 20-25 minutes following the road.
A little history of La Calobra
The old name is Colabra, from Mozarabic origin, in reference to the winding form of the Pareis torrent that flows into the Calobra Creek.
It was a place frequented by pirates and privateers because:
- It is a spacious cove with unbeatable conditions to anchor boats and shelter, provide water and loot houses.
- The remoteness of populations and the difficulty of roads where help could be reached were favorable circumstances to frequently attempt to attack the inhabitants of the valley by surprise.
- Ease of landing and absolute impunity, so that many people were robbed and held captive.
On one occasion, 20 hostile galleys were anchored. This permanent state of insecurity forced the creation of a surveillance system based on secret guards spread over the most strategic points of the coast, including La Calobra and the Torrent de Pareis. To consolidate this defensive network, the Bosc Tower was built.
Its economy was based on agriculture. In fact, if we go down to look at the remains of walls delimiting the fields we can still see some olive trees in the area.
At the end of the 19th century they discovered a new resource to improve their livelihood: smuggling. The sea coast with the great cove and the surrounding shelters was ample space for the landing of smuggled tobacco. The inhabitants of Calobra entered that business. In a short time, they became expert receivers and distributors of merchandise. Despite the presence and continuous surveillance of the police, they knew how to adapt to the many natural caves in the surroundings and turn them into such secret and camouflaged deposits that they were never discovered. From the tourist boom with the Pareis torrent, they experienced a radical change that made it one of the most attractive places visited by tourism.
Visiting route to Calobra
We will start our route in the upper part of the Calobra cove. It was the old fishing port of La Calobra, although currently there are no more than 3 or 4 boats left. If we go down to the beach we can still see some (“escars” in Mallorcan), which were shelters to move the boats away from the sea on days of bad weather. They are booths where small boats were kept. In fact we can see its wooden steps into the water. Today many have been converted into bars or houses.
La Calobra Beach
The beach of Puerto de La Calobra is small, but cozy. Good place to take a bath or snorkel. At one we find the dock of the boats that come to La Calobra on tourist excursions, so at certain times of the day, it may not be the quietest place. We like to take a quick dip, and then go to the beachside bar, enjoy the views and a cold beer in summer.
We continue our route through La Calobra from the top of the beach, and we see that on the right there is a walk that follows the coastline. In the first section of the promenade we find different restaurants, to arrive later at the Plaza den Vidal. In reference to Francisco Vidal Sureda (1888-1942), a great promoter of tourism in Mallorca.
After the square we continue along the promenade. We cross two tunnels about 100 meters long, to reach the mouth of the Pareis stream. These tunnels were built in 1950. As a curiosity to say that before its construction, to reach the mouth of the Pareis torrent, it had to be done on a narrow road called “La Calobra pass to the Pareis torrent” or “encletxa”. In fact it still exists, although it is covered by vegetation. It is a small path with a steep climb and about 300 steps.
When touring the tunnels, there are open holes that are like “windows” with excellent views. They are perfectly conditioned to allow comfortable passage of people, even with baby strollers. Very curious in summer, with the heat, that the temperature in the tunnels is much colder, we like to make the joke of saying that they have “put the air conditioning on.”
Torrent the Pareis
The arrival at the mouth of the Pareis torrent is spectacular, with the view of the beach, the mouth and part of the torrent channel in the background. It is a kind of natural amphitheater with high walls, and a small overture to the sea between two rocks. This peculiar form allows you to have a very special acoustics, and in fact on the first Sunday of July, a music concert is held.
The beach is boulders, and is barely 20 meters wide.
There are several options for hiking trips in the area, the most popular being the one that runs along the Pareis riverbed. The usual thing is to do it in summer, when the channel does not carry water, starting from Escorca, to make it in descent, and ending in La Calobra. It is a complicated route, which requires good physical condition and experience.
How to get to Calobra?
There are only two ways to get to La Calobra, either by sea by boat or along a spectacular road built expressly to reach this wonderful site.
Arrive at La Calobra by car or bus
The road to La Calobra is one of the most spectacular roads we find in Mallorca. It was built between 1928-1935 by the engineer Antonio Parietti Coll, who was modifying a previous project by Gabriel Roca, in anticipation of the increase of tourists in this area. The road runs 13 km. through very steep terrain, and saves a slope of 700 meters. It was expressly built to reach this place.
On the subject of parking, for those who come by rental car, there is a parking but not free of charge. In the area near the port you cannot park. It is not a large parking, so it may be more advisable to come by boat or first or last hour of the day.
Reach Calobra by boat
The other way to get to La Calobra also does not detract from the previous option at all, since it is a beautiful boat ride from Puerto Soller . In about 45 minutes, the boat covers the route through one of the most spectacular areas of the coast of Mallorca, with views that you can only see from the sea. Cliffs, sea caves, islets, ancient defensive towers, views of the highest mountain in Mallorca… All that and more on the boat trip to La Calobra.
An excellent option to visit La Calobra is with an organized tourist excursion, which combines train, tram, boat and bus with free time in Calobra . In this way you combine different transports, and avoid all the stress of driving and you get to enjoy the views big time.
Hotels and restaurants in La Calobra
In La Calobra there is no hotel to stay, something strange considering its popularity and that we are in Mallorca. In the 60s there was a hotel, called Hotel Sa Calobra. There is an option to stay in La Calobra, and it is the refuge that the town hall of Escorca has on the beach of the port. It is a construction that was renovated in 2014 with a capacity for 10 people, and with basic services such as running water and electricity. The price is about € 100 a night, and reservations must be processed with the town hall of Escorca.
There are a few restaurants in Sa Calobra, with options for all types from snacks, self-service.
Have you visited La Calobra already? Leave us your opinion about it in the comment below.
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