The Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant is a 1671.96-hectare nature reserve that covers the northern tip of the Llevant peninsula, which is located on the most north-easterly edge of Mallorca. With its natural landscapes, hiking opportunities and undeveloped, generally quite deserted beaches, the nature reserves is one of the most beautiful day-trip destinations in the north-east of Mallorca.
The northernmost point of the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant is the Cap de Ferrutx. The northern part of the park is home to a number of rather sizeable hills, including Talaia Moreira (433 m) and Puig de S’Alga (268 m). Standing at 564 metres, the highest peak in the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant is Puig Morei, with the 491-metre Puig des Porrasser in second place. While these may not seem like the most imposing of climbs, it’s important to remember that the hills in question are situated right by the coastline, lending them quite a striking profile when viewed from the sea.
The majority of the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant is made up of the bushland typical to the Mediterranean region, which is known on Mallorca as garriga. The garriga is dominated by drought-tolerant plants such as dwarf palms (Chamaerops humilis) and diss grass (Ampelodesmos mauritanica). This short, open flora is the result of centuries of grazing by sheep and goats, which was made possible - as in many other parts of Mallorca - by razing the forests that originally stood here. As such, the nature reserve is not truly a natural landscape, but rather an old cultural landscape. However, cultivation of the area ceased decades ago, so the landscape is now in something close to a natural state.
The flora of the Península de Llevant includes old crops such as olive trees, almond trees, fig trees and carobs, together with rare endemic species such as Majorca St. John’s Wort and cat thyme. Among the area’s most interesting animal species are its birds: Audouin's gulls, cormorants and their slightly smaller cousin, the common shag, all nest in the nature reserve. In terms of birds of prey, keen eyes may spot booted eagles, peregrine falcons and Eleonora’s falcons, as well as the occasional osprey or Egyptian vulture. All of this makes the nature reserve a highly attractive destination for nature lovers.
The reserve’s central traffic hub is the car park at the s'Alquera Vella estate. s'Alquera Vella can be reached from the small town of Artà, which is located around ten kilometres from the resort of Cala Ratjada in the north-east of Mallorca. A small road leads from Artà to the car park, becoming quite winding as you near your destination. The buildings on the s'Alquera Vella d'Avall estate house the Nature Reserve Office, where you can pick up information on the park’s hiking trails.
The Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant offers a wide variety of marked trails for hikes of all lengths. The paths are not particularly strenuous, though they are quite stony underfoot, so sturdy hiking shoes or boots are a must. You should also take plenty of water with you, as there are no fountains along the way and the park’s vegetation offers no shade for hikers.
If you start at the s'Alquera Vella d'Avall car park, you can hike the 442 metres to the top of Puig de sa Todossa or walk to S'Arenalet de Verger beach. However, this route will see you spend most of your time on a rugged trail that is also popular with mountain bikers.
Another option for a scenic hike is to start at the Cala Mesquida resort and follow the coastline into the nature reserve. This hike, which you can also start from the large car park at Cala Torta bay beach, will take you through undeveloped, completely natural bays such as Cala Mitjana, Cala Es Matzocs and Cala de sa Font Celada, until you reach the beautiful sandy shores of S'Arenalet d’Aubarca beach. Since it is only accessible by foot and some way from the nearest road, this beach is often almost completely deserted. Along the way, you will see two of the typical watchtowers that were built along the coast of Mallorca in the 15th and 16th centuries to protect from pirate raids.