Arta, located in Mallorca’s northeast is a quaint little town of winding streets and tree-lined avenues hiding all manner of cultural and archaeological treasures.
Start your day at the Tourist Information centre where you will find so much more than leaflets and guidebooks. Located inside the old train station building is a display room and shop for gifts, souvenirs and artwork all made in the traditional ways by local Arta craftspeople and artisanal workers. You’ll find displays of local and organic food products as well as soy candles and olive oil soap, locally made jewellery, leatherwork, traditional bags, clothing and souvenirs. Upstairs you’ll find an artisan workshop and gallery of sculptures, furniture, paintings and art installations. Start your day here to get a good indication of the history and talent that resides in this small town.
If you’re heading to Arta for the culture then you’re in for a busy day, you can visit several churches within the town boundaries including the large and very impressive Transfiguracio del Senyor that overlooks the town. Climb the 180 steps up from the church to the hill top Santuari de Sant Salvador, the iconic walled fortress with stunning views of Arta. Also worth a spot on your itinerary is the 16th century Franciscan Convent of Sant Antoni de Padua with its elegant cloisters and stained glass rose window.
For non religious architecture keep your eyes open as you wander the town for the beautiful buildings dotted around; the town hall, old train station, public library and Arta Theatre are all impressive sights and you should make sure to spot the Can Epifani on Pou Nou street with its modernistic undulating façade and impressive arched openings. Whilst walking the streets keep your eyes open for the blue tourist information signs which will point out sights you may otherwise over look such as the Placa de L’Aigua with its water pump and information about the old waterways of the town.
Museums and galleries abound in Arta; The Can Cardaix foundation is housed inside a Mallorcan Mansion and displays local artists work alongside insights into the lifestyle of Mallorcan nobility. The Regional Museum of Arta shows exhibits of natural history and archaeological findings from Arta’s past but if it’s archaeology you have come for then you need to head to the 3000 year old Talayotic settlement of Ses Paisses situated just outside the town where you can wander amidst the ruins of an ancient world.
There is definitely enough cultural and historical sights in Arta to keep you busy for several days but if you’re not the church or museum sort then Arta can still be the place for you, one could easily spend an entire day café hopping along the Carrer de la Ciutat, Arta’s prettiest road, wide and tree lined it’s a great spot to wander in and out of artisanal shops, arty boutiques, galleries and niche eateries. The Placa Conqueridor just of this street is where Arta’s weekly Tuesday markets are held, the square is lined with pavement cafes and is perfect for people watching any day of the week.
If you’re more of a nature goer then use Arta as your starting point to head out to the beaches of Mallorca’s east coast or to the hikers paradise that is the Llevant Natural Park, you can find a park information office in Arta where you can get maps and trail guides before you head off exploring. You can also find maps of local trails including the Greenway, a 27km cycling trail that follows the disused railway line all the way from Arta to Manacor, flat, well maintained, and closed to motor vehicles this trail is a technically easy, great option for a family day out to explore the country side.
Getting to Arta is easy enough, it’s well signposted from all the main towns, if you’re driving take the Ma15 from Palma or the Ma12 along the Northern coast, parking is easy to find in the town. If you’re on public transport then buses run fairly frequently from Palma, Puerto Pollenca and Alcudia to Arta and out to the east coast beaches. Do check the return times however as the buses tend to stop running fairly early in the evening, the main bus stop is beside the Tourist Information office.
Head to Arta for a day out that’s as busy as you want to make it, shop, eat, wander and sightsee to your hearts content in this peaceful and appealing little town.
- Tours / Excursions