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A Visit to Finca Publica de Son Real, North Mallorca

A preserve of cultural importance & natural beauty in North East Mallorca

Featured in: | Anita Gait, Mallorca Reporter | Published

The Public Estate of Son Real is a protected area covering 395 hectares of land. It was acquired by the government in 2002 due to its ecological and archaeological importance and has since been a public heritage site. 

Uninhabited save for the operational farmhouse buildings, this finca is a great place to spend a few hours hiking or cycling through unspoilt natural splendour and sites of cultural interest.

The site is free to enter and has a choice of four walking trails ranging in length from 0.5 km to 3.6 km (one way) on mostly well maintained gravel trails. The inclines are minimal and the trails are easy but in the summer the heat can be oppressive. Cyclists are permitted on all but one of the four trails and there is a fifth one purely for equestrian tours.

The shortest trail of 0.5 km takes you just south of the farm buildings to Es Figueral, the ruins of a Talayotic settlement, the ruined houses are being slowly reclaimed by nature and you’ll need to peruse the information boards to make sense of what you’re seeing. The longer trails stretch from the road entrance to the Finca all the way through the grounds to the coastline and the archaeologically important sites of the Necropolis de Son Real and Illot des Porros, two Talayotic cemetery sites dating back to 7th century BC. You will also see two watchtowers which date back to the days of the Spanish Armada.

The Necropolis is beautifully located right on the edge of the coast and the oceanic backdrop adds to the impressive nature of this site. Unlike some ruins which require much imagination in order for the viewer to be able to decipher what they are looking at, the necropolis is a clearly set out construction of over 100 tombs, circular, square and irregular in shape. 

There is an information board at the site which states the dates of the different sections of the ruins and explains that the shape of the tombs were built to mimic those of the most important buildings of that culture, it also states that this funerary site would have been used for the burial of the important members of their society. The site remains of archaeological importance today and indeed excavation on the site continues with teams working at the site through the summer months when conditions are at their most favourable. 

Visible from the Necropolis is the Illot dels Porros, another funerary site also from the Talayotic era and home to a second Necropolis. The island is a short distance from the shore and in summer at least, visitors can take a short swim out to the island to view the ruins for themselves. More tombs can be viewed here including one of obvious importance, which has small steps leading into it. On the small island the tombs are being slowly eroded away by the salt water and the daily battering of the waves. 

There is an information centre open 9am - 4pm, at the entrance to the Finca where you can rent bikes and pick up trail maps and information. There is also an interpretation centre and museum which costs €3 to enter and which contains information and visual displays about traditional and historical rural life in Mallorca as well as some archaeological finds from the ruins. Growing in the gardens out side the museum are indigenous plants, labelled for your perusal, if you take note of these it will help you understand what you’re seeing as you wander the grounds.

The rest of the buildings are part of the operational farm which is home to indigenous farm animals and Mallorcan crops. There is a picnic area here and small play area for children, also several vending machines so you can stock up on supplies before taking to the trails. Make sure that you do stock up on water here or bring plenty with you because there are no other sites within the grounds where you can do so and the closest commercial area is 3.6km away on the beach of Son Baulo.

Once you take to the long trails you will be wandering towards the coast through an arid landscape, dusty and desert-like in the summer heat, trees grow in strange twisted shapes and the air is full of the white noise of cicadas and a pungent spell from the indigenous thyme plants. The ground is intermittently carpeted in thick spiky brush and red-hued rocks and by the time you reach the coastline you’ll be craving a long swim in the refreshing blue sea of Playa de Son Real.

If you’re driving you’ll find the Finca Publica on the Ma12 between Alcudia and Arta, parking is ample and free at the entrance. Alternatively you can head to Son Baulo beach and from there you can access the finca grounds from the coastal side by walking along the beach to the right and into the dunes where you’ll pick up the signs. This is the best option for any one travelling on public transport. Regular buses from Alcudia to Ca’n Picafort stop at Son Baulo.