Walking | Tourist route N102

Sant Elm - Sa Trapa and Sa Dragonera national park

What is it?

A magnificent, spectacular walk with marvellous panoramic views in which the island of Sa Dragonera gradually comes into view. At the same time, we can see some history from the beginning of the 19th Century.

Due to its length and the area to be covered, its difficulty level is medium.  People who are not used to walking, or children, may have problems particularly if the rock is wet.


Price and opening hours:

Unrestricted and free-of-charge.


Approximate length: 3 hours, not including the visit to Sa Dragonera.


Location and contact:

Sant Elm Tourist Information Office

Av. de Sant Jaume I, 28. 07159 Sant Elm

Telephone: +34 971 239 205

Web site: www.andratx.cat

E-mail: info-andratx@andratx.cat

Available public transport

 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
Monday to Friday

Public Transport

Routes serving this route Outward

Routes serving this route Return

Detailed description

Route Sant Elm - la Trapa

We start the walk to Sa Trapa from the bus stop in the Plaça de Mossèn Sebastià Grau, in Sant Elm, taking the Avinguda de la Trapa and choosing the route that gives us the best options, the Camí de Sa Costa.

The first third of the way passes through almost flat land, a typically Mediterranean forest and low hillside.  The vegetation is, amongst other species, Aleppo pine, heather, cistus, sarsaparilla, rosemary, dwarf fan palms and mastic trees, etc, along with trees that are usually cultivated such as carob, olives and almonds.

We are actually on a part of the GR 221, although there are no official signposts. Nevertheless, spontaneous signing in the form of stones that are highly visible, almost perfect cones abounds, particularly in the lower zone where a multitude of forest paths cross.  We need to pay attention to the crossroads, above all at a triple cross where we need to go into the pine forest and leave the path that turns off to the right.

A little later the climb begins on a footpath after another crossroads.  The panoramic views get better and better.  As we continue, the climb becomes noticeable.  Immediately there is an area to be scrambled up that is signposted and which is rather perilous for those who are not used to it.

When the stretch of climbing ends, we reach a high point with an extraordinary panoramic view.  Then we go over to the other side and the Sant Josep valley appears with Sa Trapa.  We start the descent and come across a gate that must be gone through to go into Sa Trapa.  The footpath becomes a cart track that comes from Sant Elm via the other side of the En Salat hill and from the footpath that comes down from the Puig de ses Basses, the Fabioler head and the Sa Gramola pass.  This last option is known as the Coll de la Trapa path.

We arrive at Sa Trapa, a monastery founded in 1812 as a result of the exodus of French monks during the 1789 French Revolution.  Ten years later the monastery was abandoned because of Spanish laws abolishing monastic orders.

In ten years the valley was transformed.  It went from only producing charcoal and lime to cultivating wheat, grapes, vegetables, olives and carob.  Our attention is drawn to the set of terraces making up the valley, where they grew what they needed to live, and also the water system for irrigation.  All of this was done in ten years at the start of the 19th Century.

Today Sa Trapa belongs to the Grup d’Ornitologia Balear (Balearic Ornithology Group) who acquired it in 1980 by public subscription to prevent it being built on.

Rebuilding the old Trapa is very slow, with small donations and the work of volunteers.

Highlights of the site are the old building, in the process of being rebuilt; the terraces which are real works of art; the water channelling mines; the blood mill, so called because it was turned by animals; and the era.   Native tree species have been planted, including evergreen oaks.  Reforestation is particularly important as the area was the victim of huge forest fires.

Once we have visited Sa Trapa and seen Cala en Basset and its tower, which is hard to see in the distance, we can start the return trip on the eastern slope of the En Salat hill, having first gone through the Ses Ànimes pass, which gives its name to this access route.  It is an authentic forest pathway.  On our left (NE) we leave the cornerstones of Sa Trapa and Es Forn that were so clearly made out from the blood mill.

Half-way down there is a cave/shelter called Cala Sanutges that was occupied during the Islamic domination.

Finally, we come across various crossing pathways that take us to Sant Elm.

During the entire descent we can see that the higher part of the mountains has lost its trees due to the forest fires.  Reforestation is particularly difficult because of the rocky nature of the land, but not impossible.

Sa Dragonera

The island of Sa Dragonera has belonged to the Majorcan Island Council since 1987, but it was not until 1995 that the Balearic Islands Government approved it being declared a natural park.

Although the natural park is called Sa Dragonera, the protected area is also, apart from the main island, made up of the islet of Es Pantaleu and the Mitjana I Es Calafats island, because as a whole they share valuable environmental conditions due to their magnificent state of natural conservation.

Sa Dragonera is, geologically, a continuation of the Majorcan Sierra de Tramuntana, but the vegetation is not the same because it is affected by the island’s size, the abrupt topography and the influence of the sea.  Coastal plants in the rocky areas, small waterside woodlands and abundant wild olive and rosemary scrub are the most common.

With regard to the park’s fauna, the name itself indicates what is the most abundant as Dragonera comes from the Catalan word dragó which means “lizard”.  Common lizards and the Iberian wall lizard are the only known reptiles on Sa Dragonera.  There were no mammals on the island until the arrival of human beings.  Some were intentionally introduced to be made use of and others were introduced accidentally – rabbits, goats, sheep, hedgehogs and rats.

The Mediterranean seal was a native mammal habitually seen in the area, but it disappeared.  In fact there are very few left in the Mediterranean.  Cetaceans that can still be seen fairly frequently are bottlenose and common dolphins.

As is usual for natural parks in coastal areas, birds are the most frequent, numerous and diverse fauna.  Sa Dragonera, Es Pantaleu and Sa Trapa were declared a special protection area for birds (ZEPA).  The most common marine species are Balearic shearwaters, cormorants, Cory’s shearwater, black-headed gulls and Audouin gulls.  Highlights of the birds of prey are Eleanora’s falcons, common kestrels, peregrine falcons and owls.

More information:

Boats from Sant Elm:

La Margarita: +34 639 617 545

Bergantín: +34 627 966 264

Watertaxi: +34 638 779 001

* Some browsers do not print background images. Activate the option on your browser for optimum printing.