Yesterday was another family mini-Adventure. Not so much a Journey but a little hike suitable for little legs. Even at the speed of a 5 year-old, this walk took just 30 minutes each way. We spent another half an hour exploring at the tower and enjoying the views (cue paparazzi-parents!) then added an hour on the nearby beach to relax afterwards. There's a good little play park on the sand in the shade of some large pines, accessible via a buggy-friendly raised wooden walkway.
There are two versions of this excursion - we chose the shortest (signposted route 'B') which is only about 2km in total. The longer version (signposted route 'A') is a little over 4km. Both are very clearly signposted with lots of free parking. Start points and parking maps below. It's worth noting that this is definitely not a buggy-friendly route but it is short so very little Adventurers can easily be carried in an appropriate carrier. Our nearly-two-year-old was happy as the proverbial Larry in our Deuter Kid Air Comfort. (Keep an eye-out for the review on here soon)
Our route began from an easy parking area, a 5 minute drive beyond Camp de Mar beach, at the junction of Carrer Prunera and Carrer Taronger. From here 'Cap Andritxol' is clearly signposted on green hiking signs. The walk begins up a long flight of wide steps which link to a higher section of Carrer Prunera. At the top of the steps, follow the sign to the right and, after 150m, the road turns sharp right around a blind hairpin bend. Here another sign indicates the stone-paved footpath which rises from the left of the road, skirting the boundary wall of a private property. Following this path brings us to a narrow gate in the wall and a turn to the left, up a steep hill through large pine trees. This is the steepest part of the route but last no more than 100m.
At the top we find an intersection where route 'A' joins our path. Also here is a closed gate to the large private estate and, more interestingly, the continuation of the coastal route which leads down to Cala d'en Monjo then Cala Fornells. The latter is an alternate starting point for an even more scenic version of this route, though one for legs longer than those walking with us today!
Turning right, again following clear signs, we begin the final ascent to the tower. Several paths criss-cross along the spine of the peninsula but all finish at the same tower. It's worth noting that signs and small cairns (hitos) mark the correct path, which should be followed to avoid excessive erosion in the area - most of the other paths seem to have begun as simple water run-off routes and have unfortunately been further worn-away by corner-cutting feet.
This is a stunning part of the Mallorcan coastline with fantastic views to both the East (towards Peguera and Costa de la Calma) and back towards camp de Mar, where we began, in the West. As the old photography/hiking adage goes - don't forget the view behind you! There's also a great inlad view towards Puig de Galatzo, the most southern of the Sierra de Tramuntana's 54 peaks above 1000m.
Arrival at the tower, on a sunny October Sunday at least, was a little busy with a number of other walkers also sunning themselves and soaking up the stunning scenery. The tower here was one of many built along the Mallorcan coast, as part of a look-out network of around 50 such structures, in the 1500s. If pirates were sighted a signal fire was lit and the next tower, then the next would light their signal fires to relay the message to the port at threat - all the way to Palma, even! This history is explained on useful, though faded, information boards (in Spanish, Mallorquin, English and German) around the tower and the two adjoining structures which housed the 'talaiers' who lived and worked there.
Whilst the history may be of interest to grown-up hikers, it was the word 'pirates' which motivated our 5 year-old to clamber up the 1km hill ascent to the tower - though she was rather disappointed not to be able to go in or up the tower. I think she may also have been harbouring secret hopes that a pirate might actually materialise whilst we were there. To stave off disappointment - and create some time for the adults to enjoy the views - I suggested she try to find the door in to the tower. After two-and-a-half clockwise laps and one anti-clockwise I finally gave in and told her. (It's about 4m up the north side, with no stairs or ladder, for those who are still looking!)
The way back down was neither easier, nor quicker as steep hills with some smooth stone sections and loose rocks are hard-going for little legs on the up and "SCARY! Daddy!" on the way down. However, gentle coaxing, shared hiking poles (one significantly shortened) and some hand holding smoothed the way and we had fun looking out for the cairns to which we had added stones on the way up.
This is not a circular route so it's a simple case of re-tracing our steps back to the car but this also makes for a good (very basic) navigation-teaching opportunity.
We decided to round-off the afternoon by parking down at Camp de Mar beach where a couple of small convenience shops sold cold drinks and ice lollies to enjoy in the shade of the pines at the top of the beach, where a convenient play park entertained a very patient little L - now released from his backpack throne.
It is possible to park at Camp de Mar and walk up to the start point in just a few minutes, if enjoying this excursion with legs less little than some of ours.
We hope some of you enjoy this half day excursion - questions and comments below!
Start point and parking for our route (signposted "Cap Andritxol B" on green hiking signs)
And below the route on ViewRanger (can be downloaded as GPX)
Here you can also see the paths leading to Cala d'en Monjo, Peguera and further along the peninsula beyond the tower. This can easily be made in to a full day excursion.
And here is the alternate start point for the longer 'A' route, if your legs are more capable than some of ours were!