Beach in Sant Elm & Other Attractions

Sant Elm in Mallorca is a small, picturesque village on the coast of the Andratx municipality. Originally, it was called Sa Palomera. Nowadays, it is also known as San Elm or San Telmo. The beach in Sant Elm is one of the most family-friendly on Mallorca, and there are many options for families, hikers, and sea lovers.

Sant Elm Beach

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Sant Elm, a former seafaring village, is a tourist-oriented spot in the west of Mallorca. The drive there is via a small, winding road. In the summer, it’s never empty, but still quieter than the larger resorts. With its privileged location right by the sea, there are plenty of exciting discoveries to make, and the town has a charming shopping street with many restaurants and shops. In the hinterland, the western foothills of the Tramuntana Mountains offer opportunities for short and long hikes. At the western beach, you can admire the most beautiful sunsets, try many water sports, and take a water taxi from Sant Elm to the Dragon Island Sa Dragonera.

The Beach in Sant Elm

First Things First:

  • Parking: There are two paid parking lots, one at the town entrance and one further in town. A day ticket is about €4.
  • Strollers: The larger beach is mostly accessible. The beach promenade is perfect for walks with a stroller.
  • Dining: You can enjoy typical Pa amb Oli in an authentic setting at Pambolería y Pizzería Tigy’s, located right on the waterfront with a view of the beach.
  • Trips to Dragonera: Operates year-round several times daily,

Many visitors come to Sant Elm for a beach visit. While it may not be one of the largest or most beautiful on the island, it still has its charm. The beach in Sant Elm consists of two sections: a large, fully developed tourist beach and the smaller Sant Elm Petit, which also offers amenities for visitors.

Sant Elm
Beach in Sant Elm

The setting of the two islands off the beach is particularly beautiful. One of them is the smaller island of Pantaleu, where King Jaume I is said to have stopped to gather strength before starting the reconquest of Mallorca. Good swimmers, or those with paddle boards and kayaks, can reach the island.

The second island isn’t immediately recognizable as such because its eastern end isn’t visible from the beach. This is the Dragon Island, Sa Dragonera, which looks like a dragon’s back lying in the sea. The name actually refers to the geckos living there, called dragós in Mallorquin. Dragonera can be reached by water taxi from the town’s harbor.

beach in Sant Elm
beach in Sant Elm

The coast in Sant Elm slopes very gently, making it easy to wade into the water. This is ideal for families with small children, thanks to the extensive services and the small waterfront promenade perfect for strolling. On the south side of the beach, there are numerous bars and restaurants offering everything from snacks to full meals and ice cream.

There’s also a playground near the beach, which is why Sant Elm’s beach made it onto our list of the 7 most family-friendly beaches in Mallorca. The differences between the main beach and the smaller Sant Elm Petit are minimal, apart from the size. However, only the larger beach has showers, restrooms, and lifeguards.

Getting There & Parking

There are two ways to get to this fishing village. Public transportation on Mallorca isn’t great, and Sant Elm is a dead-end, so the bus connections to this coastal town are limited. There is only one bus line, Bus 121, which runs regularly but only goes as far as Andratx. Andratx can be reached from Santa Ponça and Palma. If you’re traveling from other parts of the island by bus, it will feel like quite a journey.

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That’s why the most common way to get here is by rental car. If you need tips on renting a car, this guide is very helpful. Cars can be parked directly at the town entrance in a paid parking lot near the beach. You can also park for free in the side streets if you can find a spot in the summer. Behind the beach promenade, there are several restaurants, bars, and cafés, as well as ice cream to go.

I rarely give specific restaurant recommendations, but for Sant Elm, I definitely suggest Pamboleria y Pizzeria Tigy’s. Pa amb Oli, bread with tomato and oil, is a quintessential Mallorcan dish. The place isn’t exactly a hidden gem, but it’s very authentic, and at least the pizza should appeal to any picky child. Plus, the restaurant is right by the beach.

Excursions & Attractions in Sant Elm

Sant Elm is located on the long-distance hiking trail GR221 and offers a great starting point for shorter or longer hikes. The area around this holiday resort is also perfect for cycling.

The Promenade of San Telm

If you arrive in Sant Elm by car, the most practical option is to park right at the town entrance. The parking lot is paid but shaded, and it’s directly by the beach, making it a good starting point. From the parking lot, the shopping street runs parallel to the beach, where you’ll find several restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops. If you continue along the promenade, you will reach the harbor, where boats depart for Dragonera.

Sant Elm: things to do

While most tourists probably stay within the perimeter between the beach and the promenade, it’s definitely worth walking a bit further into the village. The area is especially beautiful near the beach. You can reach the other end of the village via some rocky coves, where you’ll find a larger playground at the start of the hike to La Trapa, an abandoned monastery.

Castell de Sant Elm

The Castell de Sant Elm, also known as Torre de Sant Elm, has a long history. After King Jaume I arrived in Mallorca in 1229, he initially landed on the small island of Pantaleu, located in front of Sant Elm, before finally disembarking in Santa Ponça and driving out the Arabs from the island. In Sant Elm, he established a quarantine camp for sailors returning from their voyages with contagious diseases. The cornerstone for the Castell de Sant Elm was laid.

As more and more sick sailors came to Sant Elm, the number of pirate attacks on the island and all passing ships increased. To better protect against attacks, the building was expanded with a watchtower and transformed into a small fortress. From the former watchtower, where a cannon barrel still stands today, you have a great view over the beach and the sea.

Today, the former castle houses a renowned hotel with a restaurant. Visits to the former fortress are only possible by appointment. You can find more information about this here.

The Watchtower Torre de Cala en Basset

Sant Elm continued to be raided by plundering pirates in subsequent years. As part of the surveillance system, the watchtower Torre de Cala en Basset was built in 1585. It overlooks the island of Sa Dragonera, which was often used as a base for attacks by hostile groups.

Torre d'en Basset  Sant Elm

The hike to the watchtower covers 2.5 km and is suitable for families. Part of the trail follows wide forest paths. However, especially with younger children, you shouldn’t overestimate yourselves. There are some spots where a bit of climbing is required.

The Bay of Cala en Basset

Cala en Basset is the bay near the watchtower. It’s located slightly north of the tower and is a bit rocky for swimming, which can be uncomfortable. However, the water is crystal clear and very clean precisely because of the rocky terrain.

Die Bucht Cala en Basset bei Sant Elm - Strände & Sehenswürdigkeiten

The path to Cala en Basset is about two kilometers long. You can reach it either directly through the forest or along the coast. The final section involves very steep, slippery paths. Near the bay, at the edge of the wooded area, there is a small picnic area improvised from stones under pine trees.

Ruins of La Trapa

La Trapa is a nature reserve where you can find the ruins of a former monastery and mountain farm. In 1810, the Trappist monks settled here and cultivated the rather barren area so diligently that they could live self-sufficiently for many years.

Klosterruine La Trapa bei Sant Elm

Aside from the remnants of bygone eras, the challenging hike is especially worth it for the view. The land is owned by a conservation organization that funds its maintenance entirely through donations. La Trapa is also one of the few legal camping sites on Mallorca. However, there are no sanitary facilities. But you’ll wake up to the best views.

The Dragon Island Sa Dragonera

Sa Dragonera is also a nature reserve located west of Mallorca. It’s not only highly visible from Sant Elm but also very easy to reach. The island is uninhabited and excellent for hiking. There are a total of four marked hiking trails of varying difficulty levels.

Sa Dragonera Hiking in Sant Elm

For swimming, the island is rather moderately suitable. There’s a small, rocky cove right next to the harbor. It’s okay for a quick dip, but not ideal for longer stays. Unless, of course, you’re watching the lizards. The subspecies of the Balearic lizard found only on Dragonera is the true star of the otherwise uninhabited island. They’re everywhere and sometimes so bold that they might even climb into your backpack.

Water Sports & Boat Trips in Sant Elm

As a typical coastal town, Sant Elm naturally offers plenty of opportunities to be active in and on the water. You’ll find a diving school right on the beach where you can book diving courses and snorkeling trips, as well as rent equipment.

I’ve already mentioned the water taxi to Dragonera Island. The boat operated by Cruceros Margerita runs several times daily between the harbor and the island year-round. You can find the departure times at

Kajak Tour Mallorca

Kayaking is easy, exciting, and a perfect family activity. In Sant Elm, you have the opportunity to rent double kayaks and explore the strait between Mallorca and Dragonera, or one of the other smaller offshore islands. The only requirement is that children should already be confident swimmers. However, life jackets are typically available for rental. You can book your kayaks for Sant Elm here.

Nearby: Andratx & Port d’Andratx

If you find yourself in the west of the island, it’s worth making small detours to Andratx and Port d’Andratx. Andratx is a rather Mallorcan town with a nice weekly market every Wednesday. It runs from around 8 am to 1 pm and offers typical island items, as well as groceries, household appliances, and clothing.

The coastal harbor of Port d’Andratx is a bit more exclusive. Large yachts line the harbor, and villas dot the mountainside. Many celebrities, including Hollywood stars, own property here. Regular folks can stroll around the harbor, visit restaurants or cafes, and enjoy the sunsets.

Historical Facts About Sant Elm

The existence of the village is documented as far back as the 13th century. In 1229, Catalan troops landed on the offshore island of Es Panatleu to reconquer Mallorca from the Arabs. Just a few years later, the strategic port was upgraded as a communication point between Mallorca and the Spanish mainland with the construction of a seafarer’s hospital and an oratory.

However, Sant Elm later suffered greatly from piracy prevalent in the Mediterranean. During the Middle Ages, the village and the offshore islands were welcome hiding places for pirates and smugglers. The caves along the rugged coast were particularly suitable as storage and refuge. Some secluded paths still bear witness to this bustling time today. However, living in Sant Elm was so dangerous that by the 16th century, it became increasingly deserted. The residents moved to the nearby but protected village of s’Arracó.

Until the mid-20th century, the inhabitants of Sant Elm lived off fishing. Nowadays, tourism is the village’s most important economic factor. In addition to about 200 permanent residents, many tourists join in the summer.

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