Sa Dragonera

The island of Sa Dragonera is a small uninhabited island located west of Mallorca facing Sant Elm and Port d’Andratx. It measures 3.2 kilometres long and 500 metres wide, with a height of just 360 metres) and is currently a National Park. Contrary to popular belief, its name does not come from the Catalan word “dragó” (this is how lizards are known in the Balearic Islands) but from Traco-Traconis, which means crack on the ground or underground walkway, in reference to a fresh water cave located in the island. It is nowadays a popular place to do diving and water sports.

Back in 1970 there were plans to build luxury mansions, hotels, a port and a casino, however popular opposition from environmental organisations managed to stop them and the Consell de Mallorca (the government of the island of Mallorca) bought the island in 1987 and protected it, as well as its neighbouring tiny islands: el Pantaleu and la Mitjana. There is, however, a natural port called Cala Lladó, from where you can go hiking around the island. It is thought to be the first settlement in the island as recent excavation has found a very old necropolis.

It is only 800 metres away from Mallorca and strait between them is rich in marine fauna, with a sandy bottom covered in Mediterranean tapeweed (similar to a submerged forest), which is a refuge for many marine species.

On the historical side, Jaume I used sa Dragonera to prepare the attack and conquest of Mallorca to the Moorish in 1229. The archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, in love with Mallorca since he first visited it, described sa Dragonera in 1814 in his book Die Balearen. In 1910 two lighthouses were built to help maritime transit, one in the north (Tramuntana) and one in the south-west (Llebeig).

It is possible to view the island as you see it in the picture if you go hiking from Sant Elm towards La Trapa.

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