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Attractions and Amenities
The municipality and residential town of Arta lies in the north east corner of the island, approximately 70km and a 1.1/2 hour drive from the capital Palma, and the Son Sant Joan International airport. Public transport from the airport over to Arta would certainly make for a very long and difficult transfer, so you will certainly need to make provision for either a pre-booked hire car to be waiting for you on your arrival, or be prepared to engage the services of one of the many local taxi drivers. For those of you who prefer to drive, it is actually quite a pleasant journey across the island along the main C715, passing through the towns of Manacor and Sant Llorenç des Cardassar en-route.
From 1921 until the late 1970's the east coast did actually have its own railway line running from Manacor to Arta, passing through the local towns of Sant Llorenç and Son Carrió. Although the grand station of "Pou Vell" still remains in the centre of Sant Llorenç, sadly there are no plans to reinstate this line, which for a relatively small investment of the much hated "tourist tax", would undoubtedly prove to be both a major tourist attraction and amenity for the area.
The actual town of Arta is built in the middle of a large wide valley at the foot of a small mountain, that is dominated by the walled grounds of the magnificent Sanctuary of Sant Salvador. The Sanctuary was originally built in the 14th Century, and is without doubt a major attraction for visitors to the north east of Majorca, however, we will endeavour to cover this in more detail on our Attractions page.
Approximately 6,000 people live in the Arta today, and as with any town of this size in the UK there's
a very good municipal sports centre with indoor swimming pool, that also serves as the meeting point for the local
football, volleyball and basketball clubs. These facilities were supplemented in 2001 with the opening of
the 460 seat cultural centre and theatre, this also houses the town's cinema. For more information on forthcoming
presentations their web site can be found at.
However, life in Arta wasn't always this comfortable. A little under 200 years ago in 1820, the local population was decimated by an outbreak of bubonic plague that claimed over 1,200 victims. This was one of the last recorded outbreaks in European history. Shortly after this outbreak, many of the surviving residents then moved out of the town and established a nearby coastal village known today as Colonia de Sant Pere.
The first families who escaped from Arta and settled in Colonia de Sant Pere built a small church and dedicated it St Peter (Sant Pere) the patron saint of fishermen. Over the years the village has never been able to support commercial fishing, and now the 5 or 6 remaining fishing boats share the harbour with over 200 yachts and leisure craft. Colonia de Sant Pere is beginning to grow in popularity again, and is now home to around 300 people, however, even when the population grows during the summer months, it still remains one of the few unspoilt, uncrowded and undeveloped villages on Majorca.
Notwithstanding the small amount of tourist development that has gone in Colonia de Sant Pere, Arta remains primarily a traditional residential town, and few concessions are made to the small number of tourists who decide to stay here for their holidays. You won’t find all night bars or night-clubs here, Arta just isn’t like that, however a short drive towards the bright lights of nearby Cala Ratjada or C’an Picafort should satisfy the needs of most night owls.
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