The island of Cabrera is made up of an archipelago of 19 small islets located less than 10 kilometres off the coast of Mallorca. That’s why it has become one of the best boat trips from Majorca, ideal for anyone who wants to spend a different kind of day, surrounded by nature.
Here at ROIG we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the island of Cabrera, which has been declared a National Maritime and Terrestrial Park.
A brief history of the island of Cabrera
If you are spending your holidays with children in Mallorca and you are planning a getaway, it is a good idea to explain to them the curious history of the island of Cabrera and where its name comes from.
The origin of the name Cabrera comes from the fact that this island was inhabited only by goats. This was because the Romans used to release animals on certain islands in the Mediterranean Sea, in order to have food in case they had to take refuge on one of them, due to an emergency.
This is not the only island named after the animals that lived there. If you look in the south of Italy there is a small island called Capri (goats in Italian) and near Ibiza we find the island of Sa Conillera.
Due to its small size, the island of Cabrera was uninhabited for centuries and was only visited by the civilisations that made the Balearic Islands their home: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Byzantines and Romans. In addition, pirates also used these islets as a hideout and it is believed that there is still some treasure to be unearthed.
Cabrera later became a prison for English soldiers who were captured in the Battle of Bailén. Most of them did not leave the island alive.
Finally, they decided to turn the Cabrera archipelago into the only National Maritime and Terrestrial Park in the Balearic Islands, where more than 130 species of birds rest on their migration routes. As a curiosity, you should know that this is the largest undeveloped area in the Mediterranean.
What to see in Cabrera?
Leisure time flies out of our hands and that’s why it is important to plan your holidays a little, to make the most of your days in Mallorca. One of the best options, to which you will have to dedicate a whole day, is to visit the archipelago of Cabrera.
The boat trip only takes half an hour and you will arrive at a small dock where they will explain the Natural Park’s regulations and answer any questions you may have. There you can also book a guided snorkelling excursion to discover the island’s beautiful seabed.
The small island is full of charms and, in addition to enjoying the fine sand and turquoise water, we recommend that you visit all these emblematic places on your excursions to Cabrera.
Cabrera Castle is one of the island’s main attractions and is a perfect spot to contemplate Cabrera from the heights. You will see that, even as you move around the island, the castle will always be visible in one direction or another. In addition to the marvellous panoramic views, the Cabrera Castle is part of history and served as a prison at one time.
The Ensiola lighthouse
The Ensiola lighthouse is located 102 metres above sea level, a perfect location for views of the island of Cabrera in all its splendour. It is quite windy at this point on the island, so we recommend that you take a small jacket in case you get cold.
Sa Platgeta beach
You can reach the beach of Sa Platgeta on foot from the port, following the guided itinerary and without having to take a detour. As you walk along the bay where you have moored, you will come to this beach of turquoise blue tones that flood the atmosphere with a very wild touch. This is a good spot to start a snorkelling route.
The Museum of Cabrera is a good place if you want to discover the island of Cabrera in its entirety. Inside you can learn about the evolution of this archipelago throughout history and the most important events that these lands have witnessed.
The museum ticket includes a visit to the Botanical Garden, where you will see a complete selection of the island’s main plants.
The composition of Cala Donzell is sand and rocks, so it is an ideal space for marine animals to grow. Its level of occupation is quite low and it is considered to be the most exclusive beach on the island. It is 50 metres long and 3 metres wide and has become one of the best beaches to visit on Cabrera island.
Monument to the French Prisoners
As mentioned above, during the War of Independence, many of Napoleon’s soldiers were captured and held on the island of Cabrera, which at the time served as a prison. Most of them were never able to return home. Today, an obelisk has been erected in their honour near the old cultivated fields, on the path that leads into the pine forest.
Following the route along the coast of Cabrera, which you can do on foot in a leisurely stroll, you will reach the beach of s’Espalmador. This place is a real wild beauty and, as it is quite far from the port, there will be fewer tourists that come here. This is a paradise where you can relax, sunbathe, swim and snorkel at your leisure.
The Blue Cave is one of the main sites to visit on Cabrera Island, but it’s only accessible by boat, so you’ll need to hire a guided tour to take you there. The cave has a clear bottom, crystal-clear waters and light streaming in to form a dreamlike setting.
This spot becomes truly magical in the late afternoon, when the sun’s rays stream horizontally through the entrance to fill this space with brightness and light. This is also a good spot for snorkelling, as you will find a great deal of marine flora and fauna.
Cas Pagès beach
Cas Pagès beach is 270 metres long and 12 metres wide, making it the longest beach on the island. The occupation of this beach is quite low, especially if you go early in the morning, so it can become your favourite spot to relax with a good book, lying on the sand.
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Does the island of Cabrera have inhabitants?
Now you know how to get to Cabrera and what there is to visit on the island, but does anyone else live there, and is it possible to stay overnight on the island? We are going to answer all your questions, so that you can enjoy Cabrera to the fullest, without missing anything along the way.
After the island was used as a prison, it passed into the hands of the army, which sent a small detachment to the area for training. For a long time, the only people living on the archipelago were military personnel who were in transition to find their place in the armed forces. There were also about 12 families living there who were mainly involved in agriculture.
But when Cabrera was declared a National Maritime and Terrestrial Park in 1991, it was decided that it should be completely uninhabited. It is a dream place that offers visitors nature in its purest state and a feeling that you are far away from any civilisation.
In conclusion, there have been no inhabitants on Cabrera since 1991, when the island became a National Park.
However, there is a refuge in the Park that allows anyone who wishes to stay one or two nights on the island of Cabrera, provided they have booked in advance. This is a highly recommendable experience, because as well as having the island to yourself during the hours when there are no tourists, it will give you more time to do all the activities you want.
This refuge is located 40 metres from the beach, so it will be very easy for you to have the beach to yourself if you get up a little early.
To make the most of the island, it’s a good idea to bring your own food, as this will allow you to eat anywhere that looks nice. There is also a small canteen serving snacks, drinks and sandwiches.
Flora and fauna of Cabrera Island
The natural life it offers is one of the most attractive features of the island of Cabrera, both in the water and on the coast. The National Park is home to more than 400 botanical species and supports more than 200 animals, both marine and terrestrial.
The abundance of flora and fauna is what prompted the government to convert this space into a protected Natural Park. We will now explain the biodiversity that you will find once you set foot on the island of Cabrera in a little more detail.
On the land coast, the vegetation is prominently Mediterranean, with pine, holm oak, holm oak, olvillo and juniper. But the most impressive flora is found in the sea, as 85% of the Natural Park is water. If you dive you can discover more than 160 species of marine plants, including some algae, such as Posidonia oceanica.
Terrestrial reptiles (known as sargantanes in the Balearic Islands) are the island’s main species, and you can find them everywhere. On the island you can find a wide variety of seabirds, including the yellow-legged gull, Audouin’s gull, Cory’s shearwater and Balearic shearwater, among others.
You will also be able to see birds of prey, such as the peregrine falcon, the osprey or the common kestrel. Some of these birds do not live permanently on the island, but they have chosen this spot as a stop on their migration route, so they return every year.
As far as mammals are concerned, there are rabbits, genets, black rats, mice, hedgehogs and some species of bats. Cabrera contains an underwater paradise with more than 500 different species of marine fauna, including molluscs, crustaceans, sponges, fish and other organisms. The most outstanding animals are sea bream, sea bass, groupers, octopus, sea urchins, turtles and cuttlefish, and you can find them on any snorkelling route.
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Excursions to Cabrera with Mallorca top activities
Mallorca Top Activities is an activity agency located in Mallorca that is part of ROIG Group, which provides services to this Balearic island and also to Cabrera. They offer different high-speed sea excursions, departing from the port of Colònia de Sant Jordi. This can be an unforgettable experience combining history, nature and beauty, and the prices are affordable for everyone!
When you book your excursion with Mallorca Top Activities, you won’t have to worry about anything, because once you get on the boat, we take care of everything. Insurance and the National Park fee will be included in your booking. It is recommended that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for the season.
The duration of the whole tour is 6 hours and you will arrive at the same point of your departure, so you can pick up the car at the same place where you left it parked.
Now that you know everything you need to know about the island of Cabrera, you will have realised that it is a place worth visiting for its natural charm, its panoramic views and the biodiversity it offers. If you need to hire a car to get around Mallorca and get to the meeting point of your contracted excursion, ROIG can help you. Check our website to find the best prices available on the island.