The Cap De Formentor

One of the most visited sights in all of Mallorca is the Cap de Formentor.  On the northern most tip of the island, the Sierra Tramuntana falls into the Mediterranean creating one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.  Luscious, green mountainsides cover jagged cliff faces that clash with the sapphire sea below.  

A viewing point overlooking the mesmerizing landscape. 

Getting to the Cap is not a walk in the park, just ask my mother.  While there is no treacherous climb required by foot, unless of course you plan to cycle like many training for the Tour De France, the drive to the Cap provides no guarantees that you will actually make it there...alive.  Be forewarned that if you are afraid of heights, you will absolutely, 100% have a panic attack while driving to this coveted destination.  

Imagine that road with no barriers and 1,000 foot drops on each side. 

First of all, this is Europe so the roads are narrow and may not have "American Standard" safety measures such as guard rails.  Now picture these European roads slithering through the mountainside like a snake in desert sand.  Add in a hairpin turn and there was nothing but a few feet of asphalt separating you from a 1,000 foot drop into that beautiful blue ocean I described earlier.  Oh, and did I mention we were driving a monstrous mini-van; there is a reason everyone else was driving the tiny little smart cars.

My family at the viewing point.  

The first leg of the trip brings you to the the jaw dropping viewing point above.  The roads were nerve racking but a number of tour buses make this journey as well so the road truly was not that bad.  At this point in time, my mother was not swearing (a good way to gauge how bad the situation truly is) and would only turn her head away from the ledge with a gasp of breath.  However, little did we know that the spine-chilling drive was far from over.  

Pictures will never do the view any justice.

After descending down the mountainside to the Playa de Formentor, patrons have two options.  You can either stop at the beaches or keep on going to the northern most tip of the Cap where the lighthouse stands.  Not really knowing what to do, we decided that since we had made it this far, we might as well keep going to the lighthouse; after all, how bad could it truly be?  Well, we would soon find out there is a reason buses are not allowed on this route.

For a few minutes we drove through a wooded area, and passed the path to the captivating Cala Figuera (beautiful remote cove with a white sandy beach) where we unfortunately did not stop.  All of a sudden the brush cleared and the entire car suddenly drew silent.  We were driving on a road the with the width no larger than 15 feet with a drop straight down....and that is when the swearing started.

The view from the lighthouse.  

For what seemed like an eternity but was most likely only five minutes, our car sat in complete silence.  There was the occasional swear from my mother when she would pop her head up but for the most part, the seven of us sat in silence digging our nails into each other (not me of course).  I have been on some scary drives before, but this one takes the cake.  Of course, the worst part was the end.  About 1/2 mile until the lighthouse was hair pin turn after hair pin turn with drops on both sides.  

To top it all off, as you approached the lighthouse people started to park on the side of the road narrowing the passageway even more.  This ended up causing a traffic jam as cars tried to go both ways and there we were, stuck in gridlock traffic next to a 1,000 foot cliff face.  My mother, who was already freaked out, all of a sudden bolted out of the car as she could not take it anymore.  Then my Dad started to swear and thats when you know the situation was really bad.  Finally some authoritative figure who should have been controlling the traffic in the first place came down and started to sort out the situation.  This involved cars going in reverse down an already deadly path.  The entire situation was a complete nightmare but luckily we didn't have to reverse our mini van as that truly could have been a disaster.  We had finally made it to the lighthouse and there were beautiful views (see above) but I am not sure it was worth that ride.  The worst part about it all was we had to do it agin 20 minutes later to get back.  Luckily, our death defying journey had a reward at the end, a beautiful white sandy beach and a bucket of cervezas. 

The beautiful beach at the end of our journey. 

A much needed relaxing afternoon at the beach. 

My advice to anyone going to the Cap would be not to go to the lighthouse unless you were going very early or later in the day when it may not be crowded and you would not have to experience a traffic jam. The view at the viewing point is even better than the lighthouse so you are not missing out on much.  Instead, I would pack a lunch and go to the Cala Figuera, the beach we did not stop at but looked like a slice of paradise.  Regardless, the drive is worth it to get to the Cap as it is one of the most astonishing places you will ever visit.


Popular Posts