Punta Prima – Cala Sant Esteve
walking by the Camí de Cavalls
The stage starts in the Punta Prima residential area at the far northern end of the beach. The route follows the coast close to the water’s edge and gradually leaves behind the imposing lighthouse and island of Illa de l’Aire. After passing by some abandoned saltpans, the path takes you to the defence tower of Alcalfar. From here, the path drops down to the built-up area of Alcalfar, which you then have to cross to pick up the path again having crossed the road that leads to the village. From here you leave the coast and after crossing another road (to S’Algar residential area) you head down to a gully, Barranc de Rafalet. Once across this leafy gully, the path climbs up to the pastures, which you cross on your way to Son Vilar, and then from here continues on to Cala Sant Esteve. Once at this cove, take the road inland along the water’s edge before picking up the paved path again, which will take all the way to the end of the stage, the car-park at Cala Sant Esteve – Fort Marlborough.
Distance: 7.3 km • Difficulty: Easy • Estimated walking time: 2 h 40 min
Be sure to shut all gates after you since they are used to control the cattle.
This stage of the Camí de Cavalls runs along a rocky stretch of low-lying coast dominated by shrubs such as lentisc and Phoenician juniper as far as the defence tower of Alcalfar, perched strategically high up on the cliffs. From here, you pass through the little village of Alcalfar, full of summer homes, and then head into the holm-oak woodland of Cala Rafalet. Here the landscape changes radically and it is worth stopping and walking down the gully to the sea. Back on the route, you leave the gully and the path crosses an area of small pastures with scattered wild-olive bushes where you will probably come across one of the local flocks of sheep. It is essential to close all the gates you pass through as they are used to control these flocks and ensure that they do not wander. The path continues between dry-stone walls and passes through Son Vidal and Sant Joan de Binissaida, before dropping down a gully full of wild olives all the way to Cala Sant Esteve.
• Alclafar tower: Just before the village of Alcalfar you find its eponymous defence tower, built by the Spanish in 1782 after their conquest of the island.
• Barranc de Rafalet: This gully contains a shady holm-oak wood and is an ideal place for a rest. Leaving the Camí de Cavalls for a brief detour, it is worth following the gully down to the sea and the minute beach in its cove.
• Torre dels Penjats: The route does not pass that near to this tower and you will barely see it unless you take a small path that heads there before the final descent into Cala Sant Esteve.
• Fort Malbarought: Fortress carved out of the bare rock by the English between 1710 and 1726 to defend the castle of Sant Felip. Open to the public. Tel.: 971 360 462.
NEARBY SITES OF INTEREST
• Illa de l’Aire: During the first part of the route you slowly leave the Illa de l’Aire and its lighthouse behind. This island harbours a wealth of species, many of great ecological value such as the Balearic lizard Podarcis lilfordi, which here thrives in its densest Menorcan population.
• Castle of Sant Felip: Remains of what was once one of the most important fortifications in the Mediterranean. Started by the Spanish in 1555 and enlarged by the English during their first period of domination (1708-1756). Charles III, after conquering Menorca in 1782, ordered it to be destroyed. Open to the public. Tel.: 971 362 100. More information.
• Punta Prima: Tourist residential area with all kinds of facilities, especially during the tourist season.
• Alcalfar: Town of second homes with a hotel and small shop open in the high season.
• S’Algar: The stage does not pass through this residential area but runs very near Alcalfar, where you will find there all the typical tourist facilities, above all in the high season.
How to get there
Punta Prima is 10 km from Maó and 5km from Sant Lluís if you ignore the roads off to Alcalfar and Son Ganxo. Cala Sant Esteve is 5 km from Maó and 2 km from Castell. By car, you can reach Alcalfar, halfway between the start and finish of this stage. This allows you to shorten the route and walk either the stretch to Cala Sant Esteve (4.5 km) or Punta Prima (3 km).
A bus runs to Punta Prima and Alcalfar from Maó and Sant Lluís. There is no public transport to Cala Sant Esteve, although it is only a 2-km walk from Castell, which is connected to Maó by a regular bus service. Check out bus times and frequencies (that vary according to the season).
Accommodation and logistics on Camí de Cavalls
If you want to go through the Camí de Cavalls in stages, either a part or all of it, you have to plan your trek well. There are no accommodation for trekkers on the path, so you will have to make use of the touristic accommodations you will find on the route. That is the reason why making the route outside the tourist season could be somewhat complicated.
It is important to adapt the route plan to your physical condition and your experience as a trekker. In many cases, the ideal choice is to hire a logistic service for you to resolve those shortcomings. This way, you will be able to get the most out of the experience.
Camí de Cavalls 360º is a specialised travel agency that helps you to make the route in stages, in a self-guided manner and with a series of related services (among others, accommodation and logistics). Camí de Cavalls 360º offers you different choices to traverse the Camí de Cavalls with autonomy, always adapting to your needs.
See all stages of the Camí de Cavalls