Santa Eugènia: village with a touch of romance
A Lourdes grotto in Santa Eugènia in Majorca? Yes, there really is! The municipality, 20 kilometres from the Balearic capital city of Palma, has its own Cueva de Lourdes on the road to Ses Olleries. You can find a statue of the Virgin Mary in a white robe with a blue sash here, just like the French archetype. Having a look at the grotto isn’t the only thing that’s worthwhile, however, because it’s also recommendable to have a walk through the little place that has something of a familial feel about it – Santa Eugènia. It has a beautiful well in the village centre, the 17th-18th century parish church and a trio of flour mills in the higher part called Es Puget. They overlook the village, lending it a touch of romance… Then, you also have a family winery, Vinya Taujana, and authentic restaurants that attract not only the locals but also nature lovers, hikers, cyclists and of course the foreign residents with their own property…
Popular since time immemorial
The area has been inhabited since the year dot, as signified by its 13 prehistoric sites. Among them are the Cuevas del Puig, des Puget and ses Coyes. Traces of the Talayotic culture, thousands of years old, have also been found. Later, the Moors settled in this region in the Middle Ages and founded the Benibazari estate, from which Santa Eugènia finally developed following the Christian conquest in the 13th century. The name of one of the village restaurants makes reference back to the Islamic era – Pizzeria Benibazari offers all kinds of variations of the Italian round crispy-dough favourites… But the top dog among the restaurants is Can Prim by the market square, where it’s great too that you can sit outdoors if you want.
Tapas classics – the “variat”
The popular weekend menu in Can Prim always entices large numbers of customers. But you can also order a classic tapas mix containing the most typical Majorcan tapas – “tapas variadas”. The islanders have a short and sweet name for it: the “variat”. It’s a formidable medley that’s sometimes even spills a little over the edge of the earthenware dish.
Albóndigas (meatballs) with sauce, garlic mushrooms, pica pica (finely chopped cuttlefish in spicy sauce) and frito mallorquín (offal and vegetables) have a rendezvous on the same plate with no reservations. Even tongue with capers and kidneys join the party. And an added dollop of ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad with potatoes, tuna and mayonnaise) lends a freshness to the whole ensemble.
Everything is piled on top of everything else, blending into everything else…and then it’s finally topped off with a ham or spinach croquette, deep-fried rings of calamari, a shrimp or a mussel… It’s got to be tried, this Can Prim classic!
Santa Eugènia is one of Majorca’s 53 municipalities. The four districts – the village itself with the same name plus Ses Olleries, Ses Alqueries and Ses Coves – have around 1,600 inhabitants altogether. Among them, you’ll find many foreigners with their own properties here, who love being close to Palma on the one hand, while living a tranquil life in the countryside at the same time.
Markets in Santa Eugènia and Santa Maria
The village has a handful of shops, with a pharmacy, tobacconist, and supermarkets keeping the flag flying. And you can find a weekly market every Saturday in Santa Eugènia, as is only right and proper in a Majorcan village. If that doesn’t suffice, the following day you could wander around one of the largest Sunday markets on the sunshine island – which you’ll find in the neighbouring town of Santa Maria del Camí, some six kilometres away.
Country estate hotel
If you wanted to experience what life is like in Santa Eugènia – before deciding on a Majorcan property, say – you could always book into the Can Solé Petit Hotel. Or the grand 16th-century Agroturismo Sa Torre de Santa Eugènia. In this country hotel, you can feel the most authentically Majorcan side of Majorca. The estate, originally a winery, has a special restaurant; it’s called the Celler Sa Torre, and this wine cellar with a vaulted ceiling 8.70 metres high is deemed to be the highest in the Balearic Islands. Nowadays, on white-clad tables next to giant, wooden wine casks in this impressive space, you can savour Majorcan specialities with a tasting menu that changes weekly – and non-hotel guests are also welcome. It’s a pure family affair in the service and kitchen departments since it’s the owner’s sons who serve and cook for the guests. And there’s yet another nice detail. The wine list in this former wine cellar is remarkable and it’s a real tribute to Spain’s great wines, particularly those of the island. And among the great selection at this restaurant in the Agroturismo, you’ll find a red that they cultivate themselves – the Natiu de Finca Sa Torre.