From the Bonany Refuge to the Cura and Sant Salvador Retreats, Mallorca is not short of religious sites where visitors can seek inner peace whilst discovering the island.
Retreats and refuges are scattered around the island, offering accommodation in renovated monastery cells, outdoor areas for picnics, restaurants to enjoy the local gastronomy as we
ll as impressive views of Mallorca. Staying in a refuge or a retreat is a great way to enjoy the tranquillity of the island and connect with nature in a peaceful environment. Below you will discover just seven of them of specific significance.
Located in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, in the municipality of Escorca, Lluc was the first Marian retreat to open its doors in the Balearic Islands. The site was chosen in the 13th century after the Virgin Mary appeared amongst surrounding rocks.
Declared a historical-artistic monument, Lluc is a highly respected spiritual centre in Mallorca. It is made up of various buildings, including a 17th-century church, a guesthouse with 81 rooms and 39 self-catering units (formerly cells), a botanical garden, a small cemetery as well as a museum with an important collection of priory books and music sheets dating from various periods.
The retreat is also home to the “Blauets” Choir, one of the oldest in Europe founded in 1531 and famous for its rendition of the Song of the Sibyl, a liturgical drama and a Gregorian chant listed as Intangible Heritage by UNESCO, performed by the choir each year on Christmas Eve.
Located in the southern part of Mallorca, 250 metres above sea level, Monti-Sion stands out for its impressive pentagonal cloister, its neo-gothic altarpiece and its viewpoint, where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Mallorca’s inland. The oratory, which has undergone various restorations and modifications over the years, is thought to date from the 15th century. The retreat is accessible by a road built by the residents of nearby Porreras within a single day on 14 January 1954; a certain proof of the retreat's significance for the local population!
Our Lady of Cura Retreat
Perched on Mount Randa, this religious architectural complex is one of the best known and most popular retreats on the island. It was built in the vicinity of a cave where Ramon Llull, a philosopher, theologian, poet, missionary and Christian apologist from the Kingdom of Mallorca received Enlightenment in the 13th century.
The site consists of four buildings including a church, a convent, a hostel as well as a small chapel dating back to 1668 which houses a 15th century stone-carved figure of the Virgin Mary and one of San Cristo dating back from the 17th century.
Once home to a prestigious grammar school, the sanctuary has kept hold of a collection of beautifully preserved objects including paintings and religious books featuring the cult of the retreat and Lullian teachings.
The Mare de Déu Retreat of Sant Salvador
Consisting of a church, a small chapel and a monument dedicated to Christ, this retreat located on the Puig de Bonany dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The neo-baroque church was built between 1920 and 1925 over the ruins of a temple demolished in 1919. The site is also home to a cave where, according to popular beliefs, Christians used to hide images of the Virgin of Bonany whilst Muslims ruled the island.
Sant Honorat Refuge
Built in 1394, this refuge is located in the southernmost part of Monte de Cura (belonging to the municipality of Algaida). Sant Honorat was the retirement place of Father Joaquim Rosselló, founder of the congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts in 1890. The current façade, built in 1888, features two arched portals, the first leading to the churchyard and the other to the porter's lodge. A gothic tombstone commemorating the first structure built in 1397 can also be found on the site.
The building houses cells used by the congregation, the oratory of Blessed Francesc Palau, a small chapel from the second half of the 20th century as well as a wide panoramic viewpoint.
La Mare de Déu de Bonany Refuge
Located on the Bonany mountain, this refuge is the most emblematic religious complex of Petra. Its origin dates back to 1606 and the current church was built between 1920 and 1925.
A medieval wood carving of the Virgin de Bonany can be found on the baroque-style altar whilst images of San Antonio Abad and Santa Catalina Tomása restored by Bartomeu Amorós in 1941 adorn in the main altarpiece.
From 1896 to 1990, the refuge was run by the hermits of Saint Paul and Saint Anthony. Today it is managed as a hostel by local residents dedicated to the service of the community.
Our Lady of Gràcia Refuge
This simple structure was built in the middle of the 18th century near a large rock on the Randa mountain, better known as the “three sanctuaries”. In time, the Sant Honorat Retreat and the Nostra Senyora de Cura Retreat were added to the original building.
Today, Our Lady of Gràcia Refuge is a very important centre for pilgrims and visitors alike that offers exceptional views over Mallorca.