The llaüt is the typical Mallorcan boat par excellence: a little wooden boat that has been dancing across turquoise waters in the Mediterranean for decades, and these days has become a true symbol of craftsmanship. If you are one of those who enjoy travelling because it lets you immerse yourself in the true essence of your destination, keep reading! In this article we're going to discover what this traditional Mallorcan boat is like, and its history.
Table of contents
- What is a llaüt
- Traditional boat workshops on Mallorca
- Try sailing on a llaüt
- Sailing on a llaüt starting from Alcudia
- Sailing on a llaüt starting from Portocolom
What is a llaüt?
It is a wooden lateen sailboat about four metres in length (but there are bigger ones), with three masts. Although the origin of the llaüt is linked to fishing, its excellent stability at sea made the llaüt a common sight in the Mediterranean, so much so that it was used to smuggle tobacco to the island in the 60s.
The llaüt is small and very stable, even in rough seas. It originated on Mallorca as a boat intended for fishing, mainly trawling. Its past actually dates back all the way to the Phoenicians, but its true creators were the so-called "mestres d'aixa" (masters of the adze – a boat-building tool), or "carpinteros de ribera” (riverbank carpenters), a trade that is near extinction but still survives in certain areas of Mallorca, such as Portocolom, Manacor, Vilafranca and Port de Pollença.
Progress and social change cornered this traditional vessel, leaving it all but forgotten, and at the same time the workshops where they were repaired and built have been shut down. However, Mallorca's bond with this boat has never been broken, and it's part of the island’s most deeply rooted history.
Traditional boat workshops on Mallorca
The history of the llaüt has been rediscovered, little by little, especially after the llaüt was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. There has been a workshop in Son Bonet, near Palma, for two decades now. It's a place where riverbank carpentry as a profession is valued, and where some of the most famous llaüts and traditional vessels of Mallorca are restored.
Some of these vessels can be seen in the Cultural Centre Ses Voltes, in the centre of Palma (in the park located by the cathedral) and in the Museo de la Mar, the Museum of the Sea, located in Port de Sóller, where you can also enjoy one of the most beautiful ports on the island.
Try sailing on a llaüt
Sailing on a llaüt is without a doubt a unique experience, and an amazing way of getting to know the true Mallorca. As soon as you get aboard you'll be surrounded by the allure of times past, when the pace was slower, and find that essence of a Mallorca that was more leisurely, more romantic, more traditional and more endearing.
Spending time on a llaüt is also an opportunity to see the Mallorcan coastline from a different perspective. There are several different itineraries available around the island, so you can choose the one you like the most – or do them all if you want.
Sailing on a llaüt starting from Alcudia
From Port d'Alcudia, where our hotels Zafiro Palace Alcudia and Zafiro Tropic are located, there are several options. One of them takes you by llaüt to the Aucanada lighthouse, an idyllic place where you can watch the sunset and enjoy a swim in the setting sun.
Sailing on a llaüt starting from Portocolom
This alternative starting point lets you discover the Mallorcan east coast from the sea. This excursion is highly recommended, as it’s full of cliffs, caves and small, untouched coves that can only be accessed this way – by boat – or by foot.
Whichever option you decide to do for, this outing on a typical Mallorcan boat will, without doubt, be one of the great memories you take with you from your stay on the island. But if you want to continue adding up incredible experiences to fill your holiday calendar, check out our travel ideas section. Also remember that if you book with us directly online, you get our Relax & Care insurance completely free of charge.