Off the beaten track
Petra is a traditional rural town in the middle of the island with two impressive 16th and 17th century churches, an in-town winery, long streets of sand coloured houses, a museum, a couple of good restaurants & a bucket full of charm.
Relatively untouched by tourism, mainly due to its inland location, the town is home to less than 3,000 residents, almost all of them being locals. It is the perfect destination for travellers who wish to escape the touristy parts of the island and get off the beaten track.
Fray Junipero Serra
In the 17th century, Petra had a much larger population and was one of the most important towns in Mallorca due to being the main crop yielding region on the island – until various epidemics blighted the community affecting both the agricultural productivity and the number of people living in the town.
There are a couple of reasons why Petra is on the tourist map, the main one being that it is the birthplace of Catholic saint and missionary Fray Junipero Serra, often referred to as Mallorca’s most famous son. Fray became a priest at just 17 years of age, worked in Mexico for 14 years and at the age of 54, he was sent to California to establish new missions. What is remarkable is that the missions he established grew into some of the biggest cities in the USA including San Francisco and San Diego.
Sandstone & wine
The other reason Petra is well-known is for the sandstone that comes from the area; which has been used to build many of the villages on the island; which explains why the town is named Petra – in Latin this means ‘rock’.
There’s a couple of excellent vineyards in Petra producing high quality wines that are sold all over Mallorca.