Test your eyesight from this coastal tower and see if you can spot a pirate
Where today you see only a beautiful islet and an inviting seascape, in the days of yore, others saw an ominous horizon, regularly darkened by marauding pirates closing in for the kill. If you’ve ever wondered what our watchtowers were like, take a trip to Pou des Lleó beach and discover the impressive Torre d’en Valls for yourself. As an added attraction, you’ll be rewarded with exceptional views over the vast sea.
There was a long period in which Ibiza and Formentera, like other Mediterranean islands and coastal points, suffered continual attacks, raids and forays from Barbary pirates, who were especially active from the 16th to the 18th centuries – although the threat they posed would not be completely eliminated until the early 19th century. In self-defense, the islanders built lookout towers along the coastlines of both islands so that an early alarm could be sounded when enemy vessels were seen approaching. Today, seven of these watchtowers are still in existence in Ibiza, one of them in the municipality of Santa Eulària des Riu: the Torre d’en Valls, also known as the Torre de Campanitx. The uphill walk to reach it is well worth the effort. Not only will you be afforded the opportunity to explore this marvelous fortification, you will also enjoy a breathtaking view of Tagomago Island, just a mile off the coast.
As the tower is situated quite near the little cove of Pou des Lleó, on the tip of Cap Roig, to reach it you just follow the sign-posted track that sets off from the cove. Although it is possible to go by car, it is much more satisfying to go on foot and so enjoy a nice walk through nature. Torre d’en Valls was built in 1763, but its current robust appearance is the fruit of a recent reconstruction. A mere century after it was built, the tower exploded into smithereens when its gunpowder reserve was accidentally ignited. At the time, rumor had it that the incident was a vendetta between neighbours. Whatever the case, it coincided with a period in which watchtowers began to lose their usefulness and Torre d’en Valls was not raised again until 1982, when it was completely rebuilt.