There is a beautiful legend about the caves of Portals Vells, also called “Caves of Mother of God”. It tells that around the middle of the 15th century, a Genoese sailor had been caught by a horrible hurricane near the Bay of Palma. The tempest tore the sail to pieces and the huge waves cracked the planks and masts of the ship. Seeing that their lives were in danger, the captain and his crew decided to make a vow, promising that if they were going to save their lives, they would build a place of honour for the statue of the Virgin from their ship, exactly at that place where they were going to be driven ashore.
Actually, the tempest ceased, and the ship was driven to the little natural harbour of Portals Vells, where the sailors discovered several caves. They decided to place in one of them the statue of their Madonna, carved an altar into the rock and decorated the walls with religious inscriptions and drawings.
At first the Virgin’s statue was worshiped only by sailors and fishermen, but later on the caves became a place of pilgrimage for the citizens of Calvia and the surrounding villages. During the 18th century, the Madonna statue had to be transferred to the church of Calvia, in order to protect it from the enormous boulder that had fallen from the ceiling of the cave. Nowadays, the statue can be admired in the church of Portals Vells. The Caves still preserve the inscriptions and paintings of those rescued fishermen as well as a wonderful view on the charming Bay of Portals Vells.