Palma is the capital city of the island of Mallorca. It is only 5km west of the airport and has a population of over 300,000 people. It is easily accessible by public transport from nearby resorts such as Magaluf and Palma Nova and has become a popular short break destination. The majority of visitors to the island never take the time to visit the city in their rush to get to their resort and soak up as much sun as they can. By doing so they really do miss out on what is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Spain.
The city lies on the Bay of Palma with the long Passeig Maritim running the full length of its waterfront. Some of the world’s most prestigious yachts can be seen moored in Palma’s marina and regular ferries from the mainland offer services to the adjacent port.
From all along the Passeig Maritim there are fine views across the bay to the magnificent Sa Seu Cathedral and up to Bellver Castle which looks down on the city from the west. These are two of Palma’s most visited tourist attractions. The tourist highlights of the city are all within a short stroll of the 14th century Gothic cathedral on which Gaudi added some finishing touches to the interior.
Take a look at La Llotja just west of the cathedral which is a fine building which was formerly Palma’s stock exchange. The Bar La Lonja in the adjoining square is well worth a visit then wander east through the small streets with interesting bars and restaurants until you reach Placa de la Reina at the bottom of Passeig des Born. Look out for Abaco (c/ Sant Joan 1) which is probably the city’s most unique bar which is worth a visit even without buying a drink.
Placa de la Reina is near the entrance to the beautiful Palau de l’Almudaina, the former home of the Mallorcan kings, and to the cathedral. This whole area is packed with interesting buildings. Es Parlament (c/ Conquistador 11) is a lovely old restaurant for lunch or dinner in this historic area.
A stroll along Passeig des Born will bring you to Bar Bosch which is one of the city’s most popular spots for people watchers. Nearby Jaume III is one of the main shopping streets. Head east along La Unió and you’ll come to the Plaza Mayor with its numerous open terrace cafés. There’s plenty shopping in the surrounding streets.
La Rambla is a lovely tree lined avenue running northwest from Plaza Mayor which is often filled with stalls selling flowers. If you get this far around lunch or dinner time you must go to my favourite Mallorcan restaurant called Celler Sa Premsa (Placa Bisbe Berenguer de Palou 8). Look on your map and it’s just over to the right near the end of La Rambla.
If you’d rather use local transport to get around try the Palma city hop on, hop off bus service.
Recommended Hotels in Palma de Mallorca
Palacio Ca Sa Galesa
For super luxury in the heart of the city of Palma take a look at the incredible Palacio Ca Sa Galesa. Located in the Gothic quarter near the cathedral it has only 12 rooms most of which have whirlpool baths in their luxurious bathrooms. It is the only hotel in the city centre which as a pool, heated in winter and cooled in summer. This is a true gem of a hotel which you should book well in advance.
A more affordable city break option is the Saratoga Hotel which is located in the centre of Palma close to the main sights. Many of the rooms have a harbour view and there are two outdoor pools one of which is on the roof with excellent views of the Cathedral and the old city walls.
Hotel HM Jaume III
The airport bus stops right outside the Hotel HM Jaume III which is no more than a ten minute walk from the cathedral. Nearby there are plenty local bars and places to eat. There’s a spa in the hotel with Turkish baths and sauna.
Catalonia Majorica Hotel
Located on the outskirts of Palma is the Catalonia Majorica Hotel which is about a 35 minute walk from the city centre. It is up a hill but the advantage of this are the fantastic views that you get of the cathedral and the harbour. Taxis and buses to the centre are readily available.
A nice budget option is the Hotel Zurbaran which is located in the suburbs of Palma up a bit of a hill. It doesn’t have a pool but is near the beach. All of the rooms have balconies some with sea views and some overlooking the patio.
And a final budget option is the charming Hotel Born which is housed in an old building at the top of The Born in Palma city centre which is a perfect location for exploring the old part of the city. When booking be sure to ask for a room overlooking the courtyard as these are lovely and quiet whereas the others can be a bit noisy.