Palma de Mallorca is one of the most beautiful cities of the Mediterranean. With many years of history, Palma old town is full of legends, charming corners and impressive monuments that fill this cosmopolitan city with life.
Flashing back to my visit to Palma, the capital of Mallorca in 2013, I wore this sunflower dress for the first time of what must be a hundred wears by now. It was perfect for traveling thanks to no ironing needed, no bra, lightweight and comfortable, but able to be dressed up for occasions back at home.
But let’s go sightseeing in sea breezy Palma de Mallorca today! Less than half-an-hour’s drive from our luxury hotel in Port Adriano, Palma was ideal for one-day visit.
Palma is the capital, not only of Mallorca but of the Balearic Islands.
It’s an eclectic mix of old and new, bustling and tranquil, conservative and modern urban. Although no one can be sure, it is thought that the present capital of Mallorca was built over the Roman ruins found under the historic center of the present city, although some experts locate it at Ses Salines s’Horta d’en Palmer, near Campos. Even if it’s the largest city in Mallorca it is condensed and you can do it by foot or trying the local tourist “hop-on-hop-off” bus. A brilliant idea seen in all major tourist destinations. To enjoy the capital at its best, you should make time to discover all the charm of its beautiful architecture by just wandering around the pretty narrow streets of its historic center.
If you prefer more open settings you can take a leisurely stroll along the refreshing Paseo de Borneo, or near the sea, along Paseo de la Sagrera. The center is defined by Paseo de Borneo, a long street which has the cathedral and the Kings residence to the right and the old part of La Lonja to the left. Paseo Bulevard is a glamorous mix of high-end shops, small cafes and some amazing restaurants, perfect for long lunches to be enjoyed. On the furthest point of La Lonja you will find Es Baluard one of the best Contemporary Art Museums in Mallorca. When you are on Paseo Borne, I really recommend a visit to Rialto Living which is a fabulous lifestyle shop dating back to the 15th century.
To the left of La Lonja you will see a more bohemian area called Santa Catalina with a very cool atmosphere. Santa Catalina, the most avant-garde part of Palma, is a perfect option for hanging out with friends. It has a Soho feel with Lebanese food restaurants next to traditional Mallorquian bars, along side a stylish Cuban style hotel and much more. Also, Santa Catalina has a brilliant small market which is filled with very unique specialist stalls and certainly worth a little walk around to get some essential treats. The finishing touch will be a drink in one of the premium cocktail bars located on the Paseo Mallorca or at the Plaza des Mercat.
If we keep the top of Paseo Borne, will walk through a tree lined avenue filled with Gaudi inspired architecture, art galleries and cafes, which will lead you to famous Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a perfect filled avenue where the flower sellers set up their stalls. Take the steps in front of you upwards and you’ll find out the gorgeous Plaza Major and rows of small narrow streets filled with interesting shops.
In Plaza Espana stop on the way to visit Mercat de L’Olivar for some groceries or just to marvel at the fish selection. On Las Avenidas you will see the large department store El Corte Ingles, giving you the perfect opportunity to have a little retail therapy. You can stop and have lunch at the Gastronomic Market of San Juan, where dozens of stalls will conquer the palates of gourmet-lovers.
Eventually you will come to the centennial Olive tree in the Plaza de Cort, the landmark of the city which will lead you back to the Cathedral and Parc de la Mar. A walk along the coast to the Parque del Mar and a visit to the famous Gothic Cathedral, while you feel the Mediterranean sea is the best way to end your day here.
The Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca is the main religious building of the island where Masses are still held. Known as ‘La Seu’, the Cathedral of Santa Maria is the most emblematic Christian building in Mallorca, without doubt the “jewel in the crown”, not only due to its awe-inspiring size, but also for its historical and artistic value. This imposing building rises up from its location on a small promontory that was built into the ancient city wall. It is dominated by an enormous central nave, the highest of all the cathedrals in Spain and the second-highest in Europe. The cathedral has the largest original rose window at the end of the nave known as the ‘Ull del Gotic’, possibly the largest of its kind in the world with its diameter of nearly 14 meters. Throughout its long-drawn-out construction, this monuments’ building works were directed by the leading architects of the day, worth mentioning famous Gaudi that played a part in the interior decoration of the cathedral. The building is in the Levantine Gothic Style, characterized by its strictly Basilical layout. From the outside you should take the chance to admire the splendid Portal del Mirador, also known as the Portal dels Apostles, with the figures of Sant Pere and Sant Pau.
Mallorca Cathedral reaches today a height of 44 meters and covers an area of just under 7000 square meters, which is about the same size as the football pitch at Wembley. It consists of three façades each offering a unique entrance portal. The most spectacular and technically perfect façade is the southern that looks out on to the bay of Palma. From here we can clearly appreciate the Gothic style of the Cathedral, with domination of horizontal over vertical lines and decorative features.
In the afternoon you can visit Castillo de Bellver, the only round plant castle in Europe and the Porto Pi lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world. I left these sights for another holiday and go back to our hotel for dinner in one of Port Adriano gorgeous restaurants.
My best advice for a day in Palma de Mallorca?
Comfy shoes, plenty of time, no rushing and just walk and enjoy the views. There is so much to see and something new is always appearing around the corner. Take your time to just browse and watch the world go by with intermittently stops for refreshing drinks.