Palma de Mallorca: What to do in the capital of the Balearic Islands

The beautiful city of Palma de Mallorca offers everything: a perfect climate, the beach, a charming old town, atmospheric nightlife and plenty of both daytime and nighttime entertainment.

Mallorca Cathedral

Palma is the largest city on the island of Mallorca, it´s the cosmopolitan capital of the Balearic Islands and a huge Mediterranean tourist destination. You can´t avoid Palma, the airport and main port are both located here, so you´ll be coming through this city no matter how you arrive. A lot of visitors don´t stop off long in Palma, usually going straight from the airport to their beachside villas in Majorca.

But, we think that your stay in Mallorca is incomplete without a visit to Palma, let us take you on a tour of this exciting and fun city. Spend at least one day here, strolling through the charming streets and discovering the more hidden and interesting places – you definitely won’t get bored.

La Seu Cathedral

La Seu

La Seu Cathedral requires no introduction. The vast Gothic church sits next to the sea and the harbour and is one of the three largest in Europe (44m high, 121m long and 55m wide). It is certainly one of the best things to see in Mallorca and rises up from the earth like a great stone beast – a symbol of pride for the city and the island.

La Seu Cathderal

Inside the Cathedral, you can admire a spectacular hanging chandelier created by Gaudí, which is beautifully reminiscent of a crown of thorns. Amazing stained glass rosettes adorn the windows, forming a spectacle of multicoloured lights. The largest section of the stained glass window is the ‘Gothic Eye’, which is located above the main altar and has a diameter of almost 14m!

The Cathedral and Parks

The area surrounding the Cathedral deserves a little attention too. Looking towards the sea, between the walls of the temple and motorway is one of the most prominent parks in the city – El Parque del Mar. A significant part of the park consists of a huge saltwater pond and fountain, a palm tree-lined promenade, green lawns and a children’s playground.

Parque del Mar

On the other side of the Cathedral you will find the Royal Palace of La Almudaina (Palacio Real de La Almudaina), a remnant of the Arab rulers which was later taken over by Spanish Kings. A walk through the chambers, bedrooms, halls and courtyard will transport you back in time to ancient eras. Also, if you have the time and curiosity, visit the delightful Royal Gardens of S’Hort del Rei which are full of lush greenery, bright flowers and cooling fountains.

The Royal Gardens of Almudaina are located near Plaça de la Llotja, which is where the building of La Llotja can be found. This building used to be the former stock exchange and is now a cultural centre and art gallery. The Parque de la Feixina is also not far from here. It´s a very nice park with fountains, a children’s playground and fitness equipment.

Parque de la Feixina

There is also a towering monument dedicated to the crew of the ship ‘Baleares’, which sunk during the Spanish Civil War in March 1938. The park is divided into three terraces at different heights. In the first terrace at the top, there is a fountain whose water delicately flows down to a pond which surrounds the monument located on the middle terrace. On the lowest terrace there´s a huge stone, pyramid-shaped sundial and a small, circular fountain. From here, it´s not far to the promenade by the sea.

Paseo Marítimo

One popular tourist destination in this area is the Paseo Marítimo, the famous promenade which runs along the sea and port. It makes this city a relaxing place for a holiday stay, especially if you choose one of our apartments in Palma de Mallorca. The marina is filled with anchored yachts, calmly bobbing and patiently waiting to be freed. The promenade is lined with palm-trees and benches, creating a shady and sunny space for locals and tourists alike to run, walk, ride a bike or sit and watch the world pass by.

Paseo Marítimo

Across the street, stretches a strip of bars, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Paseo Marítimo is in fact the central nightlife hub on this island and late at night, it fills up quickly with party and entertainment seekers. If you are yourself a clubber or a raver, two places deserve a special mention. Try Tito´s, the most famous club in the city. It has three floors and plays a different type of music on each floor. The second is Pacha, the Mallorca branch of Ibiza´s famous nightclub, which regularly hosts international DJs.

Mallorca Rocks, Magaluf

In this area you will also find a large shopping centre called Porto Pi if you choose to indulge in some retail therapy.

Windmills

The old windmills are a typical aspect of the landscape of Mallorca. You can find them in many towns such as Muro or Campos, which both have a lovely collection of windmills.

Windmill

If you take a stroll through the centre of Palma, between the Cathedral and the Paseo Marítimo, you definitely won´t miss the windmills near the Hard Rock Café, located in the Jonquet area. Originally, there were seven windmills, which could be seen from the sea; today only five remain. One of them, El Molí d’en Garleta, was restored by the city and made into a little museum where you can go and discover everything about the windmills.

Plaça Major

Plaça Major

Plaça Major is the main central square of the city. It is surrounded by the characteristic yellow buildings of Mallorca, complete with little green window shutters. Below are the bars, restaurants and shops and in the middle of the square you will find a huddle of stalls selling homemade products. If you have come to Palma by car, there’s an underground carpark nearby which is a little bit cheaper than parking on the city streets. Best thing to do is pop your car in the underground carpark and explore by foot!

La Rambla and Passeig des Born

During your exploration of Palma, there are two streets which you can´t miss. Firstly, La Rambla boulevard which has grown on top of the old riverbed of La Riera and offers a huge variety of floristry stalls. To get to La Rambla, go down the stairs from Plaça Major. Off the main drag of La Rambla you will find small, atmospheric streets filled with equally cosy and characterful pubs.

La Rambla, Palma

The second, unmissable walking boulevard is the famous avenue of Passeig des Born, connecting the Plaza Juan Carlos I to the Avenida de Antonio Maura. This boulevard is decorated with Sphynx statues – two on each side – and is lined with tall trees creating a peaceful, shady walkway. It is also full of eclectic bars and restaurants, where you can sample some traditional dishes of Mallorca.

Passeig des Born

Save some time to wander down this pleasant boulevard and stop for a coffee or a beer. Along the Passeig des Born you can find a selection of designer boutiques, making it one of the busiest shopping areas in the city. During the Christmas season, the boulevard is impressively decorated with beautiful illuminations.

Palma Aquarium

A visit to the Aquarium in Palma is a great plan for your Majorca family holidays. This is one of the largest aquariums in Europe and is divided into thematic zones, with species from the different seas around the world. It also has the deepest shark tank in the whole of Europe and so, is fittingly named the Big Blue.

Shark Tank, Palma Aquarium

Palma Aquarium offers plenty of attractions and organised events such as weddings, communions and birthday parties. You can also swim with stingrays or dive with the sharks! For the shark dive, you are accompanied by an instructor and immersed in the Big Blue tank with 11 sharks from two species – the sand tiger shark and the sandbar shark. This experience costs €200 and lasts one hour, but to do it you must hold a diving licence.

Marineland

Marineland Palma

Dolphin lovers and families with children may be interested in visiting Marineland. See how these intelligent mammals perform incredible tricks and stunts, jumping out of the water and carrying objects. There´s also a colourful parrot show and a troop of adorable performing sea lions. For an additional fee, there´s the opportunity to meet the dolphins (but not swim with them). You can find out all about their lives and stroke them from the side of the pool. 

Marineland is open mid-May to the end of October and it is located in the village of Costa d’en Blanes (Calvia), which is approximately 13km from Palma de Mallorca.

If you would like to plan a cheap holiday to Majorca and find out more about this beautiful island, or if you’ve already planned a trip here, check out a selection of our Mallorca articles including:

Discover the Serra de Tramuntana Mountain Range.

The 10 most beautiful coves in Mallorca.

Or, discover some other areas of the island, such as the port towns of Port Andratx or Alcudia and Port dÁlcudia.

Map


Balearic Islands

Highlights of Balearic Islands

 

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of islands set like jewels in the azure Mediterranean Sea; from South to North there lie the islands of Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.

Mallorca is some 180 kilometres distant from the port of Barcelona to the North, and Ibiza is around 90 kilometres to the east of the port of Denia on the Costa Blanca. All four inhabited islands have at their disposal modern international airport links.

The largest island, Mallorca (also known as the ‘Isle of Dreams’), has a varied landscape of mountains and valleys, rocky coves and sandy beaches. The main geographical feature is the Sierra del Norte, a mountain range running along the northern coast. The island is covered with pines, and with olive and almond trees, which blanket the countryside with blossoms in springtime.

Menorca still has the marks of its ancient history and a strong connection with Britain; owing to Admiral Nelson’s stay on the island. Both the capital Mahón and the old town of Ciutadella, at the north end of the island, are set at the ends of deep inlets forming natural harbours. There are many bays and lovely beaches on the island.

Ibiza, the third-largest island, has a rugged coastline with many fruit orchards and woods. The main town of the same name is situated above a busy harbour.

A narrow channel separates Ibiza from Formentera, the smallest inhabited island in the group.

Beaches
Between them the Balearic Islands have around 375 recognised beaches, ranging from fine city and resort beaches with fabulous facilities for leisure and relaxation, to tiny coves reachable only by boat; where you can be alone and at peace with the world.

There is no doubt that the fine sand on many of the beaches, coupled with glorious scenery and excellent installations make the Balearic Islands one of the worlds premier beach holiday destinations.

Whichever island, whichever resort that you choose, there will be a fabulous selection of beaches to suit all tastes within a short distance of your accommodation.

Of course the bigger the resort the more likely you are to find comprehensive leisure activities, options for food and refreshments and playgrounds for children, along with the security of lifeguards and first aiders. Most beaches have good quality restaurants and bars offering a wide choice of local and international refreshments.

Leisure & Recreation
The Balearic Islands are a Mecca for all sorts of sports activities; the range is quite staggering. There are riding schools, tennis clubs, golf courses, athletics clubs, go-kart centres, and much more. Check local information of your intended destination to see what is available.

Likewise with water-sports, from diving to windsurfing, all options are covered. Fishing is also very popular and the waters around the islands are rich and fruitful. Surf-casting, rock fishing, along with boat hire – crewed or self hire, are available for fishing expeditions. Alongside fishing there are a number of companies who can offer hunting expeditions and equipment.

Cycling is very popular on the islands and several international teams make this their base for pre-season training; as a consequence there are many easy to follow routes of varying difficulty. Even the casual cyclist can enjoy a day or two cycle hire and gently meander along the quiet roads, drinking in the scents and scenery, stopping at a roadside inn for delicious local refreshment.

Walking and rambling in the hills and valleys of the islands is a year round pleasure. There are many rural locations, which make ideal bases to intimately enjoy the glorious countryside. Again, safe marked routes are to be found in most areas.

In summary, whatever your sport, it is likely to be represented in the Balearics and the local associations welcome visitors with open arms.

Culture and Excursions
The Island’s local authorities have produced multilingual guides for those interested in discovering the history and culture of their chosen destination.

Whichever island you travel to, you are unlikely to be far from a local fiesta or event during your stay. Check with your tourist office on arrival. They will often also be able to give your discounted entrance tickets to leisure parks and other attractions. Don’t be shy about asking!

Cuisine
The traditional cuisine of the Balearic Islands stems from the cultivation of the rich farmland and centuries of hunting and fishing; from the popular fried Mallorcan fish to shellfish with vegetables and lobster stew; fresh island lamb (either roast or in dishes such as Panadera, Freixurat, and Trunyelles) to flavoursome pork sausages (Sobrassades, Botifarró blanc, Botifarró negre, Carn i xua, Cuixot) and fabulously delicious fresh goats cheese with herbs.

Here and there are reminders of an English influence, perhaps best seen in the meat and fish pies. Many of the islands sweets and desserts make use of the lighter cheeses, herbs, honey and almonds.

Climate
The Balearics enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate, with often very warm temperatures even in the depths of winter; at the same time snow has been seen on the mountains during winter.

The temperate nature of the climate and the fertile nature of the landscape mean that in the autumn, winter and spring you may encounter some rain, which is often heavy, but short lived. The summer months are long and lazy, with plenty of sunshine to enjoy.