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Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic islands, has it all – fantastic sandy beaches, hiking trails in the mountains, jetset harbours, ancient buildings and lots of history. If you are traveling in Spain, consider hoping on the ferry from Barcelona or catch a short flight to beautiful Palma de Mallorca. You will not regret it.
Palma de Mallorca, the cosmopolitan capital of Mallorca with more than 375,000 inhabitants, has one of the largest yacht harbours in Europe and Palma is the home port to some of the world’s most luxurious yachts. Taking a stroll around the impressive harbour on a sunny afternoon or enjoying a coffee in one of the small bars along the seafront are just a couple of the many reasons to visit Palma. And Palma has many facets and so much more to offer than just yachting.
What to See & Do in Palma de Mallorca
The ancient cathedral La Seu, proudly located on a hill close to the sea front, is not to be missed. The foundations were begun in 1229 and several architects, such as Jaume Mates and Antoni Gaudi, have worked on the building throughout the centuries. There is an admission fee to the cathedral, but if you attend one of the daily masses you get in for free.
Mallorca is an inspiring island with many artists having spent some of their lifetime there. Consequently, Palma offers a great selection of exhibitions and art museums. One of the most famous Spanish artists, Joan Miró, was born in Barcelona but lived and worked in Palma for more than 40 years. The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation was established in 1981. After Joan Miro’s death in 1983, his wife, Pilar, turned the foundation building into a museum hosting a permanent exhibition of Miró’s work and an art centre offering cultural activities and work shops.
Fundacio Es Baluard, a museum for modern and contemporary art, is partly located within the remains of the ancient city wall of Palma and well worth a visit. Don’t miss the museum café and its terrace with its breath-taking view of the harbour.
For an unusual morning, spend some time in the indoor food market hall–Mercat Olivar, near Plaza d’Espanya. Have a beer or a small tapa at one of the bar stands, stroll around while enjoying the smells and view of the local fruits, dry-cured ham hanging from the ceiling and the fresh fish brought in the same morning. It is a feast for all senses!
The closest beach in Palma is just a 10-15 minute walk from the cathedral. While there are no sun chairs or beach facilities offered, there is a bar and restaurant, Nassau Beach Club, located adjacent to the beach and it is a great place to spend an afternoon in the sun. Sip on a cocktail, work on your tan and enjoy the splendid sea view and stylish chill-out atmosphere.
The terrace of the well-known café Bar Bosch is a perfect place for people-watching. In existence since 1936 and open from early morning until late night, it is the classical meeting spot for the locals, and perfect for a drink between sight-seeing and shopping excursions.
The main shopping streets in Palma are Jaume III (elegant and often expensive) and the surrounding area; and for trendy but inexpensive shopping, try San Miquel and Via Sindicato in the area of Plaza Mayor – one of the largest squares in Palma. It is another great spot for a drink in the afternoon.
Jazz lovers should find their way to the intimate jazz bar, Jazz Voyeur Club, in the old town. Open most evenings, it features excellent local and international musicians on a small stage. Arrive early to find a seat.
Plaza Juan Carlos I6, corner with Union
Tel: +34 97 172 1131
Where to Eat in Palma de Mallorca
For Spanish tapas, choose La Boveda which is located near the seafront. This is a busy and lively restaurant with mid-range prices. It is a good place to start the evening and it is always filled with people, so reserving a table is recommended. Try their pa amb oli – the local dish of bread with olive oil, served with serrano ham or hard cheese. Celler Sa Premsa is one of the best Mallorquin restaurants in Palma. Established in 1958, it serves all the local specialities, like the vegetable dish tumbet or pimientos de padron – fried green peppers with sea salt.
Or why not take your loved one out for a romantic dinner at the Indian restaurant, Baisakhi. You will be greeted with an abundance of candles and rose buds, soft background music — all designed to create the perfect setting for a wonderful dining experience — if you like Indian food! They serve a fixed menu with a variety of dishes in three different courses. A bit expensive, but well worth it.
Passeig Sagrera 3
07012 Palma (Mallorca), Spain
Tel:+34 971 720 026
Avinguda Gabriel Roca 8
07014 Palma (Mallorca), Spain
Tel:+34 971 736 806
Where to Stay in Palma de Mallorca
There are many hotels to choose from in Palma. If you like the antique style, Hotel Born is a great choice with moderate prices. It is located on a quiet side street very close to the main shopping area and main sights. It used to be the home of a wealthy marquis several hundred years ago, but now serves as a hotel with a distinguished atmosphere. Breakfast is included and served in a beautiful courtyard patio (weather permitting). All rooms have an en-suite bath, but wifi is only available in the lobby.
Hotel Puro is a trendy, modern hotel with a bohemian touch, located in the middle of the old town and close to the harbour. The bottom floor also hosts a popular bar and restaurant. For an inexpensive stay, Hostal Ritzi offers basic rooms with shared bath for very good rates that include a continental breakfast.
Festivals and Events in Palma de Mallorca
Party with the Festa de San Sebastian in Palma de Majorca
If you are heading to Majorca in January, be sure to join in the fun at the Festa de San Sebastian, or the Saint Sebastian Festival, which is a major event on the island. This traditional festival is celebrated throughout the city of Palma de Majorca. It is a fantastic cultural attraction for visitors, and a highly meaningful event for the island’s residents who look forward to it with great anticipation the entire winter!
Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Palma de Majorca, is revered by the local population,which explains why his day is celebrated with such enthusiasm. This annual festival is one of the biggest parties of the year and will be marked with live music and raucous dancing in all of the major plazas of the city, including: the Placa Major, the Placa d’Espanya and the Placa del Rei Joan Carles I. And, no doubt, the celebrations will continue through all of the streets and into the bars as well!
Ceremonies and Firework Shows
The 2013 festivities will begin on January 16th, and will be marked with barbeques, bonfires and a procession of dancing devil puppets winding their way through the city’s streets. For many people, these dancing devils are the most memorable part of the San Sebastian festival as they often tower several feet above the crowds, and some have even been known to chase unwitting revellers!
The main squares of the city will each feature their own style of music, with jazz, flamenco, traditional tunes and more to choose from. Be sure to try some of the savoury ‘botifarrons’ which are roasted sausages sold in the street markets.
January 20th, the day when St. Sebastian was officially made a saint, is commemorated with a mass held in the Cathedral; and a musical and artistic award ceremony at the Teatre Principal. The evening is capped off with a stunning fireworks display, a perfect end to a great week of music, food, dancing and celebrating in Majorca.