Palma is the capital city of the Spanish Mediterranean island – and home to more than half of Mallorca’s population. Areas of Palma, such as La Lonja and the old town, are steeped in history and photo-worthy architecture, where you can easily explore the narrow streets on foot.
he city of Palma has changed considerably, thanks to city planning and extensive renovation measures in the old town. The so-called ‘pearl of the Mediterranean’ is today more beautiful than ever, and the Mediterranean flair which attracts millions of visitors each year can be felt in every corner. In 2015, ‘The Sunday Times’ named it the world’s best place to live.
Culture abounds, with numerous galleries and museums such as Es Baluard and Palau March offering diverse exhibitions and classical music concerts throughout the year.
Where to stay?
Hotel Saratoga (Paseo Mallorca, 6, 07012 Palma de Mallorca; +34 971 72 72 40) is 20 minutes walk from the beach. Located in the centre of Palma de Mallorca, the luxurious Saratoga hotel has a rooftop pool with beautiful city views. It features a jazz club and free Wi-Fi throughout.
The hotel is located 5 minutes’ walk from the Contemporary Art Museum, the port and Palma Cathedral. It is also just 50 yards from the exclusive Jaime III shopping avenue.
The spacious and elegant rooms at the Saratoga have air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some rooms have a private balcony.
The Saratoga has a second pool in the gardens with a poolside bar. The hotel is ideal for cyclists, there is a modern fitness centre and a sauna, and the hotel can arrange massage.
Where to eat?
Restaurante Peix Vermell (Calle Montenegro 1 Bis Bajos | La Llotja-Borne, 07012 Palma de Mallorca; +34 971 07 93 74) is located in the Old Town on one of the most emblematic streets in Palma, it offers a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood. The unique identity of Peix Vermell is completed by the homemade desserts and a glass of excellent wine.
The dining area is relatively small and intimate, which only adds to that magical touch. The menu is, as expected oriented toward fish, but not exclusively. The food is of exceptional quality, nicely presented and the overall service is exemplary.
What to see?
The view of the Cathedral in the distance with the dramatic peaks rising all around and the azure sea touching the cycle path was astonishing and undeniably beautiful. The Cathedral is arguably one of the greatest locations for a place of worship in the world; its location set dramatically close to the surf is so enchanting, oozing a picture postcard charm. Its official title is the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma but commonly referred to as La Seu and is believed to be the 2ndlargest gothic cathedral in Spain. It possesses an untamed, direct natural beauty. The façade is amazing; the architecture is gloriously gothic in style with stunning pronounced vertical and horizontal lines complimented by some amazing flying buttresses and wonderful carvings.
The light and diverse colours generated by the countless stained glass windows were stunning. I especially enjoyed the large Muriel of the Lord looking up to the heavens on the far wall opposite the altar. I was intrigued to discover that parts of the building had been modified by Antoni Gaudi, the wrought iron structure symbolizing the crown of thorns was inspired by him and he is also credited with introducing electricity to the cathedral.
Miles of fragrant pine forest surround the circular Castell de Bellver (Carrer Camilo José Cela, s/n, 07014 Palma, +34 971 73 50 65) leading down to the gem-like waters of Palma Bay. Bellver means “lovely view” in Catalan, and a climb onto the roof here is rewarded with 360° panoramas over the foothills and forests to the city beyond, as well as across the tower’s elegant round courtyard. The Gothic style structure is situated on a hill 3 km to the west of the centre of the city on the Island It was built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca, and is one of the few circular castles in Europe.
If you love art, then a visit to the Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani (Plaça de la Porta de Santa Catalina, 10, 07012 Palma; +34 971 90 82 00) is essential. It is home to an impressive modern art collection including Picasso’s unusual ceramics, works by Spanish artists such as Joan Miro and Miguel Barcelo, as well as a selection of masterpieces from more than 500 contemporary artists. Situated in the heart of the city centre, you’ll find most buses stop nearby (including the number 50 tourist bus) but you get a €4 discount on the entry fee if you come by bicycle.
NANO bicycles® (C/ de la Mar, 10, Palma de Mallorca; +34 971 66 73 60) is one of the leading bike rental & bike tours company in the city. They offer all types of bikes from City-Comfortable bikes to MTB, Trekking or Sport bikes such as full carbon Road bikes and a big variety of accessories that will make your bike ride one of the most wonderful memories during your stay.
Airlines flying from UK airports include easyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com), Ryanair (0871 246000; ryanair.com), Thomas Cook (01733 224330; thomascookairlines.com), Thomson (0203 451 2695; thomson.co.uk/flight), Flybe (0371 700 2000; flybe.com), Jet2 (0333 300 0042; jet2.com), Vueling (0905 078 1000; vueling.com), British Airways (0344 493 0787; ba.com) and Iberia Express (iberiaexpress.com; 0034 91 389 43 75)