The rest of this delightful island is easily accessible from Palma, offering a blend of town and rural pursuits to keep you busy, no matter what your interests. Read on for just a sample of what Mallorca can offer...
Palma, the capital city of Mallorca is more than a match for its mainland rivals.
The island's capital city offers just about everything Madrid and Barcelona have, but in a smaller package. This is a truly exciting short break destination: with a lovely medieval centre, it's fringed by golden sandy beaches, there's an enormous recreational harbour, its has many first-class art galleries, it draws many people for the excellent shopping available, it has a sophisticated nightlife, plus the wonderful cuisine you might expect from an island 'nation'.
Palma de Mallorca comes as a surprise to many people - it is stylish, sophisticated, intimate, yet bursting with life. Located on the southern shores of Mallorca, the island's capital city looks out over the sparkling blue seas of the Mediterranean.
Half of Mallorca's population live here, enjoying the island's best restaurants, shops and nightlife as well as a thriving arts scene and a lively cafe society. The main attractions and shops are situated around the massive Gothic cathedral down by the sea front. Here is where you will find the old quarter, with it's tiny lanes, quirky cafes and shops, and characterful buildings, all packed within a square kilometre. It's very easy to explore and walk around this area, with no shortage of sights and refreshment stops. Most tourists will stay in this part of Palma, and there is a great selection of small hotels for all budgets. Look out for the districts of La Llonja, Born, Jaume III, Sant Nicolau, La Calatrava - all of these are located within the old town. Also worth a visit is Santa Catalina, just to the west of the iconic Es Baluard museum. This is a thriving night time spot, with plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants to enjoy al fresco dining.
Down by the sea front is a large marina, and a promenade for both cyclists and pedestrians. The ferry port and cruise terminal is about 3.5 km from the old town from where you can catch a ferry to Ibiza and the Spanish mainland. You can also take a short 30 minute flight to either Menorca or Ibiza from Palma airport- you could even make it a day trip or stay for a night. From Ibiza you could also take the ferry out to the tiny island of Formentera from Ibiza town, an idyllic island and beloved hideway of the stars.
Palma's Main Attractions
PALMA CATHEDRAL - Palma's masterpiece is its Gothic Cathedral, rising out of the city walls which once marked the edge of the sea. Close to here is the old Arab quarter, take the chance to explore this maze of narrow streets hiding museums, palaces and exquisite courtyards.
BELLVER CASTLE - 14th-century royal fortress with fragrant pine woods and superb views over Palma Bay, so perfectly maintained, it is hard to believe that it has been standing for almost 700 years. Look
out over the city and the bay for one of the best views in Palma. Bellver means 'lovely view' in Catalan. It also houses Palma's museum. Get there by car or taxi, or take a bus to Placa Gomila and climb up through the pine woods above Carrer de Bellver. Open 10-2 & 4- 7.
ARAB BATHS are set in the gardens of Can Fontirroig, 7 rue de Palma Can Serra, is one of the few remaining examples of Muslim architecture on the island. Known then as Mayurqa Madina, Palma was refounded by the Muslims on Roman remains. They also built the fortress known as the Almudaina, later conquered by the Catalans.
TRAIN & TRAM TO SOLLER. Opened in 1912, the railway from Placa Major cross the Sierra de Tramuntana, passes through 13 tunnels & 27 kms of lemon and orange groves to Soller. It brings the northwest coast within easy reach of the capital. The vintage carriages are still in use. Today there’s the added benefit of a tram linking Soller to its Port.
BOAT TRIP There is no better way to see the Island than from a boat. There is a choice of small boats, large boats and catamarans, glass-bottom boats. Mare Nostrum offer day Catamaran trips in the Bay of Palma - you can swim, relax on the bow nets, enjoy a BBQ. Or take the trip to Es Trenc beach where the boat is anchored in the crystal clear water and enjoy the virgin beach from the boat.
The Pilar & Joan Miro Foundation Take an excursion to Cala Major, houses a broad cross-section of his surrealist work: paintings, sculptures and ceramics and two of his studios. Joan married Pilar, a Mallorcan, and spent over half his life here. Glance into his studio, left untouched since his death, with work in progress, open tins of paint and black stains all over the floor. Closed on Mondays.
FESTIVALS - Summer is the main festival season but there will be some event taking place during your stay. June Nit de Foc - One of the most popular festivals in Palma is Nic de Foc (Night of Fire), with huge bonfires and fireworks displays. June Sant Pere Fiesta - Processions of fishing boats in Palma Bay, in honour of the patron saint of fishermen.
MARKETS Palma has a range of markets. A lively craft market on the Placa Major with buskers and open-air cafes, daily 10am - 2pm. The Olivar Market is a huge & colourful indoor shopping experience - dazzling displays of flowers, huge piles of fruits, buckets of olives, fish you never knew existed.The Rastro flea market takes over part of the main ring road each Saturday morning.
SHOPPING The main areas in are Avinguda Jaume III and the Passeig des Born for up-market boutiques, and the pedestrianised area around Placa Major for smaller specialist shops. For the shopper, the relatively small size of Palma is of great advantage.
NIGHTLIFE - BARS. Palma has a bustling bar scene, with the main late night bars on the small narrow streets behind Placa Llonja and in Santa Catalina. Many of the cafes and tapas bars provide a relaxed setting for having a drink throughout the evening. There are hundreds of bars to choose from, so take your pick as you wander.
TEATRE PRINCIPAL - Palma's main theatre has undergone a major, twenty-first century refurbishment. The programme consists of theatre, opera, classical music concerts, dance, choral music and modern music. It is located by the Placa Major in the centre of Palma old town.
JAZZ CLUBS. BLUESVILLE is an informal bar with live music every night, mainly blues plus some funk, reggae and rock. The Jazz Voyeur Club is in the heart of old town, set in a C16th mansion. Live music nightly except Mondays from 10pm. The Blue Jazz Club is located in the Saratoga Hotel. Jazz artists perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 11h00 p.m. and 01h00 a.m. Restaurant service is available.
What and Where to Eat, Drink and Be Merry
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