While there are many reasons why Palma is worth a visit – think food, culture and history to name a few – most visitors will only have a couple of days to explore the capital of Mallorca on their trip to the island. For this reason we’ve whittled the long list down to just six of the best excuses to visit – as if you needed any at all!
The Palma dining scene has gone from strength to strength, and now boasts some of the finest, and most diverse, restaurants in Spain. From Michelin-starred haute cuisine and buzzing tapas bars, to a wide range of vegetarian and vegan establishments, plus numerous Indian, Asian, Italian, and of course Mallorcan restaurants, you’ll never be stuck for a great place to eat. The city’s San Juan Mercado Gastronómico is also a must-visit cornucopia of culinary delights for those who want to sample a variety to either take away, or eat at long bistro-style tables.
While nightlife in neighbouring Barcelona and Ibiza might have the edge, Palma can certainly hold its own. With so many great bars around the Mallorcan capital, you’re always guaranteed an eventful night, whether at quirky hipster hang-outs or the swish rooftop terraces of upscale hotels. The compact size of the city centre also means everything is within easy walking – or stumbling – distance.
From bustling food markets to polished department stores, high-street chains to independent fashion boutiques, quirky secondhand stores to high-end vintage outlets, the Mallorcan capital is a shopaholic’s dream destination. And like the nightlife, most of it is squeezed into the city’s easily walkable centre – though you’ll probably have to flag a cab down to ferry all your purchases back to the hotel…
Although it can’t compete with many of the island’s stunning coves, Palma’s long stretch of sandy beach makes for a perfectly pleasant place to spend the day. The Playa Ca’n Pere Antoni is bookended by two excellent beach clubs, one of which (Nassau) offers loungers for hire, complete with waiter service to enjoy a cold beer without leaving the comfort of your sunbed.
It’s no secret that Palma boasts a particularly vibrant art scene, not only with its impressive contemporary art museum (Es Baluard) and excellent Miró Foundation, but with numerous independent art galleries scattered around the city. In fact Palma is said to have more galleries per capita than any other city in Spain, so culture vultures are certainly well catered for!
Having been founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, occupied by the Byzantine and Moorish empire, and coming under Spanish control in the 12th century, it is no surprise Palma has a particularly rich and wonderful history. Thanks to careful preservation of the Casco Antiguo (the Old Town), much of the city’s past can been seen written into the narrow cobbled lanes, beautiful medieval architecture, and ancient landmarks such as the old ramparts and iconic cathedral. There are also two excellent museums where you can learn about the city’s past; the Museum of Mallorca in the heart of the Old Town, and another up in the wonderful Bellver Castle perched on a pine-covered hill.