A 2017 holiday to Palma gives you the opportunity to explore the vibrant capital of the island of Majorca. Easily recognisable by the sight of its intricately built cathedral, the city is packed full of museums, shops, bars and eateries. And has the added bonus of being within easy reach of some beautiful Majorcan beaches.
Palma is crammed with culture, both ancient and contemporary and the city has a thriving nightlife. Palma’s old town is filled with ancient passages, historic monuments and magnificent architecture. It can be found around the Gothic cathedral down by the seafront, and from there a lively harbour and promenade stretches over 3km down to the ferry port. With its art, culture and lively multicultural atmosphere, Palma has what you’re looking for.
At a glance
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The main attraction of a holiday to Palma is the dramatic Gothic architecture of La Seu, the cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline. The old town around this area has a wealth of designer shops, as well as a maze of pretty streets and passages showcasing local handicrafts and stunning architecture. Discover hidden treasures in the Arab quarter including museums, picturesque courtyards and exhibitions of ancient religious artefacts. Housed in the old fortress, the Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits some of the best that the island has to offer, as well as having a critically acclaimed restaurant.
There are several golf courses less than a 10 minute drive from the capital. The marina serves as the starting point for some fabulous boat trips and yacht charters, or there are bicycles, scooters and Segways for hire for a more immersive look around the city. Just to the east of Palma there is also the Palma Aquarium, which allows visitors to touch and learn about the inhabitants of the seas.
Wine and Dine
With a variety of wining and dining options, a holiday to Palma will suit a range of international tastes and budgets. There are plenty of traditional Spanish and Mallorcan establishments dotted around the old town in the area of La Llonja, including La Paloma, one of the oldest. This jewel offers the best of tapas, meat and fish, all in a romantically lit and atmospheric setting. Explore the areas of Carrer del 31 de Diciembre and Carrer de Blanquerna, where you’ll find hearty Spanish meals on offer, or head over to Santa Catalina for more innovative, modern flavours.
Mercat de Santa Catalina is home to Palma’s oldest food market, and the stalls are packed with fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Santa Catalina showcases a host of international cuisines including Lebanese at Rotana, sushi at Arume Sushi, Asian at places like Basmati, Bindi and Naan, Italian at A Casa Mia and French at Le Bistro Bleu.
There are plenty of opportunities for days out on a family holiday to Palma. High in the hills above the city, the 14th century Royal Fortress of Bellver is full of nooks and crannies, secret tunnels and staircases that kids will want to jump right into and explore. The marina is also the pick-up point for some wonderful family-friendly boat trips and yacht excursions around the coast. Or you can hire bicycles for a trip through the city. Let the kids get their hands dirty with some traditional Spanish tapas or head east and spend a day at the Palma Aquarium.
The Aquarium at Palma has a touch pool which encourages a real hands-on learning experience for the whole family. There is also a dedicated children’s play area in the gardens and a kids’ club with activities to keep the children happy. If you’re feeling brave, there are opportunities to dive with sharks, or view them from a safe distance through a glass-bottomed boat.
Action and Adventure
Get out and about in Palma de Mallorca by hiring a bicycle, scooter or Segway – or try rollerblading along the promenade. Sail along the coast in a chartered yacht from the marina or visit the Palma Sport and Tennis Club with its 5 clay tennis courts and fully equipped gym. If ice skating is more your thing, get your skates on at Pista de Gel ice rink, or jet-ski around Palma bay from Port Calanova, where there is a dedicated jet-ski area.
Port Calanova is also home to Flyboard Mallorca, an activity centre on the coast where you can hire exhilarating flyboards. Learn to flyboard with one-to-one coaching or sit back and watch family and friends have a go from the comfort of a launch boat, complete with free Wi-Fi, music and cold drinks.
Life's a Beach
The Majorcan capital boasts its own urban beach at Ca'n Pere Antoni, a Blue Flag beach with onsite facilities including toilets, showers and a reassuring lifeguard presence. The beach here is 750 metres of soft white sand lapped by the clearest waters, perfect for sunbathing and beach games. Set in front of the iconic cathedral and the lush green hills of the island, Palma Beach is an idyllic and picturesque location. There are bars and restaurants at the eastern end, as well as the Nassau Beach Club, and the promenade that runs behind the beach is perfect for cycling, roller blading and running.
There’s a wealth of nearby beaches outside of the city, mainly to the east, including the Ciudad Jardin beach, another of Mallorca’s Blue Flag beaches. This coastal setting lies in a shallow bay, with a 450m stretch of fine white sand and calm, clear waters. Sun loungers are available for hire, with showers and toilets on-site and a dedicated children’s playground.
Palma is Mallorca’s prime spot for bars and nightclubs, where you can find yourself dancing amongst the locals until the small hours. The areas of La Lonja, Santa Catalina and El Paseo Marítimo are highly recommended for a varied and lively experience of a Palma holiday at night. La Lonja hosts some late night restaurants, pubs, cocktails bars and jazz clubs, while some of the hotel bars and sky bars have fantastic cocktail menus. To mingle with the yachting crowd, head over to Carrer de San Magí in Santa Catalina, where there is a great choice of late night bars. For a real night on the town, Paseo Marítimo by the marina has a few large-scale nightclubs that are open until 5am.
The Jazz Voyeur Club in La Lonja has a small, intimate ambience with live music throughout the week, and the The Blue Jazz Club in the Saratoga Hotel has an elegant and exclusive feel, also with live performances. The Luna nightclub is a chic little venue overlooking the sea that plays Latin and Spanish dance tunes, while La Demence is fabulously welcoming to all, with live performers in drag.
Palma is full of romance, and couples can be sure to find their perfect romantic setting in and around the city. Start your couples’ holiday to Palma in style at the Calatrava Boutique Hotel, which offers a tailored package including a welcome drink, bottle of cava, 30 minute relaxing massage, tapas tasting menu and 1 hour private use of the spa. Spend some time in the company of great wine with an urban wine tour of Palma, or book a bespoke cycling tour on a tandem. Leave the city far below you as you take to the skies in a private balloon, or spend a day in each other’s arms on a boat trip around the island’s coast.
Take each other out on the town at the city’s marina, where you’ll find an array of late night bars and clubs with fabulous cocktails, live entertainment, DJs and dancing. Or take a romantic stroll through the quaint back streets of the city’s old quarter. Indulge in a spot of shopping for two in one of the old town’s pedestrianised lanes and see what you can find at one of the boutique shops and stalls.
Known to the Arabs as Medina Mayurqa, and named after the Roman city of Palmaria, Palma is a city rich in history, tradition and culture. The city is home to an assortment of galleries including the Palau March Sculpture Gallery, with its collection of 20th Century sculptures, and Sa Llotja, a cultural centre which plays host to temporary exhibitions. There is also the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art for more modern tastes and the Museu de Mallorca, exhibiting Talaiotic and Roman remains, Moorish ceramics and Christian art.
Palma is not afraid to throw a lively fiesta. The two primary festivals are held in January and June - the Sant Sebastiá fiesta and the Sant Joan fiesta. Expect to find endless festivities including barbeques, bonfires, street parties, concerts, fireworks, and even a ‘fire run’, where locals dress as demons and devils and march the streets bearing torches.