A holiday in Mallorca's capital: our essential guide
Palma de Mallorca, capital of the largest island of the Balearic Islands in Spain, combines all the experiences that are the essence of travel. The superb seaside resorts delight beach lovers, while magnificent architectural remains delight history buffs. In the heart of the city, the maze of narrow streets lined with cafés, restaurants and clubs enchants gourmets and night owls. And the typical landscape of Palma, that of a city suspended between the sea and steep hills, guarantees a permanent pleasure for the eyes!
An enchanting holiday in Palma de Mallorca is full of promise, with a tantalizing array of possibilities. Palma de Mallorca boasts a unique blend of contemporary comforts seamlessly interwoven with cultural treasures and pristine natural wonders, promising an unparalleled experience for every traveller. But don't embark on your journey without unravelling the secrets of this Mediterranean gem. Allow VeryChic to be your compass, unveiling the city's hidden treasures and guiding you to some of the most captivating experiences hidden throughout the city's narrow winding streets. From historic landmarks to picturesque beaches, cultural wonders to culinary delights, our travel experts not only negotiate exceptional offers in luxury hotels, but they have also put together this guide to help ensure that every moment spent in Palma de Mallorca is nothing short of extraordinary.
Why visit Palma de Mallorca?
Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, with a breathtaking 20-kilometre, the city conjures images of an exotic oasis, yet it is very easy to reach – with its own well-served international airport, within a few hours flight of most of Europe. Then again, if time is on your side and you prefer a scenic route, ferry connections are available from the mainland, including from Barcelona and Valencia.
The weather is one of the major assets, with eight months of sunshine a year. The famous Mediterranean climate provides a balance between hot summers, and mild winters. Here's a rundown of the seasons:
- Summer extends from June to September, and the temperatures during this period vary from 25 to 32°C. The hottest and driest months are July and August.
- Winter begins in November and ends in March, with temperatures ranging from 4 to 16°C. The coldest months are January and February. The rainiest months are October and November.
- Autumn lasts from September to October. In September, the temperature still reaches 28°C and up to at the end of October, it rarely drops below 15°C.
- Spring comes in April and May. Temperatures rise slowly (22°C on average during the day) to allow outdoor excursions.
The most favourable months for swimming are June, July, August, September and October, where the outside temperature and that of the water are both very pleasant. The months of April and May are a great time to discover the city of Palma de Mallorca, although it may be best to avoid a swim. Our advice: for an incredible stay in Palma de Mallorca, combining exploring the city while avoiding the summer crowds, with basking under the radiant sun and enjoying seaside activities, would be a September or October getaway.
What is there to do in and around Palma de Mallorca city?
Step into a captivating blend of history and modernity in this top city break destination. Palma effortlessly blends old and new, from enchanting historical landmarks to trendy modern bars. Strolling through the heart of the city is like travelling in time as you immerse yourself in the ancient charms of the old town, Meanwhile, the allure of modern Palma is a kaleidoscope of colourful artistic expressions, innovative gastronomy, vibrant venues with an electric nightlife. Unveil the secrets of this enchanting city for an unforgettable adventure that bridges the past and present in spectacular fashion:
Strolling through the historic centre
Palma de Mallorca is a port city steeped captivating history, dating back to its Roman origins. The city's rich architectural is infused with medieval, Gothic, Hispano-Moorish, and modern art influences. Over the centuries, Palma has skilfully embraced the codes of well-designed architecture, making it a true architectural masterpiece. The historic district, a maze of winding streets, charming esplanades, and cobblestone stairways, unveils its most exquisite treasures, inviting you on a journey through time.
Seu, the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca
In this 13th-century masterpiece, Gothic splendour reigns supreme. Palma's cathedral is an architectural marvel has garnered global acclaim for its sumptuous Gothic adornments, often hailed as among the most opulent on the planet. As the sun dances across the sky, the sandstone facades undergo a mesmerizing transformation, casting hues that shift from delicate pink to shimmering gold, an ever-changing canvas of beauty. And when night falls, the brilliance of 1,236 exquisite stained glass pieces adorning its windows is brought to life through a dazzling symphony of nocturnal illuminations.
The Royal Palace of the Almudaina
Its location, overlooking the city and the Bay of Palma, is closely linked to the to Mallorcan history. Before becoming the residence of the Spanish monarchs in the 13th century, it was the citadel of the Moorish kings. Expanded and restored over the centuries, it has combined Levantine Gothic exterior style with Mudejar interior decorations.
The Residence of the Bishop of Majorca
The Episcopal Palace is behind the Seu Cathedral. Its pinnacle is the same Gothic style of the 13th century and houses the Diocésan Museum where exhibits are exhibited from the artistic heritage of the Mallorcan church: sculptures, archaeology, modern ceramics, Séguier bequest, numismatics, Gothic painting and books.
Step into the enchanting world of Palma's 15th-century Merchants' Lodge and former Maritime Exchange Square, a treasure trove of Gothic grandeur that stands as a testament to the genius of Guillem Sagrera. This architectural gem is a sumptuous blend of twisted columns, exquisite vaults, and polychrome coats of arms adorned with glistening gilding.
Palma's courtyard patios
The enchanting patios of the houses and mansions of Palma's former nobility, spread throughout the old quarter, are hidden gems where history comes alive. There are approximately 60 of these inner courtyards, some of which are open to the public. Once rather austere in the 13th century, these patios have evolved over the centuries, now adorned with sumptuous ornaments from the 17th and 18th centuries—featuring fountains, swaying palm trees, historic wells, monumental staircases, and captivating round-bumps.
Our insider tip:
Balance your exploration of historical monuments with leisurely strolls along the picturesque tree-lined avenues of Passeig del Born and Passeig de la Rambla, adorned with statues and fountains. Don't miss the Gerreria district, a vibrant hub where Mallorca's artisanal traditions thrive, including pottery and blacksmithing, offering a glimpse into the island's rich cultural heritage. Explore the charming patios and vibrant streets of Palma to unearth the essence of this historic city.
Where are the best activities in Palma de Mallorca?
Stepping away from the historic centre, Palma de Mallorca undergoes a captivating transformation, shedding nostalgia to reveal a vibrant, dynamic urban landscape. The city's contemporary spirit radiates through architectural marvels like the Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the visionary Palais de Congrès, designed by the renowned Francisco Mangado. This contemporary pulse spreads far, from lush gardens to bustling shopping streets, modern museums to holiday resorts, restaurants to vivacious nightlife – Palma is a thriving dynamic capital. Here are some more recommendations:
- The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation: a visit to this museum is a must, showcasing the works of renowned artist Joan Miró, including a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and sketches.
- Santa Catalina neighbourhood: comes alive with the celebrated "Tardeo" ritual, where evenings begin with tapas and cañas at local bars and culminate in lively clubs that keep the city pulsing into the night.
- Paseo Marítimo: enjoy the vibrant nightlife and modern entertainment along the Paseo Marítimo, home to numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants overlooking the marina.
- Palma Aquarium, For family-friendly fun, delve into thematic parks like the renowned or venture to the captivating Forestal Park Mallorca and the exotic Jungle Park in El Arenal.
- Water Sports: engage in some exhilarating water activities such as paddleboarding, jet-skiing, parasailing, or flyboarding along the coast of Palma.
Connecting with nature while in Palma de Mallorca
For those craving an intimate rendezvous with nature, a short escape from the bustling urban centre is all it takes to immerse yourself in the elemental beauty of Palma de Mallorca. The city boasts numerous verdant parks, along with the golden sands and Mediterranean waters. And of course, venturing out of the city you will find Mallorca's breathtaking landscapes and a coastline full of hidden coves and sandy beaches.
Palma de Mallorca offers several beautiful parks and green spaces where locals and visitors can relax, stroll, and enjoy nature. Some of these include:
- Parc de la Mar in view of the cathedral, with its scenic lake and fountains
- The peaceful Parc de Sa Feixina, with its gardens, sculptures, and shaded areas
- Jardins de s'Hort del Rei near the Almudaina Palace, with its beautiful landscaping, palm trees, and Mediterranean flora
- The Parc de Bellver, surrounding the Bellver Castle, it is known for its lush woodland, walking trails, and panoramic viewpoints
- Parc de Ses Estacions, near Plaza España, this park features playgrounds, gardens, and shaded areas, making it an ideal spot for families with children
- Es Baluard Gardens, adjacent to the contemporary art museum of the same name, take in lovely sculptures, Mediterranean flora, and views of Palma's bay and port
- Parc de la Riera, this small, charming park with a river running through it, provides a serene setting for a relaxing walk or a picnic
While first to capture your attention might be the city centre beaches of Cala Major, with its water sports offerings, Ca’n Pere Antoni, and Playa de Palma with its vibrant atmosphere and bar, restaurant and boutique-lined promenade; don't overlook some of the city's other hidden treasures. Here are some of the many beaches waiting to be discover:
- Cala Estància: situated near Palma's airport, this picturesque cove features calm waters and fine sand. It's a great spot for families and offers beachside restaurants.
- Ciudad Jardín Beach: a local favourite, this sandy beach has a relaxed atmosphere and is less crowded compared to some of the more touristy beaches. It's ideal for a peaceful day by the sea.
- El Molinar Beach, or Portitxolet Beach, is a small, unspoilt sand and gravel beach not far from Portixol harbour. Little known to tourists, it is often peaceful even in summer!
- Punta des Grells which is around 3 kilometres southwest of the city centre is a sublime pebble beach that sinks into transparent waters.
- Illetas Beach: located a short drive from Palma, Illetas offers pristine waters, soft sand, and stunning views. It's slightly more secluded and has a more upscale vibe with beach clubs and restaurants.
- S'Arenal Beach: found a little way beyond Palma's airport, is known for its long sandy stretch, offering a range of water sports activities, beach bars, and a lively atmosphere, particularly during the summer months.
The island of Mallorca boasts some truly breathtaking natural landscapes, and just a short day-trip from Palma de Mallorca promises some unforgettable sights. Take the time to visit the Serra de Tramuntana, a stunning mountain range which forms the northern backbone of the island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers some excellent hiking, cycling, and scenic drives. Cycling is a fantastic way to venture into the countryside with numerous designated cycling routes, allowing you to experience the beauty of Mallorca's scenery.
Don't miss the chance to embark on an unforgettable adventure to one of the island's most mesmerizing natural wonders: the Caves of Drach. A journey of roughly 60 kilometres will transport you from Palma de Mallorca to Porto Cristo, where these stunning caves await your exploration. And for a truly picturesque experience with the sea just steps away, consider making Hotel Roc Leo Palma de Mallorca your home away from home. This exceptional address not only offers a tranquil retreat but also grants you breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, ensuring your stay is nothing short of extraordinary.