Palma is a dream destination that has so much to offer its visitors and residents. As well as being enriched with history and culture, the city also has a wealth of fantastic amenities to discover. From restaurants, shopping, hotels, cafés, bars and clubs – Palma truly has it all! The city is the perfect place to escape for a short break or weekend in Palma, with endless possibilities for enjoyment and discovery.
The beauty of Palma wins over thousands of hearts each day and there are still heaps of secrets to discover about this stunning city. Its small, winding streets, its location right on the sea, the harbour, cathedral, squares, pretty houses, a beautiful castle and fabulous beach make Mallorca‘s capital the place to be.
The perfect weekend in Palma
During your weekend in Palma, make sure to visit the city’s incredible historical landmarks. If you fancy going to a museum, you can have your pick of delights, including Es Baluard and the Pilar & Joan Miró Foundation. If you want to go shopping, you can check out a plethora of beautiful shops that can be found in most streets of the city. It doesn’t stop there, as in addition to some fantastic bars and clubs , you will find restaurants of every time of cuisine dotted within in the districts of Palma.
What to see in Palma
La Seu – Palma’s Cathedral
Palma de Mallorca is best known for its landmark cathedral named La Seu and no visit to the capital would be complete without taking in its break-taking architecture. The Cathedral is the island’s most emblematic monument, symbolising the last eight centuries of the island with its construction taking 400 years to build. Today it not only the place for religious locals, but arouses the curiosity of every visitor, synthesising Mallorca’s historical and spiritual heritage.
La Seu is not only one of the largest Gothic churches in Spain, but its main rosette is considered to be the largest in the world with a diameter of almost eleven meters. The central nave of the Mallorca cathedral has a height of 44 meters, making it one of the tallest in Europe. More than 1,200 pieces of coloured glass are composed into patterns and floral ornaments and were created in the 14th century.
Photos by Pernilla Danielsson
If you are planning a visit to the Palma Cathedral combine your trip with a city stroll. The narrow streets behind the Mallorca cathedral are particularly quaint, where you will find magnificent courtyards, churches and small shops and bars. In the evening, Palma Cathedral is even more impressive and makes you feel you have stepped back to a time of the magical past.
Royal Palace of La Almudaina
The Royal Palace of La Almudaina offers insight into the island’s rich history, being one of Palma’s most popular points. It was converted into Gothic style under Jaume II, but elements of Islamic architecture still strikingly remain. Inside you’ll find a treasure trove of hidden artefacts, including tapestries, paintings and furniture from different time periods. Its courtyard, which was laid out in 1309 and is flanked by palm trees, is particularly beautiful in the afternoon when the sun falls on the cathedral towers overhead. Just off the courtyard is the royal chapel, Capella de Santa Ana. Make sure to look out for the Arc de la Drassana – once the gateway to the royal docks.
Gardens of S’hort del Rei
In front of the Almudaina Palace youyou will find an 18th century park. Here there is a picturesque garden with traces of various cultures, including the Gothic past. Interestingly, the Moorish Arch hat crosses over a beautiful lake was thought to once have connected the chambers of the Almudaina to the sea.
Plaza de Cort
The small and charming square of Plaça Cort, located in the heart of the city, is famous for the ancient olive tree that stands in its centre. Known as Olivera de Cort, this six hundred-year-old tree was given by the Pedruixella Petit Estate in Pollensa in 1989 as a symbol of peace. The town hall dominates the plaça, built between 1649 and 1680 by local architects Pere Bauçá, Miquel Oliver and Bartomeu Calafat. Today the charming area continues to be the centre of city life, with the terraces of bars and cafes exuding a particularly special buzz.
Palma’s stunning courtyards or patios are definitely worth a visiting specially beautiful and striking. If you take a closer look when walking down the cobbled streets of Palma’s old town you will see that every-other house features a inner courtyard. It all comes down to history, as in historical times, patios were used as a symbol of social status. A house was not just a building, but an architectural expression power, honour and lineage. Their beauty lies in them being a small oasis in the middle of a busy town, with many featuring palm trees, fountains and beautiful quaint gardens.
The iconic Bellver Castle is located 3 kilometres from the centre of the city of Palma and is an astonishing 112.6 m above sea level. When looking up at the are-inspiring castle that has been so delicately maintained, it is hard to believe that it has been standing for almost 700 years. Began by Jaume II in the 14th century and built by Pere Salva, the architect of the Almudaina Palace, the castle is one of the most iconic landmarks on the island.
Here, three large towers surround a central courtyard which is connected by an arch. Its courtyards are on two levels, with the upper level showcasing breath-taking Gothic arches. To take in the full wonders of the castle, out is well recommended to walk around the moat and descent onto the roof which will provide you will simply spectacular views of Palma.
The Arab bathhouse in Palma’s Old Town is one of the few preserved examples of Moorish architecture in Mallorca. Here you will find a splendid garden with cacti, palms and orange trees, making a truly idyllic setting for an afternoon in the city. The small vaulted chamber is supported by 12 pillars, where inside the dome you can feast your eyes on round holes, through which the steam would escape out of the bathroom.
Great places to visit in Palma
Art Galleries & Museums
Gallery hopping in Palma is an essential when visiting Palma for the weekend. Whether you are into contemporary art, unique architecture, or discovering those fashionable spots undiscovered by the tourist guides, the island’s artistic and cultural offering is definitely worth appreciating. Many well known international artists have chosen Palma to establish their private studios, making galleries a particularly special activity.
Situated in Palma’s city centre you will find the innovative Gallery Red. Once you set foot in their venue you will be immersed in a world of bright colours, modern elegance and a vibrant-yet-sophisticated ambience. It is surely a feast for the eyes, but also for the mind. With a unique concept, the gallery combines fine art with fashion and interior design in an eclectic, cool, and inspirational manner. Founded by Drew Aaron, an American entrepreneur and passionate art collector, Gallery Red is more a modern creative lab with its special design and extraordinary collections of artworks, furniture, and luxury accessories.
The Pilar I Joan Miró Foundation
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca is a cultural centre based on the art studios that artist Joan Miró bequeathed to the public. It offers visitors an insight into his artwork and underlying creative process in the place where the artist lived and worked for almost 30 years. It is made up of three remarkable buildings that form one of Mallorca’s most important architectural ensembles: Sert Studio, Son Boter and the Moneo Building. The first two have been declared Items of Cultural Heritage.
The Diocesan Museum is attached to the Cathedral of Mallorca and us one of the oldest museums on the island. Paying homage to the church’s artistic heritage, visitors are able to discover its many charms with spectacular views over the bay of Palma. The permeant collection of the Diocesan Museum includes works from early Christian times until the 20th century, as well as baroque and renaissance pieces. The latest work to modernise the museum has turned the venue into an innovative museum, with the latest technological advancements and which provide a more dynamic and entertaining visit.
At the Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art you can enjoy a wealth of permanent and temporary art collections and exhibitions. The Museum sits on the perimeter of the bastion of Sant Pere, which forms part of the Renaissance walled enclosure that surrounds some of the city of Palma. Its privileged location will allow you to soak in the history of the Balearic Islands and the evolution of the city of Palma. The museum notably stands as the largest space for the conservation and dissemination of contemporary art in the Balearic Islands. Once you are done exploring, it is advised to take a seat at their fabulous restaurant and soak up the views of the city’s skyline.
Go shopping in Palma
Shopping in Palma is certainly delightful, having everything a retail paradise needs. Trendy neighbourhoods with small boutiques, large retail chains, luxury stores and large shopping malls. You find the main shopping streets in the old town, just above the cathedral, and the centre of Palma. The tree-lined, luxurious Paseo del Borne is also one of the most important shopping hubs, offering mainly designer stores and brands.
At the end of the Paseo del Borne you will find Avenida de Jaume III. Here you will find a truly beautiful area where you can buy fashionable clothes, shoes and other accessories of any price range. In the center of the old town, shopping fans will find more stores around the Plaça Major selling a variety of unmissable treasures.
Another great shopping street that connects is the street San Miguel where you will find every shop you could dream of! If you head further out of the city, you will find great malls such as Mallorca Fashion Outlet, with some fantastic shops on offer.
Where to chill in Palma
The rooftop terraces and bars in Mallorca‘s capital offer some amazing views of the charming old town, the surrounding mountains and the sea so checking out rooftops ion your weekend visit is definitely a must! Here, a great mix of casual and luxurious rooftops awaits you, where guests can spend a lovely evening appreciating the city’s impressive architecture, tasty drinks and watching epic sunsets.. There is no better way to end the day in the backdrop of simply stunning panoramas of the city.
Eating out in Palma
One of the great reasons to visit the capital city of Mallorca is its vibrant and constantly evolving culinary scene. Here, there are a wealth of eateries that appeal to every tastebud, mood and budget from a wide range of local and international cuisine.
The city is made up of different districts which all have their own unique and inviting array of restaurants. The trendy area of Santa Catalina has a plethora of cosy eateries, perfect to dine at before a night on the town. Alternatively, the harbour district to the west of the city has been gaining a reputation as a real foodie quarter. The streets of Palma Old Town and La Lonja are filled with restaurant after restaurant all offering a great selection of tasty menus!