Palma de Mallorca is the Capital of the Balearic Islands and the biggest city on Mallorca. The origins of the city date back to before Roman times, and to this day ancient remains are often unearthed by locals in the old town. Modern Palma, however, is evident wherever you look. The tree lined avenues of “La Rambla” and the “Passeig des Born” were only built in the l9th Century, whilst the waterfront promenade – or “Passeig Maritim” – was only reclaimed from the sea during the late 1950’s.
Today, Palma is a charming and vibrant city, combining the vitality of a capital with the relaxed pace of an island town. It has a cosmopolitan population, impressive architecture, a lively nightlife and an array of cultural attractions. Its Old Town, with its narrow cobbled streets, Renaissance palaces and discreet squares, is perhaps the city’s jewel in the crown.
Visitors flying direct to Palma will arrive at the Son Sant Joan International airport, some 8km from the city centre. From the airport there are a number of transfer options available including a shuttle bus, which takes you to the Plaza Espana in the centre of the city, then on to the ferry terminal and port area. However, given the short distance, a taxi would be easily affordable and therefore perhaps the most practical option. A reliable taxi firm in Palma is Taxi Tour Mallorca which offers airport transfers as well as tours of the island.
While most European visitors fly here, those coming from the Spanish mainland may consider travelling by ferry, with services running between the Port of Palma and a number of Spanish ports including Barcelona, Valencia and Ibiza.
Palma de Mallorca is a classic all-year-round destination, though you may want to choose your visit depending on the following seasonal descriptions:
Summer in Palma de Mallorca starts at the beginning of June and brings plenty of sun with temperatures regularly climbing above 30 degrees in July and August. The cooling breeze brings plenty of respite.
Autumn can often bring rain but the weather is still generally sunny and warm. Visiting in October is a good idea for travellers who prefer to avoid crowds and are looking to pay lower hotel rates.
The mild winters have an average temperature of 14 degrees during the day and 4 degrees at night. This time of year best suits travellers looking to relax and enjoy the quiet side of the city.
Between the spring months of March and May the temperature gets back to 18 to 20 degrees. Nights may still get cold during this period and almost certainly too cold for swimming in the ocean.
The city has something to offer almost everyone, including good shopping, historical places of interest, museums, top restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
One thing it lacks, despite being at the heart of the vast Bay of Palma, is its own beach. However, for those who can't do without, the more traditional beach resorts of C'an Pastilla and Cala Mayor lie approximately 4 miles away to the east and west of the city centre respectively.
Perhaps the one attraction you must visit in Palma is the La Seu Cathedral. Situated just above the old city walls on the waterfront, the amazing structure is a blend of Medieval and Renaissance styles with large bell towers, a high altar, side chapels and Gothic arches.
Other places of interest to be found in the centre are the Museo de Mallorca, the Fundacion Joan March, Palacio de la Almudaina and the Moorish baths. The latter is virtually the only remaining Muslim structure in the city today.
An excellent family attraction is the high-tech Palma Aquarium which houses an impressive mix of marine life. The aquarium's showpiece is the Big Blue, Europe's deepest aquarium tank, encasing 3.5 million litres of seawater.
Many of the city’s best restaurants can be found in the La Lonja and Santa Catalina districts of the city. A couple that have received excellent reviews include La Boveda and La Cuchara.
The Paseo Maritio is also where you will find most of Palma de Mallorca's bars and discos. Tito’s is a disco that opened in 1923, and in its heyday played host to celebrities like Ray Charles and Marlene Dietrich. Nowadays it offers contemporary nightclub fare, with garage, R&B and house filling the dance floor. Abraxas, formerly known as Pacha, is also nearby, and attracts big-name DJs and chic crowds.
UK visitors who are missing home may enjoy Molley Malone, next to the Capuccino’s bar, which is always packed with Brits. Just opposite is Hogans Bar, another popular haunt with British tourists and ex-pats.