We wrote down 5 things to do in Palma de Mallorca. Where to stay, where to eat, best beaches and all the must see places. Including a personal story about Jan’s criminal activity. Interested? Keep reading then. We are Jan and Karin, and this is the top 7 things to do in Palma.
What you need to know about Palma
Palma is the capital of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic archipelago. It’s probably the first thing you will see in Mallorca, because the airport is there. And the harbour as well, in case you’re more of a sailor. The settlement here dates back to 2 000 BC and includes Moors, Romans and catholic conquistadors (hence the medieval sights).
Nowadays, Palma is one of the favorite tourist destinations and a vibrant modern city with all the bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs and shops. The weather there is very similar to Los Angeles or Cape Town. Hot, dry, all year average 18° C.
5 Places to Visit in Palma: Opening Hours and Entries
Palma is a marvelous city with a long history. No wonder there are so many sights! We recommend taking a stroll through the Old Town and soaking up its beauty and power. However, do so on foot. Mark my words, you don’t want to drive there by car. Asking why? Ok, I’ll tell you.
I’m driving in a rented car, feeling handsome and awesome. I’m really excited about seeing the magnificent Cathedral at last and not really worrying about the signs and stuff. Imagine the surprise, when a 90€ fine letter landed in my mailbox. I wouldn’t say it’s money well spent, but I enjoyed the cathedral though.
5. Palma Aquarium: The Huge Sea World
Another great option for rainy days. And let’s be honest… not only the kids appreciate the Big Blue shark tank.
Opening hours and tickets:
25.50 €/adult, 14 €/child
Open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm; only from June to October
4. Es Baluard Gallery
A great activity for a rainy day if you’re a modern art lover. The extensive collection includes names like Picasso, Miróm, Dalí and others.
Opening hours and tickets:
6 €/person, 4.50€/pensioners and students
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm; Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.
3. Bellver Castle
West of Palma lies another landmark, the Bellver Castle. Situated on the hilltop, it offers a wonderful panorama of the Bay of Palma and the Tramuntana mountains. Did you know, Bellver is Spain’s only round castle? If you are a history lover, you should definitely visit the museum inside.
Opening hours and tickets:
4 €/person, 2€/pensioners and students, kids up to 14 have a free entrance
Open Tuesday to Saturday; 10 am to 6 pm (October to March), 10 am to 7 pm (April to September
2. Royal Palace of La Almudaina
What used to be a moor’s stronghold is now an official residence of the King and Queen of Spain. But don’t get your hopes up, you would have to be very lucky to catch a glimpse of them. Nevertheless, you can still admire the numerous styles in different rooms and divine gardens with the view of the harbour.
Opening hours and tickets:
Open Tuesday to Sunday; 10 am to 6 pm (October to March), 10 am to 8 pm (April to September)
1. La Seu Cathedral
The Cathedral of Palma, staying on the site of the moore’s mosque opposite the palace is truly a landmark worth seeing. It’s monumental and you can find there the largest rose window offering the breathtaking light play inside. There is also a modern touch to it. After the extensive fire, the Cathedral had to be renovated, by the hands of Antoni Gaudí himself.
Opening hours and tickets:
Open from 10 pm, closing times depend on the time of year.
Closed on Sundays.
Tip: Don’t forget about the discount cards! It’s oficially called Mallorca Pass and, depending on the type, it offers free and preferred entries to most of the sights and other benefits.
Where is it the best to stay in Palma?
In Palma, you have a wide range of options. Everything is possible. You want a beachfront complex? You got it. More of a luxury boutique person? No problema. Rustic retreat in the heart of the green hills? Tick. Of course AirBnb is also an option. We got together a few proven tips for you:
5* Hotel El Llorenç Parc de la Mar (400–600€/night)
This one is an absolute blast. The right choice, if you want to go big. Situated in the Old Town neighbourhood of La Calatrava, with a stunning view of the bay. Hotel restaurant DINS belongs among the top 100 restaurants in Spain and specialises in Mallorcan cuisine. And if you are really tired after a long day, you can sooth your mind in the biggest infinity pool in Palma, on the roof. Have a look at El Llorenc Parc on booking.com.
4* Nakar Hotel (330–500€/night)
This modern design hotel stands right in the heart of the shopaholic part of the city, Jamie II Avenue. You will meet a very helpful staff there and enjoy the hotel spa. Moreover, in Hotel Nakar, you can rent a bike to enjoy the route along the coast.
4* Hotel Almudaina (180–200€/night)
Are you a hopeless romantic? Imagine a sunset on a terrace with a view of the Cathedral and Bellver Castle with a drink in your hand and your amazing partner beside you. If you decide to stay in Hotel Almudaina, this picture may become true.
4* Finca Agroturismo Sarbosar (100-150€/night)
We decided on a different style of romance. When we were in Mallorca, we stayed in this marvelous rural hotel in Santa Maria del Cami. It’s about 40 minutes’ drive from Palma.The hotel is beautiful and cozy and the owner is a warm, welcoming and highly experienced lady.
Tip: If you don’t plan to spend four days at the beach and on the pub crawl, it might be a good option to find a hotel somewhere in the surrounding area. It makes a good base to take trips from and you avoid the heat and rush of the city center.
Best restaurants and gastro tourism
Palma is full of colors and flavors. Whether you are interested in traditional cuisine, want to try out a tapas trail, or just savor a glass of wine after a long day, you will always find plenty of places to go. Here are some of our tips.
Authentic Mediterranean Michelin
Palma is the Garden of Eden for every gourmet. You can taste the skills of Michelin star, chef Maca de Castro at Andana restaurant. Maca brings simplicity on the plate with the ingredients from her own sustainable farm in Sa Pobla. Price for lunch is around 15–20€.
Set off to the tapas trail Ruta Martiana
Locals as well as the tourists enjoy the Tapas Tuesday. It’s basically a pub crawl around the Old Town, where the bars offer a glass of wine or beer, with a tapas dish for only 2–3€. It’s based in Gerreria and you can recognize the participating bars by the offer on the blackboard just outside the bar.
When you’re in Palma, you shouldn’t miss Santa Catalina, the picturesque part of the city with traditional houses and buzzing streets. It’s home to many restaurants, cafés and bars and also: fresh open-air market!
Best beaches in Palma
The main city beach is called Can Pere Antoni and stretches half a mile along the bay. It’s the closest beach to the city center surrounded by Paseo Maritimo, a long promenade parallel to the seafront. You can take a walk there and get to the Portixol. The former fishing village which has grown into a trendy suburb area full of bars, restaurants, and sandy beaches. If you are into shenanigans, you can go to El Arenal beach. Over 4 kilometres long sandy beach with kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis and parasols.
Palma is not just cobblestoned streets and beautiful medieval buildings. With the evening it turns to busy vibrant party city. From super-chic bars to wild party clubs, the nightlife in Mallorca is an experience you should try.
Looking for a nightlife, Abaco is a must. This stylish cocktail bar is famous all around the world for it’s unique atmosphere. It cannot be described, you just have to experience it. Another hidden gem is Es Baluard Museum. Yes, you’re reading right, it’s a cocktail bar inside the museum. And if you have the soul of an artist, you should definitely try the Brassclub with original decorations as well as creative drinks.
As a proper Czech, I couldn’t possibly leave out the most important—beer bars. In Spain they are called Cervecerias. Do you still remember Santa Catalina, I wrote about a few paragraphs earlier? If you don’t, you should probably have a talk with your doctor. Anyhow, there you find Cerveceria Tramuntana. And now get this… they offer over 200 different beers to try! Can you believe that? Ok, maybe you’re not a megalomaniac and you are more into trying something local and crafty. Then you should try Lorien. Stout, draft beers, craft beers and of course—tapas. Talking about tapas, don’t forget about Tapas Tuesdays and beer for 2€.
You might be surprised, but there’s also quite a lot Irish pubs in Palma. And what to do in Palma, when you are Irish and getting homesick? Go to Molly Malone or Shamrock, meet the locals and get a Guiness.
Mallorca is the tamer and more sophisticated sister of Ibiza, so if you are looking for a wild party full of hot chicks… go to Ibiza. In Mallorca it’s mostly groups of young people mingling and talking. Once again, try to exercise your brain cells and remember Paseo Maritimo promenade. And that’s basically a home to nightlife in Palma. Tito’s being the traditional matador of Mallorca clubs, R33 (or as locals call it, La Demence) is more on the modern wave. You can expect an LGBTQ+ bar full of drag queens and merry sailors. Looking for live music throughout the week? Visit Novo Café Lisboa located guess where… in Santa Catalina.
Shopping in Mallorca
Mallorca offers a great deal of fancy boutiques, luxury designers and shopping avenues. Obviously, it’s not Paris, but you can get pretty close on the ‘golden mile of Palma’ Paseo del Borne. Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Bvlgari… whatever you think of. If you think about Cartiere for you darling, turn to Avenida Jaime III avenue. Apart from shopping, there are also great restaurants, hotels and cafés. Just remind you of Santa Catalina as well, for more of a boho experience.
Best activities near Palma
There are plenty of other things you can do in Palma and the surroundings. Everything in Mallorca is within hour distance by car from Palma. Serra de Tramuntana mountains are one of the must see places as it’s on the UNESCO list. You can also visit Alcúdia, the ancient city in the northwest with beautiful beaches and rich history. On south coast, there are several caves, Cuevas del Drach being the biggest with one of the largest underground lakes in the world, hiding inside.
Last but not least
- In case of emergency in Mallorca, you can call 122, there is a good distribution of public hospitals with professional medical care and they have one of the fastest ambulance responses in Europe. You can also find a list of open-late pharmacies in the main newspapers (such as Diario de Mallorca).
- Palma is mostly a safe city, with the petty thieves being the biggest threat. On the other hand, as in all big cities, it’s better to avoid some of the darker areas at night. And flower sellers as well, they will most likely try to rip you off.
- As the Mallorca island is a part of Spain territory the currency is Euro. To avoid any scams, ask your receptionist for the ATM or exchange office.