Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic islands, a small group of islands in the western Mediterranean. The Balearics, of which Mallorca and Ibiza are the most famous, are a popular summer holiday destination for many Europeans, many of whom have second homes there – with the abundance of cheap flights from the UK and Germany, a considerable number of professionals make Mallorca their home in the weekends! The islands also feature prominently in itineraries of Mediterranean cruises.

Palma is a historic seaside city with a stunning old centre. Approaching from the sea, the first thing most visitors will see is the magnificent Cathedral of Palma, La Seu, which proudly sits atop a hill overlooking the Old Town. A stroll around the compact city centre is the best way to explore the city’s many historic monuments, admire the gorgeous architecture and experience the laidback Mallorcan lifestyle. Here’s a suggested walking route through Palma de Mallorca:

A stroll through Palma de Mallorca – a suggested route

Start your walk in the morning at the Plaça d’Espanya, stopping at the Mercat Olivar (market) and continue along the shopping street through to Calle Sant Miquel. I love this street, first of all, because it houses my favourite café where I had breakfast every day for a week: the Grand Café Cappucino.

Grand Café Cappucino

Located in a renovated townhouse, this café is simply gorgeous. I highly recommend stopping here for a hearty breakfast in the lovely garden in the back. The Calle Sant Miquel is also home to a multitude of old chapels and churches, historic buildings with beautiful courtyards, and many boutiques, cafés and restaurants.

Plaza Mayor to Plaza Cort

The Calle Sant Miguel will lead you to the Plaza Mayor de Palma, the city’s central square. As with the many Plaza Mayors found throughout the Latin world, this square is a place to saunter, sit, see and be seen.

Plaza Mayor de Palma

It’s a lovely square with many terraces and restaurants – a great spot to stop for an early sangria (you are on holiday after all! 😉 ) and to people-watch.

Just outside the Plaza Mayor, at the corner of Carrer Bolseria, look up to admire the colourfully-tiled façade of C’an Rei, with its quirky balconies. Then head down Calle Colom or Calle Jaume II towards the Plaça Cort, where Palma’s 17th century baroque-style Ajuntament (City Hall) is situated. This is the heart of Palma’s Old Town.

Can Rei

You’ll also notice an ancient-looking tree with its twisting bark – this olive tree is believed to be about 800 years old and is one of the city’s most popular icons. Take your time checking out the many shops in this atmospheric neighbourhood – I loved the ice-cream salons and the quaint shops selling all sorts of Mallorcan produce.

The old olive tree.

Further down the road on Carrer Palau Reial, stop for a moment at the stunning neo-Gothic Consell Insular building. Between here and the La Seu Cathedral are several fascinating museums and palaces such as the Fundacio Bartomeu March (which houses beautiful exhibitions and classical concerts) and the Palau de la Almudaina, a stunning medieval palace which is now the official residence of the King of Spain when he visits Mallorca. Take your time exploring the many picturesque lanes with their ancient homes, trés chic boutiques and cozy cafés. The lanes are narrow but don’t forget to look up to truly admire these wonderfully preserved buildings. Between the Palace and the Cathedral, look out for a large Gothic arch called the Arc de la Drassana Reial, once the gateway to the royal docks.

Palma City Hall.

The La Seu Cathedral and beyond

The La Seu Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the highlights of a visit to Palma. It took almost four centuries to complete this magnificent building – it’s neo-Gothic façade is astounding while inside, the almost ethereal light and space are simply breathtaking. Don’t forget to visit the adjacent cloisters and museum.

Palma La Seu Cathedral

Across from the Cathedral, you’ll find the Parc de la Mar – the site of a series of lakes (designed to reflect the illuminated Cathedral in the evenings) and a gigantic mural by Joan Miró. From here, head over to the Museo de Mallorca and past the Cathedral to the Plaça de la Reina. This square marks the start of the Passeig des Born, Palma’s main boulevard since the 15th century. During the warmer months, this tree-lined street is packed with musicians and vendors.

Palma old town and La Seu.

Head back down towards the marina in a zig-zag fashion through the old streets between Carrer Mar and Carrer Sant Joan. It should be time for dinner by now and you’re in the perfect neighbourhood for a delightful Mallorcan meal. For something contemporary (think Asian fusion, cocktails, trendy) head to Opio. If you’re looking for authentic Mallorcan cuisine, La Boveda is a great option and if you’re looking for a fabulous seafood meal, I can recommend Caballito de Mar.

Palma de Mallorca windmill

If you’re in for a leisurely evening stroll, walk along the Maritim boulevard, past the massive fortified walls of the Museu D’es Baluard and the Mallorcan windmills down the road. Look up to see the beautifully floodlit Belver Castle atop a nearby hill – this is a great spot to get a vantage view of Palma and its harbour.

If you’re visiting Mallorca, I highly recommend spending a few days exploring the treasures that Palma has to offer. It truly is a lovely town.

Read about other Velvet Escape walks:

14 Responses

  • This is a really well written guide to Mallorca! I have spent a lot of time on Ibiza but would love to take a luxury holiday on her sister island in the next couple of years.

  • Was so pleased to see this article pop up! As an ex-expat in Mallorca I’m constantly telling people just how much more there is to it than lager louts! Palma is my most favourite city in the whole world and everytime I revisit I renew my love for the place! As well as the city itself, people should head up to the Tramuntana mountains – absolutely stunning. The best thing about the island is that everywhere is so easy to get to and you can easily go from coast to coast in a couple of hours! Thanks so much for the flashbacks Keith!

  • At last a decent post about Mallorca! I’m lucky enough to live here and publicise this beautiful island but get very irritated at the piles of recycled rubbish on the Web written by people who have never been here. Thank you!

  • The breathtaking La Seu in Palma de Mallorca | The Happy Explorer

    […] the accompanying post: ‘A Stroll Through Palma de Mallorca‘. Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 Europe TAGS: city, culture, monument, […]

  • One more good reason for living on this wonderful island, Mallorca. While you’re here, be sure to visit the Soller Valley. To get here, find the 100-year-old, open-air train from Palma (it’s got its own station, near the bus terminal). You won’t regret it.

  • Haha, after India & SL when you didn’t really have a schedule to stick to, this latest trip must be tough. lol! 🙂 Wow, you’ve got a busy month ahead: TBEX in New York, then Alaska on Princess Cruises! Brilliant! Enjoy! Oh…. I look forward to your guest post on India. 😉 hehe…


  • Ooh, we are so close right now! We have just left Spain and are in the French Riviera. I wish we had the time to do everything. But alas, for the first time in many of our travels, we don’t have the time. We are actually on a schedule and I don’t like it:)
    Mallorca looks beautiful though and I must go one day.

  • Mallorca!! I was lucky to spend 4 months there a couple of years ago, and completely fell in love with this gorgeous island!!…cant’ wait for my next visit in June 🙂

  • Absolutely. I must say, Palma was a very pleasant surprise. Full of charm indeed. Thanks for your comment Andy.


  • Great post Keith; I’m also very fond of Palma. We visited in December and it was unsuprisingly quiet but still full of charm. A great place to wander through without maps or plans 🙂

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