Best things to see in Palma de Mallorca

© Anqi Lu @ Unsplash

Palma de Mallorca is the heart of the island and at the same time its capital, as well as the capital of Ibiza, Menorca and other smaller islands. The bay where Palma de Mallorca is located is considered one of the most beautiful in the world due to its sandy beaches, unapproachable cliffs and emerald pine trees.

The main airport is situated not far from the city. Palma attracts travelers from all over the world with its beautiful beaches with soft sand and excellent service, comfortable hotels and cozy guest houses, beautiful baroque and gothic architecture, a huge number of cafes and restaurants of any cuisine of the world, and entertainment for every taste.

Here are our recommendations for the best walk around Palma. You will see the main tourist attractions, enjoy the beautiful nature and relax. It's perfect for a two-day trip, but you can also see it all in one day, or extend your enjoyment and gradually discover this fabulous city during a week.

Best Palma attractions

Square of Placa Major

Placa Mayor Palma

Author: Martin Furtschegger on Wikimedia

The central square of the city is called Placa Major and it is where the walk starts. It is easy to get here by public transport, and there are many cafes and eateries on the square, where you can have a bite before a long walk full of unforgettable impressions.

The area has a square shape and is paved with massive slabs. Buildings here have classic Spanish-style arches on the ground floor, while the upper floors are decorated with colored wooden shutters. The square looks more like the courtyard of some small palace but with stalls and pretty cafe tables.

Near the square you will also find the Municipal Council, the spectacular building Can Forteza Rei, Teatre Principal de Palma, the Church of St. Michael, and the Modern art museum called Museum Fundacio Joan March. Around the square, you may also find a lot of clothing and accessories stores, also Sephora, and if you are serious about shopping - El Corte Ingles Mall is a 10-minute walk.

Passeig del Born

Passeig del Born Palma

Author: Martin Furtschegger on Wikimedia

Palma's popular walking and shopping street, Paseo del Born, is located a ten-minute walk from Placa Mayor. Here you may walk admiring the windows of shops and restaurants, go to a trendy gallery and, perhaps, buy a souvenir to remember the trip, and then take a coffee to go or some kind of soft drink and turn to one of the dozens of lanes. Just a couple of steps and you will find yourself in a completely different world. There is no noise of cars and loud voices and you find yourself in the world of flower pots, colorful shutters, and parked bicycles. These streets are filled with an atmosphere of tranquility and comfort.

Pay attention to the art gallery La Caixa as the building is very unusual. You may find this Art Nouveau building on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Back in 1903, the first luxury hotel in Mallorca was located here. Later the hotel closed and the building fell into disrepair. In 1993, the Foundation for Contemporary Art restored this chic piece of Art Nouveau architecture and gave it a new name. Now the building houses an art gallery and a large bookstore dedicated to art and design. The store sells books in different languages, including English, and you can find very valuable copies.

If you are looking for an information center, you will find it a few steps from the boulevard at Plaça de la Reina, 2. There you can get a map of the city and the island, as well as see options for excursions and entertainment.

Square of Placa de Cort and Ajuntament de Palma or the Palma Town Hall

Palma Town Hall

Author: David Vives on Unsplash

If a local resident needs to make an appointment, he will most likely suggest Court Square, which is literally a 10-minute walk from Paseo del Born Boulevard. On the square you will find the building of the City Council , a bit further clothing stores, souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants are situated. Despite the fact that this is one of the central squares, it is quiet here. During public holidays events and official ceremonies are held here. Officials come out onto the balconies of the City Hall and talk to the people.

Best hotels at the center of Palma

If you want to breathe the air of city center life, rent a deluxe room with a balcony with a perfect view in Samaritana Suites. You may also rent a suite with your own kitchen there. Another perfect option is Can Boss Apartments which offers its guests an amazing view of historical buildings and cozy streets and classy apartments with balconies and your own kitchen supplied with an oven, dishwasher, and coffee machine.

Church of Santa Eulalia

Another interesting architectural landmark was the Church of St. Eulalia. It was built in the 13th century, when the Arab city was captured by Spanish troops and Christian churches began to be built on the sites of mosques, including this one. 

The building was rebuilt more than once and in the 19th century acquired the features of the neo-Gothic style. You will be amazed by towers made of light stone, carved pediments, and sculptures of gargoyles, basilisks, and dragons, symbolizing the struggle between good and evil. The neo-gothic elements are diluted with a rococo altarpiece depicting Saint Eulalia surrounded by Faith and Hope.

Basilica de Sant Fransisco

A couple of minutes walk along a narrow street from the Cathedral of St. Eulalia and you will see another architectural pride of the city - the Cathedral of St. Francis. The building began to be built in 1281, the work lasted for 100 years. Later, most of the facade was broken by lightning. The cathedral was reconstructed and acquired a modern look. The building is quite modest, but the baroque portal, decorated with numerous sculptures of saints, contrasts with the general simplicity. There is a rose window above the portal. It reminds us of the Gothic period of the church, and above we see a portico that suggests neoclassicism.

Basilica de Santa Maria

Palma Cathedral

Author: David Vives on Unsplash

The most impressive sight of Palma de Mallorca, the Cathedral, is located on the very seashore. The cathedral is monumental - its height is 44 m and its length is 120. The official name of the cathedral is the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is also called the Palm Cathedral or La Seu. Another name is Cathedral of the Holy Communion, Sea, Light and Space. At first glance at the building, it becomes clear where such a name comes from because it stands by the sea and is literally filled with light. The rays of the sun penetrate through the numerous lancet windows, as well as through the rose window, by the way, one of the largest in the world.

The construction of the cathedral began in 1229 and continued for 400 years. The names of the architects are unknown, but as a result of their work, the building has got Gothic features: narrow windows, stained-glass windows (in the design of which Gaudi himself took part), a cross vault supported by columns, and a huge organ.

The temple makes the most striking impression if you admire it from the sea, for example from the promenade or from a yacht.

The cost of visiting the cathedral is 6 euros for adults, admission for children is free. Opening hours from 10.00 to 17.00 or until 18.00 from June 1 to September 30.

Royal Palace Palau de Reial de Almudaina

Royal Palace Palma

Author: Wolfgang Moroder on Wikimedia

One of the most beautiful buildings in Palma is located near the sea and gives the city a very solemn look.

The first government buildings on this spot were built in the 9th century when Arabs ruled the island. And this palace was erected in the 11th century and later rebuilt several times. Today, part of the buildings of the palace complex belong to the ruling family of Spain and it is the place where  King Philip VI and Queen Letizia stop when they come to Mallorca. The other part is owned by the National Museum, where you will find many exhibits that tell about the history of the island.

There is the Royal Garden decorated with flower beds, lawns, and fountains spread out on one side of the palace. And on the right the Arab baths are located. These baths functioned many centuries ago, but today only ruins remain of them. To get to the baths, you need to go through a stone portal into a small hall, decorated with 12 columns that hold a brick dome. 

The Almudaina Palace is open to the public every day from 10.00 to 17.45 from April to September and from 13.00 to 16.00 from October to March. On weekends and holidays, the working day usually lasts from 10.00 to 13.00

The entrance ticket costs approximately 9 euros. Buy the tickets online.

Palma’s Paseo Maritimo

Paseo Maritimo is the best place in Palma for long walks, bike rides and nightlife.

The promenade of Palma stretches for 10 km along the coast and runs parallel to Palma’s seafront. It differs from the promenades we are used to because it goes along the port and does not have direct access to the sea. That is, you can view the yachts swaying on the waves, but touching the water is almost impossible. But the nearest beach is a 20 minute stroll, so touching the water is not a big problem. 

Our article Discover 10 best beaches in Mallorca will help you to find the best beach.

The promenade is paved with tiles, and there is a pedestrianized walkway and bike lane along it. You may enjoy one of the dozens of restaurants and cafes with outdoor terraces which are waiting for the guests from early morning until late at night.

Palms grow along the promenade creating a pleasant shadow, so take your ice cream and enjoy everything you see and feel.

Best hotels near the sea in Palma

Hotels with a sea view in Palma

Author: Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

The 4-star Hotel Costa Azul features modern rooms with comfortable beds, a nice pool, a fully equipped gym overlooking the sea and a good restaurant.

The 5-star Hotel Es Princep is located near the sea and features premium rooms with perfect views, SPA access, a rooftop terrace, and a big outdoor pool. You will be delighted.

The 4-star Santa Clara Urban Hotel and SPA is located a minute walk from the sea and offers light rooms decorated in Mediterranean style, a rooftop terrace with a perfect view, an amazing spa, and a health club.

Bellver castle

Bellver Castle

Author: Random Photos on Flickr

This point of the route can be postponed for the next day because it is located 3 km from the city center. It will take you an hour to get there on foot and a bus ride will last about 15 minutes. 

This is the only round fort in Spain. The unusual form makes it such an interesting sight. Also people come here to admire the endless sea, deep blue sky and breathe in the pine smell. 

For many years the castle protected the city from the sea, and also served as a military prison. Today there is no one to defend against, so people come here in search of beautiful views and find them. The observation deck of the castle overlooks the seaside areas of Palma, as well as the port with slim yachts, big ferries, and luxurious cruise ships.

The cost of visiting the castle and the observation deck is 4 euros, children under 12 years old visit the attraction for free.

Best things to do in Palma

views of Palma de Mallorca

Author: Max Harlynking on Unsplash

Explore the medieval streets

Palma is known for its cozy cobbled streets, ancient houses made of light stone, luxurious villas, and billions of flowers. Take a break from the route, relax and take a nice aimless stroll. But wait - you have an aim and your aim is to get acquainted with the soul of the city.

In the city center, the streets are mainly pedestrianized so you will feel comfortable.

Have a nice Mediterranean lunch 

What do you want today - a glass of local wine at La Malvasia, Michelin cuisine at Aromata, or maybe Peruvian flavor at De Tokio a Lima? Whatever you choose you will definitely enjoy the exquisite aroma and smooth taste of the dishes, and excellent service.

Immerse yourself in shopping at the Golden Mile

The most important shopping street of Palma de Mallorca is called Paseig del Born. Here you will find glamorous stores, elegant trademarks, and incredible service. Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Bulgari, more democratic Massimo Dutti, Zara, and Intimissimi, and also widely known Bimba y Lola and Desigual with its specific spanish vibe.

Rejuvenate your mind in nature

Palma is not only medieval houses, art museums, and good restaurants. It is a city full of bright flowers, spreading palms, prickly cacti, and an endless sea of pines. You may visit one of the city parks, for example, Royal Park Parc Hort del Rei which is part of the Royal Palace of Almudaina. If you are a real traveler you may rent a car and explore the mountain range named Serra de Tramuntana. Here you will find the most beautiful Mediterranean landscapes with olive and orange trees. If you do not want to spend time renting a car or you are afraid to get lost in the mountains you may book a tour with a local guide. He will drive you through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Serra de Tramuntana, you will enjoy the natural beauties and the flavors of the local gastronomic products and learn about the culture, food traditions, and scenery on the island.

Rent a hotel at the beach

Best hotels in Mallorca

Author: Yuliya Pankevich on Unsplash

In Mallorca, you can start swimming at the end of May, but the most comfortable season is mid-June. At the end of September, the official swimming season ends, but the sea does not lose its attractiveness.

The entire coast is built up with hotels and villas so you will definitely find something to your taste. The 5-star Melia Palma Bay is one of the best hotels on the whole island. It is located a few minutes walk from the beach and offers its guests Scandinavian-style decor overlooking the sea or the city.

  • Hotel Joan Miro Museum is situated 300 meters from the beach. The hotel is decorated by the original pieces of work of the great Mallorcan painter Joan Miro and the rooms are very bright and spacious.
  • The 3-star BQ Belvedere Hotel is located 15 minutes walk from two best city beaches and offers its guests stylish rooms overlooking the sea, an outdoor pool with a spacious terrace, and a regular entertainment program for children.

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