What to see in Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca is a city brimming with attractions, perfect for enjoying a dream holiday at any time of the year. At the Posada de Terra Santa, we want you to experience the best while staying at our Boutique Hotel in Palma or at our wonderful luxury apartments, the Samaritana Suites. In the following article we make some suggestions as to what you really must see in Palma de Mallorca to make your visit an unforgettable one.
If you are wondering what to see in Palma de Mallorca, here are our fourteen must-see suggestions to ensure a five-star experience.
Castillo de Bellver (Bellver Castle)
The Castillo de Belver is the best place to enjoy marvellous panoramic views of Palma de Mallorca, the sea and the Sierra de Tramuntana (Tramuntana mountain range). It is a real must-see among the city’s many attractions.
This wonderful castle is situated on a hill more than 100 metres above sea level and barely three kilometres from the city centre. It was built by Jaume II of Mallorca for two purposes: as a defensive watchtower and as a royal home.
The Castillo de Bellver is well-preserved and its circular shape with the three towers is very distinctive. It is one of the few castles in Europe that has a circular floor plan and this adds to its historical value.
Inside the Castillo de Bellver, you will find the Museo de Historia de Palma de Mallorca (Museum of the History of Palma de Mallorca). This is a must if you want to learn about the history of the city, from the Talayotic settlements through to the 20th century.
Palacio Real de la Almudaina (Almudaina Royal Palace)
The Palacio Real de la Almudaina is one of the most iconic buildings of the city. Throughout its history, it has been the residence of the kings of the Kingdom of Mallorca, later passing into the hands of the Crown of Aragón and to the current Spanish Royals.
It is a rectangular palace built on the site of a 13th century Muslim fortress that combines unique examples of Gothic and Islamic architecture. It has walls with a tower on top. Inside, you can appreciate the divide between the King’s Palace and the Queen’s Palace and visit the marvellous Chapel of Santa Ana, most notable for its Romanesque doorway sculpted in marble.
In the grounds of the Palacio Real de la Almudaina, you will find s’Hort des Rei (literally translated as “the King’s vegetable garden”). This is a beautiful garden created by the architect Gabriel Alomar and inspired by Mallorcan and Andalusian influences. It occupies a space that existed in the times of Jaume II of Mallorca and was later urbanised.
Catedral de Palma (Palma Cathedral)
Next to the Palacio Real de la Almudaina, you will find the Catedral de Palma (Palma Cathedral). This is a city icon and is commonly known as “La Seu”.
The building is notable for its prime location, next to the Royal Palace and facing the sea. It is also the first thing any visitor sees when they arrive in Palma de Mallorca, whether they come in by sea or by air.
The Catedral de Palma was built between the 13th and 19th centuries and is a great example of the Catalan Gothic style. Its marvellous rosette window is a particular attraction; its diameter of 13.8 metres makes it one of the largest in the world and it is made up of more than 1,200 stained glass pieces.
Judería de Palma (El Call) (Jewish quarter of Palma) (El Call)
The Jewish quarter of Palma is known as “Call Judeu” or “El Call” by the locals and it is situated right next to the city centre. It is an unusual neighbourhood of dark, winding streets and was once home to over 5,000 Jews.
El Call was taken over by the Christians in the 15th century and the Jews were either expelled or converted and their buildings reused. An example of this is the Church of Monti-Sion, built on the site of the old synagogue of the Jewish quarter and one of the main tourist attractions in the neighbourhood
Playas de Palma (Beaches of Palma)
Palma boasts a large number of nearby beautiful beaches that will delight sea lovers.
Mallorca’s beaches are among the best in the Mediterranean, and in Palma’s surrounding area some of the stand-out ones to visit are the Playa Ciudad Jardín, Cala Mayor, Cala Estancia, Playa de Palma and Ca’n Pere Antoni.
Lonja de Palma de Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca Former Maritime Trade Exchange)
The La Lonja building in Palma de Mallorca is a great example of civil Mallorcan Gothic architecture. It was designed by the Mallorcan architect Guillem Sagrera and built in the 15th century.
As well as being attractive, it is a key building in the city’s history. Due to its location, Mallorca was a key strategic point in the Mediterranean area and its port became one of the most important commercial ports of the time.
The merchants needed a place in which to trade, carry out transactions and sign their business deals and so the Palma de Mallorca Maritime Trade Exchange was built. It is an impressive building with six columns representing stone palm trees and four octagonal towers on each corner.
Be sure to take a look at the sculpture of the Guardian Angel of Commerce that you will find in La Lonja; it was put there to augur good business for the merchants who visited.
Baños Árabes (The Arab Baths)
The Arab Baths are one of the few remnants of the existence of the Arab civilisation in Palma de Mallorca. They are a particularly important feature of the city’s history because they are one of the few surviving elements from the Islamic period.
The Baths are situated in the Old Town of Palma de Mallorca and they date from the 11th century, a period when the city was known as Madina Mayurqa. On your visit to the Baths, you will learn how the hot and cold water system worked, see some of the rooms that have survived the passage of time and observe the steam pipes and the remains of the chimneys that were used to heat the water and to air-condition some of the chambers.
During your visit you can also look around the the Arab Baths gardens, a peaceful green space designed for taking a welcome break on hot days.
Plaza Mayor of Palma de Mallorca (Main Square of Palma)
The Plaza Mayor, or Plaça Major. of Palma de Mallorca is located in the heart of the city, very close to the Church of Santa Eulalia and the Town Hall. It is on the site of a former convent and up until 1823 it was the seat of the Inquisition.
A decade after the end of the Inquisition, work began to transform the space into the Plaza Mayor of Palma de Mallorca. This work continued well into the 20th century and an underground car park and shopping arcades were built.
The Plaza Mayor of Palma de Mallorca has a rectangular floor plan with archways all around it. There are three and four storey buildings above the archways and in the porticoes there are numerous restaurants, cafés and shops where you can stop and buy souvenirs or have a rest and a snack.
The Palma Aquarium is a not-to-be-missed attraction for any lovers of marine life and particularly for anyone travelling with children.
There is a wide variety of marine species to be seen and you will spend a wonderful afternoon finding out about the best kept secrets of the deep sea, including sharks and stingrays.
Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró (Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation)
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró is a must for art lovers and, in particular, for those who love the unusual style of Joan Miró.
At the Foundation, you can learn about this prolific artist’s creative process and enjoy an extensive collection that not only comprises paintings but also other works such as sculptures and drawings, as well as his sketches and various other documents.
You can also visit Joan Miró’s studio, which has remained intact since his death..
Strolling through the Old Town of Palma de Mallorca is a real pleasure, especially when you come to one of the wonderful Mallorcan courtyards, many of which have been restored and exude their own unique charm.
In Palma de Mallorca’s Old Town you will find numerous 17th and 18th century stately homes, classic examples of the Catalan modernism that was present in Palma de Mallorca at that time. However, what you are bound to fall in love with are the Mallorcan courtyards that are so typical of the city.
You can find courtyards all over the Old Town but particularly in the Calles (Streets) of Estudi General, Morey, Portella and Sol.
Plaça de Cort (Court Square)
Palma de Mallorca’s Plaça de Cort is so-called because this is where the city’s court used to meet, “cort” meaning “court” in Catalan. The historic Town Hall with its ornate facade is here, built in the mid-17th century.
In the Plaça de Cort there is also a centenary olive tree which is over 600 years old and it is known as the “Olivera de Cort”. This tree first grew in Pollensa and was transplanted to the heart of Palma in 1989. It symbolises peace for the city.
This square is also the scene of the Festa de l’Estendard which is held on 31st December each year. It commemorates the arrival of King Jaume I and his troops when they came to reconquer the city from the Muslim empire and it is one of the oldest celebrations in Europe.
Iglesia La Porciuncula (La Porciuncula Church)
Commonly known as the Iglesia de Cristal (Crystal Church), this is a dazzlingly beautiful architectural work that was designed by the Mallorcan architect Josep Ferragut.
It was inaugurated in 1968 and is notable for its 39 stained glass windows supported by simple concrete columns. They depict the principles of nature and the cosmos that characterise the Franciscan order, together with biblical scenes and representations of the life of Saint Francis. This is truly a sight worth seeing.
Mercado de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Market)
The Santa Catalina Market is located in the Palma neighbourhood of the same name, an area traditionally frequented by fishermen due to its location close to the sea and the port. You can buy regional produce here as well as sample all kinds of gastronomic delights from the numerous stalls.
There is a myriad of classic market stalls such as delis, butchers, greengrocers and bakeries, not to mention the flower and plant stalls and the wine shops.
If you visit the Santa Catalina Market on Tuesday or Saturday, there is also a clothes market held outside.
Here at the Posada de Terra Santa, we want make your stay in Palma de Mallorca unforgettable, not only by providing you with fabulous accommodation and a five-star service, but also by suggesting the best ways for you to enjoy our city. We would like you to check out the rest of our recommendations too, such as our selection of the most beautiful villages in Mallorca and our gourmet gastro route around Mallorca. Not to be missed!