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Palma de Mallorca Travel Guide

About Palma de Mallorca

With its towering cathedral, honey stone streets and a munificence of tapas bars, Palma de Mallorca might be small but it’s certainly not boring.

Perched on the crescent-shaped Bay of Palma, the city has a long and interesting history, hints of which can still be seen in the architecture which veers from Moorish and gothic to modern.

What you won’t find, however, are the ugly 1970s skyscrapers that blight the likes of Benidorm and nearby Magaluf, nor the seedy bars and clubs that have given the latter a rather unsavoury reputation.

Instead, Palma is a sophisticated spot with a marina that overflows with yachts come summer and a restaurant scene designed with the discerning in mind.

For all that, central Palma is a sleepy spot, dominated by sunny squares and latticed courtyards. Taking pride of place is the Le Seu cathedral, a gothic masterpiece that dominates the city’s waterfront.

The maze of cobbled alleys nearby announces the presence of the Old Town; an area packed with traditional restaurants, pavement cafés and hidden squares. Rather wonderfully, shops selling traditional crafts such as glass ornaments, handmade lace and olive wood carvings sit side-by-side with upmarket (and seriously expensive) boutiques.

Down by the waterfront, fishermen still mend their nets by hand on the harbour's edge, while dozens of sun-dappled boats bob in the pretty marina. These are the source of what’s on offer in the city’s restaurants which, not surprisingly, tend to be awash with fresh seafood, much of it plucked from nearby waters.

Wine too tends to be a local affair, with Palma and much of Mallorca dotted with vineyards that produce vintages as good as anything you might find on the mainland. More can be found in the markets throughout the city, although the one along La Rambla specialises in brightly coloured blooms rather than bottles of vino.

By the end of a trip to Palma, you will have experienced all that Spain can offer in just one island capital.

Key facts

Latitude:
39.567454
Longitude:
2.647534

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Hostal Apuntadores

With good-value facilities for budget travellers, this guesthouse has long been one of the top economical accommodation choices in Palma. Set in the heart of La Lonja, amid a myriad of bars, cafes and museums, Hostal Apuntadores has an excellent location to boot. One of the biggest draws of the hotel is its roof terrace with arguably Palma's best view.

Palau Sa Font

Just off the sea front and two minutes away from the Cathedral, Palau Sa Font is a small, atmospheric hotel converted from a 16th-century episcopal palace. Rooms are on the small side, featuring minimalistic designs and soothing pastel colours, but the rooftop swimming pool is cosy and private.

Puro Hotel Palma

A product of contemporary style and chic architecture, this ultra-modern design hotel draws a trendy crowd to its funky interiors, hip bar and a small rooftop swimming pool. Originally an 18th-century town palace, Puro has been transformed into an oasis where new-age luxury meets Spanish history. The hotel's Opio Bar and Restaurant is also a popular nightspot for a stylish crowd.

Dalt Murada

Originally a property of Mallorquin nobles, this elegant, family-owned Renaissance townhouse near the cathedral contains 14 tastefully decorated rooms. Most of its sleeping quarters, featuring chandeliers, canopied beds and tapestries, are centred on a citrus-shaded courtyard. Check in to the penthouse suite, which has a terrace, a Jacuzzi and views of the cathedral.

Santa Clara Urban Hotel and Spa

Fusing stylish urban designs with rustic traditional architecture, this hotel is an excellent representation of modern-day Palma. As its name suggests, it is also a fully equipped spa, so be sure to check out its Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam bath too. There's also a rooftop terrace with sunbeds.

St Regis Mardavall Mallorca

Known as one of the leading hotel brands in the world, St Regis Mardavall lives up to its reputation by providing the finest service, facilities and setting in Palma. Set 9km (6 miles) away from Palma’s city centre, the hotel enjoys an exclusive spot overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As well as 24 hour butler service, the hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant, Es Fum, and a spa.