The capital of Mallorca is such a fabulous city, even off peak from the busy scorching summer season, the shoulder months in Palma will still conjure up plenty to keep you entertained and having a great time. I’ve been to Palma more times than I can count now, and I’d still happily keep going back. Travellers spend so much of their time looking forward to the next place, but I honestly believe some of the best times to be had are going back to old familiar favourites, and that’s how I feel about this Mediterranean hub of culture, cocktails, sun and Spanish lifestyle. Here’s 12 reasons to fall in with Palma, Mallorca.
1. First off, Palma city is a TEN MINUTE taxi transfer time from the airport. And if you’re travelling from the UK then it’s also a flight time of about two hours. For times when you need a short break, even for a weekend, it’s doable in Palma as the travel doesn’t eat away at your very valuable tapas time.
2. The early mornings are blissful. Despite being a city, the mornings are like any slow paced Spanish start. They’re clear, drenched in bright sunshine, and give incredible views over the harbour, the port, the sea or the mountains, whichever way your hotel room faces you won’t be disappointed.
3. It’s not too touristy (I can’t think of a better word for ‘Magaluf folk, but that’s what I mean by this). There are zero signs of Magaluf here, despite the very high chance of encountering party goers on your flight over there, once you arrive in Palma you aren’t going to get that sort of ‘situation’ in Palma.
4. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of fabulous bars, watering holes, and cocktail haunts about. Quite the opposite in fact, Palma is home to one of my favourite cocktail bars in the world – Abacco. Set behind a door you would very easily walk past on the street, this fabulous cave of natural fruit, cocktail makers full of flair, and the prettiest outdoor courtyard with Juliet balcony you will ever see, is right there under your nose.
A word of advice though – they’re very strong, they cost 15 euros a pop, and the menus only list the names not the ingredients, so know your favourites before you go. When I was about 18, I thought I knew exactly what I was doing and ordered a Manhattan. I was thinking, yep, Sex & The City, New York, must be a Manhattan. Wrong. Pure whisky, and I hope the plant it got hoyed in to really enjoyed it, but I did not. Never again did I wrongly order a COSMO.
5. If the weather isn’t bright sun (if you visit outside of the summer months), or you aren’t a fan of sunbathing, there’s plenty of things to do. Take the tram up into the mountains with breathtaking views over the city, cycle along the coastal promenade, or for the less physically active, explore the art galleries and photo studios in the city centre. Culture at it’s best. Also, see if you can spot Rafa Nadal, he’s from Mallorca and often returns for some R&R.
6. For traditional Spanish culture, at weekends you can spot the dancers in the streets of the historic old town, or underneath the iconic cathedral. Families, adults, children all join in their traditional local dancing, and it’s well worth a watch.
7. The giant, gothic Santa Maria Cathedral is another beauty of the city, standing very tall overlooking the bay, the city, and right along the coast. Visible from almost everywhere it’s one of a few grand architectural structures you can seek out in Palma. There’s two more castle at each end of the city for you to find.
8. The main port of Palma is perfect for a stroll in the early evening, if only to admire the yachts and sailing boats that moor there. It oozes wealth, but is nowhere near as tacky or in your face as the likes of Banus.
9. The restaurants are all incredible. In the main city there’s everything from top end fine dining at somewhere like Forn de Sant Juan – best sangria I’ve ever tasted, fresh seafood at Caballito de Mar – the menu is literally whatever the catch of the day was, or traditional Spanish tapas at Bovida – try the padron peppers with sea salt…DIVINE. The square has plenty of bars for tapas too, or even just a place to sit and people watch with a drink before you eat.
For lunch I would strongly recommend the terrace restaurant at the Portixol hotel just a few minutes in a taxi up the coast, or as a reward if you choose to walk or cycle it. The food there is so amazing, and very memorable. The Toast Portixol, steak, and grilled fish all spring to my mind. Sadly I don’t have any photos of the food, #foodporn wasnt a thing last time I was there.
10. The boutique hotels that are everywhere are perfect, and full of individual character. My favourite is the Portixol, an old mill on the small harbour edge just outside the city. It’s small, but very cute and the staff are excellent, as are the rooms and the views from the panoramic terrace.
11. The locals and there way of life are part of the city, despite being such a popular spot for holiday makers, they have still kept their authenticity in tact. The public beaches are full of Spanish families late into the evening enjoying the sun, their houses line the promenade, a perfect spot for some door traits.
The harbour is in full use every day by locals going fishing, or sailing clubs teaching youngsters to sail their tiny boats.
12. The sun kissed evenings and sunsets are pretty spectacular. Similar to the views from almost everywhere, whether you’re looking out across the sea, the harbour or the mountains, the sun beats down late into the evening, perfect for enjoying a cocktail or two on a terrace, followed by a beautiful sunset.
With all these reason, why wouldn’t you fall in love with Palma, Mallorca?
Pin this post!