Palma de Mallorca – the capital of the Balearic Islands, the heart of Majorca, and one of the most popular destinations amongst European travelers, whether it be for a short getaway to the sun, a longer stay in one of the many hotels, or as part of a Europe cruise. It is full of pretty villages, Balearic culture dating back to the Roman times, and local cuisine, offering its visitors an unforgettable stay.
If you are on a day trip as part of a cruise, there are a few sights that you should really try to take in before you move on. You will arrive into Palma via one of the two cruise ship berths – Estació Maritima pier, or Porto Pi. The former is the older of the piers and is located a short taxi ride from the city center. The latter, though further out, is closer to Mallorca’s famous beaches which is perfect for anyone looking to top up their tan or just relax on the warm sand.
So, once you have disembarked it’s time to get exploring! Make sure you visit Palma’s Cathedral, “La Seu”. It is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, and has beautiful views over the bay of Palma – perfect for a photo opportunity! Most cruise companies offer a shuttle bus service to this stunning sight, though it is advisable (if possible) to go later on in the day, as the morning is when the larger tourist groups tend to visit. Similarly the city’s pine tree forest-surrounded castle, “Castell de Bellver”, is best visited later on in the day, but should not be missed! With this in mind you could spend the morning lazily walking around the “Parc del mar”, another of Palma’s picture perfect locations, complete with botanical gardens and a lake with pretty fountains.
Another must see stop in Mallorca is “Plaza Mayor”, the heart of the historic city centre. Known as the artist’s quarter, this large plaza is a hive of activity both day and night, so even if you only have the day to spend in the city it is definitely worth a trip! It boasts numerous bars and cafés, making it a good place to stop and recharge your batteries before continuing around the plaza to see the galleries, music, street performers, and, if you’ve picked the right day, the weekly market.
Most cafés advertise a “menu del dia” allowing you to choose a three-course meal at a fair price (around €9-€14) including water and wine. If you want to choose something tasty and typically Balearic, order an “ensaimada” – a soft, sweet, cake that resembles something between an iced bun and cinnamon swirl.
Leading away from the plaza are many narrow, cobbled streets, almost like tributaries of a river, each branch lined with cafés, boutique shops, and, in the evening, lively bars bursting with vibrancy and life. These bars, however, are not to be confused with the neon lights and stag-do-seething areas of nearby towns such as Magaluf.
No one could, and no one should, take in Palma in a day. There is still so much on offer for example the museum of modern and contemporary art and the impressive Yates Harbor, nevertheless you will have to return to your ship at some point before it sets sail, hopefully fully inspired to return one day to continue to discover the secrets of Palma de Mallorca.
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