Palma is the capital city of the Spanish Mediterranean island – and home to more than half of Mallorca’s population. Palma encompasses the vibrant city centre of the Borne known as the ‘golden mile’ and the main shopping street of Jaime III, the historic area of Casco Antiguo or the old-town as it’s known, the popular tourist zone La Lonja, the trendy area of Santa Catalina, the sea front lively strip along Paseo Marítimo, the fisherman’s barrio of Portixol and Playa de Palma, and the exclusive hillside golf area of Son Vida.
Palma is appealing year round with an explosion of new trendy restaurants, luxury boutique hotels, fashionable bars, people watching cafe terraces, international shopping boutiques and popular nightclubs not to mention it’s dynamic yachting industry, urban beaches, waterfront promenade, and extensive cultural scene including top quality museums and art galleries, traditional local festivals and live music concerts.
About Palma de Mallorca
The city of Palma has changed considerably, thanks to city planning and extensive renovation measures in the old town. The so-called ‘pearl of the Mediterranean’ is today more beautiful than ever, and the Mediterranean flair which attracts millions of visitors each year can be felt in every corner. In 2015, ‘The Sunday Times’ named it the world’s best place to live.
History of Palma de Mallorca
The city of Palma was established by the Romans, building on the remains of a Talaiotic settlement from the bronze age. After the Roman period, it was under the rule of the Byzantines and then the Moors. The city was conquered by James I of Aragon in 1229.
The city was renamed Palma, and it also became the capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca. The construction of Bellver Castle, the churches of St. Francesc and St. Domingo and reformation of the Palace of Almudaina were completed during the reign of Aragon’s son James II of Mallorca, and he is also credited with beginning the construction of La Seu – the most famous landmark of the city today – the cathedral of Palma.
In 1714, after the fall of Barcelona, the Spanish succession war ended and it was also the end of the Crown of Aragon. The city was then separated from the government of the island and it was established as Palma, which became its official name.
In 1833, Palma became the capital of the new province of the Balearic Islands.
In the 19th century, the city experienced economic growth with the expansion of shipping businesses and an increase in the population.
During the 1950s mass tourism to the island brought some drastic changes. Mallorca became one of the top destination for tourism in Spain. This booming tourism brought with it economic growth and high employment on the island.
In 1983 the Balearic Islands became one of Spain’s autonomous regions, with Palma its capital. Millions of tourists visit the city of Palma each year and it is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Palma de Mallorca is best known for La Seu – the magnificent cathedral – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Find out about the history of La Seu here. […] La Seu: the Cathedral of Palma
One of the most visited spots in Palma, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina offers insight into its rich history & wonderful rooms. Find out more. […] Royal Palace of La Almudaina in Palma
Major attractions in Palma de Mallorca
Be sure to include La Seu – the local name for Palma Cathedral – and the 14th century hilltop Bellver Castle on your sightseeing ‘must see’ list. One of Palma’s most import museums, Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art offers a permanent collection comprised of paint work, sculptures, ceramics and drawings from names such as Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Miró, Magritte or Giacometti. Over looking the Paseo Maritimo and La Lonja, even the view alone is incredible.
The Fundación La Caixa on Plaza Weyler has a nice museum, restaurant and bar, and a book shop all under the roof of one of Palma’s modern, architectural highlights called the Gran Hotel as it used to function as such from 1903 – 1953. It’s always well worth a wander through to catch some of the temporary exhibitions.
The museum Pilar & Joan Miró Foundation was established due to the Miró’s growing concern that when he passed away his creative environment would be destroyed. By auctioning numerous paintings at Sotheby’s after his death, Pilar (his wife) founded the actual building which contains his workshops and his works as well as being a meeting point for writers, artists, musicians, etc to exchange ideas and work together.
Things to do in Palma de Mallorca
There are so many options of what to do and see in Palma that the only problem you will have is a lack of time to see it all! We have compiled a comprehensive guide below of the best things to do and see in Palma.
If you enjoy shopping then Palma boasts some top luxury brand stores and boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton on Paseo del Borne which is now known as the Golden Mile. Also on the Borne is the three-storey Hugo Boss store, Italian brand Twin-Set, vintage luxury handbags from Rouge and lots more. Steps away onto Carrer Constitució is Watches of Switzerland – one of the world’s most prestige watch and jewellery stores.
From classics to contemporary novels, browse our insider guide to the best bookshops you can find around Palma. […] Palma’s best bookshops
We explored the streets of Palma on the look-out for the best places to buy vintage and antique furniture for your home. […] The best vintage furniture shops in Palma
The narrow alleys around the Plaza Mayor are lined with small local boutiques and shops, while Palma’s high street Jaime III, offers the elegant labels of the fashion world. When you’ve finished browsing and buying, you’ll find a great choice of restaurants, cafés and bars – many with outside terraces for a chance to people-watch in Palma.
The barbershop has undergone a renaissance in recent years, and Palma boasts some particularly excellent examples of this fine tradition. […] Best barbershops in Palma
Palma de Mallorca has become one of Spain’s most cycling friendly cities and it’s worth hiring a bike for a day to discover the city and its nice seafront […] Palma by bike
Hotels in Palma de Mallorca
The choice of hotels in the capital has improved greatly over the past few years with a number of new boutique hotels opening including Palacio Can Marques, Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume, and Hotel Mama to name but a few. Some of the most popular areas to stay in the city include converted palaces in the old-town, trendy new builds in La Lonja, magnificent sea views on Paseo Marítimo, and areas close to the city such as Portixol.
With the continued surge in popularity as a holiday destination, new hotels are opening on Mallorca all the time. Here’s our selection of the best. […] Palma’s new luxury hotel openings 2019
Luxurious suites with private rooftop terraces, glorious spas and divine gastronomy can be found at Palma’s top 20 boutique hotels. […] Palma’s Top 20 Luxury Boutique Hotels
Discover the best family-friendly hotels in Palma that promise a holiday the whole family will enjoy while exploring Mallorca’s capital. […] Luxury family-friendly hotels in Palma
Experience a sense of utter well-being in an underground pool or rooftop terrace at one of Palma’s sensational spa hotels. […] Palma’s 20 best spa and wellness hotels
Discover Palma’s finest bedrooms at one of these stunning five-star boutique hotels. A designer bed and pillow menu is just the start. […] Palma’s Top 5-star Boutique Hotels
Enjoy all the luxuries of a top hotel without the exorbitant price tag at one of these excellent four-star options in Palma. […] Palma’s best 4-star hotels
Restaurants in Palma de Mallorca
The restaurant scene in Palma is exploding with new eateries opening literally on a weekly basis. Keeping abreast of the latest great place to eat is not easy (but we at abcMallorca certainly try)! Check out our selection of the best restaurants in Palma….
Your guide to the best restaurants in Palma including new openings, Michelin-starred restaurants, and a variety of cuisines. […] Best Restaurants in Palma
Spending a day in Mallorca’s capital, Palma? You’ll need to find somewhere for lunch: check out the places we recommend for a ‘menú del día’. […] Good restaurants for lunch in Palma
Palma’s old-town is home to some of the top restaurants on the island and many award-winning chefs. It’s the perfect place to begin a gastronomic tour. […] Palma Restaurants – Old Town
An exciting mix of traditional and contemporary restaurants share a privileged position beside Palma’s marina. […] Palma Marina Restaurants
Palma restaurants – where to start? How about somewhere with a beautiful terrace for wining and dining in the warm Balearic air? Here’s our pick of the best. […] 11 restaurants with amazing terraces in Palma
Feast your eyes on Palma’s yacht-filled habours and beautiful bays from the table of one of these top seafront restaurants. […] 9 seafront restaurants in Palma
Events in Palma de Mallorca
The city is a lively place to visit year round and actually a great escape for a few days off-season to enjoy a local festival especially at Christmas time or attend an amazing cultural event with Jazz, ballet, classical concerts and a wonderful festival of art celebrated in September called La Nit de l’Art. There is the annual boat show, the gourmet festival TaPalma and lots more. So don’t miss out on the memorable experience of attending an event in Palma.
Traditional celebrations, music, markets and much more – find out what Palma has to offer all year round! […] Traditional events in Palma de Mallorca during 2020
Experience the buzz of Palma at one of these exciting annual events. Great music, food, sports and art are all on the agenda! […] Annual events in Palma during 2020
Nightlife in Palma de Mallorca
If partying is high on your list of favourite things to do on Mallorca then the capital is certainly the place to be. The hotspots for nightlife are the many bars and dance clubs on the Paseo Maritimo open till the early hours of the morning and this is where you will find Titos to name but one.
Discover all of the diverse and exciting nightlife that the Balearic Capital has to offer from fabulous cocktails to late-night dancing in a nightclub. […] Nightlife in Palma
If you’re looking where to go to enjoy a drink with a view in Palma, check out our guide to the best bars in the Mallorcan capital with great vistas. […] The 11 best bars with amazing views in Palma
Nothing gives a sense of freedom like being by the Med, paired with cocktails in the clouds. Discover now the coolest rooftop bars and restaurants in Palma! […] Rooftop bars & restaurants with views in Palma
Living in Palma de Mallorca
The capital of Mallorca has much to offer in terms of quality of life and a year round vibrant city which you will not find in other parts of the island or indeed the other Balearic Islands particularly off-season. Palma is within easy reached of the international airport and a two – three hour flight to most major city in Europe. Palma has the benefits of both a lively cosmopolitan city and a spectacular seafront location, and a wide choice of property types and prices.
Living in a palace in the old town or a sea view apartment on Paseo Marítimo or a villa in Son Vida? Palma de Mallorca has so many options. […] Living in Palma
The most desirable real estate areas are the Old Town and peaceful Calatrava district beside the Cathedral. The bohemian district of Santa Catalina (with a great market, and numerous restaurants and bars), and the attractive old fishing village of Portixol are the most sought after and the most expensive.
On the hillside overlooking the city, the Son Vida estate is the location of dream homes – offering luxury, privacy and awe-inspiring views. Three superb golf courses and two five-star hotels make it one of the most exclusive areas on Mallorca.
If you are looking for advice in order to buy, sell or rent a property in this or any other area of Mallorca, please do not hesitate to have a look at our selection of reliable and professional real estate agents on the island.
Popular Areas in the city of Palma de Mallorca
Casco Antiguo or the old-town as it’s known, the popular tourist zone La Lonja, the trendy area of Santa Catalina, the sea front lively strip along Paseo Marítimo, the fisherman’s barrio of Portixol and further afield Playa de Palma, and the exclusive hillside golf area of Son Vida.
The quarters of El Terreno, Santa Catalina and La Llonja, as well as the bustling Paseo Marítimo on Palma’s seafront, are thriving with an abundance of new restaurants and bars, making them popular areas with the party crowd. The music bars offer live entertainment from rock and Cuban sounds to flamenco and young Spanish bands, and stay lively until the early morning hours. The city vibrates with energy.
One of La Lonja’s main arteries, Calle Apuntadores could be seen having two sides to it. A beautiful example of a typical back street of Palma by day, and from sun down well into the night a hive of bars and restaurants light up attracting tourists and locals alike. Be sure to drop in Jazz Voyeur for live music, Restaurant Beatnik in Puro Hotel, Forn de Sant Joan for international tapas and La Paloma for the Spanish flavours. Hotel Tres offers excellent Scandi-tapas.
La Lonja is Palma’s oldest fishing quarter, but best known today for the many restaurants, cafés and bars lining the historic area’s narrow streets. A great place to visit in Palma at night.
La Lonja in Palma is famous for its lively nightlife – full of restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. Here is your complete guide to La Lonja. […] La Lonja
Behind the promenade, near Real Club Náutico and Paseo Marítimo, you will find one of Palma’s most characterful districts known as Santa Catalina. This area of Palma is famous for it’s historic food market place called Mercat de Santa Catalina – its market rights have been established since 1249 – and for the great atmosphere and buzz around the place. Local residents and chefs from the numerous surrounding gourmet restaurants come here to shop daily for fresh ingredients for their restaurants. Literally every second door is a restaurant or bar so if you are looking for a lively place with lots of variety Santa Catalina is the place to be.
Full of character, delightful shops and amazing eats, the Santa Catalina area of Palma deserves a special look. Here, we tell you all you need to know! […] Discover Santa Catalina!
Palma’s celebrated party zone, which begins at Real Club Náutico and extends to Club de Mar (some three kilometres). Nightbirds can find almost everything they might desire: Salsa clubs, pubs, restaurants, chic dance clubs (such as Titos), and fast food takeaways.
Palma’s seafront promenade takes you past yacht-filled ports, it’s perfect for walks and bike rides during the day, and dining and dancing at night! […] Palma’s Paseo Maritimo
A definite visit if you want to enjoy some of Palma’s trendiest night life, C’an Barbara is the small darsena at the end of the Paseo Maritimo, which is pretty sleepy during the day but awakens to anything from chill out music to Bossa beats.
With all this party action happening on and around the harbour, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Palma’s defining characteristic as a city born of, and shaped by, the surrounding sea. Palma’s marina is the biggest of the five ports managed by the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands, and large numbers of yachties choose to live right here in Palma, with many crew members opting to train conveniently close to port.
Make sure to take a simple map with you when you discover the narrow pebbled streets that lead back from behind the cathedral; most streets are pedestrianized mainly because they are too narrow to take cars.
Wander through medieval streets to be immersed in history and culture. Alongside galleries and museums, you’ll find great shops and top restaurants. Find out more. […] Palma’s Old Town
Portixol is romantically situated on the outskirts of Palma. In former times it was a gipsy district and a harbour for fishermen, nowadays it’s a trendy place for strolling and having dinner. One picturesque restaurant after another invites you to stop. The town’s best seafood is served in Portixol. Furthermore there are two recommendable city beaches in Es Molinar: Can Pere Antoni and Playa Portixol, some metres behind the yacht port.
The former fishing village Portixol is a very popular suburb of Palma. Trendy bars & restaurants make this an amazing area to live or visit. […] Portixol
Playa de Palma
Palma’s beach area and nearby popular holiday resort is Playa de Palma close to the airport. For many years this urban beach area was very popular with German young holidaymakers seeking a party atmosphere. Efforts are now being made to ‘clean-up the image’ of this area and it seems to be working with property prices on the rise and new luxury five star hotels opening, the rebranding of Palma Beach seems to be working.
Playa de Palma is a long stretch of sandy beach just south of Palma’s cultural centre and ideal for a fun and active holidays for party-going tourists. […] Playa de Palma
More about Palma
Which city was named a model for cities that want to establish themselves as smart destinations? Palma de Mallorca, of course! […] The smart city
Now you can buy your fresh organic fruit and veg direct from the local Mallorcan farmers that bring their homegrown products to the capital city each week. […] Palma’s thriving ecological farmers’ market