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 further afield recently renamed Palma Beach or 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 de Mallorca
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.
Palma de Mallorca offers so much to see and do. Here is your complete guide to the major attractions, must-see places and the not-to-be missed highlights. […] Sightseeing in Palma de Mallorca
For Palma’s most spectacular views, visit the landmark Bellver Castle to the west of the city. Spain’s only round castle represents Catalan Gothic architecture at its finest and is steeped in seven centuries of history. […] Bellver Castle in Palma de Mallorca
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.
The grandson of artist Joan Miró talks about culture on Mallorca, while recounting the story of the Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation established in honour of a great artist. […] Artist Joan Miró’s legacy
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.
Palma is a beautiful city to explore and get to know better with lots to do and see. Here is our insider’s guide to what to do and see in the capital. […] Best things to do & 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, British luxury leather company Mulberry and lots more. Steps away onto Carrer Constitució is Watches of Switzerland – one of the world’s most prestige watch and jewellery stores.
A visit to Palma is a ‘must’ and what could be more fun than browsing in the local shops for unique products. Here is your shopping guide to Palma. […] Shopping in Palma
Palma’s shops are now open on Sunday and public holidays from April until October in the hope of attracting more tourists for weekend visits to the city. […] Palma’s shops open Sundays
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.
If it is relaxation by the sea you are dream of then check it one of the stunning beach clubs close to the city where you can check in and relax on a sunbed for the day.
With stunning watherfront locations and an above-average standard of cuisine, Mallorca’s beach clubs offer amazing experiences, day and night… […] The 12 ‘must-do’ beach clubs on Mallorca
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 Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Hotel Cort, and Boutique Hotel Can Alomar 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 Maritimo, and areas close to the city such as Portixol.
Boutique hotels, luxury self-contained apartments, or urban retreats with spa and sea views in Palma de Mallorca. Here is your guide to the best hotels in the capital. […] Best Hotels in Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca is an ideal place to spend your holidays with a lots of hotels. Are you looking for a hotel near the beach or boutique hotel? Here you’ll find it!
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 …. our hot tips are Marc Fosh (one Michelin star), Quadrat, Mar de Nudos, Ritzi Palma, Sumaq, Aromata, and Ola del Mar – the latter in Portixol.
Your guide to the best restaurants in Palma for 2017, including new openings, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a variety of cuisines. […] Best Restaurants in Palma
A little insider knowledge opens up a whole world of exciting and well-priced eating experiences in Palma. Get the urban gastro guide right here! […] Urban eateries 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
Get to know the best restaurants on Mallorca, by region or type. Gourmet trends, hot recommendations and the most talented chefs – it’s all here!
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.
Mallorca’s capital celebrates its patron saint with a festival of events – including an unforgettable night of music and dancing in the city’s ‘plazas’.
Going out for tapas is at its most enjoyable during this annual four-day event in Palma. Be part of TaPalma and discover just how creative tapas can be!
From April 28th until May 2nd, Mallorca’s traditional boat show will take place at Palma’s old pier. The driving force of the event is the Superyacht Show. […] Don’t miss Palma Superyacht Show!
A special night of art called ‘Nit de l’Art’ is celebrated in Palma. Museums and galleries open late to show art exhibitions.
Fans of Jazz music can enjoy some great performances with two impressive clubs based in Palma – Jazz Voyeur Club and the Blue Jazz Club at Saratoga Hotel. […] Jazz clubs on Mallorca
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.
Mallorca offers a great selection of nightlife for those who like to party. Here you will find out the best locations to party on the island. […] Best Nightlife on Mallorca
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 Maritio or a villa in Son Vida? Palma de Mallorca has many options. […] Living in Palma
With 350+ villas and 70 luxury apartments, Son Vida is the Beverly Hills of Mallorca, and Engel & Völkers is the best partner to move into the area. […] Living in Son Vida
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.
Properties for sale NOW!
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.
The top and most experienced real estate agents on Mallorca help you find your ideal home in any location within the island. Find out more here! […] Real Estate Agents on Mallorca
Thinking of moving to mallorca? Here you will find out where are the best regions and towns to live on the island and why they may be interesting for you. […] Mallorca’s Best Areas to Live
Popular Areas in the city of Palma de Mallorca
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, Opio Restaurant 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 Palma
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.
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.
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 de Mallorca. Trendy bars & restaurants make this an amazing area to live or visit. […] Portixol in Palma de Mallorca
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
Related articles 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
We hope you found this article about Palma de Mallorca a useful guide to explore the capital city. We feel passionate about Mallorca and we want you to experience the best of what the island has to offer. So please follow our up-to-the-minute recommendations to have a great time on the island.
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Enjoy exploring one of the most beautiful cities in the world!