About Palma Old Town
A visit to Palma’s picturesque Old Town is always highly recommended. Known in Spanish as ‘El Casco Antiguo’, it’s where the majority of must-see tourist attractions are located, such as the majestic ‘La Seu’ Cathedral, the Royal Palace of Almudaina and Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum. If you’ve time to spare, put your map to one side, as there’s a real pleasure to be had in simply wandering the medieval streets and seeing where they lead you.
Gothic churches, scenic squares and century-old interior patios are plentiful. Lovers of old treasures will enjoy stumbling across antiquarian bookshops, antique furniture shops and even a vintage Vespa outlet. The ‘golden mile’ is also part of this historic centre and satisfies contemporary tastes. It includes the elegant avenue, Passeig del Born, which links to Avenida de Jaime III, and unites some of the most familiar and luxurious designer brands in the world.
Set your pace to a relaxed Mediterranean amble, stopping for a traditional ‘ensaimada’ pastry in one of the many cafés; or a three-course gourmet lunch somewhere special. The evening is the best time for tapas, with lively bars competing to produce the most inventive and flavoursome combinations.
History and Culture of the Old Town
Romans, Moors and Christians have all left their mark. The Royal Palace of Almudaina, which is the official residence of the current monarchy, takes its name directly from the Arabic for ‘fortress’. Nearby, the tranquil Arab Baths, are another reminder of their time on the island.
The Christian King, Jaime I, conquered Mallorca in 1229, and Moorish structures were adapted or demolished. Today there are fifty-five churches in the capital alone, built over several centuries, many showing Gothic and Baroque influences.
Stately homes dating back to the 17th and 18th century are a feature of this part of town. Sensitively restored, numerous have become luxury boutique hotels, their interior patios giving away their ancient history. The turn of the 20th century brought Catalan Modernisme to the island; the Grand Hotel and Can Casasayas in Plaça del Mercat are exceptional examples of this trend.
Major attractions in the Old Town
Parc de la Mar is the name given to the artificial lake created in the 70s, which glistens below the walls around the Cathedral. It’s a glorious starting-point for a city tour. An early morning visit to the Cathedral is one way of enjoying the sunshine filtering through the spectacular rose windows.
La Lonja is another architectural gem in the neighbourhood, which shares the same name. It was the maritime trade exchange and is now empty and free to enter; it is located by a pretty square, where you’ll find some al fresco dining options.
Which galleries and museums you’ll consider essential will depend on your artistic preferences. For lovers of conceptual art, head to Es Baluard; to view works of art by the likes of Picasso, Miró and Dalί, pop into the Museum of Spanish Modern Art at the Fundació Joan March, on Sant Miquel. At Palau March, you’ll find diverse art, sculpture and antique books showcased in a former stately residence.
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
Give your mind – and your legs – a workout with a little exploration into the fresh and fabulous world of Mallorca art galleries… […] Top Art Gallery Guide Mallorca
Things to do in the Old Town
Rich in history, culture and gastronomy, there’s plenty to see and do. A city bike tour is one way of taking it all in, and you’ll benefit from an experienced tour guide who’ll be able to answer any questions.
Alternatively, navigate on two steady feet through pretty Can Veri, the bustling shopping street of Sant Miquel and soak up the atmosphere at Plaça Major. Admire the intricate façade of Palma’s Council building in Plaça Cort, and the natural wonder that is the 600-year-old olive tree, and symbol of peace, rooted in front of it.
In the evening, enjoy a play or opera at the Teatre Principal, or a concert at Palma’s Auditorium in nearby Paseo Maritimo. The popular neighbourhood of Santa Catalina is walking distance from the centre and offers a wealth of bars and restaurants.
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
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
Restaurants in the Old Town
From Michelin-starred restaurants to typical Spanish bars serving hearty lunches, there is something for every palette and budget.
For Mallorcan cuisine prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, book a table at Tomeu Restaurant amb Arrels in the Sant Jaume boutique hotel. For MediterrAsian flavours in a stylish setting, try Fera. Aromata has a tasty three or five-course gourmet menu of contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, perfect for a memorable lunch. For exceptional French cuisine, there’s Equus, located in the newly-opened Summum Prime Boutique Hotel.
For plenty more options, check out our list of best restaurants
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
Hotels in the Old Town
There are luxury boutique hotels housed in historic homes with vaulted spas and stunning rooftops views; and trendy and intimate Design hotels with contemporary décor and state of the art facilities. With so much competition in this sought-after part of town, these urban sanctuaries are all striving to deliver a special experience.
Palma without Hotel Cort would be like strawberries without cream. The thoroughly elegant boutique stay exemplifies modern Mallorca cool. […] Boutique Hotel in Palma city centre
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
Events in the Old Town
Parc de la Mar, Plaça Major and Passeig del Born are all focal-points during the biggest fiestas held throughout the year. Against the backdrop of the Cathedral, the nights of fire of Sant Joan and Sant Sebastian are particularly exhilarating.
Most neighbourhoods have their special fiesta. Street concerts and communal barbecues called ‘torrades’, are common occurrences and locals rarely miss an opportunity for some spontaneous Mallorcan folk dancing.
Mallorca has a tradition of celebrating many festivals during the year. As a foreigner it’s difficult to know about them. Here our guide to local festivals! […] Local Festivals on Mallorca
Palma’s most beautiful avenue filled with families last night to view the switching on of the stunning Christmas lights. Find out more. […] Christmas Lights in Palma
Living in the Old Town
The medieval Old Town is a desirable place to live, with many old flats now converted into luxury apartments. Rooftops with sea views are available at a price.
Cosmopolitan and culture-rich, there’s always something going on in the centre of town. While some resorts in Mallorca shut down in winter, the majority of Palma’s top restaurants, bars and galleries remain open all year around.
Paseo Maritimo provides a scenic route for walkers, runners and cyclists; and the local beaches are a refreshing escape in the warmer months. Palma’s great quality of life has been internationally recognised; a few years ago it was voted Winner of the Best Places to Live in The Sunday Times.
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
This 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom home has all the terrace you need for a quiet city hideaway with sea views in the heart of Palma’s Cathedral quarter. […] Modern penthouse for sale in old town Palma
We hope you found this article about Palma’s Old Town useful and that you discover new and amazing places as a result of our recommendations.
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