Palma de Mallorca: complete guide

Palma, or Palma de Mallorca – as most people know the city, even though it hasn’t been called that for a long time – is the capital of Mallorca and of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands (officially Illes Balears), and an essential visit when getting to know the island.

Although we are convinced that you have traveled to Mallorca without taking your mind off all the beaches and coves you want to visit, we recommend that you don’t overlook the capital… it’s well worth spending some time during your holiday!

Views of the city of Palma
Views of the city of Palma

Do you want to know more? Read on or click on the section you are interested in reading in the table of contents! In this guide we give you all the information you need to know to visit Palma de Mallorca.

How to get to Palma de Mallorca

The city of Palma is located in the southwest of the island of Mallorca, about 8km from Son Sant Joan Airport. In addition, the city itself holds the Port of Palma (about 4km from the centre), which connects the island with the towns of Barcelona, Valencia, Denia and Gandía; so whether you arrive to Mallorca by plane or by ferry, you will find yourself very close to the capital.

Do you want to know where Palma de Mallorca and the other attractions on the island are?
🎁 Download here for free the Mallorca map that we have prepared for the readers of the website. You will be able to carry it on your mobile phone and use it at any time to organise and enjoy your holiday on the island.

Transport from Palma Airport

If you are traveling to the island by plane, once you arrive at the airport, you have different options for getting to Palma:

  • Bus: when you leave the airport from the “Arrivals” area, you will find a bus stop where you can get a bus for €5 to the city (EMT line A1, the blue ones).
  • Taxi: in the same “Arrivals” area you will find the taxi rank. The approximate cost of the ride from the airport to Palma is €20.

Transport from the Port of Palma

If you are traveling to the island by ferry, as if you are arriving by plane, you have several options for transfer to the centre of the capital:

  • On foot/by bicycle: the city centre is a 45-minute walk from the Port of Palma, and you can take a stroll along the Paseo Marítimo or use the cycle lane.
  • Bus: on leaving the port, you will find the bus stop, which connects to the city for €3 (EMT line 1).
  • Taxi: the port has a taxi rank in front of the maritime station.

Other ways to get to Palma de Mallorca

Furthermore, in both cases you could go to your destination in Palma using a private vehicle or hiring the services of a private transfer:

  • Private transfer: you can book a transfer to your accommodation. This option is convenient and quick, picking you up at the airport or port and taking you to your hotel.
  • Car rental: renting a car is the best option to make sure you don’t miss anything in Mallorca, although if your holidays are limited to getting to know the capital, a car is not necessary. We tell you more in the section on how to get around Palma de Mallorca!

Car rental in Mallorca

What to see and what to do in Palma de Mallorca

To get to know all the places of interest that we suggest in this list and enjoy the best experiences that Palma de Mallorca has to offer we recommend that you spend at least a full day in the capital and avoid the peak summer months, as temperatures are high and the island is quite crowded.

Palma is ideal for a winter trip or a weekend getaway to Mallorca, as it enjoys a privileged climate for most of the year.

The city centre is charming, with countless visits of high historical value for art lovers, and with a wide range of entertainment for all audiences. We are convinced that the Balearic capital will exceed all your expectations. Don’t miss it!

🆓 Do you have limited time to visit the capital of Mallorca? If so, you can book this free tour and get to know the most important places in Palma’s old town. We recommend that you book in advance, as there is no charge and you may run out of places in high season.

Mallorca Cathedral

If there is one unmissable visit in Palma, it is the Cathedral of Mallorca or “La Seu”, as it is known to Mallorcans, although its official name is Catedral – Basílica de Santa María, the most emblematic building of the capital and of the island, and which you have probably seen in hundreds of images.

Palma de Mallorca Cathedral and Parc de la Mar
Views of Palma and the Cathedral – Santa Maria Basilica

It is not because it is ours, but its fame is more than deserved. It is one of the most spectacular cathedrals you can visit in Europe, as it is the only Gothic cathedral facing the sea.

Its grandeur is not only attributed to the 44m high central nave, but also to the many works of art that you will come across as you walk through it. From a 5th century column from the ancient Paleochristian basilica to Gothic and Baroque elements, including a large expressionist and trans-avant-garde mural created by the Mallorcan painter Miquel Barceló in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament – not without controversy and criticism -.

Antonio Gaudí himself took part in one of the restorations of Palma Cathedral at the beginning of the 20th century, opening windows that improved the lighting of the building and creating the impressive baldachin of the high altar.

The cathedral, also known as the “Cathedral of Light”, is also famous for its large rose window. Did you know that it is one of the largest in the world with a diameter of 13.8 metres and 1.236 crystals? It is therefore known as the gothic eye and every year, on the 2nd of February and the 11th of November, is the culprit behind the spectacle of the eight of the Cathedral of Mallorca, which attracts more and more visitors who want to witness this light effect caused by chance.

🎟️ If you are interested in discovering the secrets and legends hidden within the golden walls of the cathedral, you can book this guided tour of Mallorca Cathedral.

Opening hours:
• Monday to Friday: 10am – 5:15pm
• Saturdays: 10am – 2:15pm
Admission: €9 general admission or €20 if you want to visit the terraces.

Palacio Real de la Almudaina and the gardens of s’Hort des Rei

Next to the cathedral is the well-preserved Royal Palace of the Almudaina, a symbol of civil power where the Arabs first settled and, after the Reconquest, the courts of the kingdoms of Mallorca, Aragon and Spain. The fascinating thing about its architecture is precisely that it reflects the influence of all cultures. Today it is a Gothic palace that preserves the structure of a Muslim fortress.

It is characterised by its rectangular ground plan, its walls, the tower that crowns it and its privileged location facing the sea. Its structure is divided between the King’s Palace and the Queen’s Palace and inside it is worth visiting the Chapel of Santa Ana, an authentic Gothic jewel.

Opening hours:
October to March:
• Tuesday to Sunday: 10am – 6pm
April to September:
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Admission: €7 and free on Wednesday all day and Sunday from 3pm. If you want to avoid the long queues, you can buy your advance ticket to the Almudaina Palace here.

Palacio Real de la Almudaina in Palma
Palacio Real de la Almudaina in Palma
S'Hort des Rei gardens in Palma
S’Hort des Rei gardens in Palma

Outside the walls of the Royal Palace of s’Almudaina and with free access is another of the must-sees in Palma, the gardens of s’Hort des Rei, with Mallorcan and Andalusian elements, which will allow you to take a moment’s rest surrounded by greenery.

Lonja of Palma de Mallorca

Another of the Mallorcan Gothic wonders to see in Palma de Mallorca, along with “La Seu” and Bellver Castle, is the city’s Lonja or Llotja, designed by the local architect Guillem Sagrera in the 15th century and which was the headquarters of the Merchants’ College. The strategic location of the island in the Mediterranean made it necessary to have a place where merchants could carry out their work, which is how the building you can see today came into being.

Although the exterior façade is quite sober, the interior is very open-plan and houses six spectacular columns without base or capital that join together to form the vaults of the ceiling. This building is only open when it is hosting exhibitions, so you will only be able to visit the interior if one is taking place.

La Lonja building in Palma
Interior of the Lonja of Palma de Mallorca
Interior of the Lonja in Palma. Photo: Malopez 21

As a curious fact, contrary to what many believe, the Lonja of Palma de Mallorca predates the Lonja of Valencia, which imitated the one on the island to create its own.

Opening hours:
Only open to the public when hosting exhibitions.
• April to October: 10:30am – 1:30pm and 5:30pm – 10:00pm
• November to March: 10:30am – 1:30pm and from 4pm – 6pm
Admission: free of charge.

Es Baluard, the old wall and the Palma signpost

Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art combines modernity and history in its more than 5.000 m2 of installations that extend over the city’s old defence wall.

The building itself is an architectural masterpiece and for many visitors it is of even greater importance than the works it houses, especially for chronicle enthusiasts, who can stroll along the terraces above the defensive wall and feel the vibrant Mallorca’s history while contemplating some excellent views of the capital.

The main floor houses the gallery’s permanent collection, with works by Joan Miró, Picasso and Barceló; and the basement houses temporary exhibitions on different themes. If you are an art lover, you will love a visit to the Es Baluard Museum.

Opening hours:
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 8pm
• Sunday: 10am – 3pm
Admission: €6. On Fridays, the entrance fee is a donation from €0.10.

Palma City Walls
Palma City Walls
Palma signpost on the Paseo Marítimo of Palma
Palma signpost on the Paseo Marítimo

Once you’ve visited the Es Baluard Museum, or not, don’t miss the walk under the walls of Palma de Mallorca through the Sa Feixina Park, the Ronda Migjorn and the Passeig de Sagrera to the signpost of Palma, which has become the capital’s star “selfie” stage.

🆓 If you are passionate about history and want to know more about what life was like in the capital of Mallorca during the Middle Ages, this free tour of the walls of Palma will win you over. Leaving Es Baluard, you will pass through the old gates of the walled city, towers and other ancient constructions.

Plaça de Cort and Palma City Hall

Plaça de Cort is Palma’s kilometre 0. This is where Palma Town Hall is located, in Baroque style, which was built in the 17th century. Its unique wooden eaves five metres wide on its recently restored façade, its balcony with seven large windows, the clock known as “Es Figuera” and the banc dels vagos (lazy people’s bench) make “Cort” – as the town hall is known here – one of the most emblematic and representative buildings in the city.

In front of the building, you will find a beautiful 600-year-old olive tree that we Mallorcans are very fond of and that will leave you open-mouthed.

Palma’s historic centre, Mallorcan courtyards and Jewish quarter

Palma combines with surprising harmony its Roman, Muslim, Jewish and Christian heritage, and this is especially visible in its old district, one of the largest and best preserved in Europe.

If you are looking for buildings with history or charming corners, you will fall in love with the network of streets laid out in medieval times. Walking around you will discover Gothic churches such as Santa Eulàlia and Sant Francesc; 17th and 18th century stately homes with their beautiful and famous Mallorcan courtyards, such as those of Casal Solleric or Can Vivot; and even modernist buildings by Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner.

Mallorcan courtyard of Can Vivot.
Courtyard of Can Vivot. Photo: Dirk Vorderstraße
Modernist buildings of Can Casasayas and Pensión La Menorquina
Modernist buildings (Can Casasayas and Pensión La Menorquina)

Furthermore, as an important medieval city, Palma had its own Jewish quarter – known as the “Call Mayor” – which formed a kind of independent, walled city with its own entrances to its interior. Sadly, the Jewish quarter was razed and burnt to the ground, although small elements remain that will help you breathe the scent of the “Call”.

🆓 Would you like to find out what life was like for the Jewish population in Palma and discover what cultural legacy they left us? Book this free tour of the Jewish quarter of Palma here and get the answers to these questions by taking a guided tour of the old Jewish Alijama with a local guide.

Arab baths in Palma

Although small in size, the Arab baths of Palma de Mallorca are one of the capital’s most emblematic monuments and, without a doubt, one of the great legacies of Muslim architecture on the island. Their heritage value is very important, as they date back to sometime between the 10th and 12th centuries, when Palma was officially known as Medina Mayurqa.

These were discovered only 100 years ago in the gardens of the stately home of Can Pit, in the historic centre of the capital, and are believed to have been part of a private house. A central hall, surrounded by columns, is preserved, as well as a caldarium and a tepidarium.

Opening hours:
• 10am – 7pm
Admission:€2,5.

Palma seafront promenade (Paseo Marítimo)

The Palma seafront promenade (Paseo Marítimo) runs along a large avenue that stretches for more than five kilometres, passing through emblematic buildings of the city such as the Lonja, “La Seu” and the Almudaina Royal Palace (Palacio Real de la Almudaina), on one side, and the marina with its spectacular boats and yachts, to the other.

It is the perfect place to do sport or take a quiet stroll. We also recommend that you visit the Parc de la Mar, at the base of Dalt Murada – the walls beneath Palma Cathedral. You will be able to contemplate the façade of the Cathedral reflected in the pond of this urban park, which has a children’s area and an esplanade where concerts are organised, films are shown and temporary craft markets are held.

Santa Catalina and Jonquet neighbourhoods

In addition to all the must-see places in Palma described above, there are other authentic and charming places throughout the capital that are off the beaten tourist track and well worth a visit.

The district of Santa Catalina, known as the “Balearic Soho”, is an old fishing quarter located in the western part of the old town and only a couple of minutes away from the Paseo Marítimo. Today, it is the trendiest neighbourhood, one of the most charming and liveliest corners of Palma thanks to its wide range of cultural, gastronomic and nightlife offerings.

In its interior is the genuine Jonquet quarter, with a village atmosphere, which preserves old sailors’ and fishermen’s dwellings and a series of 14th century mills, as well as offering beautiful panoramic views of the port.

We recommend that, if you have time, you spend a few hours immersing yourself in the narrow cobbled streets of the Jonquet and finish off with dinner or a drink in one of the trendiest bars in Santa Catalina. Great plan!

Terraces in the Santa Catalina neighbourhood
Terraces in the Santa Catalina neighbourhood. Photo: Sa Boleda
Es Jonquet neighbourhood
Es Jonquet neighbourhood. Photo: Smeagolbee

The Castle of Bellver (Castillo de Bellver)

Another must-see in Palma is the Bellver Castle, a Gothic fortification built at the beginning of the 14th century, and the forest that surrounds it. Built by Jaume II of Mallorca as a defensive watchtower and as a residential palace, its main peculiarity is that it is one of the four circular castles in Europe and the only one in Spain.

As well as visiting its courtyard and rooms, you can discover curious facts about the Mallorcan capital, as it houses the Museum of the History of the City of Palma. And since the castle is located on a 112-metre-high hill, you can enjoy one of the best panoramic views of the capital, the port, the Tramuntana mountain range and the Pla de Mallorca. Just amazing!

The Castell de Bellver is located about 3km from the city centre. You can get to the castle by Palma’s tourist bus, taking it at one of the many stops you will find around the city; by private car, as there is a car park; or by public transport and walking for about 20 minutes.

Opening hours:
April to September:
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm
• Sunday and public holidays: 10am – 3pm
October to March:
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 6pm
• Sunday and public holidays: 10am – 3pm
Admission: €4. Admission to Bellver Castle is free on Sundays.

The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation

Also located on a hill overlooking the sea and comprising a collection of nearly 7.000 pieces, the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation of Mallorca is a cultural institution based on the workshops that the artist bequeathed to the public and one of the most important contemporary art spaces in the world.

Miró spent much of his childhood on the island and moved there permanently in the 1950s, managing to have his own studio. The Foundation was created by the artist and his wife Pilar before his death and allows visitors to see the studios where he worked, as well as a gallery with his best works and a sculpture garden.

Opening hours:
From September 16 to May 15
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 6pm
• Sunday and public holidays: 10am – 3pm
From May 16 to September 15
• Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm
• Sunday and public holidays: 10am – 3pm
Admission: €7,5. Admission is free on Saturdays from 3pm and on the first Sunday of every month.

Beaches in Palma de Mallorca

As you know, Mallorca has spectacular beaches and coves along its extensive coastline. The city of Palma is on the coast and therefore has some beaches nearby if you fancy a dip.

We must warn you, however, that these beaches are far from being the typical Mallorcan paradise beaches, as their proximity to the capital means that their waters are not usually so clear, they are quite crowded and some of them are made of artificial sand. Even so, they are not bad for a swim, so if you don’t have the option of visiting more distant beaches you could go to one of them. These are:

  • Cala Major – Sant Agustí
  • Can Pere Antoni
  • Ciutat Jardí
  • Cala Estància
  • Playa de Palma

If we had to recommend one, without a doubt, it would be the beach of Cala Major which, although it is quite crowded, its waters are usually clean and it is very beautiful.

What to do in Palma de Mallorca today: agenda and events

If, in addition to all the visits and plans that we suggest, you would like to consult the cultural and events agenda in Palma – free and paid – that will be held during your holidays on the island, we recommend that you have the Youthing Guide at hand.

Youthing is a complete guide of activities in Mallorca, published fortnightly, which you can consult and download free of charge in PDF format from their website. We are faithful to the magazine and leaf through it constantly, as it compiles information on all the concerts, celebrations, exhibitions, plays, presentations, children’s activities and much more in a very practical and convenient format. Be sure to check it out!

How to get around Palma de Mallorca

You have multiple options for getting around the capital, Palma: from the alternative of walking, as the distances are short; to renting a car or motorbike will allow you to move around more freely, but you should be aware of the handicap of parking; other options such as public transport and taxis are also available.

You can find detailed information on how to get around Palma using the public transport network in these two articles:
🚌 Public transport in Palma: bus and metro in Palma, lines, timetables and fares.
🚕 Taxi service in Palma: taxi ranks, taxi companies’ phone numbers and fares.

Finally, if you’re only spending a short time in the capital, you have the option of take the tourist bus to get around Palma, which has stops at all major attractions, including the Bellver Castle on the outskirts, and you will be able to hop on and off as many times as you like during the tour. If you want to visit the city’s main tourist attractions without complications, this is an excellent alternative.

Parking in Palma

Although we don’t recommend it, if you have decided to get around Palma by car, you should know that there are several car parks scattered throughout the capital so that you can park your vehicle easily. The most central car parks in Palma are:

  • Parc de la Mar
  • Via Roma
  • Marquès de la Sènia
  • Comptat del Rosselló
  • Compte d’Empúries
  • Avingudes
  • Plaça Major

You can locate all these public car parks on the complete map of Palma that we have prepared and that you will find below, in this same guide to the capital. You can also click on each of them and get information on the number of spaces available to park your car.

Where to eat in Palma

Palma de Mallorca offers an infinite number of gastronomic possibilities of all kinds and you will find wonderful restaurants with cuisines from all over the world as well as typical Mallorcan food.

Because of its countless options, it is very difficult to make a selection of the best restaurants to eat in Palma, so we are going to focus on compiling for you some of our favourite restaurants where to eat local Mallorcan food in the capital:

Celler de Sa Premsa

El Celler de Sa Premsa is one of the best restaurants where you can eat typical Mallorcan food in Palma. It is an old winery with a long tradition, a very good atmosphere, good service and spectacular food at a very good price!

They have an inexpensive set menu and à la carte dishes. It is very centrally located, making it an ideal restaurant for a stop between visits. We would recommend you try the Mallorcan snails with allioli, the tumbet – an ideal recipe for people looking for vegetarian and vegan options -, and the arroz brut, the ultimate in Mallorcan gastronomy.

Bodega La Rambla

If you have already looked into what you have to eat on your trip to Mallorca, you will have seen that we have talked about the “must” Mallorcan variats mallorquins, or varied Mallorcan dishes. This is a typical dish of the island that combines several tapas, as here we do not eat them separately as usual.

The tapas that usually make up the Mallorcan variat change depending on the area where the bar is located, but what is common is the Russian salad base.

At Bodega La Rambla you will enjoy a traditional variat mallorquí. The tapas they make are “refined”, more seafood, with style and quality in a winery that has been preparing this dish with the same recipe for decades. You are guaranteed to eat one of the best variats in Mallorca and, for us, the best in Palma.

Variat mallorquí: typical Mallorcan tapa
Bodega La Rambla’s Mallorcan Variat

Es Vaixell

Es Vaixell is a charming bar with a terrace in the Portitxol district, on the seafront of the Paseo Marítimo. They serve cocktails and llonguets, typical Palma bread rolls (in fact, the people from Palma are called llonguets in the rest of the island) with which we Mallorcans usually have a snack.

In recent years, they have become fashionable and you can find sandwiches with this bread and a multitude of fillings in many establishments. We recommend you try them at Es Vaixell, they are all delicious, but if you ask us… the trempó with tuna and the sobrasada with mahonese cheese are sublime.

Can Joan de s’Aigo

Can Joan de s’Aigo is a traditional chocolate bar in Palma that was founded more than three centuries ago. It is especially famous for its ensaimadas and cuartos and is an obligatory stop on any visit to the Mallorcan capital.

All their products are handmade and their prices are really affordable, among which their homemade ice creams -the meringue milk ice cream is exquisite-, sweet and savoury pastries typical of Mallorca and hot chocolate stand out.

They currently have three cafés scattered throughout the city and all of them offer the same quality, but if you have a choice… we recommend you visit the old chocolate café on Calle Sanç, as it has a special charm.

Palma’s traditional and gastronomic markets

The island has markets and flea markets to suit everyone, and almost every town has at least one open-air market every week. There are also a multitude of permanent markets, and in Palma, specifically, there are several of them.

Of these, some have followed the trend in other capitals to change their function as food markets and become epicentres and reference points for Mallorcan gastronomy. One example is the Santa Catalina Market, in the neighbourhood with the same name, which has recently become popular for lunch.

If you have the option to go, we recommend that you stop at Bar Joan Frau – Can Frau, inside the market, and try their exquisite “frito mallorquín” accompanied by a glass of wine. Quality homemade food with excellent taste at popular prices. Delicious!

Palma de Mallorca Map

On this map of Palma de Mallorca you can locate the main monuments, museums and sights of the city, as well as the places we have recommended for you to eat and the car parks located in the centre of the capital. By clicking on each icon you will be able to see which place it is.

Palma de Mallorca Hotels

Palma is one of the best areas to stay in Mallorca as it is well communicated with the rest of the island, has a wide cultural offer and has many leisure options and a very lively nightlife, far from the typical tourist circuits.

The best areas to stay are the old part of town and the Paseo Marítimo, where you will find everything from the most luxurious hotels to more affordable options. Sleeping in the city has its advantages and we recommend it, especially if you are traveling to Mallorca in winter or for a few days.

Here you can find all the accommodation options in Palma de Mallorca. Do you already know when you are going to travel to the island? Great! Enter your dates and choose from exclusive boutique hotels, luxury resorts on the outskirts, budget hostels, apartments and other accommodation available with the best deals on the market:

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What have you thought about this guide of Palma de Mallorca? Do you think we have missed anything important? If so, feel free to help us complete it by leaving us a comment! And if you have any questions, please let us know. We’ll do our best to clarify it for you!

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* During the winter season not all hotels and accommodation in Mallorca are open. Because of this, they may not appear on the map.