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Palma de Mallorca – a cosmopolitan city of culture
The beautiful Palma de Mallorca is the largest city in the Balearic Islands. A busy metropolis, with almost half of the island’s population living in and around Palma, it is also a very popular holiday destination. This is thanks in part to its setting in a lovely bay, with great sandy beaches and a warm Mediterranean climate. But Palma is more than sun and sand. It has a long history and its people are a diverse mix of cultures, thanks to the influence of the Moors, Spanish and Carthaginians, as well as more recently people from Africa and South America, which makes it a place well worth experiencing.
Explore the history of the old town
The impressive golden coloured La Seu cathedral in Palma de Mallorca took almost 400 years to build. After having a new façade added following earthquake damage in 1851, and with an interior designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi and ceramics from artist Miquel Barceló, the cathedral is now truly unique in design. Next to the cathedral sits the Palau de l’Almudaina. Once a Moorish fort, it became home to the monarchy of Mallorca in the 13th century and is now an official residence of the Spanish royal family. When the family are not in residence the Palau is open to the public. Behind the cathedral you will find the old town. Here, wandering in the maze of narrow streets you will find traditional architecture, small museums and galleries, and the remains of ancient Arab baths. If you want to stay in or around the old town, you will find a wide choice of hotels available.
Super yachts and sandy beaches
Palma de Mallorca has a long promenade which is a popular place for locals to jog and walk. You can take a walk along the marina where you will find beautiful yachts moored, as well as stop to enjoy a drink in one of the bars and restaurants. On the promenade is the small beach of Ca’n Pere Antoni. It can get very busy during the summer months, but holds a Blue Flag award and has showers and toilets. Being so close to the centre of town, this beach is perfect if you just want to enjoy couple of hours in the sun before exploring further. If you are happy to go a little further, Portixol is a kilometre and a half away and has a beach club where you can rent sunbeds, as well as a good choice of places to eat and drink. You can find a beachside hotel not far from Palma if you like to spend lots of time relaxing.
Delicious food and drink
If you have opted for an all inclusive hotel in Palma de Mallorca, you may not be tempted to go out to eat and drink, but with a choice of traditional tapas bars, pavement cafes, stylish bars and modern restaurants to be found, it would be a shame not to give some a try. Visit the Mercat de l’Olivar to see what the locals like to eat. Here, as well as a huge range of fresh produce, there are also things you can buy to take away such as bread, olives and jamón serrano. If you don’t want to make your own picnic, there are tapas and oyster bars in the market. In many parts of Spain, a thick hot chocolate is served with churros, which is a fried donut mixture, but in Palma the chocolate is traditionally served with ensaïmada. These sweet flaky pastries have various fillings, including traditional pumpkin paste, and are great for an afternoon treat when you need a pick me up.
Oh no, it’s time to go…
If you need something to do after checking out of your hotel before heading home, Palma Aquarium is ideal. Open every day, and only a ten-minute drive from the airport, there are indoor and outdoor displays, large underwater viewing tanks including sharks, rays and turtles, and feeding displays throughout the day. You will find plenty to interest adults and children alike, and it is a good place to visit on those rare days when the weather might not be so good. If some last minute retail therapy is more your style, there are excellent shopping areas in Palma. Close to Palma you will find Centro Comercial Porto Pi, which is a modern shopping centre, and the Festival Park shopping centre. Here there is a good choice of bars and restaurants, sale outlets, and popular Spanish high street shops. Of course, if you do have a very early start, you can always choose one of the hotels at the airport to make things more convenient.