Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca, situated on the southern coast of the island and looking out over the glistening azure Mediterranean, is a beautiful city full of surprises – at once sophisticated and stylish, intimate and discrete, yet bustling with life.

Similar in style to Barcelona, although on a smaller scale, Palma boasts excellent restaurants, shops, social scene, arts and a flourishing café society. It also has a fascinating history with many aspects of it still on display. Pama is a great place to visit either for a holiday or simply a day’s outing.

Palma was named after the Roman city of Palmaria, founded around 120 BC, remains of which are still being discovered. In the middle ages it was invaded by the Moors from northern Africa, becoming known to the Arabs as Medina Mayurqa between 902 to 1229. In the 13th century the Moors were finally overthrown by the Spanish and Palma became an important port and commercial centre in the Mediterranean.

This multicultural history is reflected in the wonderful variety of architectural styles visible throughout the city. First and most visible is the Gothic cathedral that rises out of the city walls once marking the edge of the sea. Nearby is the old Arab quarter with its maze of narrow streets concealing palaces, museums and exquisite courtyards.

Other parts of city are more recent. The tree lined promenades of La Rambla and Passeig des Born, home to florists and newspaper sellers, were built in the 19th century, and the waterfront highway and promenade, Passeig Maritim, was only reclaimed from the sea quite recently.

Most of inner Palma is traffic-free and it’s a real joy to wander through the streets admiring architecture and browsing the masses of shops.

Along the seafront are the delightful marina and palm-lined promenade. The beaches are never far away, found slightly to the east towards Portixol and Ciudad Jardin. But dominating the Palma skyline is the ever-present La Seu cathedral, which really must be on the visiting list, and the Parc de la Mer around the artificial lake between the cathedral and the sea, which is a year-round venue for concerts, fiestas and open-air.

Art and culture is ever present in Palma. Worthy of a visit is the Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art that is housed in a former fortress. The Spanish artist Joan Miro spent almost 30 years on Majorca, and there is a foundation and musuem devoted to his works just to the west of the city. Palma also has two major theatres, host to annual opera and ballet festivals, with their seasonal programmes alive with concerts, musicals and a host of other productions.

Mallorca is known for its fiestas, of which Palma has its fair share.The two main festivals are held in January (Sant Sebastian) and June (Sant Joan). Sant Sebastian is Palma’s patron saint and the whole city seems to celebrate with parades, music and fireworks. The Festival of Sant Joan incorporates the famous Night of Fire which sees bonfires lit throughout the city and the exuberant ‘fire run’ where locals dress up as demons, running through the streets carrying torches, rounded off by an impressive fireworks display.

When it comes to food, Palma has an excellent choice of restaurants spread throughout the city and embracing a vast range of cuisines, both local and international, at prices to suit all pockets.

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Isla Mallorca Hotel & Spa

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