When visiting Mallorca, you should definitely spend at least a day in its capital Palma de Mallorca. Half of the population of the island lives in Palma and it’s easy to understand why. The city offers something for everyone: cultural events, art, architecture, shopping, a beautiful historical centre and a vibrant nightlife with lots of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It’s the perfect place for travellers who want a bit of everything during their stay. We’ve made a list of top ten sights and activities you shouldn’t miss!
1. La Seu Cathedral
This Catalan Gothic cathedral is without any doubt the most remarkable building in the city, due to its location, its greatness and beautiful stained glass windows. The cathedral really stands out from its surroundings and rises up behind the city walls. It was built between the 13th and 16th century, on a small platform overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The construction continued for over 400 years and restoration was needed at the end of the 19th century because of an earthquake.
The inside is as impressive as the outside. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi was responsible for part of the restoration. Amongst other things, he designed the new chandeliers or candelabra. His most controversial addition is the unfinished Crown of Thorns, above the altar. He also recolored the stained glass windows of the cathedral.
More information: http://www.catedraldemallorca.info/principal/
2. The Almudaina palace
Right next to the cathedral, you can find the royal palace of Almudaina, built in the 14th century by Moorish governors. It is located just outside the city walls and has a beautiful view over Palma’s bay. Even today the royal family stays at this palace when visiting Mallorca. Inside the palace you can visit the museum Capitania General, with artworks made between the 16th en 18th century.
3. Parc de la Mar
Parc de la Mar was created after a new road was constructed, pushing back the water from the Mediterranean Sea. Until that time, the Palma cathedral had a reflection in the sea. To recreate this effect, an artificial lake was made. Now the park is a nice quiet place where you can escape from the busy city centre. Catalan artist Joan Miró donated a large mural for visitors to enjoy. During summer months, the park hosts concerts and theatre productions.
4. Palau March
The Palau March museum is part of the ‘Fundación Bartolomé March’. In the museum, located in the family’s former home, you can find a variety of art collections. On the first floor, the rooms are still in their original state, showing visitors a glimpse of how life was in the beginning of the 20th century. The most impressive part however, is the outside of the museum. It offers a terrific view over Palma de Mallorca, the cathedral and the royal palace.
5. Plaza Major
Plaza Major is a replica of the Plaza Major in Madrid. It’s in the middle of the old city centre and connects the different shopping streets with each other. Plaza Major is the place to be if you’re looking to relax and have a drink, while watching the crowds go by. During the busiest months, you can also enjoy street artists showing off their tricks.
6. Passeig del Born
Some people say Palma de Mallorca is very much like Barcelona because of the city’s dynamic, the little shops and bars … Like Barcelona, the city has beautiful boulevards that flow through the city centre.
Passeig del Born is a popular street for tourists and locals. In the Passeig del Born you can find lots of little bars, shops, restaurants and galleries. A number of brands chose this street for their flagship stores: Boss, Carolina Herrera, Twin-Set, Gucci, Massimo Dutti, Zara … One of the most famous bars is ‘Bar Bosch’ (http://barbosch.es/en/).
Palma de Mallorca also has its own ‘la Rambla’. This boulevard is not as long as the one in Barcelona and less crowded. If you’re looking for some quiet time, just stroll down la Rambla and enjoy the atmosphere and beautiful architecture.
7. Arab baths
The Arab baths are one of the few remaining relics of Arab architecture on the island. Moslems founded the city of Mayurqa, the present day Palma, on Roman remains. The baths were most likely a part of an Arab castle. Unfortunately, like the rest of the city of Mayurga, no other remains of the palace have been discovered.
Palma de Mallorca is almost as busy by night as by day: lots of bars, restaurants and nightclubs to entertain you all night long. La Lonja is one of the more popular areas for nightlife, especially in the bars around Placa de la Drassana and Carrer de Sant Joan. Santa Catalina is also popular. In the small side streets you’ll find many tapas bars with late opening hours. On the waterfront, by the marina, more bars and lots of nightclubs can be found. If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, try the bars and restaurants just east of Plaza Major, where at night there is a real ‘Barcelona’ vibe.
Palma hosts events and festivals year round, but the two most popular ‘fiestas’ are for Saint Sebastian (in January) and Saint Joan (in June). Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Palma de Mallorca, is celebrated on 19-20 January. On the evening of the 19th, concerts, parades (giant puppets included), barbecues and parties are organized. Saint Joan is celebrated on 23-24 June. On the 23rd, also called the ‘Night of fire’, bonfires are lit and there’s a ‘fire run’, where locals run through the streets as demons and devils, holding torches in their hands. The festivities end in Parc de la Mar with an amazing firework.
10. Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró is truly one of a kind. This museum in Joan Miró’s art studios was established in 1981 when the artist and his wife donated the studios, with all the art works, objects, and documents to the foundation. Miró wanted to foster and promote artistic production, as well as preserve the studio spaces that had constituted his creative environment from 1956 up to his death in 1983. The foundation consists of three buildings, surrounded by sculptures by Miró that blend well into the natural setting. Discovering Miro’s work in the very place it was created, is a unique experience that allows visitors to get a glimpse of his creative process. The foundation is more than a museum, it offers educational and research facilities, which makes it a real dynamic centre.
For more information, go to http://miro.palmademallorca.es.
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