Palma is considered one of the best cities in the world to live in. Its mild climate during most of the year, the tranquility and security in its streets and the Mediterranean flavor that characterizes it invite the traveler to enjoy his stay in the capital of the Balearic Islands.
In addition to this peaceful atmosphere, Palma offers many places of interest, both for cultural and family visits that you can easily reach without a car. Let's discover some of them.
If there is one building that distinguishes the city, it is the imposing cathedral of Palma. The Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria, known as La Seu, is the only Gothic cathedral located by the sea, overlooking the old city walls.
The temple, of Levantine Gothic style, is one of the European medieval cathedrals with the greatest height in its central nave and the one with the largest rose window.
It began to rise a few years after the conquest of the island by James I of Aragon (1229) on the site of the great mosque of Medina Mayurca. Although it was consecrated in the 14th century, the works continued throughout the centuries, which allows us to appreciate different architectural styles.
In the early twentieth century, the architect Gaudí made an intervention in its interior. Although he could not finish his entire project, the brilliant Catalan architect left his mark on the cathedral of Palma.
The last major intervention was carried out at the beginning of this century by the Mallorcan artist Miquel Barceló. It is the rehabilitation of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament. Barceló covered its walls with a 300 square meter "altarpiece" made of clay representing the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
The cathedral can be visited freely with the help of an audio guide or by purchasing a guided tour ticket. To complete its attractiveness, from May onwards, it is possible to visit the high terraces of the temple.
In the surroundings of the Cathedral is the historic center of Palma, which can be explored on foot. It is the part of the city where the Majorcan nobility lived, so it concentrates palaces, churches, convents and civil buildings.
The Almudaina Palace, from the 14th century, together with the cathedral, forms a monumental ensemble that emerges above the old Renaissance wall and is reflected in the lake of the Parc de Mar. It can be visited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.
At the foot of the walls is the Parc de Mar, a place to stroll under the Mediterranean sun with the family. It highlights its large artificial saltwater lake that reflects the cathedral. If you are traveling with children, there is a children's playground in the eastern area.
Under the walls we can continue our walk through the gardens of S'Hort del Rei. Its most notable elements are the arch of Ses Drassanes, of Arab origin, and the swan pond.
From these gardens we can go up to the old town to get lost in a medieval layout of narrow and intricate streets. Places of interest are the Episcopal Palace, the Oratory of Sant Pau, the Hospital of Sant Pere and Sant Bernat, the Almudaina Gate and the Arab Baths.
In this area was also located the old Jewish quarter of Palma. Its main attraction is to enjoy the tranquility of its narrow streets and the observation of its unique details.
About three kilometers from the center of Palma, on the top of a small hill, stands the Bellver Castle, one of the symbols of the city. From there we have a magnificent perspective of the whole bay.
It is a fortified construction from the beginning of the 14th century, ordered to be built by James II, King of Mallorca. Of Gothic style, its circular floor plan (the oldest in Europe) and its keep, linked to the rest of the building by an arch, are striking..
Its walls and rooms have served as the residence of the Kings of Mallorca, as a refuge for the persecuted and as a prison. Important historical figures suffered captivity within its walls: Queen Violante and the enlightened minister Jovellanos, as well as several sieges and an assault during the rebellion of Les Germanies.
It is currently the headquarters of the Museum of History of Palma de Mallorca and its courtyard hosts a wide variety of ceremonial events, concerts and cultural events.
The castle can be accessed by road or on foot, from the El Terreno neighborhood.The Bellver Castle is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, with free audio-guided and guided tours.
The beaches of Palma are made up of a group of beaches that total 4.5 kilometers in length, from Can Pastilla to S'Arenal. Its proximity to the city and the airport have made it an internationally renowned tourist center.
The closest beach to the historic center is Can Pere Antoni, the only one from which you can see the Cathedral. Of natural sand, it is located in front of the Palacio de Congresos de Palma and is bordered by land with the Paseo Marítimo.
Between Can Pere Antoni and Playa de Palma are the urban beaches of Ciudad Jardín and Cala Estancia. Both are bordered by a promenade with a bike path that runs along the entire coastline.
On the west coast of the bay, more abrupt and rocky, we find the beach of Cala Major. Of natural sand, it also has all the services such as surveillance, accessibility, showers and rental of sunbeds and umbrellas.
The Plaza de España is one of the neuralgic points of Palma. It is a good place to start a walk, both for shopping and to visit the center.
In its proximity we can find shopping areas, department stores and S'Olivar Market, fresh produce. It is also the main hub for public transport connections because it is the location of the intermodal train and bus station and the Sóller train station.
Even if you are not planning a trip on the historic Tren de Sóller, we recommend a visit to the station in Palma. The small railway enclosure preserves all the charm of the old train stations.
Sóller Train Station is located a few meters from the Plaza de España. Its main building, in modernist style, contains the reception and ticket office area.
The platform is sheltered by an elaborate canopy and equipped with wrought iron and wooden benches for waiting travelers. Beyond, the track area, where a locomotive or convoy often rests; and the depot, currently remodeled to house the pictorial exhibition "50 landscapes of Mallorca", an artistic vision of the main natural attractions of the island.
The peculiar embassy of Sóller and its train in Palma offer a corner of rest and quiet in the center of a bustling and cosmopolitan city.