PALMA DE MALLORCA the city
There are many different jewels in the crown of the capital city of the Balearic Islands. Not everyone is privileged enough to enjoy them all. The unique beauty of the city, the friendly people, the culture, the art, the music, the environment and the gastronomy make for a rather special place that should be experienced at least once in one’s lifetime.
Palma is located around a bay that has the same name. It has an unbeatable climate all year round (the average temperature is 18ºC). It has always been known as a strategic point in the Mediterranean Sea because it has excellent air and sea routes. Indeed, the island has a very unique mix of traditions that blend together and that were adopted over the years from a range of different conquerors. Palma also has a long-standing tradition as a tourist destination since visitors travel there not only for the sun and the marvellous beaches, but also for its spectacular old quarter. The cathedral, Almudaina Palace, the port and Plaza Mayor are just some of the main features that visitors simply must see.
The island has a large number of cliffs, beaches and coves, some of which can only be accessed on foot. Inland, there are several traditional towns and villages and impressive mountains.
The gastronomy on the island gives it all the finishing touch and makes Mallorca a great place to visit and also a great place to live.
Mallorca Cathedral is the main religious building on the island. It is a Levantine Gothic-style temple on the shores of the bay in Palma. It sours above the sea on the Roman and Renaissance-style walls that once protected the city and it is the only Gothic cathedral built in this way.
It was awarded historical and artistic monument status in 1931. Furthermore, it has the largest Gothic rose window in the world. There are a number of larger rose windows in cathedrals around the world but they are from the neo-Gothic era. The cathedral in Mallorca also has the tallest nave out of all the Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The building itself is immense. The vault is 45 metres tall and only the one in Beauvais Cathedral – the tallest Gothic cathedral in the world – is taller.
Don’t miss a visit to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel which was designed by Miquel Barceló, the internationally-renowned Spanish artist. Enjoy the blend of African and the Mediterranean styles that you will find there.
PLAZA MAYOR AND THE OLD QUARTER
Additional not-to-be-missed spots on Palma de Mallorca include Plaza Mayor and the old quarter. Plaza Mayor is one of the city’s most representative and historical places. Take a stroll through some of the main streets and neighbourhoods in the city to get a real taste of what the city is like. Some of the most representative buildings in Palma, including Almudaina Palace and the cathedral, are in the city’s old quarter.
Almudaina Palace is one of those places that you slowly fall in love with. There are great deal of grandly decorated rooms, patios and a chapel that you can visit. The palace was built in the early 14th century for King Jaime II and, since then, it has always been a residence for the Spanish royal family.
Just to one side of Almudaina Palace, there is a small garden that is lined with trees and that is brimming with fountains and flowers. You can also enjoy watching the active and endearing swans. We suggest taking a walk through the gardens to get away from the heat and sun.
The castle is a Gothic-style fortification around three kilometres from Palma de Mallorca. It was commissioned by King Jaime II and built in the early 14th century. It is at the top of a mountain that is 112 metres above sea level in an area surrounded by a forest. You can enjoy excellent views of the city, the port, Tramuntana mountains and Plà de Mallorca from there. In fact, the origin of the name is ‘bell veer’ in Catalan, which means ‘good view’. One of the most interesting features of the castle is that it is the oldest of just a few circular castles in Europe.
Tramuntana mountains in Mallorca were declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. This impressive mountain range, which extends over almost 90 kilometres between Andratz in the south-west and Cap de Formentor in the north, is the backbone of Mallorca.
There are two lakes along the way – Gorg Blau and Cúber – as well as the high peaks of Puig Major (1,445 metres), Teix, Massanella and Tomir. The rural landscape consists mainly of strings of houses and dry-stone walls as well as the rugged and robust olive trees that have been there for many centuries. There are a number of towns and villages with a rich historical and cultural heritage that are well worth visiting.