So, you only have one day to discover Palma’s treasures? The Mallorcan capital possesses a magnetism that you’ll be unable to resist. 24 hours are just enough to see a glimpse of its numerous charms, but you’ll want to start planning a return trip to take in all the wonderful things you’ll be obliged to miss due to the lack of time.
The morning is the ideal time to wander around Palma’s old town, where you’ll find a wealth of culture and architecture at every turn. We recommend you take a good look at the huge amount of manor houses and modernist structures that occupy the cobbled streets of the old town. The Cathedral (‘La Seu’ to the Mallorcan people) is, without doubt, the jewel in the crown and it will surprise you wherever you look. This gothic temple is considered one of the most spectacular in the world, due to its unique situation overlooking the sea (its silhouette is reflected in the lake at Parc de la Mar) and because of its size and interior light, with a spectacular rose window measuring 11 metres in diameter (the largest in the gothic era).
At the foot of the Cathedral, you can still see part of the medieval city walls that protected the city and where the architect Elías Torres ordered the construction of an open-air theatre: Ses Voltes, today a public space. If the Cathedral defines the Palma skyline, the Palacio de la Almudaina, one of the Royal Family’s residences, is also a stand-out feature on any postcard. Located next to ‘La Seu’, and dating from Roman times, the palace is notable for its architecture and functionality. Inside, you can see the Courtyards of Arms, a gothic chapel, the Arabic baths, etc., and there are privileged views over the bay of Palma. Extending below the Palacio de la Almudaina are the Jardines de S’Hort del Rei, a gift to the senses that you shouldn’t miss. This carefully managed green space, with wonderful fountains, invites you to take a rest and enjoy the peace.
Although time is ticking, you still have half a day to appreciate the riches of Palma. If you’re hungry, the Santa Catalina market, close to La Lonja and the neighbourhood that shares its name, is a great place to grab a snack in a Cosmopolitan ambience without renouncing the authenticity of the stalls that have been selling fresh fish, spices, fruit, and vegetables, for many years. Apart from the Santa Catalina market, there are many emblematic venues such as Can Joan de s’Aigo, where you can sample the best ‘ensaïmadas’ in the capital.
After lunch, you’ll probably be feeling energised and up to a walk to Es Baluard Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Palma, situated in Plaza Porta de Santa Catalina. Inside, there is a permanent collection of works by artists and movements that range from the 19th century to the current day, alongside temporary exhibitions. Outside provides an unbeatable spot from which to admire a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
If you want to get even more out of the day, we suggest you go up to see the Castillo de Bellver before the sun goes down. Built for defensive purposes, this is the only circular gothic castle in the country, and it’s considered Palma’s balcony. The castle is home to the Museo de Historia de la Ciudad and there is a fabulous patio used for cultural events and special occasions.
When night falls, before the day is over, at Mercat 1930, on the seafront, you can try some traditional culinary delicacies or some stunningly innovative dishes. If you consider yourself a true foodie, the dishes proposed by Michelin-starred Adrián Quetglas, Andreu Genestra, or Santi Taura, at their restaurants in the city centre, will be sure to delight your palate.