Palma De Mallorca Travel Guide

Palma de Mallorca © Galen R Frysinger

Palma, capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands, is a lively, cosmopolitan city in true Spanish tradition, its centre forming a bustling maze of shopping centres, narrow lanes, and restored buildings surrounded by ruined ancient city walls and modern boulevards.

Like mainland Spain, Mallorca was under Moorish control between the ninth and 13th centuries, until the re-conquest by Jaume I of Aragon. The Moorish heritage is still evident, as are the remnants of Palma's golden years when it rose to wealth and prominence in the 15th century as the main port of call between Europe and Africa.

Later the city, set on the beautiful bay Bahia de Palma, became the favoured royal retreat for Fernando and Isabel, which helped it to become the popular Spanish beach holiday haunt and favourite weekend city break destination of the rich and famous.

Despite the invasion of foreign tourists, Palma has kept its local flavour, particularly in its old quarter, which is still lined by cafés and tapas bars. Often the native dialect of Mallorquin is the only language heard in the backstreets, a fine Palma de Mallorca trait.

Palma de Mallorca boasts a huge variety of restaurants and has plenty to offer tourists. The biggest concentration of restaurants is in the centre of town, at El Terreno, and around the Paseo Maritimo. For some of Spain's best Basque food head to Koldo Royo.

Palma de Mallorca's key activities centre around its nightlife and the town is well known for its foam parties, discos, bars, and nightclubs. In fact, some of Spain's biggest nightclubs are in Palma de Mallorca and the city is a great destination for those seeking a party. It is also a good shopping destination, and shoppers will particularly enjoy exploring the streets of the old town.

Of course, the city also has some interesting sightseeing attractions, including the beautiful La Seo Cathedral, the fortress of Palau de l'Almudaina, the unusual Castell de Bellver, and some good museums. Unfortunately, the city doesn't have good beaches, but there are many nearby.

Popular excursion destinations include the Aqualand theme park, a short drive away from the city, which is great fun for the whole family. There are several excellent golf courses around town, as well as good hiking trails in the rocky Majorcan hills.

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