In the midst of planning an idyllic trip to Mallorca? You’ll probably start or finish your trip in Palma. Here are the best things to do in Palma Spain, for a day or two in Mallorca’s capital.
Palma de Mallorca is the largest city in the Balearic Islands and a city full of exciting gastronomy, design, history, and culture. Palma makes for a perfect weekend destination all year round or a start or end point on a longer Mallorca itinerary.
There are so many things to do in Palma Spain, from visiting the many local museums to trying the best tapas to visiting the most famous landmarks. If you’re just looking for good food and sunny beaches, there’s also plenty of that too.
Keep reading to find out all the best things to do in Palma Spain and plan the perfect stay in Mallorca’s largest city.
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The Best Things to Do in Palma Spain
The first and most important of the best things to do in Palma Spain is its cathedral. The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is one of the most popular and beautiful of all Palma attractions. It’s one of the island’s most iconic and unique buildings and it stands tall on a small hill on the Palma skyline.
Dating back to the 13th Century, the Cathedral was built over the site of an ancient Moorish mosque during the reign of King James II. More recently, in the 20th Century, the inside of the Cathedral was adapted by famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.
When visiting the inside of the Cathedral (also known as La Seu), you’ll be able to spot many Gaudi-esque elements inside which also include a huge stained-glass window.
To enter the Cathedral, you’ll need to pre-book your tickets online. Queues can get fairly long so it’s a good idea to opt for a skip-the-line ticket to ensure you won’t waste too much time stuck in a queue. Get your Palma Cathedral entrance ticket here.
In Palma de Mallorca’s historical Old Town, you’ll find the Arab Baths, a fascinating testament to Mallorca’s multi-cultural history. Also known as Banys Arabs, the baths are one of the best examples of Moorish architecture left in Palma.
Dating back to the 12 and 13th Centuries, this collection of brick and stone rooms inside the gardens of Can Fontirroig, shows what baths would have looked like in Moorish times.
The best-preserved room is the central hall where you’ll see a large brick dome surrounded by 12 columns. This room was intended for hot baths. There’s a beautiful horseshoe arch entrance from the garden too.
For those interested in history, visiting the Arab Baths are one of the best things to do in Palma Spain.
Royal Palace of Almundaina
Standing right next to Palma Cathedral is the beautiful Royal Palace of la Almundaina. From the early 14th Century, this was used as the local residence of the Royals and the custom continues to this day. It still remains the local royal residence of the Spanish Monarchy today.
The palace architecture beautifully combines elements of Moorish architecture with the Catalan Gothic style, beautifully reflecting the artistic styles of the island. Inside you’ll find elegantly decorated Royal rooms, stone corridors, and a lovely, palm-filled inner courtyard.
Explore the Old Town of Palma
The Old Town of Palma (Casco Antiguo) is a beautiful maze of winding streets, flanked by ochre buildings and stone walls. In fact, the area was once surrounded by fortified walls, the remains of which you can see along the waterfront.
The area is full of historic charm and there’s nothing better to do than just stroll around lazily. In the heart of the Old Town, you’ll also find some beautiful little squares- perfect for a coffee and people-watching. There are also independent boutiques and art galleries as well as great bars and cafes.
You could easily spend an entire afternoon walking around.
If you prefer a guided walking tour and all the extra information it offers, instead of just walking around alone, check out this highly rated Palma de Mallorca: Guided Tour of the Old Town
Go Design Shopping
The center of Palma and its old town is full of amazing galleries and boutiques so it’s a good idea to come to Palma with a fairly empty suitcase. There are some beautiful boutiques here to browse, especially when it comes to homeware and design.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s still worth browsing their swoon-worthy collections. You’ll find earth-colored fabrics, angular lines, and intriguing shapes. Some of the best design boutiques in Palma de Mallorca, worth seeking out are Viveca Palma, Casa Lima, La Pecera Mallorca, and Rialto Living.
Another spot worth checking out is the small alley called Carrer de Can Verí. It’s known for its design stores and galleries.
Feast on the Best Spanish Tapas
While tapas aren’t exactly from Mallorca, they are still done very well here. To be honest, we’ll find any excuse to hunt out good tapas when virtually anywhere in Spain. If you’re like us then you’ll want to indulge in the city’s best tapas at least once when in Palma de Mallorca.
There are many restaurants and bars that offer great tapas in Palma. You can expect classic Spanish tapas like patatas bravas as well as a lot of seafood and fish-centered tapas.
Here are some of the best spots in Palma de Mallorca for tapas:
Bodega Can Rigo – a superb local bar with great, fresh tapas not far from Llotja de Palma
Bar España– Another very local tapas bar with good vegetarian and vegan options.
Ombu Tapas– A lovely and very popular, modern tapas spot with an innovative tapas menu. Great for cocktails too.
Moltabarra Bar de Tapas– Quirky, casual spot perfect for tapas and a cold beer to end the day.
El Camino– Great tapas is a gorgeous interior.
Spend the Afternoon on the Beach
Given its beautiful location right by the sea, heading to the beach for the afternoon in Palma is a must. If you’re visiting Palma during the warmer, spring, and summer months then you have two choices. You can either head to the Palma city beaches for the afternoon or rent a car and explore further afield.
Renting a car and getting out of Palma will mean you’ll be able to access some of the most beautiful beaches in Mallorca. Most of them really are worth the extra cost and drive.
Otherwise, you have the sandy and pretty Platja de Can Pere Antoni, Palma’s City beach. For a city beach, it’s very clean and the water is clear and the sand yellow. It’s a lovely spot to spend the afternoon and there are also beautiful views of the city and Palma Cathedral.
Platja Ciutat Jardi is another great option a little further out of Palma, between the city and the airport. You could easily access this beach by taxi or public transport. It’s a nice sandy beach to spend the afternoon.
Stroll through Jardi del Bisbe
Hidden just behind Palma Cathedral is Jardi del Bisbe, a lovely little walled garden. Here you’ll find some perfectly manicured lawns, fruit trees, and fountains as well as a few benches to relax on.
Jardi del Bisbe is a very small garden but it’s still worth a stop between visiting Palma Cathedral and the Arab Baths. Given its size, it does get crowded quickly so it’s a good idea to visit early in the morning.
Wine Tasting & Tour
It’s no secret that Spain and Mallorca included are famous for their superior wine. If you’re a fan of wine and want to delve a little deeper into Mallorca’s grape varieties, its wineries and ultimately its wine, then going on a wine tour is a great idea.
You could visit a few of Mallorca’s most famous wineries alone in your own rental car but this does involve quite a bit of research and planning. This tour, on the other hand, will take you to all the best of Mallorca’s vineyards in the island’s interior where you’ll be able to find out more about wine in Mallorca and of course, enjoy a sample of all the exquisite wines.
You’ll also be able to see the beautiful landscapes of the interior and well as learn more about the culture, particularly the gastronomical culture, and history of the island.
Olive Oil Tasting
Olive oil is another one of Mallorca’s main exports and there are many small and organic olive oil farms in Mallorca producing marvelous olive oil. If you’re a foodie and use olive oil a lot then it might be worth visiting an olive oil farm, going on a tasting, and taking some of the best stuff home with you.
There aren’t too many organized olive oil tours from Palma so when visiting olive oil farms it might help to have your own rental car. One of the best is Finca Son Miranda an agroturismo or farm stay that organizes tours of their olive groves and tastings of their organic oils.
Another great olive oil farm to check out is Son Moragues in Valldemossa which makes some of the best, organic olive oil in Mallorca. You can visit their farm and go for a tasting along with some other really lovely experiences such as a guided walk in the surrounding hills and a picnic.
Explore the Jewish Quarter
In the Old Town of Palma, you’ll find the small and compact Jewish Quarter. During the Muslim era, Palma had its own Jewish Quarter which was also known as ‘Call Maior’. Most of the quarter was destroyed throughout history but there still are a few slices of history here that remain to be discovered.
The old Jewish Quarter generally runs from the Arab Baths in the south up to Plaça de Cort and Costa del Teatre in the North. For those interested in a little historical walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, Visit Palma has a lovely walking tour you can follow here.
Just outside Palma on the way to Cas Català, you’ll find Castell de Bellver, a round hilltop castle. The Gothic-style castle dates back to the 14th Century. It was the residence of King James II and many other Majorca kings after that.
Today visitors can visit the City History Museum that’s housed inside the castle as well as the exterior of the castle and its gardens.
Visiting Bellver Castle is also a great excuse to grab the best views over the city. Given its advantaged hilltop location, the views over the city, Palma Cathedral, the marina, and the Mediterranean Sea are splendid. Try to make your way up to the castle just before it closes or as close to sunset as you can for the best golden views of the city. It’s one of the best things to do in Palma, Spain at sunset.
Visit Llotja de Palma
Just west of the Royal Palace of Almundaina, you’ll find the Llotja de Palma or Guildhall building. The building was built in the 15th Century by then-famous architect Guillem Sagrera. Its stunning Gothic architectural style is what makes the building stand out today. It also makes a great backdrop for photos.
The space is used for various temporary exhibitions but it is closed for visitors otherwise. If there is something on during your time in Mallorca, make sure to go inside and see the striking architectural design.
Walk the Promenade and Its Parks
One of the best things to do in Palma Spain is to go on a sunset walk along the oceanside promenade and through the small parks that hug the promenade, Parc de la Mar is one of the most scenic.
It’s the perfect way to end the day and enjoy Palma’s marina and waterfront.
If you run, the ocean promenade and Parc de la Mar also make a great morning jogging route and you’ll find many locals doing the same.
Shop at the Markets
Spanish cities are full of incredible indoor food markets and Palma is no different. In Palma, you’ll find two main food markets to visit that are certainly worth a wonder when you’re feeling a little peckish.
First off, there’s Mercat de l’Oliva in the city center. This is a large, modern market selling an abundance of fresh produce, meat, and seafood as well as typical Spanish products like Jamon de Bellota and Olive oil.
Then there’s Mercat de Santa Catalina, one of the best markets and things to do in the cool district of Santa Catalina. A very similar market to Mercat de l’Olivar you’ll also find typical food products here along with fresh produce and also wine. It’s the perfect spot to pick up an aperitivo for sunset on the beach.
If you’re a foodie and want to learn more about typical Spanish and Mallorcan products then make sure to visit one of these markets. Shopping here is also a good idea if you’re staying in an Airbnb and self-catering or you want to take a few local products home with you.
Take a Stroll Down Paseo del Borne
Paseo del Borne is Palma’s most luxurious shopping street. Here you’ll find the likes of Louis Vuitton and BVLGARI, but also H&M, Oysho, and a Zara, in one of the most beautiful buildings, I think I’ve ever seen a Zara.
In the center of the street, you’ll find a large pedestrian walkway that’s lined with shaded trees, benches, and the odd cafe. Even if you’re not in Palma to shop, a stroll down Paseo del Borne in the evening is a great way to end the day. It’s also a fantastic spot for a coffee and some people-watching throughout the day.
Explore the Santa Catalina Neighbourhood
Just to the west of the Old Town, you’ll find the cool neighborhood of Santa Catalina. Santa Catalina is a really small neighborhood but it’s pretty colorful and charming and worth checking out, even if it’s just for a few hours.
Santa Catalina is the perfect complement to the Old Town of Palma. While the Old Town is ochre and stone-colored, Santa Catalina is bright and colorful.
Here you’ll also find Santa Catalina Market, one of the highlights of the area as well as many restaurants serving international food. You might want to visit Al Apapacho, a great Mexican taqueria or IZAKAYA, a superb Japanese spot for sushi and other snacks. For breakfast or brunch, don’t miss El Perrito Cafe.
Take a Day Trip to Valldemossa
One of the best things to do in Palma Spain is to take the time to do a day trip. Valldemossa is probably the most beautiful hilltop village in Mallorca. I know it’s one of my personal top 3 best places on the island. If you decide to do just one day trip from Palma, make sure it’s to Valldemossa.
There are many different things to do in Valldemossa. One of the best is to just walk around and take in its stunning stone streets. You’ll also want to visit the Carthusian Monastery, the place where Chopin and George Sand spent a winter in 1838 as well as Sant Bartomeu Church. A wander through the Biblioteca de Valldemossa (Valldemossa library) and Jardins Rei Joan Carles is also worth it.
As you walk around you’ll also get to some spectacular viewpoints, pass beautiful boutiques and be able to have lunch al fresco in a lovely local restaurant.
Visit the Caves of Drach
The Caves of Drach are one of the most popular attractions in Mallorca and a day trip here is one of the best things to do in Palma Spain. The underground network of caves goes down to a depth of 25 meters. It consists of tunnels of thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
There are also many underground lakes and Lake Martel which is 117 meters long is one of the largest cave lakes in the world. The caves are beautiful and well worth the trip from Palma even if you have been inside a cave before.
If you have a rental car you can get to the Drach caves on your own accord. Entering the cave is with a guided tour only which lasts about an hour.
If you prefer not to rent a car you can join a Caves of Drach Guided Day Tour from Palma which has everything organized for you.
Rent a Car and Go Beach Hopping
You might be wondering why you’d rent a car and go to another beach when there are beaches in Palma itself. Well, the truth is that you’ll find much better beaches outside of Palma.
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands when in Palma and want to explore a bit, I highly recommend renting a car and exploring further afield. There’s a lot more to Mallorca than just Palma, especially when it comes to towns and beaches.
When it comes to beaches, the best ones in Mallorca are found in the southeast corner of the island. From Palma, it’s just a 45-minute drive to Cala Pi, one of the most beautiful little sandy beaches in Mallorca.
From Cala Pi you can continue towards Cala Figuera, Cala s’Almunia and the stunning Caló del Moro. Then continue on to Cala Llombards. If you have some time left you can also go to Cala Mondragó and Cala d’Or before heading back to Palma.
Take a Trip to Soller
For those wanting to make the most of day trips around Mallorca, the historical town of Sóller makes a lovely day trip. Sóller is a small town just north of Palma with a delightful cathedral, and many lovely boutiques, and restaurants. Nearby you’ll also find Port de Sóller, a great place for an afternoon at the beach.
You can get to Soller by rental car- it’s just a 40-minute drive from the center of Palma or by historic train. The Ferrocarril de Sóller which has been running since 1912. There are four services daily from Palma to Sóller and the ride takes one hour.
Check the timetables and book your tickets here if you prefer to take the historical, wooden train, over driving. When in Soller you can also take the open-windowed wooden tram to Port de Sóller too for some beach time.
Visiting Sóller from Palma can definitely be done in a day but there are quite a few things to do in this area. If you can, I recommend staying the night in Soller or Port de Sóller to make the most of your trip.
Ecocirer Healthy Stay is my hotel of choice in Soller.
One of the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca is to get onto the water and enjoy the panoramic views of the city from a different vantage point.
Many different operators offer sailing trips or boat trips depending on the kind of experience you’re after.
Many tours offer daytime or sunset catamaran cruises and include a meal or drinks. There are also opportunities for swimming or snorkeling. This idyllic day time Catamaran Cruise with drinks is one of the best sailing opportunities in Palma.
Otherwise, opt for this Sunset Sailing Tour with Snacks and Open Bar. A boat trip really is one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Palma.
Visit Palma’s Museums
There are three stand-out museums in Palma de Mallorca; Pilar and Joan Miro Foundation, Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern, and Museu Fundacion Juan March. You might not have time for them all but at least visiting one museum is one of the best things to do in Palma Spain.
Visit Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation for an intimate insight into the life and work of artist Joan Miró. Es Baluard Museum is the perfect place to visit for modern and contemporary art. They often have a variety of temporary exhibitions and a standing collection from both local and international artists.
Finally Museu Fundacion Juan March, a museum that’s housed in a 17th Century historic mansion in the center of Palma. They have many different exhibitions throughout the year and with the entrance being free, it’s worth popping in for a quick look.
Where to Stay in Palma Spain
Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden – A stunning, design-focused property in the center of the Old Town. Modern design, great service, and a beautiful outdoor dining area. The rooftop pool has wonderful views of Palma Cathedral. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Antigua Palma – Casa Noble – One of my favorite properties in Palma, the earthy tones and natural fabrics here are just gorgeous. Everything here is simply gorgeous and there’s also a rooftop pool and a great spa and wellness center to end the day in pure relaxation. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Basilica – Located right opposite Basilica de Sant Francesc. Hotel Basilica is a stunning property in the heart of the Old Town. Rooms are light, bright, and modern and most have balconies with views of the cathedral. The rooftop pool is the place to be for a little lounge around before dinner. The staff here are also beyond friendly and helpful. Check rates and availability here.
Palau Sa Font – Where we stayed on our first night in Palma. Palau Sa Font is a gorgeous, converted 16th-century palace with a quirky design and a great location. Check rates and availability here.
Are you ready to experience all the best things to do in Palma Spain? Let me know all your questions and comments below.
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