Palma City Centre Landmarks
Image by Juan J. Martínez under Creative Commons License.

Spain, Palma de Mallorca Guide (A): Palma City Centre Landmarks

Palma is up there with some of the most sophisticated and happening European cities. It’s small enough to enjoy by foot whilst still offering beautiful modernista architecture, interesting galleries and museums and a thriving cafe culture. If you have more than a day in Palma and want to explore the medieval streets at a more relaxed pace, you can split this itinerary into two, starting your second day at the Arab baths.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Palma City Centre Landmarks
Guide Location: Spain » Palma de Mallorca
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Sant Miguel Cappuccino Grand Cafe   Plaça Cort   Santa Eulàlia   Convent de San Francesc   Casa Museo J. Torrens Llado   Banys Arabs   Can Oleza   Palma Cathedral, La Seu   Palau de L’Almudaina   Cafe Port El Pesquero   Es Baluard  
Author: Charlie Bradburn
Author Bio: Originally from London, I have lived in Mallorca for several years and spend as much time as possible exploring Palma, a vibrant city which really does offer something for everyone. I have two young and very active children and a constant stream of visitors for whom I often plan excursions and imaginative things to do – rain or shine. I am co-author of a travel blog about Mallorca and work as a freelance copywriter across Europe.
Author Website: http://www.mallorcanotebook.com
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Sant Miguel Cappuccino Grand Cafe

1) Sant Miguel Cappuccino Grand Cafe

I always start my days in Palma at this Grand Cafe. Order a Chai latte and ensaïmada or pull out the stops and have breakfast or lunch in this glorious, converted 17th century Mallorcan palacio. Despite the fact that they are a chain, the Cappuccino cafes are hugely popular in Palma and San Miguel is, in my opinion the most charming of them all. The Cappuccino Group was created by entrepreneur Juan Picornell who is passionate about great service, high quality food and conserving the charm of the location. You can also buy Cappuccino CDs which give a real flavour of the Balearics. Open seven days per week from 08:45 - 21:30.
Image by Johnny Lopez under Creative Commons License.
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Plaça Cort

2) Plaça Cort

The walk now takes you through the charming Plaça Cort where the people of Palma have been stopping to chat since the 13th century. The beautiful, twisted olive tree is over 1200 years old and came from the Tramuntana mountain range near Pollensa. Previously in its place there was a giant Christmas tree, a gift from the Norwegians which unsurprisingly survived for just four years. The beautiful Renaissance Baroque Town Hall is also in this square (in 2011 roof repairs mean that you are likely to see it with scaffolding). If you happen to be in Palma for the celebration of Santa Lucia on 13 December then you should head to Plaça Cort to listen to students from the Swedish school in Palma singing Christmas songs. You may also be given Swedish treats such as Glögg (similar to mulled wine) and ginger cookies - courtesy of the Swedish church!
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Santa Eulàlia

3) Santa Eulàlia

If you are short of time then you may want to just enjoy this 13th century Gothic church from the outside. A good vantage point is the cafes in the square where you can also watch the horses and carriages go past. The church was built on the site of an ancient mosque and has a spectacular altarpiece as well as 12 Baroque chapels. In one of the chapels you can see the crucifix that Jaume I apparently carried during the Mallorca conquest in 1229. Other than that, the interior is a little gloomy. Open 09:00 - 13:00 and 17:30 - 20:30 Monday to Friday and on Saturday and Sunday during services. Free admission.
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Convent de San Francesc

4) Convent de San Francesc

It’s pretty dark inside the Convent de San Francesc however still worth a visit if only to marvel at the 14th century gothic cloister and the immense Baroque altarpiece. There are actually 20 (mostly very dark) chapels around the nave however the one which is just behind the altar to the left contains the somewhat precarious tomb of Ramon Llull. Born in 1232, Llull was one of Mallorca's great writers and philosophers. Back outside, the statue to the left of the door is the Mallorcan Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra (1713 – 1784) who founded missions in California. Open 09:30 to 12:30 and 15:30 to 18:00 Monday to Saturday and 09:30 to 12:30 on Sunday. Admission €1.
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Casa Museo J. Torrens Llado

5) Casa Museo J. Torrens Llado

At the time of writing the Museo de Mallorca was closed for refurbishment (it is scheduled to re-open in 2011 and is well worth a visit). Just down the road is Casa Museo J. Torrens Lado - a gem of a museum which showcases the work of this talented artist who died aged just 47. You can visit his studio to get interesting insights into his techniques. The museum is built around a pretty courtyard. Open June to September from 11:00 to 19:00 Tuesday to Friday and 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturday. October to May from 10:00 to 18:00 Tuesday to Friday and 10:00 to 14:00 on Saturday. Admission €3.
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Banys Arabs

6) Banys Arabs

The guidebooks don’t tend to rate the Arab Baths that highly and indeed the Almudaina baths are certainly more impressive. Although they are indeed pretty basic, the Arab Baths are the only surviving Moorish structure in Palma and the gardens are a welcome break on a warm day with their terracotta pots bursting with brightly coloured geraniums and tables and chairs to sit and imagine how the baths would have looked in the 10th century. The 12 pillars in the hot room (caldarium) are all slightly different, the product of early recycling. There is also a toilet here. Open January to March from 09:00 – 17:45 every day and April to December from 09:00 – 19:30 every day. Admission 2€
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Can Oleza

7) Can Oleza

There are around 100 patios in Palma but Can Oleza is one of the city’s most famous. Can means 'house of' in Catalan and Oleza is the surname of the family who have owned this palacio or mansion for over 300 years. Until the arrival of tourism in the 1960’s, patios such as this were informal public places where people would meet to chat, gossip, court, drink water from the well or buy from an impromptu market stall. Unsurprisngly, the owners of these magnificent Palma ‘palacios’ grew tired of tourists invading their private spaces and closed the immense wooden doors to their homes. However an enterprising mayor in the 80’s paid for wrought-iron gates to be made for 98 of the finest patios in Palma with the proviso that the owners left the wooden doors open to enable tourists and locals alike to enjoy the rich heritage that Palma has to offer.
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Palma Cathedral, La Seu

8) Palma Cathedral, La Seu

La Seu is one of Europe’s largest cathedrals and has been overlooking the harbour since 1200. It was built on the foundations of an Arab mosque by Jaume I to thank God after he survived a dreadful storm at sea when en route to re-capture Mallorca from the Moors. Its central rose stained glass window is 12 metres wide and is one of the biggest in the world. Antonio Gaudi worked on the restoration of the cathedral from 1904 to 1914 and was responsible for opening it up to bring in more light. The baldachin which he worked on was meant to be provisional but is still in place albeit in quite a tired state. The chapel of the Holy Sacrament which was decorated by Mallorcan artist Miguel Barceló is of particular interest. The 300 square metre area shows dramatic images relating to the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish. La Seu is the first cathedral in the world to be awarded the AENOR energy efficiency certificate (following extensive re-wiring and the installation of low consumption lighting). Open April, May and October 10:00 to 17:15 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 14:15 Saturday. June to September 10:00 to 18:15 Monday to Friday and 10am to 14:15 Saturday. November to March 10:00 to 15:15 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 14:15 Saturday. Admission €4.
Image by Jarle Vines under Creative Commons License.
9
Palau de L’Almudaina

9) Palau de L’Almudaina

Just next door to the cathedral and overlooking the sea and Parc de la Mar, (an artificial lake which is a lovely place to stroll and watch the reflections of the cathedral in the water) is the Palace of Almudaina originally built as a Moorish Palace and later turned into a royal residence. Look out for Spain’s King Juan Carlos who often spends his holidays there. The chapel (commissioned by Jaime II) is well worth a visit as are the 16th and 17th century tapestries. The electronic guided tours are very good. Open April to September 10:00 to 17:45 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 13:15 Saturday. October to March from 10:00 to 13:15 and 16:00 to 17:15 Monday to Friday and 10:00 to 13:15 Saturday. Admission €3.20, free to EUU citizens on Wednesdays.
Image by Antoni I. Alomar Canyelles under Creative Commons License.
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Cafe Port El Pesquero

10) Cafe Port El Pesquero

This cafe/restaurant is the sophisticated and popular hang-out for Palma's jet set and tourists looking to treat themselves. It has a fantastic location set back from the Passeig Maritim and perched right on the water’s edge commanding enviable views across one of Europe's largest harbours. It is actually also the second deepest harbour in the world (after Sydney). There is always something to see; be it the early morning fish auction, yachts coming and going, fishermen mending their nets or just a beautiful sunset over the bay. It’s a good (if pricey) place to stop for a coffee or glass of icy cold wine. The speciality is (not surprisingly) fish but the blueberry cheesecake is also delicious! Open 09:00 to 01:00 daily.N 39 34.117

E 002 38.547
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Es Baluard

11) Es Baluard

Assuming you can drag yourself away from El Pesquero, Es Baluard is your final destination. The museum opened in 2004 and is set into the high, broad Renaissance defences (called the Bastio de Sant Pere) which overlook Palma’s marina. The museum's permanent collection was donated by Pere Serra and includes artists with strong connections to the island including Joan Miró There is also a beautiful terrace overlooking the harbour and Bellver Castle up on the hill to your right. Here you can enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or an early evening aperitivo. When you are ready to leave, you could wonder into the nearby Santa Catalina district for tapas. Enjoy the rest of your time in Palma! Es Baluard is open mid June to September 10:00 to 22:00 Tuesday to Sunday and October to mid June 10:00 to 20:00. Admission €6.