The capital of Mallorca is a city open to the sea which enjoys a wide range of cultural, shopping and gastronomy options throughout the entire year.
The city is located in the midst of an enormous bay, presided over by the majestic Gothic cathedral. A stroll through the historic city centre enables you to contemplate the patios of the stately homes of the Mallorcan nobles and bourgeoisie, built in different styles and praised by travellers like George Sand and Frédéric Chopin.
Next to the cathedral — which contains interventions by Antonio Gaudí and Miquel Barceló — stands the 14th-century Almudaina Palace, which formerly houses the court of the kings of Mallorca. At its feet lies the Hort des Rei, a garden area dotted with sculptures by creators like Alexander Calder or Miró.
Also looking towards the sea is La Llotja, a civil Gothic masterpiece constructed by Guillem Sagrera. It was the headquarters of the Merchants’ Association, (Col·legi de la Mercaderia), a 15th-century institution which regulated and protected commerce. Inside it are six slender columns that unfurl like palm trees.
The city is rich in Modernist buildings, a mark of the new mentality the passage from the 19th to the 20th century brought with it. The most representative one is the Gran Hotel, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, with a façade profuse in floral decoration, iron and ceramic ornamentation. It is now the headquarters of the La Caixa Foundation.
Away from the centre, and set on a promontory, one can see Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century by order of King Jaume II of Mallorca. A circular-shaped Gothic buidlign with four towers that can be discovered on guided tours in different languages throughout the year.
The urban beaches
The city’s beaches overlook the enormous bay of Palma. They are well worth visiting by foot or by bike, using the cycling lane that runs parallel to the sands. Cala Estància, Platja de Palma, Ciutat Jardí, Can Pere Antoni and Cala Major are beaches with Mediterranean flavour, accessible and equipped with services such as lifeguard and sunbed and sunshade rental. Bathed by transparent waters, they are perfect for practising sports like dinghy sailing, enjoying a day with the family or trying fish and rice dishes in places like El Molinar. There are also bathing areas, without a stable rescue service, such as Cala Nova or Cala Gamba. The local council has created an application for smartphones for consulting the state of the beaches.