Palma de Mallorca – a perfect city break

Palma comes close to a perfect city break destination for me: a seaside city only a couple of hours from the UK, short transfer, a walkable and mainly pedestrianised city centre, buzzy vibe, good shopping and great food scene.

La Seu

What to do

Wander the historic centre of Palma, along the water of the Parc de la Mar to see the Gothic exterior of the Cathedral, La Seu, and the nearby S’Hort del Rei (King’s Garden). Above the Kings Garden is the Palau de l’Almudaina an ancient royal palace/Islamic fort and nearby Palau March Museu is also worth a visit for its sculpture terrace.

Walk around the former Arab and Jewish quarters around Carrer de Can Serra, visit the Arab Baths and sit for a few minutes in the restful gardens there.

Take a walk up the tree-lined pedestrianised streets from the historic centre to San Juan gastronomic market, a covered market where you can choose food from any of the wide range of food places and bars and enjoy at the central seating inside and out.

Spend an hour or two at Es Baluard modern art gallery and then have a drink on the outside terrace above the port.

Wander the shops around Avinguda Jaime III and Passeig d’es Born as well as the smaller boutiques in the historic centre. Pop into Museu Fundacion Juan March on Carrer de Sant Miquel to see their collection of works by Picasso, Dalí and Miró.

Walk or hire a bike to head along the beachside promenade to Portixol marina and enjoy a long lunch at Ola del Mar or have drinks and people watch at Hotel Portixol.

Spend a lazy day at a beach club in Illetas, a 20 min taxi ride from Palma, or head out to the panoramic views from Castell de Bellver just outside of the centre.

Sculptures at Palau March Museu

Where to stay

Hotel Saratoga – centrally located and reasonably priced hotel with a rooftop pool and good views of the city.

Hotel Mamá – modern, boutique hotel located very centrally on Plaça de Cort with spa and a rooftop pool.

Hotel Convent de la Missió – minimalist upmarket design hotel in an old convent, with a new wellness centre.

Views of Palma from Hotel Saratoga

Where to eat

Adrian Quetglas has a well-deserved Michelin star, friendly staff and innovative food. Their excellent set tasting menu changes monthly.

Marc Fosh at the trendy Hotel Convent de la Missió serves Michelin star food, with very reasonably priced set menus at lunchtime.

Santa Catalina district, around the pedestrianised Carrer Fábrica, is where the locals head and has plenty of bars and restaurants with seating outside.  Try Vinostrum for wine and Patron Lunares or Duke for dinner.

Ola del Mar in Portixol – book ahead to get a table on one of their terraces and order a seafood arroz

San Juan gastronomic marketgo for lunch or stay late at weekends in one of the bars, picking food from different stands

El Camino by the owner of one of my favourite London restaurants, Barrafina, is on the list for my next visit.

Drinks at Hotel Portixol

What you should know

Although the local language of Mallorca is Mallorquín, a Catalan dialect, Castillian Spanish is widely spoken and you will easily get by in English.

Bear in mind a lot of places are closed on Sundays so check ahead.

Flight time from London: Around 2hr20

Currency: Euro

Plug adaptors: Continental Europe (2 round pins)

Time difference: GMT + 1 hour

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