Palma Travel Guide

Introduction to Palma

Palma has long been known as one of the best cities for weekend breaks, with the charming Old Town, sun kissed boulevards and plentiful bars beckoning you into their slower, more relaxed Mediterranean pace. The city has one of the most well preserved cathedrals in all of Europe, and the Old Town is perfect for shopping, eating and drinking on a sunny afternoon.

Whilst the capital is great for city breaks, the island of Palma de Mallorca is better known for it's family friendly beach resorts and outdoor activities – this is a great place to really get outside and adventure on your bike. The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and beaches of Cabrera Island are both outstanding sites of natural beauty. The short flight (2 hours 45 minutes) from Ireland makes it ideal for those travelling with little time, or very young children.

Other things to do in Palma

It's very easy to spend all your time in Palma shopping. Passeig des Born is a real treat if you like high end designer stores, whereas the Porto Pi shopping centre is perfect for finding a new holiday wardrobe in Mango and Zara.

Palma's also amazing for getting a hefty history lesson: the Cathedral and the Old Town are just the start. Basilica de Sant Francesc, Llotja and Palau March Museu are also essential stops if you'd like to learn more about Spain's artists and royal history (or maybe you just appreciate epic architecture – that's also a great reason to visit Palma). Want to take it easy on your feet? Take the vintage train up the hill to Ferrocarril de Soller, for a coffee or a beer in the main square.

If the kids don't fancy extra history lessons, the Aquarium is great fun for all ages – there are more than 8,000 underwater creatures to see here! If you'd prefer to take the underwater fun outside, there are a few beaches round Palma that are equally brilliant for sandcastles as they are for swimming.

You can reach Playa de Palma El Arenal and Playa de S'amarador with a bus from the centre. White sandy beaches and the Mediterranean sea awaits you. Outdoorsy types can get really active with bike rides over Serra de Tramuntana – just make sure you pack the SPF!

See our favourite attractions, restaurants and monuments in Palma in our top 10 guide.

Eating and drinking in Palma

As you might have guessed, this port city has some incredible seafood restaurants: especially down by the marina. Santa Catalina used to be the main fishermen's district, but now there are a few more polished bars and cafes for sampling the Med's tastiest seafood tapas. Look for the menú del día when lunchtime approaches: this usually includes 2-3 courses, and a bottle of wine if there are 2 of you.

Whilst Palma may be on it's own island, the nightlife is very similar to other Spanish cities. It tends to start late, and finish even later. There are small venues in Sa Llotja where you can catch live bands and share a few riojas, or you could go up market: the bar in the Puro Hotel is a favourite with the well heeled crowd. Expect beautiful cocktails and a very, very late night.

Palma climate

Whilst the typical forecast reads blue skies and sunshine, Palma does experience a few rainy days in winter (mainly in January and February). Temperatures drop to around 6° on the cooler days. In summer, it regularly hits 30°.

When to go to Palma

If you're here for site seeing, the best times to visit Palma are in autumn or spring – the moderate temperatures make it far easier to keep on your feet all day. Alternatively, if you're after a holiday of sunshine and sangria, you could take your trip anytime between May and September: there are a few more crowds over the school holiday season though (late June, July and August).

If you're here for the cycling and hiking, the cooler winters are a blessing in disguise. Despite a few showers, it's perfect weather for throwing on your walking boots and breaking a sweat on the mountains.

Flying to Palma

There is one main airport here: Palma de Mallorca Airport is the third busiest in Spain, and it's 8km away from the centre. There's a taxi rank at the airport, and there's a bus directly to the city centre too. If you are staying elsewhere on the island, consider pre booking a transfer or shuttle bus to save money on the journey to your hotel.

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