If you’re in Palma, Mallorca for only a short time, like we were on our recent Norwegian Cruise, you might want to pack in as much as possible to make the most of it. Where do you start in a city that has such a rich and vibrant history? We’ve come up with the best way of how to spend 6 hours in Palma.
Firstly whenever I visit a new city I’ve never been to I love to hop on an open-top tour bus. Having found the cheapest tickets online for the bus here, we booked them in advance. Hopping on at the Port, the bus stop was directly across from the port exit. We hopped on and took the full Red Route loop. Taking approximately 90 minutes to complete the loop you can pretty much discover a lot of the rich heritage, take in all the beautiful buildings and get your bearings. There is also a second loop the Purple Route, however, this was closed when we went so we never experienced these locations. This route is only a 20-minute circuit.
Once you’ve completed your loop we recommend a trip to see the Gothic Cathedral known as La Seu. The Cathedral has been designed with a Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences. In 1901 Gaudi was invited to help with the restoration of the Cathedral, however, stopped working on the project in 1914 due to creative differences. Meanwhile, one of Gaudi’s most famous works is the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, which we also visited on this trip.
Lunch in Palma
It’ll probably be lunchtime after you’ve finished exploring the Cathedral so we recommend grabbing some lunch. While there are a whole host of different places to eat in Palma we took the 10-minute walk onto the front and headed to Anima Beach Club. Beach clubs are my favourite and Anima was no exception.
With a luxe chilled vibe, we were seated outside near the restaurant. With stunning views out to sea and beautiful decor, the mood was set with chill-out music. We ordered a bottle of the house white (Nuviana) which was delicious and crisp (€23). Whilst waiting for our lunch the waiter brought out some complimentary freshly cooked samosas with a chilli dipping sauce. These were unexpected and so tasty.
Although out lunch didn’t take too long, we were enjoying the ambience so weren’t too fussed on timing. I had the Ensaladas Anima Beach (€14.50) which was tuna olives, onions, potatoes, capers, tomatoes. It was lovely and fresh and a huge portion. The tuna was really flavoursome and it was an incredible salad.
My mum opted for the Spaghetti with rocket, cherry tomatoes, chilli and garlic (€13.50), which again was a large portion and full of flavour. She too thoroughly enjoyed her lunch and kept saying how delicious it was. We enjoyed sitting so much we ordered a second bottle of wine.
Anima Beach Club is certainly one of the best places I’ve been for lunch in a long while and if you like a chilled vibe like Blue Marlin Ibiza or Nikki Beach Marbella then this is the perfect place for you.
Beaches for days
After lunch here you’ll be down at the beach anyway so why not take off your sandals and let the white sand run between your toes, if you’re brave you could paddle. Palma boasts beautiful beaches so do make sure you take a trip. The closest beach is Ca’n Pere Antoni where Anima Beach Club is located just in front of the Cathedral.
If beaches aren’t your thing then why not explore different areas of Palma. We’ve touched on the seafront which stretches from the Port all the way along past the cathedral and Anima Beach Club. There’s the old town which is full of history from small thin cobbled streets to the large central square which is great to grab a cocktail and people watch.
If that’s not enough then take a trip to the trendy Santa Catalina area. The former fishing area. The on-trend area is centred on a centuries-old market piled with local produce. Leafy streets are lined by gaily painted cottages and art nouveau mansions are packed with design boutiques and vintage stores. There are Martini lounges and music cafes juxtaposed alongside dive bars. These are popular with a bohemian crowd, while the trendy restaurants serving global cuisines are found in the squares and down small side and backstreets.
The Arab Quarter
With multiple invasions over the years, the architecture around the city is incredibly diverse. With influences from different time periods, you should take some time to explore the Arab Quarter. This area contains many of Palma’s hidden treasures, including little museums, charming courtyards and unique architecture. There are exhibitions dedicated to the history of Mallorca, religious artefacts and antique toys.
Just behind the Arab Quarter, you will find the renowned Plaça Cort. This area embodies Palma Town Hall and the legendary old olive tree. A masterpiece in itself, this tree is believed to be about 800 years old and is one of the city’s most admired landmarks.
Palma is a beautiful city with so much to see and do that, of course, you can’t do it all in a day. However, there are the things we recommend in a short time frame. We’d love to head back for a few days to really indulge in this Spanish city.
Have you been to Palma? I’d love to hear your recommendations of where to go and what to do below.