Booze-fuelled Maguluf may be a short drive away, but it feels a million miles away from Palma de Mallorca. In fact, the Mallorcan capital is closer in spirit to Barcelona (the locals even refer to it as baby Barcelona) and you can see why. Trees line the wide streets, chic restaurants and boutique hotels are everywhere, and there’s a gorgeous marina that demands you walk, cycle or run across it!
Temperatures are generally in the high 20s in the summer months. Palma is an ideal weekend city break – only 2.5 hours away from London and there is tons to do!
Palma has no shortage of fabulous restaurants and eateries – we unearthed some gems purely by accident! Like Cafe Coto (Plaza Drazzana 12), inspired by Frida Kahlo – the decor and menu is equally colourful. The menu of the day (soup/salad, main course and dessert) was a very reasonable €10 and perfect for a pitstop.
Paella is a must in Palma! We headed to Sa Cranca (Paseo Maritimo, 07014 Palma), which admittedly from the outside doesn’t look like very much. But, after climbing the long staircase, a huge restaurant opens before your eyes, plus one of the best views of the marina. Be warned though, the servings are huge here – we struggled to finish our seafood paella.
For our last night, we followed the brilliant recommendation from our hotel and tried Forn de Sant Joan (Sant Joan, 4. La Llotja). Based in the old town, Forn de Sant Joan was certainly the best place for our last dinner in Palma – it’s popular, so book in advance. Serving up mediterranean cuisine, they have a great tapas selection – mini cornets filled with ceviche and fried squid were highlights – and an extensive wine list and an a la carte menu. We ate and drank very well here and were surprised once again by just how good value the food is. Our bill came to approx £77!
We stayed at the Hotel Isla de Mallorca, which is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the marina. The hotel staff were responsive and friendly – we weren’t happy with our room so they changed it without quibbling. They also gave us some brilliant recommendations. If you’d prefer to stay closer to the marina, check out Hotel Costa Azul (they were fully booked when we tried).
Gin is big in Palma. Head to Ginbo (Passeig Mallorca, 14A, 07012 Palma) to sample their 60 flavours and varieties of gin, not to mention eight different brands of tonics. Cocktails are very good as is the tapas.
You won’t believe your eyes at Abaco (Calle San Juan, 1, 07012 Palma). The courtyard bar, sits behind huge unassuming doors. On the other side lies huge fruit displays, fountains, ornate flowers and the best (and strongest!) cocktails in Palma. Sit at the bar to people watch and soak up the atmosphere.
If you like live music, head to the Blue Jazz Club (Passeig de Mallorca, 6, 07012), on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Housed on the top floor of Hotel Saratoga, the lounge bar offers views of the city, plus music from local artists.
Palma is a shopper’s dream, especially if you have a penchant for Spanish fashion (like me!). Uterque, Purification Garba, Mango, Bimba y Lola and many more stores can be found in Palma’s shopping street Passeig del Born. A huge Zara was being built when we were there, so the shopping is set to get even better. We also found across some great deli shops, where we picked up dried salami, paprika, and flavoured salt. If there’s time, do stop by Rialto Living – a one stop lifestyle store with gorgeous fabrics and beautiful furniture.
Visit The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma or Le Seu as it’s more commonly known. The landmark building dominates the old town’s skyline. Inside, you can see Catalan architect Anton Gaudi’s touches, which are reminiscent of his famous work on the Barcelona Cathedral.