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Best things to do in Mallorca

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

Sep 20, 2021 • 11 min read

Best things to do in Mallorca

©Stefan Kunze

This paradise island in the heart of the Mediterranean is the perfect destination for a getaway, Palma de Mallorca has it all! Dream beaches, culture, delicious gastronomy, activities in the middle of nature, breathtaking views and lots of partying.

These are the 10 things to see and do in Mallorca that you can't miss during your trip. Welcome to the beautiful island!

1. Join a boat trip in Mallorca

Sail the waters of Mallorca
Sail the waters of Mallorca
©Miquel Gelabert:::

Mallorca is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands and its beaches are a destination in themselves for thousands of travelers, who see in its landscapes an earthly representation of paradise.

Its landscapes rival in beauty with those of the Caribbean thanks to its hidden coves of crystalline waters, white sand and lush vegetation. Dreamlike places that invite you to relax enjoying the sea breeze and the sun, either lying on the seashore or aboard a boat that will discover the Majorcan coastline.

There is no doubt that going to the beach to relax is one of the things to do in Mallorca during your vacations, but in case you want to spend a day outdoors in a different and fun way, I recommend you to join an excursion to explore the coast by boat and the deep sea. In my experience, it's an adventure and an unforgettable memory!

There is time to sunbathe, snorkel, admire the views of this landscape over a drink, explore natural parks, swim with the fish inside caves and even have a barbecue on the high seas.

Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? To learn more about boat excursions in Mallorca, don't miss this article: where you can learn about some of the most outstanding options.

2. Visit the Almudaina Palace and the Cathedral Museum.

Palacio de la Almudaina | ©an Arx
Palacio de la Almudaina | ©an Arx

When leaving the Cathedral of Majorca it is inevitable to run into its museum and the Palace of the Almudaina. To complete the previous visit, I advise you to enter first the museum of the cathedral of Palma when leaving the temple.

Cathedral Museum

It is located in the Plaza de la Seu and is accessed through the house of the Almoina. If you are interested in art it is a visit that you will enjoy very much because the interior is decorated with Mudejar mural paintings and houses very interesting collections of painting, sculpture, gold and silver work and sumptuary arts that belong to the Capitular museum. **The tour is very pleasant and you can see it quickly, so you can quickly move on to the next tourist attraction which is the Almudaina Palace.

Almudaina Palace

This is a former Islamic citadel that King James I the Conqueror transformed into gothic palace to be his residence in Mallorca. Nowadays, the palace of the Almudaina is still used for official acts and can be visited. It is located right in front of the cathedral of Mallorca.

The building is striking for the mixture of styles it presents, a fusion of Muslim and Levantine Gothic architecture but, in my opinion, the exotic environment in which it is set is also worthy of admiration.

Especially the medieval gardens of S'Hort del Rei, of historicist and Andalusian inspiration. It is difficult not to be captivated by the beauty of its fountains, pools and orange trees. You won't get tired of taking pictures!

3. Get to know the Lonja de Mallorca

Interior of the Lonja de Mallorca
Interior of the Lonja de Mallorca
image|url=|caption=Interior of the Lonja de Mallorca :: ©Sandra Vallaure:::

Next to the palace of the Almudaina, in the Sagrera promenade, is the Lonja de Mallorca. Built in the 15th century, it is an exponent of Mallorcan civil Gothic and is one of the most beautiful buildings to see in Mallorca.

Its exterior is simple but full of details such as religious images, beacons, gargoyles or arches decorated with stone filigree in the flamboyant Gothic style.

However, in my opinion, it is the interior of the Lonja that is the real treasure of the building. A diaphanous space designed to be the headquarters of the city's commerce, where the feeling of emptiness is imposing and powerful.

You have to sit down to admire the windows and the twisted pillars that sprout from the floor to join the ribs of the ribbed vaults.

4. Go for tapas in the neighborhood of La Lonja

Taste the tasty tapas in La Lonja neighborhood | ©Marco Verch
Taste the tasty tapas in La Lonja neighborhood | ©Marco Verch

The neighborhood of La Lonja is one of the liveliest in Palma, so it is perfect for a stroll and get lost among its streets full of restaurants, art galleries and stores of all kinds.

After visiting the building of La Lonja you can take the opportunity to have a coffee and a typical Mallorcan ensaimada** in a little terrace, enjoying the sun and the views of this neighborhood whose buildings mix in a very unique way the Gothic, the Renaissance and the modernist.

If you prefer wines and tapas, I recommend you to go to one of the bars located around the ** Apuntadores street** and plaza Drassana, where you can taste the traditional gastronomy of the island and also other innovative proposals. There is something for everyone!

When you finish, you can not leave La Lonja neighborhood without going to one of its stores where you can buy a nice souvenir of your getaway to Mallorca. From perfumes and books to Ibizan style clothes.

5. Have a glass of cava in the Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor de Mallorca | ©Sergei Gussev
Plaza Mayor de Mallorca | ©Sergei Gussev

It is worth continuing the route through the old town to get to the Plaza Mayor, another of the essential places to see in Mallorca and one of the most charming places as it is surrounded by very interesting historical monuments such as the Church of San Miguel (the oldest Christian temple in Palma) or several palaces and patios, which are fantastic examples of the civil architecture of the city between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.

I not only recommend you to go to the Plaza Mayor, the largest square in the city, for its tourist attractions but also to enjoy the lively atmosphere that is breathed here. Here you can take the pulse of the city and get to know its most authentic side, as it is the favorite meeting point for locals to chat and have a relaxing time.

So, if your trip coincides with the weekend, a good plan to do in Mallorca is to go to the Plaza Mayor to sit on the terrace of one of its lively bars and watch the musical performances that take place here while you sip a glass of Mallorcan cava to taste the local specialties.

In addition, in the mornings there are also markets where you can browse and buy souvenirs from the stalls. There are everything from handicrafts and clothing to delicatessen products.

6. Enjoy the views of the Bellver Castle

Bellver Castle | ©Cristian Bortes
Bellver Castle | ©Cristian Bortes

In the route by Palma it cannot be absent a visit to the castle of Bellver. First of all because of its uniqueness, as it is a fortification with a circular base, unique in Spain, dating from the 14th century and a masterpiece of Gothic-Levantine architecture.

In the past it was a royal residence but nowadays it houses the Museum of History of the city of Palma de Mallorca, so you can take the opportunity to see both the monument and its collections.

Secondly, because from its location, on top of a hill in the west and surrounded by lush vegetation, there are spectacular panoramic views of the city of Palma and its bay, the plain of Mallorca and the Tramuntana mountains. In fact, the name Bellver Castle comes from the old Catalan "bell veure", meaning beautiful view, making it a tremendously photogenic site.

If you like old castles, history or photographing beautiful landscapes, I think you will love a visit to Bellver Castle in Palma because it leaves no one indifferent.

In addition, during the summer evenings they usually organize cycles of open-air concerts in its impressive circular parade ground. So music is another reason to visit this fortress.

Attend the phenomenon of the winter solstice in Es Baluard.

Es Baluards | ©Gordon Wrigley
Es Baluards | ©Gordon Wrigley

Speaking of fortresses and museums, near the Lonja stands another 16th century fortification that has been reinvented for culture and tourism.

Here we find Es Baluard, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma. If you are passionate about art it is another essential visit to make in Mallorca for its collections although I must confess that this place is special for me for another reason and that is that its viewpoint is a strategic point to contemplate the phenomenon of the "winter solstice "**.

Both from here and from the interior terrace of the museum you can see how the sunlight crosses the central nave of the cathedral of Mallorca and is projected on the rose window of the main facade, transforming it into a giant kaleidoscope between 18 and 24 December, being the 21st the key day.

8. Enter the Arab baths of Mallorca

Arab baths of Palma ©Wikipedia - José Luis Filpo Cabana
Arab baths of Palma ©Wikipedia - José Luis Filpo Cabana

The palace of the Almudaina is not the only vestige of the Islamic presence to see in Mallorca as in the old town a few steps from the cathedral there is another very interesting building that the island preserves: the Arab baths of Palma.

They date back to the 11th century and in this culture, the ritual hammam was a type of steam bath that the ancient Muslims used to purify the body and spirit. The baths were also an important social gathering place in the medieval Islamic world, from the East to Al-Andalus.

What will you see during the visit?

They were built following the Roman model (cold, warm and hot area) but the remains that have reached our days correspond to the hot room. The Arab baths of Mallorca are located in Serra street 7 and the entrance only costs 2 euros, so I advise you to enter to observe an authentic piece of the medieval history of Spain. They are the best preserved construction of the Islamic era on the island.

During my visit I was struck by the good state of preservation in which they are, considering the many years they have. Its door with horseshoe arch gives way to a square interior room whose twelve columns support the hemispherical dome with several skylights that allowed the passage of natural light creating a very pleasant intimate atmosphere.

Next to this room there is a second space that is believed to be the temperate room of the Arab baths. Here an explanatory video of a few minutes about the origin of this hammam in Mallorca is projected, which helps us to better imagine how this place was in its time of splendor.

Live the hammam ritual in Palma

Now, why settle for imagining what the hammam ritual was like in the Arab baths of Mallorca when you can live the experience for yourself during your vacations?

If after the visit you are curious, I recommend you to spend an afternoon in one of those that currently exist in the city, it is one of the things to do in Mallorca that I love!

When you enter you will see that this is not a typical spa but the rooms are characterized by their Andalusian style decoration and silence reigns in them, only interrupted by the murmur of the water of the thermal pools.

Immersed in this calm atmosphere, the perfumed air, the dim candlelight and the Andalusian music make you feel like a sultana and transport you for a moment to that golden age of ancient Al-Andalus.

9. Go out to party in Santa Catalina

Enjoy Palma's nightlife and its special atmosphere
Enjoy Palma's nightlife and its special atmosphere
Long Truong:::

Mallorca is famous for its paradisiacal coves of white sand and turquoise waters, where you can relax and sunbathe during the day. But it is also famous for its party soul. Thousands of tourists from all corners of the planet travel to the island to live the Mallorcan night to the fullest.

In Palma there is a great variety of nightlife but the Santa Catalina neighborhood, west of the old town, is one of my favorite places that I recommend you to visit. It is one of the emerging neighborhoods of the city where many foreigners have opened their businesses giving it an eclectic and cosmopolitan air that mixes with the modernist houses, the small squares and the more traditional side of Mallorca.

Where to party in Palma?

  • To start the night, if you are looking for a cocktail bar with a pleasant and exotic atmosphere I suggest you go to Chakra (Sant Magí street,40) where you can enjoy some delicious drinks and Indian tapas to the sound of Bollywood music.

  • If you want to see a live show, in the same street you can continue in LAB Cocktail Bar: (Carrer de Sant Magí, 22) for some signature cocktails imbued with a vintage atmosphere and international clientele.

  • One of the places I like the most in Santa Catalina is :Patrón Lunares: (street of the Factory, 30) ideal to snack and to take the first round of the night. It has a creative menu and very original cocktails. In addition, the canteen has a very interesting history which is reflected in the aesthetics of the place.

  • Nearby is the emblematic Hotel Hostal Cuba: (Carrer de Sant Magí, 1), a colonial-looking building that has a terrace with beautiful views of the port and the cathedral. In addition, it is also a gastrobar and a discotheque, so you can dance there until the body holds out.

  • If you resist until the next morning, in Santa Catalina you can have breakfast French style in the pastry shop La Madeleine de Proust: (Annibal, 17) or Swedish style at El Perrito (Hannibal, 20).

10. Visit the Cathedral of Mallorca

Mallorca Cathedral | ©David Vives
Mallorca Cathedral | ©David Vives

It is the first site to see in Mallorca. Known affectionately as La Seu, the Cathedral of Santa Maria is one of the most dazzling Gothic temples in the world and the symbol of the city of Palma. You have probably seen it in a multitude of photographs but contemplating it in person is quite an experience.

Of its majestic façade the enormous columns of the main door and the delicate ornamentation of the Mirador door stand out, although the most photogenic side of the cathedral of Mallorca is in the Parque del Mar, a space with a large lake that evokes past times when the sea bathed the wall.

The painter Santiago Rusiñol was in love with La Seu and in his book "La isla de la calma" (1912) he dedicated a chapter to it where he encouraged visitors to enter the cathedral to enjoy it in all its splendor. He used to say that "On the outside you will see the armor, but enter and you will see the soul!" and his words are as true yesterday as they are today.

Upon entering, its vastness impresses and the beautiful play of light and color created by the stained glass windows of the cathedral of Palma enlivens the spirit - here you will find the famous "eye of the Gothic", the largest rose window of any Gothic cathedral on the planet.

On the tour you will learn a lot and you can see the mark left on it by artists such as Miquel Barceló in the chapel of the Holy Sacrament or Salvador Gaudí, who took care of the reform of the whole applying modernist dyes that have given it that unique look.

Go up to the terraces of La Seu and be amazed by the views.

Did you know that in summer you can go up to the terraces of the Cathedral of Mallorca? If you have the opportunity, I recommend that you reserve your place in the web oficial: because seeing the city of Palma, the Mediterranean Sea and the architecture of the temple itself from up there is an unforgettable experience.

I am not exaggerating! The cathedral of Mallorca is one of the highest in Europe and to give you an idea it is higher than the huge cathedral of Cologne, so the views are amazing.

Things to do in Mallorca