As a I write this it’s a dreary November day so your thoughts may be turning to sunnier climes and getting away from it all.
We were recently lucky enough to have a city break in Palma with a group of friends. After careful diary coordination with 4 sets of grandparents, husbands who travel for work and much discussion about our destination, we settled on Palma in Mallorca.
If you like to wander the picturesque streets and squares between pavement cafes, soak in the buzzy atmosphere but also take it the gorgeous sea air and Mediterranean views, Palma is a great city break.
We took advantage of a British Airways City Break which included flights, 3 nights in a hotel and breakfast for around £340 per person although obviously plenty of other options are available include flights with EasyJet.
Where to Stay
When choosing where to stay for a city break in Palma, consider whether you’d prefer the city side or the harbour side. Everything is fairly easy walking distance and cabs are aplenty whichever area you choose. We chose the Melia Innside Palma Center in the city but with a gorgeous rooftop bar and pool with views reaching down to the sea. It was simple, clean and the breakfast selection, in what felt slightly like an IKEA showroom, was very good for starting our days with fresh fruit and juices or mopping up hangovers with the large selection of savoury and sweet delights!
Where to Eat
We travel as a group every year and our weekends often revolve around restaurants and bars. Palma didn’t disappoint! We went for a variety of styles and locations but were spoilt for choice:
Bar Espana is well deserving of its Trip Advisor rating with great food (really interesting tapas with thai and indian influences), friendly service (our waiter took control and brought us a selection of everything after checking whether there was anything we particularly liked or disliked), fun atmosphere (it does get busy so booking essential!) and we felt great value
If you’re after fine dining, we had an excellent experience of the tasting menu at Adrian Quetglas. The food is sophisticated and elegant and the service attentive. At 75 Euro per head for the 7 course tasting menu and wine flight, it’s definitely a special occasion kind of place! We also fancied the Michelin star Marc Fosh restaurant.
We love an al fresco seafood lunch. For our final day we enjoyed the harbour views, crisp white wine and delicious food at El Pesquero. The tapas starters were so good we nearly didn’t have room for mains, but I couldn’t resist the beautifully cooked John Dory fish when it came!
Finally, if you’re looking for a fun, buzzy bar either for drinks or tapas, we stumbled across Tucana. The lunchtime tapas menu was beautifully presented and when we returned later in our trip for an evening, it was full, fun and a great atmosphere.
I must also mention ice-cream at this point! There are lots of ice cream places but I’ve never had such a pretty ice cream as this one at Amorino on Plaza Weyler. Turns out they also have branches in London, Leeds and Dublin and all over Europe.
What to See
It’s a great place just to wander and take in the atmosphere (though beware on some days it does get busy with visitors from the cruise ships). There are fantastic food markets, grand squares, shady avenues, gorgeous narrow streets and lots of Gaudi-inspired architecture.
Gaudi himself was briefly involved in the restoration of the Cathedral. This amazing building is the biggest Gothic building. Its nave is higher than even Notre Dame so it really dominates the skyline. Inside it’s stunning. The stained-glass windows really took my breath away (there are 61 of them!) and the unusual modern art in one of the chapels is certainly worth a look! There’s also the ancient Almudaina Palace next to the Cathedral which we didn’t visit but apparently has a good audio tour.
The views from the Bellver Castle are stunning – out to sea or back over the city. It’s a great way to walk off all those delicious tapas with 450 steps leading up to it. We needed to save time so got a taxi there (you can also get a bus) but enjoyed the walk down, stopping at a beautiful chapel to hear the choir singing at mass. There’s an interesting exhibition on the history of the city which brings to life how much the city has changed and expanded over the years. Entry to the castle (which includes the exhibition) is free on a Sunday.
Lou’s top tip: if you visit Bellver Castle, make sure you download the audio guide to your phone. I didn’t but I wish I had done!