Things To Do In Palma de Mallorca Spain (Including Palma Map): This guide highlights the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the island of Mallorca. From architecture and historic sites to art galleries, markets and foodie experiences. We also discuss the best of Palma shopping: The emblematic shops of Palma selling regional artisan products.
Our interactive Palma de Mallorca map for tourists at the bottom of this article features everything listed in the article as well as additional attractions, Palma beaches, restaurants and activities and more.
A Very Brief Intro to Palma de Mallorca
The modern history of the city of Palma was established by the Romans who built a substantial settlement upon the remnants of an old bronze age town. Like most of the Mediterranean, Mallorca changed hands many times over history, most notably being taken by the Moors from north Africa. Then by the crown of Aragon (Barcelona/Catalonia) in 1229, when the capital was renamed Palma.
The war of the Spanish Succession in the 18th century led to the end of the crown of Aragon and the islands around Mallorca became part of Spain.
Mass tourism arrived in the 1950’s and by 1983 Mallorca and the other Balearic islands were declared an autonomous region of Spain.
The Palma de Mallorca old town is characterised by typical Catalonian style architecture, from gothic religious buildings to modernist 20th century from famous artists like Gaudi. The city’s location on a large south facing bay make it an ideal tourist destination year round.
Mallorca or Majorca?
Mallorca is the Spanish spelling. Majorca is the British spelling. It’s pronounced Ma-Yor-Ka. It seems that England decided to change the spelling as Brits found it tricky to pronounce the “ll” sound in Spanish.
Things To Do In Palma de Mallorca: Top 10 Tourist Attractions (Architecture / Culture)
La Seu (Palma de Mallorca Cathedral)
The Mallorca Cathedral is one of the biggest in Europe and is built in the Catalan gothic style. It’s an iconic Palma sightseeing spot from any angle and sits between the Palma de Mallorca old town and the sea.
Construction began in 1229, shortly after Mallorca was taken by Catalonia after they defeated the Moors. The cathedral was not completed until 1601. From 1901 to 1914 Gaudi was contracted to work on the interior design of the cathedral, some of his work is still preserved today, most notably, the canopy.
Things To Do In Palma: Bellver Castle
Bellver Castle is a 14th century circular gothic style castle in Palma de Mallorca. The castle was originally the residence of the kings of Mallorca, it later became used as a prison, mainly for political prisoners and most recently, in 1932, it became a museum. Learn about the history of Palma de Mallorca and the island as well as getting great views from the hilltop location. Definitely one of the most essential things to do in Palma. Find the location on our Palma Map below.
Palma Shopping Street: Passeig des Born
A grand tree lined avenue that is a hub for shopping in Palma de Mallorca. A mix of name brands (zara, H&M) as well as independent retailers, cafes, and restaurants. Passeig des Born is the sophisticated street to shop and socialise during the day. Much more info on Palma shopping below.
Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum & Bar Lounge
Es Baluard is a contemporary art museum housed in the historic Sant Pere Bastion which was constructed in the 16th century, strategically placed to defend the city against attack. Opened as an art museum in 2004, visit to see some of Picasso’s unusual ceramics, as well as works by famous Spanish artists like Joan Miro and Miguel Barcelo. The Bar/lounge at Es Baluard also gives you the perfect spot for a scenic view of the harbor.
One of Palma’s largest traditional squares, built during the 19th century. As well as restaurants and cafes for people watching, the square hosts artisanal markets daily from July to September. Less frequently the rest of the year. You’ll also find street performers and musicians periodically entertaining passers by.
Things To Do In Palma: Royal Palace of La Almudaina
Palma de Mallorca’s Alcázar (fortified palace) was rebuilt in the 14th century and is still used today to host the king of Spain, on occasion. That said, the palace is open to the public (entry fee applies). The ground floor recreates the medieval feel of the palace, with the upper floor showcasing furniture from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Palma Sightseeing: Can Forteza Rey
Can Forteza Rey is a clear example of Modernist Art Nouveau, influenced by Gaudi’s presence in Mallorca. The architect Lluís Forteza Rey used a combination of multicoloured broken tiles, iron, glass, wood and ceramic plates to create the outside design.
Find this building, and everything else in this article, using our free Palma map.
What To Do In Palma de Mallorca: Paseo Maritimo
One of the best casual walking routes in Palma. Follow the harbor front along the Paseo Maritimo for views of the boats and the windmills on the hill behind the harbor.
Take A Boat trip
With great weather all year, one of the top things to do in Palma de Mallorca is jump on a boat and see the city from the water, or get out of the city and explore the stunning coastlines:
Palma Sightseeing: Gran Hotel & Fundacio La Caixa (Caixa Forum)
The Gran hotel opened in 1903. Designed by Lluis Domenech I Montaner, it is the first landmark building in Palma built in the modern Art Nouveau style. As well as the Gran hotel and their in-house cafe, the building houses the Fundacio La Caixa art gallery.
Palma de Mallorca Shopping & Emblematic Shops
Palma and the island of Mallorca produce a number of unique local products which are represented in the emblematic shops of Palma. Pick yourself up one-of-a-kind local goods when you go shopping Palma de Mallorca.
Palma Shopping: Vidrería Gordiola – Art Of Glass
The Gordiola family of Mallorca have been practicing the traditional art of blowing glass by hand (and by mouth!) since 1719. The glass is heated to 1,250 degrees celsius before being blown and shaped into any wonderous number of glassy delights. From a beautiful vase to an olive oil decanter (pictured). The artisanal nature of their production makes every single piece unique. Gordiola glass has made it all round the world to Rio, Buenos Aires, Brussels, New York and more, but buying an original piece right from the source is even better.
You can see the glass blowing first hand at their factory and museum a short distance from Palma. Or you can explore a whole shop full of glass right in the centre of Palma. Find the Palma shop location on our Palma Tourist Map below as a regular google map search normally seems to only show you to their factory location.
Mimbreria Vidal – Wicker
Mallorca has a long tradition of wicker products made locally. The dwarf palm (palmito) is perfect for wickerwork, also other tough grasses and jute may be used.
Mimbreria Vidal has been open in Palma since 1925 and was taken over in 1955 by the Vidal family. The store is still operated by the father and son team today.
Palma Shopping: Carmina Shoemaker
Another emblematic shop of Mallorca, Carmina, focuses on the highest quality shoes made from leather produced on the island. The town of Inca, in central Mallorca is famous for their leather production. But you can get your shoes made to order, or off the rack, right in Palma at Carmina.
Carmina are a 6th generation family artisan shoemaker open since 1866. Their brand has now made it all over the world with stores from Singapore to San Francisco.
Estilo Sant Feliu – Pottery & Textiles
Mallorca have their own distinctive style of ceramics and textiles. Mallorca was the first place in Europe where Hispanic-Moorish pottery was developed. It was exported to Italy where it’s Arab influence was slowly replaced by a more European style. It gave rise to Majolica pottery – red earthenware that is then glazed white and painted with colorful patterns.
At Estilo Sant Feliu you’ll find that tradition represented with their high quality pottery. Their fabrics also reflect the traditional designs of the island.
Juguetería La Industrial – Toy Shop
If you want to take your kids shopping in Palma, La Industrial is an historic toy shop that has been making kids smile since at least the 19th century. The Aguillo family took over the store in 1929 and the granddaughter still runs La Industrial today. Inside you’ll find some truly iconic Spanish toys, like some original Mariquita Perez dolls from the 1940s. These were some of the most popular dolls in Spain from that era, which only the rich could afford.
If visiting around Christmas, you’ll be overjoyed by La Industrial’s extravagant and fun annual Christmas display.
La Pajarita – Bombonería – Chocolate Shop & Charcuterie
La Pajarita is another classic family owned emblematic store. Opened in 1872 and still operated by the 5th generation of that family today. They have a unique mix – half sweet shop, half charcuterie (deli) – gourmet products both salty and sweet.
Their other claim to fame is that they were the first store in Mallorca to sell Möet Chandon.
Find Every Shop And Other Attraction On This List, Plus Many More, On Our Palma Map Below.
If your Palma Shopping needs include buying some tasty local foods, keep reading the next section for food shopping in Palma.
Things To Do In Palma de Mallorca For Foodies
Food is our primary motivation when choosing a destination to travel to. Happy belly, happy soul. More than that, happy taste buds, happy food blogger. If you love food, or just want to discover some new flavors on your trip, Mallorca has you covered.
Eat & Buy At A Traditional Food Market
Food markets in Mallorca are about more than just buying produce. A market visit is a lively affair where, as a tourist, you’ll always discover something new and learn about the culinary traditions and preferences of local Mallorcans – through food. Most importantly, in my opinion, markets are a place to eat and socialise. Cooked food stalls are dotted between the produce stalls, where you can feast on the freshest dishes from that day’s market ingredients.
Here are some markets to consider for both eating out and grabbing some interesting products to take home. Want to know what foods to eat and buy, check out our Mallorcan Food guide.
Note: If taking home fresh produce, sausages, cheese etc. Your home country may require produce to be vacuum sealed. You can ask market traders to do this for you upon purchase.
Palma Shopping: Mercat de l’Olivar
Opened in 1951, Mercat de l’Olivar has become the most popular market for tourists to do their food shopping in Palma – but is still very much frequented by locals too.
It’s an organised, bright and light space with two floors. The ground floor is mainly market stalls with produce or cooked food, with everything from fresh sea urchins to Mallorca’s most famous meat product, Sobrasada (DOP protected, cured sausage). Upstairs, a regular supermarket and some fantastic restaurants to discover.
Queseria Sagla @ Mercat de l’Olivar
Of particular note on the ground floor of Mercat de l’Olivar, Queseria Sagla is an artisan cheese shop offering a world of salty wonder in the form of local and international cheeses. Cheese lovers should not miss the chance for a quick taste test or to take home a little cheesy taste of the Balearic islands.
Mercat de Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is a popular part of town for nightlife, with restaurants and bars. However, if you want to make a stop at Mercat de Santa Catalina, go for lunch or arrive before your evening frivolities because they close at 5pm. It’s a fully featured market, just like Mercat de l’Olivar, but a little further outside the tourist bubble.
Mercat de Pere Garau
If you are looking for a local market where you are less likely to bump into tourists, take a walk out to Mercat de Pere Garau. At time of writing, this market is still way off the tourist trail – perfect for a really local Palma Shopping Experience and lower prices too. Like the other markets above, expect produce and cooked food stalls.
Take A Food Tour
Let a local guide introduce you to the best of Mallorcan cuisine and get your foodie questions answered.
Things To Do In Palma: Clandestí Restaurant & Cooking Class
Clandestí is a reservation only food experience where everyone eats at the chef’s table. Chef Pau Navarro and Chef Ariadna Salvador believe that “everyone must enjoy and have fun with cooking”. They offer contemporary twists on Mallorcan classic cuisine, resurrecting lesser known dishes as well as perfecting favorites like coca de trempò (A Mallorcan flatbread) and burballes (The traditional pasta of Mallorca).
Whether you participate in a cooking class, where you can get in on the culinary action, or if you attend the restaurant just to dine, you’ll find something seasonal and unique every time. There is no a la carte menu. Each dining event is a fixed price and the dishes will be a surprise.
Gastroteca Mauricio celebrates the fresh local produce of Mallorca from the 1st floor above Mercat de l’Olivar. Chef Mauricio has been organizing gastronomic events for more than 25 years and along with his Josper charcoal oven, is giving life to every ingredient that comes direct from the market, daily.
As well as their regular restaurant, reservations required, Gastroteca offers bespoke events, cooking classes and afternoon tasting menus from 1pm to 4pm (Thurs to Sat). Contact them for reservations.
What To Do In Palma de Mallorca: Eat Traditional Mallorcan Pastries & Baked Goods
Of all the traditional food in Mallorca, the pastries and baked goods seem to be some of the most beloved in the hearts and minds of locals. The airy-light ensaimada, a delectable flaky pastry made with heart stopping amounts of lard, has achieved IGP/PGI status (Protected Geographical Indication). It represents hundreds of years of history and eating an ensaimada is on of the essential things to do in Palma for any visitor – foodie or not.
Beyond the ensaimada, you’ll find Mallorcan empanadas & coccarois (pies) as well the coca de mallorquin (flatbread) and many more.
There are so many bakeries in Palma but here are a few of the tastiest and most historic.
Fornet de la Soca
Fornet de la Soca is the new kid on the block, comparatively, when it comes to Palma bakeries. But the philosophy behind chef Tomeu Arbona’s El Fornet de la Soca, is re-discovering ancient ingredients of the island as well as traditional recipes and re-creating those historic dishes.
As well as celebrated classics that you’ll find everywhere, like the ensaimada (pictured) you’ll find delicious versions of lesser known dishes. The ambience of the shop also offers a feeling of days gone by and it is inside a building that was also a former bakery, though the original basement oven is no longer functioning.
An historic bakery opened in 1745. The Current family have been running Forn Fondo since 1911. The updated exterior reflects the early 20th century modernist movement that was happening throughout Palma at that time.
Horno San Cristo
Serving up flaky pastries since 1910. Though Horno San Cristo has changed hands a couple of times since then, it’s an historic favorite in central Palma.
Ca’n Joan De S’aigo
Joan de s’Aigo was a famous 19th century businessman who worked in the ice trade in Mallorca. Storing and delivering ice from the mountains during the spring and early summer. When unsold ice had partially melted, he would mix it with fruit to create a rudimentary sort of sorbet. Joan De S’aigo had his fingers in a lot of pies… literally. He dabbled in the pie business – baked goods and pastries. He is said to have popularised drinking hot chocolate with the ensaimada – now a christmas eve tradition. Though this is something you can still do today, everyday, at Ca’n Joan De S’aigo.
Although there original location on Calle Sanc only opened in 1977, it’s situated in a 300 year old shop. Were they making ensaimadas here back in the early 1700’s? It seems unlikely but they are certainly doing justice to the legacy of Mallorca’s favorite pastry today. Find the exact location of the original bakery on our Palma Map below.
Mallorcan Wine – Restaurante Wineing
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a great selection of local wines is at Restaurante Wineing. Local Wine, dispensed by the glass from temperature controlled cabinets. It’s pay as you go wine tasting (And a full food menu) with many more bottles to choose from, by the glass, than at any regular wine tasting.
If you’d like a more guided wine tasting experience, check out some of these wine tasting and wine tour options:
Mallorca Map (Palma Map) – Our Interactive Tourist Map (google Map)
Our Palma map includes our Mallorca top 10 as well as all the other things to do in Palma de Mallorca that are listed in this article above. PLUS restaurant suggestions, accommodation and more.
Palma de Mallorca Accommodation
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