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Mediterranean & Adriatic

About Palma de Mallorca

Palma De Mallorca, Spain

The most experienced travelers say that even the sunlight in Palma de Mallorca holds a quality you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Wrapped around the Bay of Palma on the southern coast of Mallorca – the largest of the Balearic Islands – Palma de Mallorca boasts pristine beaches, stunning mountain vistas, rich Mediterranean cuisine and Old-World culture … all of it overlooking the glistening sea.

The earliest settlers on the island were conquered by the early Romans in 123 B.C. They used the city as a base for further conquests into Africa and Iberia. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Palma was largely left to its own devices, though it suffered several attacks from the Vandals. Byzantine artwork built into some of Palma’s oldest sites also suggests that the city was controlled by the Byzantine Empire for some time. Between 902 and 1229, Palma was under Moorish control; they called the city Medina Mayurqa, “City of Majorca.”

In 1229, King James I of Aragon gained control of the city. This is when it first assumed the name Palma de Mallorca. Almost 500 years passed before the Crown of Aragon collapsed and the fate of Palma fell to Spain. During the Napoleonic Wars, the city and island were a refuge for people in self-exile from Napoleon-ruled Catalonia and Valencia. This surge in population brought prosperity. In subsequent decades, the French presence in Algeria ensured that Mallorca’s ports would be safe from North African invasion. Without the threat of attack, the island’s trade continued to grow.

Palma de Mallorca Lifestyle and Culture

From the stunning waterfront to the sunlit churches and streets of the Old District, Palma de Mallorca is as stylish as it is timeless. A sophisticated destination known for its delightful cuisine and lively nightlife, Palma de Mallorca is also passionate about preserving its long and fascinating history. Visitors can catch glimpses of the modernisme-style Gran Hotel, a Belle Époque treasure that is now a cultural center, and Bellver Castle, a stunning circular fortress on a hillside. You can also mingle with locals along the tree-lined Paseo del Borne and La Rambla, with its pastoral promenade and famous flower market. Just outside the city, pine forests and almond groves line the way to the charming village of Valldemossa.

Palma de Mallorca Sights and Landmarks

The fantastic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma confidently presides over the Mediterranean Sea. Built on the site of a former mosque built by the Moors, the Cathedral was begun in 1229 by King James I of Aragon and finished in 1601. One of the largest cathedrals in the world, its central nave is 144 feet tall, the highest of all Gothic cathedrals.

The waterfront town of Port Andratx, nestled between the sea and the Serra de Tramontana Mountains, is a sleepy getaway and favored destination of Spanish royalty. Nearby, the Es Grau overlook provides magical views of coastal villages, glittering in the sun like smooth white stones on the shore.

The village of Valldemossa, huddled within a verdant valley, is a place of unparalleled beauty and Old-World charm. Its monastery is the town’s most vital landmark. Ceasing religious operations in the 1930s, it has famously hosted composer Frederic Chopin and writer George Sand.

Palma de Mallorca Entertainment and Activities

Near the town of Porto Cristo on the island’s eastern coast, the Caves of Drach offer an otherworldly experience. Comprising four caves and an underground lake, they first began attracting explorers in 1338. The massive grottoes extend up to 82 feet underground and extend for a mile and a half. Tours of the caves last about an hour, and end with the strains of a classical quartet playing from a small boat upon the lake.

In the village of Es Capdella, you can visit the Santa Catarina Bodega for a tasting of local wines. The island’s Mediterranean climate, sloping hills and ample sunlight provide the perfect environment for producing distinctive, emphatic wines. In recent years, the delicious wines of this region have leapt to the forefront of Spanish wine culture.

While in Palma de Mallorca, take a moment to participate in Spain’s gastronomy with a visit to a tapas bar. This relaxed, small-plate style of dining lets you indulge in the wide variety of flavors gleaned from the Mallorcan countryside. Much like the sights of Mallorca, you’ll want to experience each dish to its fullest.

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