7 Things to do in Palma (Mallorca, Spain) – Ultimate Guide to the City
Palma de Mallorca is so much more than perfect weather and glorious beaches! If you’re looking for the ultimate list of things to do in Palma, scroll down, as I have plenty of hand-picked recommendations for you, as well as hotels, restaurants and more.
Palma, more popularly known as Palma de Mallorca, is the capital of Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands of Spain. Palma de Mallorca has become a top tourist destination over the years – and with good reason. It’s fun, there’s sun and the chilled vibes of Spanish island life make it perfect to switch off and unwind. Palma has superb beaches to laze on, a historic old town to explore and an infamous nightlife to round it all off.
But Palma is not just a pretty city where you can spend endless hours catching the sun and people watching — it’s actually a melting pot of cultures and a vibrant city brimming with history and foodie delights.
Are you ready to find out everything about it?
Best things to do in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
There are so many unforgettable things to do in Palma de Mallorca, I don’t even know where to start! But as hard as it may be, I’ve made a hand-picked selection of my favorite places to see:
1 - La Seu / Cathedral of Palma
No visit to Palma would be complete without a visit to the majestic Mallorca Cathedral, its most iconic landmark, which dominates the city’s waterfront and took more than six centuries to build. The Cathedral is located in Palma’s Old Town, also known as Casco Antiguo, a charming place full of cobblestone streets, well-worth walking around for at least a couple of hours.
The construction began in the 13th century, and it continued up until the days of Antonio Gaudi, who famously made alterations to the Cathedral between 1904 and 1914. Today, tourists can admire the sandstone construction and its soaring spires, as well as its seven rose windows, including one of the largest in the world.
TIP: If you want to enter, consider buying tickets in advance and visiting before midday to avoid crowds. If you want to admire the colours of the stained-glass windows from the inside, it’s recommended to visit the cathedral early in the morning, right after they open (8.30 AM).
2 - Parc de la Mar
Once you finish your visit to Mallorca Cathedral, you can rest your feet in Parc de la Mar – a wonderful public space located right in front of the cathedral. This spot offers a scenic view, awesome photo opportunities and it hosts tons of parties, festivals and live music celebrations all year round, such as the Sant Joan celebration at the beginning of summer. There are also many cafes there where you can sit and people watch and even a mural by Joan Miró.
3 - Bellver Castle
Located to the west of the city, 3km away from Palma’s Old Town, Bellver Castle offers some incredible views across the capital – and it’s one of the top things to do in Palma for sure. Here you can enjoy a 360° panorama of the Bay of Palma and the Tramuntana mountains. Ah, fun fact: this iconic castle is the only round castle in Spain, and it was built in the 14th century! Today, locals and visitors enjoy frequent concerts here during summer evenings, which take place under star-studded skies.
Bellver Castle entrance fee: 4€. Free entry on Sundays.
4 - Paseo del Borne
Arguably the most elegant avenue in the city, Paseo del Borne or Passeig Des Born has been nicknamed “The Golden Mile”, and numerous luxury designers such as Louis Vuitton and Rolex have set up shops here. Except for beautiful shops, there are also tons of cute cafes with terraces along the avenue, as well as bars and restaurants, perfect for people-watching.
5 - Paseo Maritimo
Tired of walking yet? I hope not, as I have another spot to recommend to you! A promenade that runs parallel to the sea in Palma, Paseo Maritimo is the perfect place for golden sunset walks and bike rides. Once you get there, you’ll be able to admire the harbor with its many yachts, shops, fancy seaside restaurants and places to party during the evening.
6 - Nearby beaches
Mallorca is home to no less than 262 beaches, with a total length of over 50 km. 25 of these beaches fly the blue flag and are perfect for those who love turquoise waters and long stretches of white sand. The best beaches on the island are located further away from the capital, but the good news is that many of them are easily accessible and they’re less than one hour away by car.
If you’re ready for some sunbathing, here’s where I recommend going:
- Ca’n Pere Antoni – closest one to Palma, only 2km away from the city center and 1km from the Cathedral. It’s a small beach with golden sand; very popular because it’s so easily accessible from the city, and it also offers stunning views of the Cathedral and plenty of restaurant and bar options;
- Illetas – one of the best beaches in Palma de Mallorca, located only 15 minutes away from the center. Small, but calm and super nice;
- Cala Brava – 20 minutes from Palma city center. Go there to sit on the rocks and admire the sunset;
- El Mago – very quiet and pretty, less than half an hour from the city. Please note this is a nudist beach – just saying, so you don’t have any surprises!
- Playa de Formentor – this one’s a bit more far away, but I recommend it if you’re looking for a remote beach where you can enjoy sailing.
7 - Beach clubs
Partying at a beach club is a MAJOR thing in Mallorca – and in Palma as well! Many of the beach clubs in Palma are open year-round and they come with a vibrant party vibe that goes on into the evening. I mean, just picture this: you’re on vacation and you’re enjoying the superb, golden sand beaches of Palma with a glass of wine in your hand at the club. What could be better than this?
BONUS: Extra things to do in Palma if you have more time
There are many more things to see in Palma de Mallorca, so if you have one or more extra days to spend in the city, here are some bonus places to add to your itinerary!
MORE THINGS TO DO IN PALMA DE MALLORCA:
- San Juan Mercado Gastronómico / San Juan Market – If you want to indulge in some authentic cuisine, then you cannot omit this market from your list, as it’s one of Palma top spots for foodies. There are tons of stalls here where you can try countless dishes, wine and much more. The market is a perfect spot for lunch!
- Joan Miró Foundation – If you are an art lover or a fan of Joan Miró that always dreamed of seeing his real studio, this is the place to go! At Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca you can see his working studio, as well as a gallery. Ah, and the pretty views of the city and the sea are just a tiny bonus!
- Arab Baths – Dating from the 10th century, the Arab Baths are one of the hidden gems of Palma. They’re full of history and they’re nested in a secluded garden worth discovering. By the way, the Arab Baths were only discovered 100 years ago!
- Royal Palace of La Almudaina – If you’re visiting Palma’s Cathedral, it would be a real shame to omit the Royal Palace of La Almudaina from your itinerary as well, as it’s located right across from the Cathedral. “Almudaina” means fortress, so the name reflects the rich history of this great place. Entrance fee is 7€.
- Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art – Are you a fan of contemporary art? Then this museum is one of the unmissable things to do in Palma for you! Es Baluard Museum is located right in the heart of the city and it’s home to more than 500 modern artists, including some ceramics by Picasso. Take your time and explore it! Entrance fee is 6€.
- La Ruta Martiana trail – Ruta Martiana, also known as the Tapas Route for us English-speaking people (or Tapas Tuesday if you want), is basically a pub crawl, but with food! It’s an excellent way of discovering the Old Town of Palma, as it takes place there, and an unforgettable gastronomical activity. There are special deals for tapas and beer dedicated to people taking the rail, valid every Tuesday in a selection of bars.
Tours of Palma de Mallorca by type of traveller
In case you want to visit Palma but you don’t want to waste your time planning a complex itinerary of the city, rest assured that you don’t need to stress. There are plenty of organised tours out there that will take you to the top Palma attractions with a professional guide!
Here are the most exciting tours of Palma handpicked by me and broken down by interests:
- Palma de Mallorca Old Town bike and tapas tour – for active travellers who are foodies too!
- 2.5-hour Segway tour – if you’re a fan of these fun transportation gadgets, this tour’s for you;
- Palma de Mallorca by electric scooter – if you prefer electric scooters instead;
- 5-Hour Catamaran Cruise – a whole new experience in the South coast of Palma, recommended for tourists who love sailing around;
- Culinary Tapas Tour – for those of you that want to indulge in some traditional Mallorcan dishes;
- Palma de Mallorca Old Town private tour – if you want to enjoy your tour all to yourself.
Where to stay in Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca is an island full of surprises, and its historic capital city offers an incredible variety of hotels to suit a wide range of budgets. Choosing the best place to stay in Palma only depends on the kind of holiday you’re planning to have (budget stay? royal treatment? – you choose!).
RELATED READ: If you want to find out all about the most recommended areas in Palma where you can search for accommodation as a tourist, the only thing you need to do is to read my dedicated article: Where to stay in Palma
Where to eat in Palma de Mallorca
When it comes to food, Palma has you spoilt for choice any day of the week. I loved the little local bars and big seafood paellas, as well as the brunch spots with healthy options and much more. Palma de Mallorca offers a big range of food places for all budgets, from Michelin-starred kitchens to Spanish menús del dia.
WHAT ABOUT DISHES?
Make sure you don’t miss out on anything important and follow my list of must-try dishes during your Palma vacation:
Among the first things that come to mind when thinking of Spanish food – and there’s no shortage of it in Mallorca. Going to a bar and indulging in some food must be one of the first things you do in Palma!
One of the most common dinners on the island is Pamboli. “Pa amb Oli” means “bread with oil” in the local dialect, and the basic ingredients are usually brown bread, ramallet tomatoes, virgin olive oil and salt.
Jamon serrano, or Iberico Jamon, is a type of cured ham that is very popular in Spain. You can have it anywhere from breakfast to dinner!
Mallorcan seafood is the reason many foodies are attracted to the island, and most of the restaurants have some sort of local recipe involving seafood. Make sure to try the sea bass in rock salt, lobster casserole, and seafood rice.
Getting around Palma de Mallorca
The easiest and most convenient way to get around Mallorca (the entire island but Palma as well) is by rental car. You can rent it right at the airport when you arrive or at your hotel or resort. A car is extremely convenient if you want to see more of the Balearic Islands (read: day trips!).
If you cannot rent a car because of various reasons (or if you want to save some money), the next most convenient means of transportation is the bus. You can check out this website to find out everything you need regarding public Palma transportation including routes, timetables, fares and more.
TIP: The most personal way of exploring the city centre is by foot, considering that Palma de Mallorca is not that huge. So if you only have one day in Palma and your hotel/resort is located in the centre, you can forget about public transport!
Best day trips from Palma de Mallorca
In case you’re done with all the beautiful attractions and things to do in Palma, rest assured that there are plenty of things to see around the area as well. So your next option would be to take some day trips. Here are some amazing ideas that I added to my Palma de Mallorca guide:
- Deia – small, charming village in the Serra de Tramuntana, with plenty of things to see;
- Valldemossa – located into the Tramuntana mountains as well, Valldemossa awaits with cute cobblestone streets, superb villas and many other things to see;
- Sa Calobra – beautiful beaches and rocky cliffs – a combo worth exploring!
RELATED READ: These are just a couple of fast ideas, but if you want to further read about the best day trips from Palma, I recommend checking out my dedicated article where I talk about some extensive options, as well as practical info about each of them: 3 Exciting Day Trips From Palma de Mallorca, Spain
There are so many things to do and places to visit in Palma de Mallorca, that I’m sure you’ll need more than a couple of days to properly indulge in everything that this city has to offer! Regardless if your ideal vacation in Palma includes relaxing at a bar with a cocktail in your hands, exploring cathedrals or going on a shopping spree, this article has everything you need and more!
I hope you will save quite some time organising your Palma itinerary by using my recommended places above. And if you want to further explore the wonderful country of Spain, I recommend checking out all my articles and adventures here.