WanderlustA day trip to Palma

Palma is a stylish capital replete with Roman ruins, sand-coloured churches and glitzy boutiques

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Thanks to centuries of occupation from the Moors, Romans and Christians, Palma is a beguiling blend of history and culture. Yet the Mallorcan capital’s feet are firmly in the 21st century, indulging visitors with stylish galleries, bijoux boutiques and cosmopolitan restaurants and cafes. Spend a day surrendering to its charms, fully immersing yourself in Palma’s culture, food and resolutely Spanish soul.

 

Morning

Before the sun rises to its highest temperatures, spend the morning getting lost around Palma’s captivating old city. A winding maze of medieval cobbled streets dotted with palaces, boutiques and markets weave up towards the Gothic cathedral La Seu. Palma’s crowning glory, the caramel-hued edifice dominates the skyline, proudly presiding over the Mallorcan capital. What’s more, in the morning, La Seu’s spellbinding central rose window is lit with the sun, flooding the 14th century wonder with a dappled rainbow light.

Beside La Seu are the Moorish columns and arches of Almudaina Palace, rebuilt in the 13th century by Christians in a Gothic style, its mish-mash of architectural styles is something to behold.

 

Lunch

Most Mallorcans have lunch later in the day — around 2pm is usual. You’re spoilt for choice with countless traditional cafés and restaurants offering an authentic taste of Mallorca dotted all over the city. Naturally, fresh seafood is king here — in particular, delicacies like fragrant squid paellas or whole lobster with beans.

For locals, Mercat de l’Olivar is an integral part of daily life. Pay a visit to its grand halls for a snapshot of Palma living, and pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, charcuterie and Palma’s signature ensaïmada; tasty snail-shaped pastries.

 

Afternoon

Flanked by an avenue of trees and pink blooms tumbling from pots, Passeig des Borne is an elegant boulevard and Palma’s premier shopping destination. It’s affectionately nicknamed ‘the golden mile’ thanks to row-upon-row of designer boutiques. Shop the new season’s collections from brands such as Louis Vuitton, Carolina Herrera and Loewe.

Adjoining Passeig des Borne is Carrer de Sant Feliu — a characterful, bohemian passageway that rewards you with smart, independent boutiques, art galleries and chic, lifestyle stores. Pick up something for the home at Rialto Living, a grand palace that’s been transformed into a stunning interiors and fashion store.

Round-off your afternoon by exploring the magnificent Joan Miró Foundation, dedicated to Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose mother was born on the island. Found in the west of the city, the museum showcases many of his works, complete with a re-creation of his studio. Housed within Palma’s ancient city walls, Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is where you’ll find works from legends like Picasso and Barceló, alongside cutting-edge international artists. Found near the marina, Es Baluard’s sea panoramas are as impressive as its collections.

 

Evening

Before you pick a spot for dinner, no evening in Palma is complete without a stroll along its grand promenade, Paseo Marítimo. At night, the atmosphere is buzzing and you get a heart-quickening view of sandstone buildings escalating to landmarks like La Seu and Bellver Castle. Watch boats and yachts bobbing in the deep blue Mediterranean.

With a growing handful of Michelin-starred restaurants, Palma is emerging as a serious gastronomic destination. Go all-out and sample haute cuisine at its best, from British chef, Marc Fosh’s eponymous restaurant. Another of Palma's top chefs is Adrian Quetglas, who trained in Mallorca, Buenos Aires and Moscow, and serves dynamic creations with an international twist.

 

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