Palma is a fantastic city. I’d happily move there tomorrow. Small enough to explore in one day, but large enough to give it a cosmopolitan city buzz, it’s the perfect destination for a short city break.
The imposing gothic cathedral, one of the oldest and most famous in Spain, is at the heart of the city. It is best appreciated from below along the coast or from the sea so that you can fully appreciate its size and majesty- it literally towers over everything else. A visit inside is well worthwhile too, and can be a welcome break from the intense summer sun. Alternatively, you can wander around the myriad of narrow back streets and lanes that lead from the cathedral, admiring the architecture or having a coffee on one of the little plazas dotted around the city.
If you’re visiting for the shopping, Palma doesn’t disappoint. As well as all the usual Spanish chain stores, there is a massive Corte Ingles department store on the handsome Avenida de Jaime III, or just round the corner on the spectacular tree lined Passeig des Born, you will find many high-end designer stores if you’re feeling flush. In amongst all this grandeur, I recommend wandering up and down the back streets where you will find lots of interesting independent shops to browse through.
Food-wise, you are spoilt for choice, with places to choose from to suit all budgets. The trendy Santa Catalina district in particular, or the more traditional La Lonja area are well known for their many bars and restaurants. You are sure to find somewhere to suit your pallet or budget in either these areas.
If the hot Mediterranean climate is too much for you, there are plenty of places in and around Palma to go for a quick dip. The city’s main beach is a short walk from the centre of town heading East, or a bit further in the same direction, the little fishing village of Portixol has a pretty shingle beach and the added advantage of a good choice of fish restaurants, if you fancy a bite to eat. Alternatively, if you head out west on the Number 3 bus, I recommend you visit Ses Illetes, a really pretty spot along the coast. This bus also takes you past the large shopping mall, Porto-Pi, if you want to combine your beach trip with a bit of retail therapy.
A slightly less well-known district of Palma, but great if you are on a budget, is the area on and around Blanquerna, just north of the city centre. Its great, very Spanish, not especially touristy and also has some great places to eat, for example El Alpendre, an Argentinian meat grill restaurant which also sells foot long pizzas, or get a really decent kebab and a beer for less than 5 euros from one of the several kebab shops in the area.
In summary, there is a lot to love about Palma; the buildings, the weather, the sea, the food, and the fact that there is always someone selling cake or ice cream just round the corner.
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