Palma is a monumental city which has lived facing the sea from the moment it was conceived, and as a result diverse cultures have arrived here and left their mark, above all the Arabs (who called the city Madina Mayurqa) and then Christians, who conquered the island in 1229.
The historic city centre still retains its medieval layout, and the best way of seeing it is by setting off from the imposing cathedral, known as the Seu de Mallorca, the finest vantage point there is overlooking the magnificent Bay of Palma.
The Cathedral is a Gothic building which houses artistic interventions from different centuries and prides itself on having the largest original rose window of all the European cathedrals in this style, known as the ‘Gothic Eye’, with a surface area of nearly 100 m2 and comprised of over 1,200 stained glass windows
Antoni Gaudí and Miquel Barceló. Mallorca cathedral houses the intervention of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí carried out in the early 20th century, as well as the more recent installation of a huge ceramic mural by Mallorcan artist Miquel Barceló.
Below the ancient city wall lie ses Voltes, a former military enclosure which has been turned into a space for exhibitions and performances, and the parc de la Mar, an extremely popular green lung frequented by local people. Next to the church stands the Almudaina Palace, once an Arab palace but later Christianised and renovated, delimited on the sea side by the wall that used to protect the city. Enjoy Mallorca with your scooter rental Mallorca
The chant of the Sybil. This 13thcentury chant which prophesies the end of the world is performed on Christmas Eve, during midnight mass (maitines), in the cathedral. It has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
At its feet the gardens of Hort del Rei stretch out, with water features, benches where one can sit and enjoy the atmosphere and Joan Miró. These gardens connect to the central passeig des Born, a boulevard presided over by two stone sphinxes and flanked by trees, and a lively shopping area which leads up to the street of avinguda de Jaume III, where you will find boutiques selling the top brands in clothes and accessories and a department store.
Stroll along the medieval wall. A walk that runs on the seafront along the restored stretches of the ancient city wall which used to protect Palma.
In the nearby plaça de Weyler stands the Gran Hotel, one of the most important examples there are of Modernism, now converted into an exhibition space. Beside the Teatre Principal –which has an excellent cultural programme all year round– some steps lead up to the plaça Major, a large square with porticoes where shopping streets like Sant Miquel, Sindicat and Colón converge. This latter road connects to plaça de Cort, the administrative heart of the city, presided over by the city hall and the seat of the Consell de Mallorca, or island council, a good example of the Mallorcan Neo-Gothic style.
A day at the races. Son Pardo racetrack is the venue for trotting races, two-wheeled carts pulled at a trot by horses. On summer nights you can have dinner beside the racetrack itself.