Must see attractions in Palma de Mallorca

  • Top ChoiceSights in Palma de Mallorca

    Palau de l'Almudaina

    Originally an Islamic fort, this mighty construction opposite the cathedral was converted into a residence for the Mallorcan monarchs at the end of the 13th century. The King of Spain resides here still, at least symbolically. The royal family is rarely in residence, except for the occasional ceremony, as they prefer to spend summer in the Palau Marivent (in Cala Major). At other times you can wander through a series of cavernous stone-walled rooms that have been lavishly decorated.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Palma de Mallorca

    Catedral de Mallorca

    Palma’s vast cathedral ('La Seu' in Catalan) is the city's major architectural landmark. Aside from its sheer scale, treasures and undoubted beauty, its stunning interior features, designed by Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló, make this unlike any cathedral elsewhere in the world. The awesome structure is predominantly Gothic, apart from the main facade, which is startling, quite beautiful and completely mongrel. The stunning rose window is the largest in Europe, see it up close by visiting the roof terraces.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Castell de Bellver

    Straddling a wooded hillside, the Castell de Bellver is a 14th-century circular castle (with a unique round tower), the only one of its kind in Spain. Jaume II ordered it built atop a hill known as Puig de Sa Mesquida in 1300 and it was largely completed within 10 years. Perhaps the highlight of any visit is the spectacular views over the woods to Palma, the Badia de Palma and out to sea.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Palma de Mallorca

    Palau March

    This house, palatial by any definition, was one of several residences of the phenomenally wealthy March family. Sculptures by 20th-century greats, including Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Chillida, grace the outdoor terrace. Within lie many more artistic treasures. Not to be missed are the meticulously crafted figures of an 18th-century Neapolitan belén (nativity scene).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Palma de Mallorca

    Es Baluard

    Built with flair and innovation into the shell of the Renaissance-era seaward walls, this contemporary art gallery is one of the finest on the island. Its temporary exhibitions are worth viewing, but the permanent collection – works by Miró, Barceló and Picasso – gives the gallery its cachet. Anyone turning up on a bike is charged just €2.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Basílica de Sant Francesc

    One of Palma’s oldest churches, the Franciscan Basílica de Sant Francesc was begun in 1281 in Gothic style, while the baroque facade, with its carved postal and rose window, was completed in 1700. In the splendid Gothic cloister – a two-tiered, trapezoid affair – the elegant columns indicate it was also some time in the making. Inside, the high vaulted roof is classic Gothic, while the glittering high altar is a baroque lollipop, albeit in need of a polish.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Palma de Mallorca

    Museu Fundación Juan March

    The 17th-century Can Gallard del Canya, a 17th-century mansion overlaid with minor Modernist touches, now houses a small but significant collection of painting and sculpture. The permanent exhibits – some 80 pieces held by the Fundación Juan March – constitute a veritable who’s who of contemporary Spanish art, including Miró, Picasso, fellow cubist Juan Gris, Dalí, and the sculptors Eduardo Chillida and Julio González.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Can Balaguer

    One of Palma's most emblematic buildings, the permanent exhibition, entitled La Casa Posible, re-creates rooms of this former noble house from 1600–1951. Rooms are evocative of their period, including the 17th-century music room with its magnificent organ, the opulent 18th-century bedchamber sporting sumptuous damask fabrics and a canopied bed and the extraordinary Louis XV room, a style that was in vogue in the late 19th century. The house's last owner was Josep Balaguer (1869–1951), a musician, entrepreneur and patron of the arts.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Museu de sa Jugueta

    The 3000 cars, planes, dolls, robots and other toys on display here represent the tip of a collection of more than 7000 pieces, acquired steadily by a passionate collector from Barcelona. Adjoining is a smart little bar-restaurant (three courses for €13) that not only caters to kids, but turns into a creative play space between 5pm and 8pm in the evening.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Museu Diocesà

    Located in the Palau Episcopal (Bishop’s Residence; a mainly Gothic ensemble dating to the 13th century), the Museu Diocesà, behind the cathedral to the east, is a fascinating excursion for those interested in Mallorca’s Christian artistic history. It contains works by Antoni Gaudí, Francesc Comes and Pere Niçard, and a mind-boggling retaule (altarpiece) depicting the Passion of Christ (c 1290–1305) and taken from the Convent de Santa Clara.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Passeig d’es Born

    One of Palma's most appealing boulevards, Passeig d’es Born is capped by Plaça del Rei Joan Carles I (named after the present king and formerly after Pope Pius XII), a traffic roundabout locally known as Plaça de les Tortugues, because of the obelisk placed on four bronze turtles. On the east side of the avenue, on the corner of Carrer de Jovellanos, the distorted black face of a Moor, complete with white stone turban, is affixed high on a building.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Banys Àrabs

    These baths, dating from the 10th to 12th centuries, are the single most important remaining monument to the Muslim domination of the island, although all that survives are two small underground chambers, one with a domed ceiling supported by a dozen columns, some of whose capitals were recycled from demolished Roman buildings. The site may be small, but the two rooms – the caldarium (hot bath) and the tepidarium (warm bath) – evoke a poignant sense of abandonment.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Convent de Santa Clara

    The 'Poor Clares' were one of the first orders to establish a presence in Palma, following the Reconquesta of 1229. The land on which the convent stands was granted them in 1260, although much of the baroque and Gothic structure dates to the 16th and 17th centuries. The current church (the third on the site) has been extensively restored, and the handful of nuns still cloistered here maintains a centuries-old tradition of baking sweets for sale.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Plaça Major

    Plaça Major is a typically Spanish grandiose central square, lined with arcades, shops, cafes and restaurants (the burger chain jars somewhat). Lively by day, it falls eerily silent at night.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Ajuntament

    Dominating the square that has long been the heart of municipal power in Palma is the ajuntament. The baroque facade hides a longer history: the town hall building grew out of a Gothic hospital raised here shortly after the island's conquest. On the top floor of the main facade sits the town clock, En Figuera, purchased in France in 1863.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Sa Llotja

    The gorgeous 15th-century sandstone Sa Llotja, opposite the waterfront, was built as a merchants’ stock exchange. Designed by the Mallorcan sculptor Guillem Sagrera (who also worked on the cathedral) and completed in 1448, it is the apogee of civilian Gothic building on the island. Its mercantile past well behind it, Sa Llotja is now used for temporary exhibitions.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Església del Monti-Sion

    The gaudy baroque facade of the Església del Monti-Sion was converted from a Gothic synagogue. It got a serious baroque makeover, inside and out, in the 16th to 17th centuries, and is now considered one of the high points of the style on the island. Gothic giveaways include the ogive arches in front of the chapels, the key vaulting in the ceiling and the long, low Catalan Gothic arch just inside the entrance.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    CaixaForum

    Housed in the wonderful Modernisme building (the island's first) that was once the Grand Hotel, this cultural centre and gallery is run by one of Spain's biggest building societies, the Barcelona-based La Caixa (members get free entry). The permanent collection of paintings by Hermenegildo Anglada Camarasa is complemented by temporary exhibitions (on themes such as Roman female statuary from the Louvre): pick up a program at reception and flick through it at the ground-level cafe, or browse the excellent bookshop.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Església de Sant Miquel

    A striking mix of styles, St Michael's is one of Palma's first four churches, built on the site of a mosque where the island's first Mass was celebrated on 31 December 1229. The facade and entrance, with its long, low arch, is a perfect example of 14th-century Catalan Gothic, as is the squat, seven-storey bell tower. Otherwise the church, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling, is largely the result of a baroque makeover.

  • Sights in Palma de Mallorca

    Església de Santa Eulàlia

    The oldest parish church in Palma, raised after the 1229 conquest, the Església de Santa Eulàlia is a soaring Gothic structure with a neo-Gothic facade. Note that you can visit the church for free, the admission price is to visit the 50m-high belfry, from where you have a magnificent view of the Basílica de Sant Francesc and Palma's historic quarter with sights easily identifiable with the help of a diagrammed guide.