Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca is the largest of the 16 Spanish Balearic Islands and is located just off the east coast of Spain. Many people look forward to Palma de Mallorca as a beach day and a chance to rest and recover on their port intensive Mediterranean cruise. The beaches around Palma are beautiful, and it’s certainly a lovely way to spend the day, but should you choose otherwise, there are several sights in and around town worth seeing.
Le Seu, the Gothic style cathedral, is the landmark of the city. Overlooking the harbor, it lies in the oldest part of the city and is dedicated to San Sebastian, Palma's patron saint. The cathedral is absolutely beautiful and boasts having one of the world’s largest stain glass windows containing 1,236 pieces of glass.
Standing opposite the Cathedral, the Almudaina Palace was originally built as an Arab fortress. It became the official summer residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the beginning of the 14th Century through King Jaume II. It is still occasionally used for official functions when King Juan Carlos is in town.
A bit further outside of town is the Castell de Bellver. It is one of the most distinct castles in Spain, known for its uniquely circular form. The 14th century castle is set high on a hill and offers visitors extraordinary views of the bay of Palma and the entire city below. The best way to tour this castle starts with a walk around the moat!
For an interesting trip to the other side of the island, take the vintage Soller Railway that runs from the train terminal in the centre of Palma to the mountain town of Soller. The train winds its way along the coast and through Serra de Tramuntana Mountains. The views and scenery along the way are magnificent! When you get to Soller take the tram that is right outside the station, down to the Port de Soller, a lovely resort area with shops, cafes and a rocky beach. The quickest way back to Palma is via bus.
Palma de Mallorca comes as a surprise to many people, possibly because they don’t know what to expect. What they find that it is an engaging city with a maze of old-town streets, a lively shopping area and beautiful beaches making it the hidden gem of their Mediterranean cruise.