Palma, like so many Mediterranean villages and cities, was originally occupied by the Romans, then the Moors and finally the Christian King, Jaime I, toppled Moorish rule in 1229. When you wander around Palma today you will see many churches (55 in the capital) ranging in style from Gothic to Baroque. Be sure to visit the stunning Gothic Cathedral (Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca or La Seu) that was built in the 13th century.
But before you set out to explore this ancient city, be sure to fortify yourself at one of the many cafés. Stop by Ca’n Joan De S’aigo(Carrer de Can Sanç, 10), Palma’s oldest café that dates back to 1700s, and order an “ensaïmada,” a traditional Mallorcan pastry. If you’re a coffee lover, visit one of the Cappuccino Grand Cafés.
After breakfast, give yourself plenty of time to wander the twisting streets of the old town (El Casco Antiguo). Check out the 1000 year old olive tree in front of the Palma Town Hall (Plaça de Cort). Visit the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, a 10th century Moorish Fortress rebuilt by Christians in the Gothic style, and the Museum of Modern Art (Museu Fundación Juan March) before looking for the perfect spot for lunch.
Check out the food market (Mercat de Santa Catalina) where you can find wine and a snack (pincho) at Bar La Tapita Santa Catalina if you want to stroll and eat. For a less ambulatory meal stop at Adrian Quetglas. A one star Michelin restaurant, they offer a creative and well-priced 5-step lunch menu. In both cases you’ll be perfectly situated to explore the trendy neighborhood of Santa Catalina in the afternoon.
By now you’re probably a bit weary of sightseeing but be sure to visit Bellver Castle for a stunning 360 degree view of the city and surrounding mountain range and bay.
As night falls, you’ll want to enjoy a meal at one of the many fine restaurants Palma offers. Marc Fosh is another Michelin-starred restaurant located in an old monastery. For a more relaxed option visit Canela, a trendy bistro offering Mediterranean Asian fusion cuisine. Another option is to do as the locals do – make a meal out of the tapas that you can find at dozens of bars and restaurants such as El Camino in the city center or Vandal in Santa Catalina. Vandal is a sharing concept restaurant that offers creative cocktails and tapas in a cool bar setting. If you’re looking for a spot with the best views of the old town and Palma marina, start your evening with drinks at 49 Steps rooftop bar then continue with dinner at one of the seafront restaurants such as Mar de Nudos or Vida.
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