Palma Majorca - Mallorca Travel Destinations Spain
Every tourist coming to Majorca will come to Palma, yet the numbers who stop to explore the island's atmospheric capital are actually very small.
For far too many people it is simply the town by the airport, yet it has a whole raft of attractions - from the cultural delights of the cathedral, palaces and museums, to the vivacity of its restaurants and bars - which make it the single 'must-see' destination on the whole island.
Approximately half the island's 600,000 inhabitants live in Palma. And with the locals predominating over the tourists this feels like a genuine piece of Spain as opposed to a warm piece of Britain (the impression you might receive in some of the island's resorts).
Palma was founded by the Romans in 120 BC as the town of Palmeria, and it was later substantially developed first by the Moors and then by Jaume I of Aragon, who captured Majorca from the Moors in 1229.
http://www.palmademallorca.es - Official tourist site for Palma.
His son ordered the building of the Gothic cathedral of Sa Seu, the defining monument of Palma. It is sited on the main mosque, which Jaume had torn down, and consequently faces Mecca rather than Jerusalem. It has a commanding position in the city, looking out over the harbour, and demands a visit. Next door is the Almudaina Palace which was also rebuilt by the Christians.
The city is probably the best Majorcan base for independent travellers. There are many hotels and hostales here where you can book directly, as opposed to via a tour operator, and there is plenty of public transport. This enables you to get to any point on the island for a day trip, be it the beaches of the south east, the hills of the west or the bays of the north.
After a day spent in the museums, churches and medieval streets - or out around the island - Palma has the bars and restaurants to delight the fussiest of winers and diners. The busiest area for eating and drinking is around Plaça Llotja and there are discos too.
British tourists usually think of Majorca in terms of one- or two-week breaks, but the ease of access to the island, and Palma in particular, means that the capital makes for a wonderful city break destination.