Looking for an island escape that still has some cool city vibes? This travel guide will have you booking a flight to Mallorca asap. Discover what to do and eat in Palma, Mallorca.
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Mallorca is the largest of the four Balearic Islands. I could definitely see myself spending a week exploring the different towns and beaches. Unfortunately, Will and I only had a few short days on the island, so we decided to stay in the island’s capital city: Palma. I knew Mallorca would be beautiful, but I underestimated it’s rich history. If you want to stay at a resort and lay on the beach, there are plenty of gorgeous hotels and beaches to do so, but all my active-vacation lovers can also get their fill. So what can you do and eat in Palma, Mallorca? My guide will fill you in.
WHERE TO STAY
Will and I stayed at the Tryp Palma Bellver Hotel. It’s a decent hotel overlooking a big marina, so we were able to ogle all the snazzy yachts and pretend they were ours. I wish the hotel had been closer to a beach, but oh well. The water was too cold to really go in when we were there in mid May anyway.
What you lack in beach proximity, you make up for with proximity to the old town. Old town is, you guessed it, the oldest part of the city. It’s filled with charming alleys, cute shops and tucked away restaurants. It’s also home to some of the oldest architecture in the city.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
We arrived early afternoon, dropped our bags off at the hotel and decided to make our way to Bellver Castle, a gothic-style castle built in the 1300s. We walked through charming streets and alleys until we found the entrance and started walking up, up, up.
The whole time we were walking up the stairs, I was wondering why there weren’t any other tourists around. It wasn’t a weekend, I supposed.
Up and up we went.
Finally we made it to the top and… it’s closed on Mondays.
Yep. Poor research on my part, but I guess that explained the lack of tourists.
While we couldn’t go inside or learn more about its history by way of a tour, we were able to walk around the perimeter and snap some pictures.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around old town by foot before getting a delicious dinner (more on that later) and calling it a night.
The next day, I woke up early to squeeze in a quick run along the old town walls before Will and I headed to the meeting spot for a Bike Tour. We started by riding along the coast and made our first stop at the city beach. You really can’t beat this blue water.
Then we rode into Old Town where we learned about Palma’s many cathedrals, mosques, a still-functioning convent and the historic windmills. We also stopped in Palma Square, the “Times Square” of Palma to sample some tapas (they were just ok), people watch and see some street performers.
Of course, we had to stop by Palma Cathedral Le Seu, the largest cathedral in the city. Tour groups from all the cruise ships that had docked in Palma that day were crowding the area, so we had to walk our bikes, but this 17th century cathedral is a can’t miss.
Toward the end of our tour, we made our way up to a quiet little neighborhood where two old 17th century windmills still stand. How neat are these?
Before we new it, our tour had come to an end. I loved learning about the history of the city while getting in a little exercise!
We kept the active-vacation mode going the next day with a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Cave Tour. We took a quick cab ride to Playa del Palma (another cool area to explore) to meet our tour guide. I’d read that the group tour usually gets up to 50 people, but it ended up just being the two of us. It would have been nice to meet some other travelers, but oh well. I won’t say no to a private tour!
We loaded up a van with our boards, and our guide drove us out to a beach where we were able to get in the water. After a quick lesson, we were off to explore the gorgeous blue waters.
Natural caves popped up along the coast every now and then. We always opted to explore them. Our curiosity paid off when we saw some sting rays!
Usually you can stop and snorkle, but the water was way too cold. The water was so clear, we could also see all the way to bottom. There didn’t seem to be many fish to spot anyway at that time of year.
After about three hours of paddle boarded (our shoulders were shot) we made our way back to Playa del Palma and then to our hotel.
We decided to see if we could rent a scooter to explore more of the island. A couple we met on our bike tour suggested a car, but we thought a scooter would be more fun.
Well… it was certainly an adventure.
We didn’t have a set plan, so we just took out our digital maps (thanks, Google), looked for any cool beach spot we could find and set our GPS. Stupid us, we forgot to turn on the “avoid highways” mode for our first stop, so yea… that was a little scary. But after that, we learned our lesson and took local roads.
Our adventures took us to this cool secluded beach…
…and then to Puerto Portals, which apparently is where all the rich and famous stay in Mallorca. It had a small “downtown” area with fancy shops and restaurants looking out over a VERY NICE marina. This marina put the one by our hotel to shame. Some of the yachts docked there are bigger than our house! We admired all the fancy boats, and after starting to feel bad about ourselves and our lack of fanciness, we made our way back to Palma.
If you decide to take a trip to Mallorca, I’d definitely rent a scooter or bike to explore more beaches, marinas and towns.
WHERE TO EAT
Our favorite meal of the trip was at restaurant called Tast Club. It was recommended by a local. The restaurant isn’t labeled from the street and is a bit tucked away, but after a little confusion we found it.
We didn’t have a reservation, but they had room for us at the bar. The meal was tapas style yet again, but everything was delicious. We had a lobster ceviche, grilled octopus and a few other things I can’t remember beyond the fact that we ate every last bite.
We got a few other recommendations from a local, but didn’t end up having time to try them. I might as well pass along the recommendations for you all, though!
For a drink while watching the sunset: Purobeach
To sample some desserts typical to the island in the old town: Ca’n Joan
Wine I kept an eye out for but didn’t find: Macia Batle and Anima
Overall, I loved our time in Mallorca and, like every stop on our honeymoon tour, wish we’d had more of it. I could easily see spending a whole week on the island either at different hotels and beaches or by renting a car.
What fun fit adventures have you been on lately? Share them in today’s Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up!
Have you ever been to Mallorca?
Do you enjoy laying on a beach or exploring the beach?