Mallorcan coastline

Majorca’s capital is a relatively undiscovered city gem that is perfect for a long weekend or short break. Here are some highlights for groups heading to Palma.

Palma is an elegant port city that’s compact, walkable, packed full of character and with plenty of tempting places to eat and drink.

It is a very accessible group destination with an increasing number of flights from London and regional airports. Norwegian, which flies from Gatwick, recently opened a new base in at the city’s airport which is only 20 minutes from the city centre.

Get lost in the labyrinth of streets in the old town, where houses open onto beautiful courtyards, and admire Spanish Art Nouveau architecture which is at its most impressive in Placa Weyler. A highlight is the Gran Hotel, Palma’s first hotel, which opened in 1803, and is now a cafe and bookshop.

Other impressive transformations include Palma’s first lifestyle store, Rialto Living, opened in a 19th century palace off the El Born boulevard. The store’s tranquil cafe is a wonderful spot to take a break.

Essential Sights

Sa Seu Cathedral: Palma’s landmark is the magnificent 14th century cathedral with decorative 20th century additions by Gaudi, more famously known for his influences on Barcelona. In 2007 another famous Spanish architect, Miquel Barcelo, left a controversial mark when he transformed one of the chapels into an underwater cave.

/Palma rooftops with cathedral

Pictured: Views across the rooftops to Palma's 14th century cathedral.

Valldemossa: Around 30 minutes from Palma and situated in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, Valldemossa is arguably the island’s prettiest town. The 13th century monastery is famous for its links with Chopin and visits, with reduced rates for groups, include a 15-minute concert.

Palma Old Town: Almost every main street and side street in Palma’s old town contains shops, many of them charming individual boutiques and stalls selling jewellery, clothes, local handicrafts and regional foods. There’s a colourful flower market in La Rambla, leading to the main square Placa Mayor, and designer shops in grand Avinguda Jaume III.

Take a Tour

The best way to get an overview of the city is on the hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing bus which takes in 18 stops and runs every 15 minutes in peak season. There are discounts of up to 20 per cent for groups and combination tickets are available with other sightseeing tours.

Travel back in time on the Soller Railway which has connected Palma with the small town of Soller since 1912. Up to six trains a day leave from Placa d’Espanya and the journey in vintage carriages takes 55 minutes. When you arrive treat your group to the town’s famous ice cream. Soller is also a great spot to take a walk in the surrounding countryside along well-marked trails.

Soller train credit Fomento del Turismo de Mallorca Eduard Miralles

Pictured: The Soller Railway. (Photo credit: Fomento del Turismo de Mallorca Eduard Miralles).

Traditional Spanish tapas is always a great way for groups to sample small bites of delicious local foods. If you’re in town on a Tuesday follow the Ruta Martiana ‘tapas route’, where pubs and bars in the old quarter offer plates of tapas with wine or beer for €2 from 7.30pm to midnight.

Best for Groups

Robert Graves’ House & Museum: The wartime poet and author of books such as I, Claudius lived in the village of Deia, half an hour from Palma, from 1929 until his death. Watch the evocative film about his life before touring the house that remains unchanged. Pre-booked groups are welcome and receive discounted admission.

Robert Graves' garden

Pictured: Robert Graves' House & Museum.

Palma Aquarium: One of the city’s newest attractions, the aquarium is a short drive out of town and near the airport. It includes displays of fish, marine creatures, endangered coral and the impressive Big Blue shark tank, the deepest in Europe. Outside attractions include Spain’s largest rooftop garden. There are discounts for groups of 20 plus.

Joan Miro Studio & Museum: The distinctive work of artist Joan Miro is instantly recognisable and can be explored in the studios where he worked from 1956 until his death in 1983. There is an adjoining museum and the tranquil grounds include a sculpture garden. There is discounted entry for groups.

Where to Stay

Hotel Tres: Combining a modern building with a 16th century palace, this contemporary 41-room hotel has a lovely shady courtyard and sunny roof terrace providing panoramic views of the cathedral and waterfront.

Hotel Cort: This property is a stunning new boutique hotel where every room is individually designed. The atmospheric bar and restaurant overlook the ancient olive tree in Placa de Cort and the al fresco terrace is a great place to stop for refreshments.

Hotel Bon Sol: Five miles outside Palma, the family-owned four-star Hotel Bon Sol is an ideal spot to combine a city break with time out by the seaside.