IDYLLIC BEACH ESCAPES
Discover beautiful coves and explore rugged coastlines, one thing’s certain, Mallorca has superb beaches.
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Mallorca has everything you could hope for on an island holiday. From sun-drenched golden sands to windswept forests perfect for mountain biking. Enjoy city breaks in Palma alongside family-friendly holidays on the south coast.
The Mallorcan capital Palma offers everything a major European city can, with modern boutique shopping, exciting new wine bars and of course delicious tapas. Wander through Palma’s old town, getting lost in the labyrinthine streets and squares, before visiting the spectacular Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma to learn about its tumultuous and changeable history. Away from the city you’ll find beaches perfect for kitesurfing and sailing, and inland vineyards bulging with grapes ready for bottling. Further north on the island, discover the idyllic coastal villages and craggy promontories of the Sierra de Tramuntana, perfect for hiking or mountain biking.
Palma was often overlooked as a destination during the rise of tourism in Mallorca, but it has since developed into a cosmopolitan and cultured capital. You’ll find superb world-class tapas restaurants, contemporary art galleries, chic boutiques and hip bars on every corner.
There’s a lot to see in Palma, from the imposing Castell de Bellver and the Moorish Banys Arabs to the Medieval old town. However, the biggest draw is the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, otherwise known as La Seu. The magnificent Catalan Gothic architecture was, symbolically, built on top of a former mosque, and while begun in 13th century, was only finally finished in 1601. Its ornate spires tower above spectacular stained-glass rose windows, and the whole edifice seems to rise out of the sea. A curious feature added in 2007, is artist Miquel Barceló’s story of the loaves and fishes, in which an underwater theme takes over the Chapel of Holy Sacrament.
From Chopin and Miró to the poet and writer Robert Graves, Mallorca has always welcomed artists with open arms. Palma’s art scene is now celebrated all over the world, and features some of the world’s best loved modern artists at the Es Baluard, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Alternatively, Catalan artist Joan Miró, adored Mallorca and lived and worked on the island for many years. He commissioned what is now the Fundació de Pilar i Joan Miró in 1959, which houses an impressive collection in his perfectly preserved studio.
Palma’s Old Town has seen something of a shift upwards in recent years, with elegant hotels, trendy cafés and designer boutiques arriving in force. Along the beautiful tree-lined promenade Passeig des Born, and the nearby Avinguda Jaume III, you will find designer stores such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Hugo Boss, but head off one of the side streets to find independent fashions. But those in the know head to Rialto Living, a lifestyle store set within the former site of the iconic Rialto Cinema. While the setup is like a department store, it feels much more like a luxury and relaxing gallery.
Palma is a labyrinth of medieval streets, full of tapas bars and restaurants, all of them with their own certain pulling power. You’ll find contemporary and hip favourites like Quina Crew, where you can order tapas with a modern twist. And then you’ll stumble across the tiny hole-in-the-wall bodegas like Sa Bodegueta, whose classic food and cheap wine brings in the locals every night. Those in the know head to the ‘tapas trail’ on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Sa Gerreria neighbourhood. Around 25 bars serve a different pinxho with a drink, so make your way round and fill up (responsibly, of course).
There is a lot of choice for bars in Palma, from the weird – like the quirky Indian-style Chakra Bar – to the classic beach bars found along the seafront. The luxury hotel bars, like in any major city, are great for cocktails and being seen. But those in the know head to the cool areas of La Lonja or the old town. For a great wine bar, head to Wineing, whose collection of 48 vintages by the glass is sure to delight. Santa Caterina is well-known for student hangouts and cheap tapas – perfect for those on a budget.