Who would have guessed that the capital city of a stunning Spanish island could have been such a star attraction?!
With so many amazing beaches around as well as wonderful fishing ports, not to mention national parks and mountainous trails, it really is pretty amazing that Palma makes it onto any list of the best places to visit in Mallorca!
But it certainly does, because this small historic gem, with its warm coastal climate, is a winner.
If I was totally surprised by Mallorca as a whole travel destination, then I was just as surprised by gorgeous Palma!
Indeed it was a far cry from what I expected from the city of an island I thought was only for package tourists and, honestly, I wish I’d had more time to explore it.
One day simply wasn’t enough in my opinion and if you get the chance, I’d certainly allocate at least 3 if you can.
If you do manage that, then here’s my list of the top 15 things to do in Palma de Mallorca while you’re there…
- 50 Best Places to Visit in Western Europe
- Top 13 Tips for Your Mallorca Travels
- Where to Stay in Mallorca: Top 10 Picks!
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#1 Wander the Old Town
Well, if you didn’t believe me that the capital of Mallorca was a historic gem, here’s my chance to prove it to you!
Because yes, definitely one of the best things to do in Palma is to wander the gorgeous historic centre here.
Otherwise known as the Casco Antiguo, the beautiful cobbled streets of this area showcase quaint Spain and its very best.
Especially beautiful during golden hour, when the yellow stone of the buildings are beautifully lit-up and the shadows filter picturesquely down the thin alleys lined with wrought-iron balconies and beautifully coloured shutters, there’s something undeniably romantic about the whole place.
You could easily wander around for hours, happily exploring and snapping – and honestly, you probably should!
#2 Marvel at the Cathedral
Next up on this list of the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca we come to the shining jewel in this city’s crown.
UNESCO-listed and absolutely huge (and I’ve seen a few cathedrals in my time!), this one is certainly worth a good marvel at.
Wandering around the outside to take it in from all angles is just as good as stepping inside in my opinion, but if you can get the lead-up view to the Cathedral from across the Placa de Llorenc Villalonga, it’s perhaps even more beautiful.
The cathedral is open 10am-2pm Monday to Saturday, and I recommend you grab your skip-the-line tickets here.
Cameras at the ready folks!
#3 Visit Bellver Castle
Dating back to the 14th century, this is where we start getting really serious with the historical gems in Palma!
With the possibility to wander the island’s history museum now located inside, as well wander the moat area and scale the roof (!), Bellver Castle is located 3km west of the centre, but offers amazing views of the city and the bay.
Open every day, all year round, entrance tickets cost just 4€.
Otherwise, it’s free to enter on a Sunday, making this ancient monument a top bucket list item to check out when you visit Palma.
#4 Stroll the Royal Palace
Nothing like a bit of regal pomp and ceremony to really get a capital going in my opinion, and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina in Palma is certainly the place to get your fill of this in Mallorca!
The official residence of the Spanish Royal family when they visit, this 14th century beauty is up there with Palma’s Cathedral when it comes to the city’s top icons – and is handily located right next to it too!
Entrance to the Palace is possible from Wednesday through Sunday most weeks of the year, from 10am to 6pm.
Tickets cost 7€ for adults, but entrance is free some Wednesday and Sunday afternoons of the year, so it pays to check!
Definitely one of the top historic things to do in Palma, the palace has some great spots for snaps, otherwise the view from Palma’s shopping street, looking up at it, is fantastic too.
#5 Hit Up a Gallery or 2
And next on the cultural agenda, it’s time to visit a museum or 2 in lovely Palma.
Because yes, believe it or not, this city actually has more than a few to choose from.
Beginning with the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which is well worth a visit thanks to its excellent collection and also great views of the city, the Miró Museum and the Joan March are also firm favourites thanks to their celebration of prominent Spanish artists.
And if you’re into museums, then the Museum of Sant Carles and the Military History Museum are probably worth checking out too.
I haven’t been myself but have heard great things!
#6 Enjoy the Baths
Definitely one of my personal favs on this list of top things to do in Palma de Mallorca, we’re sticking with the historical and cultural theme, but putting a slight twist on it here!
That’s because the ancient baths in this capital combine both these properties with the delightful ability to peer into a different city – one that existed here before Palma.
Dating back to the 12th century, these baths are all that remains of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqa, which once stood here, and likely formed part of a wealthy manor house.
The entrance costs just a couple of euros and is well worth it.
#7 Discover the Markets
But now we move onto the culinary delights of Palma… and what delights!
I’m going to start off by encouraging you to visit one (or both) of Palma’s amazing food markets, which are a must when you hit up this city.
The Olivar Market is centrally located and a beautiful fruit and veg spot that also offers cheese, seafood, pastries & prepared foods in a wonderful historic setting.
The other top option in this city is the Santa Catalina Market, which sits to the west of central Palma.
This is a beautiful trendy market full of amazing produce and a great atmosphere.
With loads of cool bars, cafes and shops here too, it’s open daily from 7am to 5pm- don’t miss it!
The area around the market is also great to wander, with hipster vibes high on the menu!
So if you didn’t get your chance at the market, then yes, one of the top things you definitely have to do when in Palma de Mallorca is eat!
Unsurprisingly, the capital has many of the island’s top restaurants and finding one that caters to your budget and tastes is the key to getting the best experience.
Having tapas is basically a rite of passage in Spain, so if you’re stuck for ideas, check out some of the city’s best-rated tapas bars (try to find one in a top picturesque spot too if you can) and start from there.
Bar España and Bazaar Tapas both come highly recommended.
#9 Grab a Rooftop Cocktail
And what to do after dinner?
Well if you still have room, then there’s no doubt one of the best things to do in Palma is grab an amazing rooftop cocktail – go on treat yourself, you’re on holiday after all!
Singular Rooftop Terrace and the Nakar Hotel Rooftop in the city are both popular thanks to their awesome views.
#10 Get to the Beach
With the coast right on its doorstep and the fact you’re on a beautiful Spanish island, drenched in sun, there’s no question hitting the beach is a top option when in Palma!
Given it’s a city beach, the sand here is actually lovely and the water is really clear too, so don’t forget to include Playa de Palma (aka the beach here!) on your itinerary.
About 10km east of the city and stretching for almost 5km, there’s plenty of space for all, with watersports, loungers and even a children’s play area on offer.
Regular buses ply the route from the city, otherwise there’s nearby free parking too.
The beach is Blue Flag listed and there’s lifeguards to ensure safe swimming, making it a great spot for families.
#11 Take a Boat Trip
And while you’re by the sea, you should absolutely hop on a boat tour to view Palma from water.
You can choose from numerous options ranging from 1-5 hours and with everything from sightseeing tours to luxury catamarans on offer, you’re sure to find one that suits!
This is the ultimate way to take in the bay in front of the city and soak in the glorious ocean here, especially if you don’t have time to venture further afield in Mallorca.
Alternatively, you can also enjoy SUP, coasteering and windsurfing lessons from Palma, as well as this great kayaking trip to some local sea caves!
#12 People Watch in a Plaza
And another great lazy activity to enjoy in Palma is simply to head to any of this city’s gorgeous squares and enjoy some people watching.
There’s always something going on in the city and, given the climate and the Spanish penchant for a stroll, a drink and a chat around a plaza, it’d be rude not to join in, right?!
Plaça de la Drassana, Plaça Cort and the city’s main square of Plaça Major are all great options.
#13 Rent a Bike
But if a more active adventure is calling you, then why not join the keen cyclists in Mallorca by renting a bike?
You don’t have to attempt any of the mountainous roads here either, because the ride east from the city to Playa de Palma follows a flat and designated cycle trail that is suitable for all the family.
Stretching 30km in total, this is a great way to take in some of the city’s sights and also enjoy some time at the beach!
Otherwise, this cycle tour of the Old Town comes highly recommended too.
#14 Join a Sightseeing Tour
If you’d rather sightsee without a bike however, then taking a tour that encompasses some of the best icons is absolutely one of the top things to do in Palma.
Bus tours are the way to go if you’re legs are feeling tired, and there’s a distinctive red hop-on hop-off bus route, which takes around an hour and a half to complete. It runs every day between 10am and 6pm, visits 18 Palma attractions and boasts an audio guides in several languages.
Tickets last for 24 hours and can be purchased here.
Otherwise, guided walking options and segway tours are also available and a lot of fun!
#15 Board the Train to Sóller
And last but not least, if you’re looking for a fantastic Palma day trip, this is certainly my pick!
This original railway line, which still uses the traditional wooden carriages, takes you through stunning mountainous scenery to the northwest town of Sóller via bridges, tunnels and viaducts that traverse the terrain.
Originally constructed to transport citrus fruit to the capital for export, this is now largely a tourist means of transport, but is no less beautiful for it.
The train runs daily throughout the year, except in January, and leaves from Palma’s main station, reaching Sóller in just over an hour.
Don’t forget to explore this stunning town before you use the historic tram available here to get down to Port de Sóller to enjoy a stroll along the promenade, a swim in the sea and a drink with a view of the harbour.
It’s best to buy combined train and tram tickets and to get a return option to guarantee the best price.
Still not cheap at around 50€, this is worth the splurge however if you don’t have much time to explore the rest of the island.
And that’s because taking the train out to the northwest, and exploring 2 of the best spots outside of the capital, will certainly give you a great sense of just how much Mallorca has to offer… the perfect inspiration for planning another trip here!
And for even more inspiration, check out my list of 21 unforgettable things to do in Mallorca!
How to Get to Mallorca?
Palma holds Mallorca’s only international airport.
As such, unless you are getting a ferry from Barcelona, it’s highly likely you’ll be looking for a flight to Palma to get to Mallorca.
Flights arrive regularly here from many European capitals, including several London airports.
Budget airlines offer the best deals (if you don’t have any check-in luggage), otherwise you might be surprised by the affordability of regular airlines such as British Airways when you include checked luggage.
The best way to check is to use a comparison tool and, of course, I suggest Skyscanner for the job!
When to Visit Palma?
No question in my mind that the best time to visit Palma (and Mallorca in general) is between the months of April and October – this is when the warm weather will allow you to take full advantage of the city’s beauty at its best.
Just beware that in July and August especially, the island can experience some very high temperatures – think mid 30 degrees plus – so do bear that in mind if you’re not a fan of the heat or you want to enjoy some more active adventures on the island.
When I visited in mid-September the temperatures were still in the high twenties and very pleasant.
How Long to Visit Palma For?
The amount of time you’ll want to spend in Palma will very much depend on what you plan to do there, whether you’ve been before and how long you have for your trip in general!
As a rule of thumb however, I recommend spending 3 days in the capital.
It makes a great place to begin your time in Mallorca, especially as you’re likely to fly in there, and you can then head off to enjoy some other activities the island has to offer including beaching, cycling, hiking and wine tasting!
Where to Stay in Palma?
Here’s my top 3 picks for an affordable stay in Palma…
How to Get Around Mallorca?
When it comes to navigating Palma, walking is honestly fine, as you’re likely to be based in the city centre, which is quite small.
When it comes to getting beyond Palma to the rest of the island, there are certainly local bus options you can use to get around – although these can be infrequent and irregular.
For that reason, unless you are planning to stay in a resort and not move, I really do think the best option for getting around Mallorca is to rent a car.
This will give you the freedom to explore all the hidden beaches and cute towns you wish to.
I usually rent a vehicle with Thrifty Car Hire as they operate globally and have some great rates, however I actually found a better deal in Mallorca with Wiber – so do check these guys out too.
10 Packing Essentials for Palma
• A sand-free beach towel
• UV sunglasses
• Good trail shoes for walking
• Bamboo activewear (hypoallergenic, temperature-regulating)
• Natural 30 SPF sunscreen • A good insect repellent
• Thin waterproof jacket • A sarong
• Sony A6000 camera and / or GoPro Hero 9
Travel Insurance for Mallorca
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Where to Travel After Mallorca?
If you still have time for more travelling after Mallorca (and lucky you if so!) then you may want to head to Barcelona!
Easy and regular ferries and flights run from the island to this excellent Spanish city.
Check out my top Barcelona itinerary for more info.
Otherwise, you may want to explore elsewhere in Spain – the capital Madrid, the city of Valencia and the amazing region of Andalusia all come highly rated by me!
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it folks, my top list of the top 15 things to do in Palma de Mallorca.
Have I convinced you to donate some time to this city yet?
I hope so, because you won’t regret it!
Have you been to Palma before?
What was your favourite thing to do there?
Tell me all in the comments box below…