Palma de Mallorca Overview
Palma de Mallorca (or simply Palma) is the largest city in the archipelago of the Balearic Islands (Islas Baleares). Officially a part of Spain and the capital of Balearic Islands, it is situated on the south coast of Mallorca (sometimes called Myorca or Majorca), the largest of the islands. Palma is considered an iconic party destination of the world, thanks to the port of Palma that houses a total of eight marinas with a combined capacity of thousands of boats of all sizes. Because of its Moorish culture and the rise as a trade center in the 14th and 15th centuries, Palma is today the most prosperous and populated city in the Balearic Islands.
Palma is known for its rich cultural heritage, Gothic architecture, restored ancient windmills, its large harbor called the Port de Palma, cliffs and mountains, fruits and flora, gastronomy, and spectacular beaches. It frequently finds mention among the top tourist destinations in the world, also thanks to its easy accessibility.
If you are into adventures, Palma will be the perfect holiday destination. You can participate in boat racing, marathons, and other adventure activities that are regularly organized in the city. Some of the noted celebrities who were born in the city are sportspersons. No wonder Palma is known for its sports-loving populace.
Note – Palma de Mallorca, the city, is not to be confused with Mallorca, the island. While Palma is a part of the Mallorcan island, it is the administrative region of the entire Balearic Islands.
Navigation and Anchoring
The port of Palma is the safest in the vicinity, making it a suitable rest stop for travelers in chartered yachts and boats. Palma will be suitable for landfall when you are traversing from the south of Africa. It’s insensitive to all weather conditions and provides excellent cover during sailing. In October and December, you can expect some choppy waters as they are the wettest months in Mallorca.
All the eight major anchorages provide safe cover for travelers, equipped with the latest technology, proper equipment, and anchoring assistance. Together, the eight professionally managed yachting marinas in the port of Palma are capable of housing thousands of yachts across sizes. You can also get permits at Palma for visiting nearby islands.
Pro Tip – If you are visiting between July and August, we recommend pre-booking berths at your preferred anchorage. This is the peak tourist season in Palma.
While entering, navigate with caution as the port is always busy with private yachts, ferries, and commercial charters. You can enter from the east or west of the port. You may also find commercial vessels and other superyachts traversing the waters. The anchoring suggestion is ten to twelve meters over mud and sand. The maximum speed allowed is 5kn in the harbor and 3kn in the marinas. Anchoring within the harbor is prohibited and you have to mandatorily have a berth in any of the eight marinas. Switching on the anchor light is recommended at night.
Other than sea travel, the city offers taxi, bus, and rail travel options for internal traveling. The Majorca rail network is a unique establishment that connects the whole of the city and extends to other parts of the island. Its airport is one of the busiest in Spain, especially during summers.
History of Palma de Mallorca
According to historical texts, Mallorca, which houses Palma, has been inhabited for at least 6,000 years. In ancient times, the islands of Mallorca and Menorca were collectively known as Gymnesia. This was based on ‘gymnetes’ – meaning naked men – as the inhabitants wore very few clothes to cover themselves.
After the invasions of Phoenicians and Greeks, Romans captured the island and ruled it till the fifth century BCE. It was under Romans that the region that is Palma today was divided into two: Palma and Pollentia. Due to Palma’s proximity to the sea, it was used as a major port by the Romans. In these times, Mallorca was known as Major.
Post the exit of Romans, the Moors ruled Mallorca and the city of Palma from the 8th century under which it flourished culturally and commercially, especially in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is under their rule that the island used the Catalan (Mallorquin) language spoken by most inhabitants of Palma today. It became a part of Spain in the 19th century, and continues to be counted as an entity under the Spanish administration despite its autonomy. For more details, check out Palma’s official website.
Post the 1950s, Palma transformed into a hot tourist destination, which saw an upheaval in its economy, culture, traditions, and even language. Today, tourism plays a major role in the city’s economics, as over 80% of inhabitants are attached to the industry. A majority of the population of Mallorca lives in Palma, making it just like any other touristic city in the world.
Places of Interest In and Around Palma de Mallorca
Palma is an excellent tourist destination with different types of sights for every type of traveler. While the northeast and northwest coasts are characterized by mountains and cliffs, the southern part is known for hills and sandy beaches. The cliffs here are a great spot for hikers and climbers.
Old Town of Palma
Inland, you will find beautiful fruit orchards and cultivation areas. Since agriculture is the #2 profession in the city, you are in for a gastronomical treat. You can also explore different types of flora, some of which are exclusive to the island. These will act as great sightseeing spots, along with the hilly areas that are suitable for evening strolls.
There are a lot of other sights to see in Palma and nearby towns such as Establiments and Nord. These are golf courses, sandy and isolated beaches, and cliffs.
Restored Windmills in the Interior of Mallorca
While there are minimal architectural ruins of the Roman and Moorish eras left on the island, the most distinct are the windmills. These were restored in recent times and give a peek into the design and architecture of the olden times. They were used to draw water and generate electricity.
Other Places of Interest in Mallorca
Along with those mentioned above, there are several prehistoric places and sights to see and explore in and around the city. Some of them are:
- Palma Mallorca cathedral (La Seu)
- Ancient mills
- Street/town walks
- Palma Intermodal Station (Placa d’Espanya)
- UNESCO World Heritage Site the Serra de Tramuntana mountain
- Monastery at Valldemosa
- Expansive Roman baths in Campos and Arab baths
- Prehistoric and Roman remains in Lluchmayor
The city of Palma provides all types of provisions for travelers. For accommodation, there is everything from luxury resorts to budget inns that can be explored. You may book early or opt for on-arrival booking. However, do note that, like any other city, Palma and its anchorages get ridiculously crowded and noisy. If you are visiting during prime season, it’s better to pre-book, both accommodation and marina berth.
Refreshments, public transit and car rentals for internal travel, fuel stations, and chemists and healthcare facilities are easily available in the Palma port. There are also troves of markets and shops for shopping, where you can get virtually everything in the world. As a whole, Palma and its surrounding areas are well developed.