A lot of the best things to do, see and taste are scattered across the island, so the best thing to do is rent a car and see as much as you can. That said, I’ve visited Mallorca for only a few days at a time and both times stayed in Palma. So here are my Palma tips.
One of my favourite spots to eat is within the quiet streets of Palma’s old town at a place called Café C’an Toni. They serve traditional Mallorcan-style food and use a wood-burning oven to roast their meat and fish dishes. The restaurant itself is quite small yet comfortable, but the best place to sit is in their outside terrace which is literally in the middle of the street (don’t worry, it’s a quite road!)
If you haven’t called ahead to reserve a table, you can show up and hope the wait isn’t too long. They serve a very healthy portion of gin and tonic to help the time pass by whilst you wait. Once you’re at the table, order the Galacian-style octopus, it’s ginormous and delicious.
La Boveda is another dinner favourite. Another traditional Mallorcan-menu, their tapas is some of the best in Palma. Make sure you order the jamon, lamb chops, and their house wine is fantastic. It’s also incredibly good value.
NB. There are two ‘La Boveda’ in Palma. This one is more familiar with the locals and looks like a wine cellar inside. They use wine barrels as stools. What’s not to love!
If you manage to get to La Boveda, make sure you save some room for dessert. Just around the corner from La Bodeva is a beautiful, old Spanish ‘haunted’ townhouse called Abaco. Behind very large, unassuming doors, is a stunning entrance courtyard, decorated with fresh fruits and vegetables. Through the courtyard is an outside terrace with fountains and budgerigars in large cages. They sound of both makes this place very romantic.
You can walk around the house itself, which is laden with copies of Italian masters and sculptures. There is one room which is not open to the public as it is believed that someone died there. To take your mind off it’s spooky history, take a seat outside and order dessert. They are huge. So are the cocktails.
For a non-beach lunch, I’d recommend visiting the Santa Catalina food market. They have an array of meats, fish, cheese, sweet stuff, you name it! One of the best things to do is pick your own food and have the bar cook it for you. It’s packed on a Saturday and closes around 2pm, so get there early!
If you need an afternoon pick me up, wander around the old town, and head to Giovanni L, one of the most popular ice cream parlours in town. Their flavours range from chocolate and peanut butter to Toblerone and spiced chai tea!
Neither tried nor tested, but researched & recommended…
For all the meat-lovers, here are some restaurants I came across on my research but haven’t been lucky to feast there:
Es Verger, Alaró – a farm restaurant half way up Alaró mountain, serving terrific lamb — worth the hairy drive up from the town of the same name. Booking is essential in high season.
Finca Es Serral, Arta – set in the countryside just outside Artà. Locally reared pork and lamb, but there is plenty of choice for vegetarians too.
Bar Nou, Pollensa – an unpretentious place which does authentic homemade paella and fresh fish at reasonable prices — making it popular with locals. Ask for a table on the terrace when booking.
Meson C’an Pedro – sells steak on the hot stone, roast leg of lamb, Iberico ham, roast suckling pig and the muscles a la marinera.
Honestly, I don’t really rate the beaches in Palma itself. I think most of the white sands, blue seas stuff is further around the island – like the spot The Night Manager was filmed at, C’an Patro March. So if you don’t want to stray too far, I would recommend jumping in a cab and going to Virtual Beach Club (formally known as Balneario Illetas Beach Club). The water is beautiful and there’s not much beach (which I actually prefer).
Another popular beach spot, that isn’t too far from the city centre is Puro Beach Club, but you’ll need to book sun beds in advance as they get book up pretty fast, especially during the high season in the summer months.
And if you’re feeling really lazy, Nassau Beach Club is walking distance from the town centre.
A terrific beach is about 40 minutes drive away from Palma. Es Trenc Beach has an incredible long, sandy beach with clear blue water of many different shades of blue. It’s stunning. It’s also a nudist beach, so be prepared to see a lot of Spanish sausage!
I would highly recommend the Brondo Architecture Hotel. It’s bang in the center of Palma, with spacious rooms, awesome interior decor and killer breakfast spread.
For something a little further out, but still walking distance into the town centre, I would recommend HM Balanguera. It’s one of the very few hotels in Palma with a pool (even though it’s the size of a very large bathtub), and it’s big white sun beds have an Ibiza-eque vibe to it. In other words, it’s cool.