The Travelettes Guide to Palma, Majorca
I have been to Palma de Mallorca a couple of times already. Despite the ongoing cliché of drunken, half naked people sipping sangria through giant straws out of red buckets the Spanish island has a lot to offer. When visiting Majorca, I mainly enjoy life in the South of the island, a big glass of Horchata in hand, overlooking white beaches, turquoise sea and swaying palm trees. But believe it or not, after a while even that becomes boring and strolling the city of Palma to me is a perfect break from the scenic idyll. With Palma’s great Roman, Arabic and art nouveau architecture, the narrow alleys and big ramblas, versatile jugglers on every corner, great street art, famous spanish bakeries and shoe shops and not at least with a cathedral even Gaudi had its hands on, the city really reminds me of my beloved Barcelona. When I was younger, I always wanted to attend university here but to do that my Majorquin, the islands very own Catalan dialect, was far too inexistent.
But enough of the talking, here are some of the straight facts to put you in the know about Majorca, your very own Travelettes Guide to Palma.
The very heart of shopping in Palma would be Placa Mayor. One of the places, a lot like Placa Reial in Barcelona, were you’ll find a seemingliy endless variety of tourist entertainment and traps (beware of the women with pink flowers!). It’s also a great place to start and explore the many shopping streets and alleys leading up to the Placa.
Calle de La Paloma / Calle Jaume III
South of Placa Mayor you’ll find a network of small streets, with the biggest one being Calle de La Paloma and Calle Jaume III. These streets are mostly dedicated to traditional stores for fans, flamenco dresses, pearls and most importantly: shoes! Lots of shoes. Every other shop on these two streets is dedicated to leather treats. Every Travelettes’ paradise, right?
One of those great shops is Cuplé (Calle San Nicolas 3) where you’ll find a nice variety of boots, heels, sandals and beautiful crafted leather bags. More into Streetwear? Find Pasatiempos (Calle Quint 3) in one of the tiny alleys for sneakers and brightly coloured heels. In need of some kick ass new sunglasses? Infinit Eyewear (Tous I Maroto 5) is the place!
Looking for a great souvenir for you mum or best friend? What about some chocolate from Chocolate Factory (Plaça Mercat, 9) or a gorgeous traditional fan from Paraguas (Calle Jaume II, 22A)? I always bring one, even if you may think it’s cheesy…
Suckers of old maps and globes should pay Casa del Mapa (Calle Santo Domingo 11) a visit. Although it’s a modern shop, you’ll not only find updated city maps and guides but also historical maps, globes and compasses.
Well you get the idea… one should definitely get lost in those alleys to discover more great, hidden spots like nice galleries, wedding dress boutiques and interior shops.
Calle San Miguel
Noon is the perfect time to head out the North-East gate of Placa Mayor into Calle San Miguel, because during “Siesta” time, between 2pm and 5pm all the small stores tend to be closed. In this street you will find all the typical Spanish brands like: Custo Barcelona and Desigual (both San Miguel 15), Camper (San Miguel 17), Stradivarius (Plaza Olivar, 1), Bershka (San Miguel 31) and Sfera (San Miguel 55).
At Number 20 you’ll find two stores, Suivi and Forumshop, which belong together and sell a wide range of popular brands like American Vintage, Comme des Garcons and DKNY Pure for decent prices.
If you’re not too exhausted from shopping just yet, take a right over to Placa España and right again to the Avenidas.
The Avenidas are probably the busiest streets of Palma, with up to 5 lanes in every direction but alsohome to the big stores such as Mango , Zara (Avenida de Alejandro Rosselló 34) and the famous Spanish department store El Corte Inglés (Avenida Alejandro Rosselló, 21).
I already told you about the good bakeries and candy shops in Spain. And let me tell you, a Travelette really shouldn’t visit Palma when on a diet. I think those following pictures will emphasize my advice.
For the most delicious candy and pastry go to either Forn Fondo (Calle Unio 15) or Forn des Teatre (Plaza Weyler 9). Both of them are traditional confectioneries, operated by the same families for many generations. Make sure to try a “Ensaïmada”, a typical Catalan pastry whose origins can be dated back to the 17th century. It’s my favourite for breakfast and it’s delicious!
But most likely in the summer, you might be more in the mood for some refreshing ice cream. If so, pay one of the Iceberg shops a visit. There are several in the old town, one right next to the Palau Reial (Calle Palau Reial 3), one close to Placa Mayor (Calle Jaime II 6) and one close to the port (Calle Apuntadores 12). Whats so special about Iceberg? Definitely the outstanding flavours of ice cream and sorbets. What about some cinnamon apple? Or Irish Coffee cream? Or even a scoop of said Ensaïmada Mallorquina? You will be surprised by any of them.
Speaking of food, after all this shopping you might become hungry at some point. Since we are in Spain, Tapas would be the obvious choice and I couldn’t blame anybody going for the portion-sized treats. A hand full of the tiny plates with meatballs, filled mushrooms and Pimientos de Padrón along with a glass of Estrella are always a good choice. All of this you will get at Bar Bosch (Placa del Rei Juan Carlos I 6), probably the most famous bar in Palma. I always put my “I’m not a tourist” pride aside for a minute to enjoy the best Tapas in town.
Off the beaten track lies a small café called Mari-Lin (Costa de sa Pols 8 ) were you can chose between typical dishes such as Pamboli (bread with oil), different salads and special daily dishes like couscous during the day and a delicious range of cocktails and long drinks in the evening. The interior is very cozy and guests, mostly students, taking advantage of the free wifi, listening to the good music or mother-daughter teams with a mountain of shopping bags.
Hidden in the alleys in the very center of Palma’s old town lies the Palau Sa Font (Calle Apuntadores 38), a palace from the 16th century, hosting a botique hotel, filled with modern artworks and a vibrant interior, contrastive to the old walls of the building. For relaxation after hours of shopping the former palace has an open courtyard with longers and even a pool.
For anyone who would rather swap small hotels rooms for affordable private accomodation in the city center and various local neighbourhoods Wimdu offers up a nice selection of places to stay in Palma. Here you can find large apartments with rooftop terraces and swimming pool suitable to small and big budgets.
All in one Palma is really worth a visit, for a short trip to the city and the surrounding beaches or even just for a day trip while staying somewhere else on the island. There are good connections to the city center (Placa España) via bus or train from anywhere on the island or you can grab a rental car and explore some more of the city’s surroundings (I like to use Goldcar). Stay tuned for more content on Majorca on Travelettes soon and tell us about your favourite places in the city in the comments!
She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.