Mallorca’s elegant capital, Palma balances the vibrancy of a city with the alluring slow pace of island life, making it the hottest yacht charter destination in the Baleriac seas. Its streets welcome exploration, with interesting architecture, hidden squares, contemporary dining options and a lively nightlife. Several ports and marinas offer plenty of mooring spots, with Club de Mar providing the best facilities for superyachts, just a short stroll from the city center.
The Old Town is the city’s most beautiful and nostalgic region with labyrinthine cobbled streets, towering Renaissance palaces and secluded squares. Spend a day wandering the eclectic shop fronts; modern art galleries and luxury boutiques sit alongside traditional craftsmen’s workshops, old cafes and bookshops. The central food market, Mercat d’Olivar is a foodie’s heaven with a fresh, colorful array of fruits, vegetables and fish.
For art and culture, Joan Miro’s original Palma studios are fascinating, left exactly as they were when the artist died and now functioning as an exhibition space for a permanent collection of Miro’s works. Alternatively the large contemporary art museum Es Baluard has an impressive collection of artwork from all the 20th century greats including Picasso, Margritte, Calder and Klee. The museum’s setting within a magnificent medieval fortress overlooking the Bay of Palma is stunning, whilst the modern glass-enclosed restaurant is an idyllic place for lunch. La Seu Cathedral is also worth admiring as one of the most important existing Gothic buildings in Spain or explore the underground Banys Arabs (arab baths), a remaining monument to the Muslim domination of the island. Only two chambers are still intact – the caldarium (hot bath) and the tepidarium (warm bath) – but the outside surrounding gardens offer more space for relaxation.
Due to the plethora of restaurants in the city, it’s worth knowing the good from the tourist traps. Marc Fosh (formerly Simply Fosh), tucked inside a 17th century building in the old town with a proud Michelin star on its door, is reliable for lunch or dinner. The Mediterranean cuisine is delicately flavored and as fresh as can be, expect innovative dishes like red prawn and scorpion fish tartar with plankton jelly. If you’re searching for a calmer dining experience, walk for 15 minutes to the fashionable fishing port, Portixol. The restaurants here tend to be smaller and more authentic, Sa Roqueta in particular is renowned for its paella and grilled fish or feast on small plates at the cool beachside Tapas Club. Back in the center of the city, Hanaita is the local best kept secret for sushi. Whilst it doesn’t look like much, the maki rolls are better than many of the more expensive Japanese joints. Pick up a takeaway bento box for a lunchtime cruise round Mallorca’s secluded coves, whilst spotting the birds that nest in the craggy cliffsides. The island’s bird life is abundant and if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of a black vulture or the equally rare Eleonora’s falcon. Alternatively, hidden strips of bare sandy beach, accessible only by boat, are blissful picnic spots, with lapping blue waters for swimming.
For those who aren’t inclined to lounge on sand, there are some great urban sunbathing spots at the city’s luxury hotels, including the Japanese-style roof garden at Convent de la Missio and the plunge pool roof terrace at Puro. Both serve drinks and snacks, but for the best cocktails make your way to Agua Bar and Lounge in La Lonja district. Set up by two New Yorkers, the bar is styled like a western saloon and is known one of the best music venues in the city, hosting open mic nights on Sundays. Bar Borsch at the top of the Passeig d’es Born (one of Palma’s most popular boulevards) is another popular meeting place for its outdoor tables, prime position for people watching and pa amb boli (bread with oil). Whilst Cafe Garito faces the insular yacht harbor, Ca’n Barbara and has a sophisticated, laid back atmosphere with music from top DJs.