Situated within the cosy embrace of the Badia de Palma, Mallorca’s capital is practically made for cruising. As the economic and cultural hub of this Balearic Island, Palma is more than just beaches (though those are world-class too!). The city’s roots stretch all the way back to Roman times, though by no means is this city behind the times. Here you’ll find ancient relics and modern art in equal measure, all suffused with that irresistible Mediterranean aura.
With its large and accommodating port, Palma is a popular stopover point for cruise ships. Here you’ll have a chance to spend a day looking around the city. Your time is short, so make sure you choose wisely – use our handy guide to get yourself started!
Can’t get enough of Mallorca? Check out Pollença.
What to Do
You can’t miss the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma – literally. Towering over the charming old town and visible from almost everywhere in the city, this massive Gothic masterpiece, with its soaring spires, dramatic flying buttresses, and expansive stained glass windows, absolutely refuses to be ignored. Often known simply as ‘La Seu’, the cathedral was begun in the 13th century and holds a commanding view over the Bay of Palma. Inside, crane your neck to see the 43-metre ceiling in the central vault, or admire the wrought-iron altar canopy added by the famed Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí in 1909.
Plaza Almoina, open 10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Saturday, closed to tourism Sunday. Admission €6.00
Directly next door to the cathedral you’ll find the stunning Palacio Real de La Almudaina, a former Arabic fort claimed as an official royal residence in the 14th century. The palace was the seat of the independent kingdom of Mallorca until the island became part of the kingdom of Aragon under King Pedro IV. Inside, explore the royal quarters, the chapel, the courtyards, and the range of tapestries and furniture from many different historical periods. The palace is still used by the King of Spain for official summer ceremonies.
Carrer del Palau Reial, open 10am-8pm Tues-Sun, admission €7.00
Next, make your way northeast along Carrer del Colom (passing through the grand Plaça Major on the way) to Mercat de l’Olivar, a bustling farmers’ market alive with colors, scents, and smells. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat before you continue on with your day – from the oyster bar to sushi to tapas, you’ll find plenty to choose from here!
After you’ve been fed and watered, stroll west along Av. de Jaume III to Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, a fine collection of contemporary art that recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary. All of the pieces in this museum were made by Balearic artists or by artists with some relation or connection to the Balearic Islands. Housed in a beautiful 16th century former military fortress, the museum is a celebration of Balearic and Mediterranean art, culture, and history.
Plaça de la Porta de Santa Catalina, 10am-8pm Tues-Sat, 10am-3pm Sun, admission €6.00
If you’re looking for even more contemporary art, take a taxi south across town (about a 15-minute ride) to the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca. This enchantingly modern museum is dedicated to the work of Joan Miró (1893-1983), a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist who earned international acclaim for his surrealist works. The museum, which contains paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and mixed media pieces, is a captivating look into the mind of Miró, who settled on Mallorca in 1953.
Carrer Joan de Saridakis, 10am-7pm Tues-Sat, 10am-3pm Sun, admission €6.00
Before the day starts winding down, squeeze in a visit to Bellver Castle – you won’t be sorry! A quick 15-minute taxi ride can get you to this hilltop Gothic castle, perched on a hill 3km from the centre of Palma. Built in the 14th century, the castle has served several different purposes – first a royal residence, then a mint, then a prison, and now a museum. Its unusual circular plan with attached round towers makes the castle not only an intriguing sight, but also an excellent venue for public concerts.
Carrer Camilo José Cela, 8:30am-8pm Tues-Sat, 10am-8pm Sun, 8:30am-1pm Mon, admission €4.00
End your day back in the centre of Palma with dinner at Simply Fosh. This well-priced Michelin-starred restaurant combines contemporary Mediterranean cuisine inside 17th century digs. Any of the fresh and imaginative tasting menus will take you and your travelling companion on a culinary journey. From gazpacho to beef cheeks to sea bream to foie gras to beetroot terrine, you’re sure to find something here to delight and surprise you.
Carrer de la Missió, open daily 1pm-3:30pm and 7:30pm-10pm
How to Get to Palma Mallorca
Mallorca is an extremely popular destination for cruise ships, so its port is always busy. You can expect to dock at Estacio Maritima, about 3km from the centre of town. Since you’ve only got one day to spend in Palma, don’t waste a single minute – book your Mallorca cruise port transfers well in advance to ensure you can get to Palma and back in good time.
About Shuttle Direct:
Need a ride to or from the airport, cruise terminal, train station, your hotel, or another destination? Shuttle Direct is there! As the number one provider of transfer services across Europe and North Africa, we’re proud to provide fast and efficient transportation to travellers when and where they need it. Book your next transfer with us and see what all the buzz is about.