24 hours in: Mallorca

August 10, 2016
Marialaura Dolfi

Sun, sand, and resorts by the sparkling, blue sea… those are probably the first things that spring to mind when you think of Mallorca. But while a relaxing vacation spent basking in the sun is something that everyone enjoys once in a while, Mallorca has so much more to offer! If you’re looking to dive into something other than the sea, dive into the rich history of the region — one that was heavily impacted by the Romans and the Moors. Or if you prefer to learn about culture through your palate, you’ll enjoy discovering Balearic dishes and the roles they play in Spanish cuisine. Mallorca is a well that’s waiting to be tapped into — it’s up to you to figure out exactly what you want to draw from it!

Early morning (7am – 9am)

If you want to start your day in Palma by enjoying the atmosphere, head to the oldest bar in the city for breakfast: C’an Joan de Saigo. Yes, it’s difficult to pronounce, but believe us when we say it’s the best darn breakfast in town.

The Coca de Patata is a typical dessert from Valldemossa

This historical bar was founded in the 18th century, and is the best place to get a typical Mallorcan breakfast. There are pastry cakes called ensaimadascoco de patata, and even a traditional Mallorcan recipe for almond ice cream!

The Ensaimada is a dessert made with flour, sugar and pork butter – and it is absolutely delicious!

Of course, tea, coffee, orange juice, and all your typical fare is also offered, and prices are reasonable. Locals head to C’an Joan de Saigo for breakfast or to just spend time with the family. The bar is decorated with classic chairs, lamps, marble tables, and the atmosphere is just magical — there’s nothing else like it.

Carrer Can Sanç, 10, 07001 Palma, Illes Balears. Open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Morning (9am – 12pm)

The bar is located in the old town, in the city centre. After having breakfast, you can take a nice walk around the neighbourhood and discover the beautiful hidden patios, and the old, gothic cathedral that’s in the neighbourhood, too. Locals call the cathedral La Seu.

Few tourists walk these quiet streets. Patios and little courtyards are located inside the old buildings in the town. These patios are a testament to the Arab period, when fountains, plants, and windows adorned the interior of the buildings. Sometimes building gates are kept open so you can take a peek at the patio inside. You’ll be astounded at how beautiful some of these patios are.

With access to a map, you’ll easily find lots of patios around the town: Carrer de l’Almudaina, 9; Calle Can Dusai, 3; Calle Sol, 7; Calle Sol, 12; Calle Portella, 5; and Calle Portella, 14 are great options.

Right behind the patio area is the massive Palma Cathedral. The attention to detail that went into this building is breathtaking — it truly is beautiful and will definitely be one of the most magical buildings you’ll see in your lifetime. Fun fact: In 1901, Antoni Gaudí was invited to take over the project (check out his elegant chandelier inside!).

There are so many old neighbourhoods to discover!

Lunch (12pm – 2pm)

After spending all morning walking around town, you’ll definitely be hungry! We’ve found the perfect place for you to relax, and delight your palate with local specialties and to experience local culture. If you don’t feel like going into an actual restaurant, you can just buy some treats and have a picnic on the green area behind the town’s old wall at a little place called Parc de la Mar.

If you’re feeling hungry, grab yourself some sobrasada sausage and cheese from Mallorca and wine from the Pla i Llevant area

Alternately, Ca’n Toni is one of my favourite restaurants in Mallorca (Costa de Santa Creu, 5;+34 871 716 661). They cook local dishes and they’re located in one of the coolest neighbourhoods of Palma. We highly recommend paying them a visit if you’re looking for a good, local meal.

Afternoon (2pm – 6pm)

After eating at the Ca’n Toni restaurant, you’ll be right behind the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma, Es Baluard, and also very close to the Llotja, one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire city centre.

Es Baluard is a museum of modern art that is located in the historical Palma Fortress. While we’d love for you to explore the museum inside, that would take quite a while, and as you only have one day here in the city, we’ll save that for another visit! The reason we’ve brought you here is because outside the museum there is a bar and terrace with an amazing view of the Palma Cathedral and the harbour. I advise you to take some pictures there — it’s absolutely beautiful!

After enjoying the spectacular view, you can walk in the direction of the Palma Cathedral and stop at the Llotja gothic building (it’s approximately a six-minute walk from Es Baluard). The interior is open, and helps show off the impressive Solomon columns and ribbed vault. It used to be the stock market of the town, and today houses temporary exhibitions with international works and installations of large size and scope.

I like these two places because it’s a great demonstration of how old and new and blend together to create new services and experiences in a city — hopefully you’ll enjoy them, too!

Dinner and evening (6pm onwards)

If you love nighttime escapades, you’ve come to the right place! The Llotja neighbourhood combines restaurants offering Mallorcan and international cuisine and nightlife, with bars and pubs, some of them featuring live music. The neighbourhood has a friendly vibe that is lively into the wee hours of the night. The intimate Jazz Voyeur Club (free entry!) is located in this area with live music and a fun and inviting atmosphere.

The legendary Abaco Cocktail Bar, with its 16th-century palace, is a really special restaurant that every visitor needs to see. Picture a cosy, rustic patio with fruits, flowers, classical music, and cocktail prices that are all slightly over-the-top… but it truly is a sight to behold, believe us.

Between La Lonja and the Santa Catalina area, on Paseo Mallorca, stands the Blue Jazz Club. Located on the top floor of the Hotel Saratoga, this club has live music Thursday to Sunday nights, with free entry.

If you want to walk around and explore the city just a little more, you can go to the Santa Catarina neighbourood, right after the Blue Jazz Club. Here you’ll find a lively, cosmopolitan village with a wonderful mix of places to eat and drink.

Locals come here to meet their friends, enjoy a cocktail (or three!), and to grab some tapas or diner. Whatever cuisine you seem to be craving, from Lebanese to Indian, you’ll definitely find it!

Robiols is a must-try dessert that is made with Brossat cheese from Mallorca. Go ahead and order some, you already know it’s delicious.

If you want to dance, you’ll have to head to the Passeo Maritimo area! There you’ll find legendary discos like Tito’s or Global Brand Pacha. Tito’s has a glass elevator that whisks you to the top and has great views of the harbour. In Mallorca, we’re accustomed to go out dancing at 1:00 AM, so I don’t know if you’ll have energy after a jam-packed day of exploring Palma — but you definitely should if you have the energy! The Passeo Maritimo area isn’t too far from the Santa Catarina and La Lonja areas, and if you walk along the seaside it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. (Buses and taxis are also options too!)

You’ll find yourself inside an old neighbourhood where you can find bars and restaurants that fuse together old and new. Like many of the buildings you’ve already visited, the restaurants too will blend old, traditional techniques with international influences and modern culinary art. The atmosphere is exhilarating and the narrow streets add a nice, poetic touch.

Walking the streets of Palma de Mallorca

Just one day here and you won’t want to leave!

Short stop or layover in Mallorca…

For travellers who only have a limited amount of time to spend in the city, we recommend you budget at least three hours to spend in the city proper in order to see all the sites. From the airport, it takes about 20 minutes by public transportation (on bus line 1) to get into the city — or you could always take a taxi.

For a morning or afternoon layover, we’d recommend visiting the Palma Cathedral and its neighbourhood filled with patios and old buildings. You’ll have an amazing time in the heart of Palma de Mallorca — walking around this area will help you understand the history of the island and the local culture. Mallorca has been invaded many times and is a mix of many different cultures — you’ll quickly see that the architecture is a testament to that. We suggest that you have at least two hours to spend in this area, walking around and just taking everything in. While there are many tours to help you find the best patios in town, the city centre is very small so you won’t get lost, and really, have you ever met a patio you didn’t like?

For an evening or night layover, you definitely want to make the most of the nightlife. We love the Llontja and the Santa Catarina neighbourhoods. Their lively bars, restaurants with a variety of international cuisines, and picturesque narrow streets will give you a glimpse into how locals like to spend their nights out. It’s an amazing experience because this is authentic Mallorca — you’ll be able to meet locals, eat your body weight in tapas, drink all the cocktails, and truly have an authentic experience.

Spend as much time as you possibly can in the city! If your time is very limited, we’d recommend that you at least order some tapas and a glass of wine. If you have a little more time, get a bite to eat at a restaurant and take a walk around the city!