Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Guide

A Palma de Mallorca cruise brings you to the elegant capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands, set around the broad sweep of the Bay of Palma. The mighty La Seu Cathedral, towering over the old Gothic Quarter, dominates the skyline, while the entire bay is filled with yachts. Wooded hills form a backdrop, which lead to the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains that form the spine along the west of this surprisingly diverse island.

A stop in Palma de Mallorca on a Spain cruise is an opportunity to learn more about the culture of the Balearics. Lose yourself in the atmospheric Gothic Quarter behind the cathedral. Head to an old country mansion to learn about olive oil production. Marvel at the city’s artistic heritage at the Joan Miró Foundation. Drink cocktails in a palm-shaded garden or a hip rooftop bar, or relax on a sandy beach. This is one of the great joys of Palma de Mallorca; you don’t have to choose, as a day here will give you both sightseeing and beach time.

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Top Sights & Attractions on Cruises to Palma de Mallorca

La Seu Cathedral

Palma’s mighty cathedral is a landmark of the city, its flying buttresses and delicate pinnacles adding to the sense of drama. La Seu took hundreds of years to build, incorporating the Mediterranean Gothic style blended with baroque and contemporary elements. The beautiful rose window is Europe’s largest, while part of the interior was created by a disciple of the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. For sweeping views of the city and sea, climb the 280 steps to the roof terraces.

Almudaina Palace

The Royal Palace of La Almudaina, next to Palma’s cathedral, is the official residence of the Spanish royals when they’re in Mallorca. There has been a fortified palace on this site since the 13th century when the Moorish rulers built a castle here after their conquest of Spain. What you see today reflects the Gothic style with elements of the original Moorish design. The lush S’Hort del Rei gardens, with splashing fountains, are a wonderful place to relax in the shade after your visit.

Bellver Castle

The circular Castell de Bellver was built in the 14th century on a pine-forested hill high above the city, designed by Pere Salva, the architect responsible for the Almudaina Palace. You’ll find three chunky towers overlooking a central courtyard, which is lined on the upper level by Gothic arches. Although Bellver means “lovely view”, the castle has a dark history; it served as a prison for centuries. Today, it’s used for concerts and houses the city’s municipal museum.

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Things to Do in Palma de Mallorca

Cycle Around the Bay

Palma is a wonderful city for exploring on two wheels, with a cycle trail leading all the way around the bay. Join a guided tour and learn about the city’s history while getting some exercise. You’ll see the cathedral, the Almudaina Palace, the Plaza Mayor square, the tangled streets of the Gothic Quarter, the yacht marinas, and parts of the medieval walls. There’s always a chance to stop for tasty tapas, too.

Ride the Soller Vintage Train

Palma is connected to the mountain town of Sóller by an enchanting vintage train that rattles up through the hills, passing olive groves and pinewoods. Sóller itself is an elegant old town hemmed in by craggy mountains. Its ancient sandstone buildings glow in the sunlight, and the streets are lined with chic craft shops, galleries, and boutiques. A 1912-built wooden tram connects the town to its pretty port, where you can eat fresh seafood and watch the fishing boats bobbing on the water.

Relax on the Beach

Mallorca is fringed by more than 200 beautiful beaches, from long stretches of golden sand to secluded rocky coves with aquamarine water. Several beaches are within easy reach of Palma, including Platja de San Pere Antoni, just beyond the cathedral, and Portixol, a sweep of sand in front of a little fishing village. West of the city, Cala Major is a pretty sandy bay fringed with palm trees. Chiringuitos (seasonal bars) line the beach, serving tapas and cold drinks.

Top Food & Drink in Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca has a thriving culinary scene that fuses hearty Mallorcan dishes with innovative international styles. Look out for arros brut, a rich rice stew with vegetables, spices, and seasonal meats. A bunyol de forat is a fried potato donut sprinkled with sugar, while ensaimada is a fluffy pastry filled with anything from pumpkin to cream or chocolate. 

Pa amb oli is a delicious start to any meal—local bread is rubbed with garlic, fresh tomatoes, and olive oil. You’ll find restaurants all over Palma, from high-end establishments to seasonal chiringuitos on the beaches, as well as tapas bars. You can eat in the markets, too; try the Mercat de l’Olivar for eye-popping displays of fruit and vegetables and a variety of tiny restaurants, or the smaller Santa Catalina, where offerings include sushi, tapas, and oysters.

Culture & History of Palma de Mallorca

The city now known as Palma de Mallorca has a long and varied history. The Romans established a camp in the area around 120 BC, and some suggest the city's name, Palma, may come from the Roman consul who conquered the island or from the abundance of palm trees in the area. The city was later occupied by the Moors, who were present between 902 AD and 1229 AD, until Jaume I of Aragon reconquered the city.

Today, Palma is a stylish and bustling city that attracts visitors all year round, with a peak during the summer months. The local dialect, Mallorquí, a derivative of Catalan, is spoken alongside Catalan and Spanish, the co-official languages of the Balearic Islands. English is also commonly spoken due to the city's popularity among tourists and expats. Life in Palma moves at a slower pace than on the mainland, with many businesses observing the traditional afternoon siesta.

Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Facilities & Location

Ships visiting Palma de Mallorca dock at the well-equipped Port Estacio Maritima, on the opposite side of the bay from the cathedral. You’ll find restrooms, tourist information, taxis, Wi-Fi, a couple of cafés, and some souvenir shops here. The walk into the city center is pleasant, as you trace the curve of the bay, but it will take 30 to 40 minutes.

Transportation in Palma de Mallorca

Buses and taxis will take you from the Estacio Maritima (the cruise port) to the city center and beyond; a bus network connects the whole island. If you want to go to Sóller, check the times of the vintage train that runs from Palma and make sure the journey gets you back to the ship on time. Better still, join a shore excursion. One of the best ways to get around is by bicycle; there are bike lanes all over the city, so you won’t have to negotiate the traffic. Join a cycling tour for the best experience.

Shopping in Palma de Mallorca

Palma is an excellent place for shopping. You’ll find designer stores along the posh Passeig des Born in the city center—leather purses and sandals are often a good buy. El Corte Ingles is Spain’s most famous department store; Palma has three branches, the largest on Plaza España.

Beyond fashion, things to buy in Palma include cultured pearls grown on the island, olive oil and olive oil products, almonds, also grown on the island, and flor de sel salt from the local salt pans, as well as pretty, rustic pottery.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The currency of Spain is the Euro. Most places take credit or debit cards, but you may find cash useful for shopping in markets or leaving tips. There are ATMs all over the city. Spain doesn’t have a strong tipping culture, although 10% is normal in restaurants if service is not already included. You can round up the fare for taxi drivers and tip good tour guides 5 to 10 Euros per person.

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