La Seu

Ten stops in Palma de Mallorca’s Old Town

Explore the enchanting medieval neighborhood.

La Seu church. Photo: Unsplash
November 2022
With its cobbled streets and sun-kissed squares, few places in Europe are as immediately spellbinding as the Old Town of Palma de Mallorca. Knowing how easy it is to spend days getting lost in its maze of winding, narrow alleyways, we made a checklist of the top ten things not to miss when exploring this enchanting medieval neighborhood.

Dating back to the Bronze Age, Palma has survived its fair share of invaders, from the Moors to the Romans, the Christians, and, later, considerably less hostile hordes of northern European tourists. No wonder then that the city has become such a multinational melting pot of cultures and nationalities. 

While mass tourism has caused some cities to lose their authenticity, this hasn’t been the case with Palma, which still retains much of its genuine local charm. Warm and hospitable, many of its tapas bars, wine bars and restaurants are equally popular with international visitors and born-and-bred locals alike – although most foreigners opt to visit them earlier than the customary Spanish 10pm dinner time – while its splendid plazas, shops, museums and Gothic churches are always worth a visit, no matter who you are or where you come from.

These are our top ten tips for your next trip to Palma’s Old Town

Hotel breakfast

The chic hotel

Es Princep Hotel

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Carrer de Bala Roja, 1
Palma
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It will come as no surprise that the elegant, yet understated Es Princep has established itself as one of the most popular hotels in Palma since opening in 2018. This immaculate boutique hotel is tucked within the ancient city walls in the least tourist-trodden part of Palma’s Old Town. From the moment you walk through the door, everything about it makes you feel right at home. Here you’ll enjoy exceptional service, smooth-as-silk Egyptian cotton sheets in perfectly appointed rooms – many of which enjoy views of the Med – not to mention the peaceful Coco spa, the outstanding Zaranda restaurant, the cocktail bar Gremium, and the 800 sq m Es Princep Rooftop terrace.

The inventive eatery

Fera

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C/ de la Concepció, 4
Palma
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Few restaurants in Palma stay open all year around and those that do make it work because of loyal locals who keep coming back for more even after the tourists have fled for winter. Fera is one of these. Maybe it’s because Austrian chef Simon Petutschnig uses only the finest produce he can source on the island, or the way he effortlessly blends Mediterranean ingredients with a dash of Asian flavor in his contemporary, creative tasting menus that also include a full six-course vegetarian option. Either way, the locals love it and so do we.

Olives

The gourmet deli

Mallorca Delicatessen Mateu Pons

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Plaça del Marquès del Palmer, 7
Palma
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Olive oil, liqueurs, sea salt, marmalade, honey and a very Mallorcan variety of bright orange sausage known as sobrassada. These are just some of the local delicacies to be found at Mateu Pons’ delicatessen, which stocks Mallorca’s finest homegrown food products. Warning – visiting gourmands may get lost here for several hours.

The free-flowing wine bar

Wineing

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Carrer dels Apuntadors, 24
Palma
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With 48 local and international wines on tap and a to-die-for menu of bar bites, Wineing is where lovers of all things vino-related head, to while away their Palma nights (and days). Kick things off with a glass of award-winning Mallorquin Ànima Negra red and Wineing’s fantastic burrata with Iberian ham, and let the games begin.

La Seu
Magnificent La Seu is just as amazing on the inside as the outside. Photo:

The church

La Seu

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Plaça de la Seu, 2
Palma
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Think that if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all? Think again. Even the most hardened atheists would be forgiven for whispering a silent “wow” at the sight of the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu, majestically perched on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean. Don’t miss La Seu’s 61 stained-glass windows – the most spectacular of which is the central rose window that famously captures the morning sun, flooding the building with beams of colorful light.

The lively plaza

Plaza de Cort

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Plaça de Cort, 11
Palma
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Few of life’s little pleasures compete with the feeling of sitting outdoors on a bustling plaza in Spain, sipping an ice-cold caña (or beer) in the sunshine. Palma’s Old Town has countless sunny squares, but few are as pretty as Plaza de Cort or offer a spot as ideally suited for people watching as Hotel Cort’s hip outdoor terrace.

Spanish fashion brand Cortana
Photo: Cortana

The local designer

Cortana

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Carrer de Montenegro, 3
Palma
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Mallorca-born fashion designer Rosa Esteva is best known for the subtle, elegant and highly feminine collections she designs under her own brand, Cortana. Take the opportunity to pick up some unique Mallorcan outfits that will make your friends green with envy at her flagship store in Palma’s Old Town.

The busy tapas bar

Gaudeix

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Carrer del Pare Bartomeu Pou, 20
Palma
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Gaudeix means “enjoy” in Mallorquin (the Catalan dialect spoken in Mallorca) and that’s what you’ll do here. While this lively bar will not win any “most-Instagrammed” awards, visitors can’t get enough of its great ambiance and outstanding food, which includes dishes of moreish prawn croquettes, the sinfully good tuna tartare and the delicious mushroom risotto. If you’re really lucky you might even bag one of the sought-after tables on the shady terrace.

Es Baluard
Photo: Es Baluard Museo

The museum

Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum

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Plaça de la Porta de Santa Catalina, 10
Palma
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Founded in 2004, Es Baluard is one of Spain’s top museums for contemporary art. Modern art lovers will be enthralled by the exhibits, which focus on artists from the Balearics or those related in some way to the Balearic islands, while those with other cultural inclinations will appreciate the panoramic views of Palma, Bellver Castle, and the Cathedral.

The breezy rooftop terrace

Es Princep Rooftop

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Carrer de Bala Roja, 1
Palma
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Es Princep isn’t only one of Palma’s top hotels, it’s also home to arguably the city’s hottest rooftop hangout. Boasting 360° views of the Old Town and Med, Es Princep Rooftop is the perfect spot to kick back and relax after a busy day exploring the ancient city. Serving Mediterranean cuisine, signature cocktails and tunes till late, it’s no wonder that this is one of the buzziest spots in Palma on summer nights.

Text by Isabelle Kliger