New Yorkas in Mallorca, while in the Palma of my Hand

by | Aug 9, 2021 | August 2021: The Balearic Islands, Balearic Islands | 0 comments



Taking the 8pm ferry from Ibiza via Balearia, we arrived about nearly 3 hours later at 11pm (don’t let them fool you with the 2 hour listed time; the boat got in 1 hour later than scheduled). And FYI, they’re not very clear about this but the arrival port isn’t anywhere near Palma but rather a neighborhood south of central Palma called Portopí.



After a little verbal scuffle at the taxi stand with a group of teenagers who tried to cut in front of our group, two cab drivers rallied to our side and denied them service, taking us instead. We then headed out from Portopí and finally reached our lodgings in the center of Palma by 11:30pm.



Finally settling into our Airbnb in the city center by Llotja, we pushed ourselves for a worthwhile midnight stroll around the city to get ourselves acclimated.



The next morning we took advantage of the free entry and public art exhibits in the open air 15th century Llotja de Palma:



Then about a 4 minute walk over is an obligatory visit to the 13th century architectural masterpiece La Seu Catedral de Mallorca.



With its tremendous edifice built in a Gothic style overlooking the sea and a facade designed by Gaudí, this is the de facto symbol of Mallorca and worth the 8 euro entry fee to visit inside for even 15 minutes.



Get there at noon, just as when the sun can shine directly on you through the central stained glass window:



Adjacent to the cathedral lies Palau de l’Almudaina, an Islamic fort turned palace where the Spanish royal family used to spend their summers.



Keeping to the Islamic Arabic theme, Banys Àrabs, a tiny 10th century bathhouse and only building in Palma dating to the Arab settlement, lies one block over and costs 3 euros to enter:



The true sights here, however, are the hours I can spend wandering the evocative alleyways of the Old Town:



Once you had your fill of saudade, regain your senses down glitzy pedestrian mall of Passeig del Born:



Eventually Passeig del Born will lead to Plaça del Mercat, a church surrounded by art nouveau buildings.



We then ventured west for a pick me up breakfast at the 1700s café Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo, a favorite of Artist Joan Miró.



They’re known for ensaïmada, a flaky Mallorcan sweet bread. Fill it with custard or powder it with sugar, either way you can then dunk this bad boy into thick hot chocolate.



If you want to venture beyond the capital city of Palma, take bus 4 or walk a steep 35 minutes to Castell de Bellver for its panoramic views of Palma. We took advantage of its free admission on Sundays although it closes early at 3pm.

Because of both the time crunch and the steep climb, we said screw it and hailed a 7 minute, 8 euro taxi ride up instead.



Notice how its circular style is unique to this castle and the only one of its kind in Spain:



Built on the ruins of a Muslim site, the castle contains a museum of archaeological finds, 3 large towers, and a central courtyard.



Start with a walk around the moat…



…before heading to the top of this castle to a patio area for its distinctive architecture.



Then on our leisurely stroll back into central Palma, we passed through Passeig Marítim as Alex has a thing for windmills in the same way Youssef loves castles:



We then kicked back like the Spanish do with a long afternoon siesta before heading back out and down the harbor promenade of Parc de la Mar for sunset.


This is where you take it all in: an unobstructed vista of both the palace and cathedral from afar as a talented singer with his guitar fills the air with Spanish music. 

It doesn’t get any better than this.



You can also find a mural by the aforementioned Joan Miró here:



However, if you’re looking for something cute to do way outside of Palma, consider the 1 hour narrow gauge tourist train from Palma to Soller for 25 euros per person (18 euros one way):



After a spirited dinner at Beatnik and drinks at our place (our Airbnb gave us free champagne and local wine!), the next morning the rest of us slept in as Ayra and Youssef went out for a hot air balloon ride. They then got a PCR test for their flights back to Canada at the nearby Clinica Rotger and we reunited for a quick visit inside the Cathedral as it opened at 10am.

Once we were done with the Cathedral, we enjoyed a 4 course brunch for 15 euros per person at Ca n’Ela Vegan, retrieved our belongings back at the Airbnb thanks to a very late check-out, took a quick 4 euro cab up (otherwise a 20 minute walk) to Estación Intermodal, which happens to also be right next to the tourist train station to Soller.

Barely making it to the 3pm Bus 302 (which runs hourly anyway), we then drove 45 minutes north to port beach town of Alcúdia.



After a few drinks soaking up the sun at a local beach club, we then caught the onward 6pm ferry to Menorca.



This ferry is far less crowded and more on time than our bustling floating palace from Ibiza to Mallorca 2 days ago.




- At time of posting in Mallorca, it was 26 °C - Humidity: 10% | Wind Speed: 15km/hr | Cloud Cover: sunny


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