Do Palma in style with our guide to the neighbourhoods to be seen in, the hotels to sleep in and the restaurants to dine in…
Palma is a city-break lover’s dream; compact, cool and brimming with vibrant bars, hotels and restaurants.
Historical architecture houses boutique hotels, tree-lined streets are home to fashion concept stores, and off-the-tourist-trail neighbourhoods contain buzzing local flavours to be discovered. Come October, it couldn’t be further from the beach bums of summer, which is why you need to make it your next winter break.
With balmy climes (still around 18°C in winter) and just a hop, skip and jump from London Gatwick (read: from £25 each way with British Airways), here’s what to know to be in the know.
Palma is a buzzing and vibrant capital, bursting with hidden gems beyond the tourist spots, but what are the coolest neighbourhoods in town to head for should you be itching for a wander?
Santa Catalina, with its brilliant coffee shops, bakeries and equally energetic nightlife, is up there. Or there’s the Brooklyn-esque vibe of Sa Gerreria, with too-cool bars, tapas route and vibrant street art.
Those seeking sophisticated elegance should head for the wide tree-hugged boulevards of the Born, Jaume III and Sant Nicolau neighbourhoods, where some of the best restaurants and boutique hotels can be found.
Palma is home to some of Europe’s finest boutique hotels, making clever use of its fascinating past to create some truly unique spaces, from Renaissance mansions to former city banks.
Most come with rooftop terraces, with plunge pools or stylish bars, to fully exploit Palma’s mesmerising cityscape of cathedral spires, castles and ocean views.
Overlooking the Old Town, Posada Terra Santa has 26 beautifully designed rooms adorned with ancient family crests that pay homage to the 16th-century mansion’s past. It has a rooftop splash pool and solarium, complete with service button which summons drinks and snacks should you not be able to tear yourself from your lounger.
Boasting 57 rooms, the slightly more pricey Nakar Hotel, in the heart of the cool Santa Catalina neighbourhood, is fast becoming one of the hottest spots in town, thanks to its buzzing roof bar and amazing restaurant. Hotel Cort, a former bank, is equally stylish, with stunningly designed rooms, a lively restaurant and bar in the middle of Palma’s historic Plaça de Cort.
For something a little different (and more of a treat yourself budget), just a five-minute drive from the city centre is Hospes Maricel & Spa, a converted 16th-century palazzo, set right on the waterfront with unbeatable sea views and an effortlessly chic cocktail bar.
Palma is a premier food destination, with an abundance of restaurants to suit every flavour, from Mediterranean bistros and traditional tapas to rooftop sushi bars.
Nestled in the elegant Sant Nicolau neighbourhood, Ca’n Brondo is the perfect dinner spot, but should also be visited during the day, thanks to the bright and airy restaurant and al fresco dining in its sunny courtyard.
Ombu is a great example of Palma’s fusion dining scene; its Asian-inspired menu (think sushi tapas) is served on picturesque balconies overlooking a cobbled courtyard.
Most of Palma’s coolest hotels come with a buzzing bar scene, like Nakar’s vibey rooftop, with great DJ sets and views (open to non-guests from 8pm), or Opio, the lounge bar at Puro Hotel with its own infinity pool.
Those looking for more local flavour may prefer Ca La Seu, a traditional bar in the Sa Gerreria neighbourhood which was a former basket shop and is always packed with Palma natives thanks to its reasonable cava and great tapas.
A quirky and under-the-radar find is Sifoneria, a cellar-style bolthole that almost exclusively serves local wines and vermouth you can buy straight from the barrel to go. And close to the centre of town, Bar Flexas has a retro feel, a lively, eclectic crowd and serves some of the best bar food in town – for when you get the midnight munchies.
Thanks to the warm climate and picturesque retail neighbourhoods, shopping is a bloomin’ treat in Palma.
It’s also a must-visit destination for great fashion finds, with cool concept stores like Mãos and Position selling Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens and Issey Miyake or the unique Spanish ethical fashion store Suite 13.
A stroll through the tree-lined avenues of Passeig des Born will guide you to the big guns like Louis Vuitton and Massimo Dutti, while a toddle down Avinguda de Jaume III will take you to the high street shopping spot.
For off-the-beaten track finds, the cobbled streets of Plaça Major have tons of boutique shops and you can’t beat the craft market in the main square which runs throughout the year.
Book your trip to Palma via ba.com/gatwick for £25 each way (based on a return fare) on a new route.
Limited availability. Prices are available each way based on a return ‘Basic’ Euro Traveller fare, from London Gatwick only, and include taxes, fees and charges. Correct as of 1 October 2018 but are subject to change at any time. Departing from London Gatwick to Palma (Mallorca) on select dates between 12 November 2018 – 2 December 2018 and between January 2017 – 20 January 2019. For details, see ba.com/gatwick.