How to navigate sunny and cultural Palma as a solo traveller, and the benefits of doing so…
The term ‘self-care’ reeks of face masks and meditation apps, and while they have their benefits, taking some real space from your own life and allowing yourself some true relaxation gets bigger kudos.
Which is where solo travelling comes in. It allows you time to explore a new culture by yourself, with time alone to your thoughts and the opportunity to indulge in some much-needed distance to either take stock and evaluate, or just really decompress.
To get the most of all that, though, you’ll need an easy-to-navigate city, friendly to solo travellers; Palma ticks both those boxes and more.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of dining for one or this is your first trip alone, Mallorca’s capital is the ideal weekend city break for when it is just you. And the fact that British Airways has flights direct from London Gatwick from £25 each way, means there’s hardly any reason not to embrace a solo trip.
Here’s how to spend that precious time when you do.
Check in: Chances are you’ll be arriving in the afternoon or evening, so the first call is to check in to a hotel.
Palma has a stunning selection of chic boutique hotels with beautiful and considered rooms for solo travellers. Hotel Saratoga has a prime location in the heart of the city, a luxe rooftop pool and revitalising spa, and also offers comfortable rooms for solo travellers at a great rate (from around £120 a night). Plus, it’s home to Palma’s famous Blue Jazz Club; a great venue to meet people in the evenings and a perfect place for drinks on your first night in Palma.
If you’d rather be close to all the historic sites, Hotel Armadams offers spacious, thoughtfully designed single rooms while the super-chic Hotel Balanguera has a cool vibe and even cooler, inventively designed single rooms (solo travellers are definitely not an afterthought here).
Breakfast: Grab brunch with the local crowd at Ca’n Joan de s’Aigo, where you can sample the traditional Mallorcan ensaïmadas pastries.
Take a stroll through the Old Town: One of the best ways to discover Palma’s historic centre is by foot, down its labyrinthine alleys and winding pathways.
There’s a church or monument at every turn, and it’s the perfect way to explore Palma’s fascinating history. Walk through the picturesque Arab quarter and see the famous 10th-century Arab baths; all that remains of the city’s past incarnation as Medina Mayurqa.
Lunch: Palma’s food markets are an essential stop on your trip and, as a busy solo traveller, a great way to sample some of the city’s local delicacies on the go. The Santa Catalina Market on Plaça de la Navegacio has an impressive selection to choose from. There’s amazing tapas and some great fusion pieces, plus a brilliant selection of Mallorcan wines to bring home to those friends jealous they weren’t invited on your trip.
Cycle to the sites: Rent a bike and peddle your way to some of Palma’s best sites, all of which are an easy (and affordable) cycle away. Start with the gothic La Seu cathedral, which dominates the Palma skyline. Then head to the stunning royal palace, La Almudaina, before heading down to the seafront’s La Leonesa art space, finishing with a peaceful solo bike ride by the sea.
Dinner: Take the famous tapas routes of the Sa Gerreria neighbourhood. For afterhours cocktails, soak up the vibrant atmosphere of the Sa Llotja neighbourhood in the Old Town, which is bursting with great bars, clubs and the renowned Jazz Voyeur Club.
Breakfast: Grab breakfast on the go at Mercat de l’Olivar in the Plaça de l’Olivar and make your way down to the train station so you can…
Take a scenic train journey: Whether it’s a mindful break you want, or just to nurse your hangover from a night of cava and cocktails in Sa Llotja, Palma’s historic Soller wooden electric train is an unrivalled treat – and ideal for those travelling by themselves. It will take you to the nearby beautiful rural town of Soller, rising you up 199 metres into the stunning Mallorcan countryside, over scenic bridges and finally the Tramuntana Mountains.
Lunch: Back in Palma city centre, head to local hot spot Buscando el Norte, which is full of quirky design touches and has a great lunch menu featuring imaginative and Insta-worth dishes (particularly on the seafood front).
Check out some art: Palma has an excellent selection of great art galleries, and exploring them all is a great way to while away an afternoon. Check out Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which houses major works from artists such as Picasso and Miro, the Fundacion Juan March, famed for its Salvador Dalí works, and the Joan Miró Foundation itself, which has a great sculpture garden to explore.
Plus, if all that culture makes you thirsty, Es Baluard is as famous for its stylish bar as its art. Start your evening with an aperitif here before dinner…
Dinner: Head to the buzzy atmosphere of Bar España, smack bang in the middle of the city, where their delicious tapas is served at the bar; perfect for solo diners on the hunt for a snack before heading back to the airport.
Book your trip to Palma via ba.com/gatwick from £25 each way (based on a return fare) on the airline’s 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.