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Port guide

Palma de Mallorca: Cruise port guide – what to do, see & eat

Palma de Mallorca cruise port is a popular stop for Mediterranean voyages – so how does one navigate the call and what’s there to do in the Spanish city?

Words by Eddi Fiegel

Palma de Mallorca cruise port, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, benefits from a splendid location on the edge of the dazzling Mediterranean, and luckily for anyone on cruises, there’s plenty to see in the Balearics’ largest city.

From its vast, spectacular, waterfront cathedral and the cobbled streets of the historic old town to sleek, contemporary art museums and chic, independent boutiques, you can easily fill a day, or more on a cruise to Palma de Mallorca.

There’s also a vibrant food scene with Michelin-starred restaurants sitting alongside traditional tapas bars and sea-view cafes. Not to mention great beaches. Here’s everything you need to know about Palma de Mallorca cruises.

Palma de Mallorca cruise port guide

How to get into town from Palma de Mallorca cruise port

Practical bits

You’re most likely to find yourself docking at Muelle de Poniente, the city’s major cruise ship terminal.

Many cruise ship operators run shuttle buses from Palma de Mallorca cruise port to the city’s Gothic cathedral (check with your own cruise operator) or there are public buses which run into town (fares around €1.50). The journey takes about 10 minutes. Otherwise, a taxi costs around €15 one way.

Alternatively, if you’ve got plenty of time and feel like some extra exercise, you could walk from Palma de Mallorca cruise port. It’ll take you about 45 minutes but it’s a pleasant, more or less straight stroll along the harbor, past the fishing boats and yachts into the main town center.

Things to do in Palma de Mallorca

Fun bits

Take a bus tour

It may be a cliché but there’s nothing quite like an open-top sightseeing bus if you want to get an overview of Palma de Mallorca and cram in as many sights as possible. The Palma City Sightseeing tours take in most of the key Palma sights and there’s a hop on/hop off option.

La Seu – Palma’s Gothic Cathedral

With its Gothic spires towering over the seafront, Palma’s most famous – and impressive, building is also probably the one you’ll catch sight of first.

The huge, 14th-century Catedral-Basilica de Santa Maria de Mallorca [below, right] – popularly known as La Seu, is one of Europe’s largest Gothic cathedrals.

Wander down its towering knave to admire the stained-glass windows, especially the rose window – one of the largest in the world. Also worth looking out for is the ironwork ‘Crown of Thorns’ above the altar, created by Catalan architectural maverick Antoni Gaudí.

Almudaina Palace

Originally a Moorish fortress dating back to the 14th century, like the Cathedral, this Gothic palace, just alongside La Seu, is the official residence of the Spanish Royal family when they’re in Mallorca.

The lavish staterooms are laden with antiques, tapestries and art from the 17th century onwards and the palm-tree-filled, colonnaded courtyard is the perfect respite from the heat.

Explore the Old Town (Casco Antiguo)

The streets directly behind Palma Cathedral and the Almudaina Palace lead you into the labyrinthine cobbled streets and winding alleys of the Old Town. Along the way you’ll find cafes and restaurants aplenty but also keep an eye out for open doorways where you can spy traditional, plant-filled, Andalusian-style courtyards and patios.

Go shopping (or window shopping) along Passeig d’es Born and Plaça Major

Over the last few years, Palma de Mallorca has become known for its independent fashion designers and boutiques. Whether you’re on the lookout for something one-off or fancy a browse, you’ll find something for most budgets from Louis Vuitton to Zara.

The Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma (aka Es Baluard)

Part Medieval fortress and part steel and glass box, Es Baluard has works by major artists from Picasso, Gaugin and Cezanne to Miro and Magritte. Even if you’re not an art fan, the building is almost as impressive as the paintings.

The roof terrace has wonderful views over the harbour and the café and smart restaurant are also a popular haunt in their own right.

For spectacular views

For sweeping, bird’s eye views over the Bay of Mallorca, look no further than the 14th-century Castell (castle) de Bellver [above, left]. Built entirely in the round amidst a pine-laden hilltop above the bay, the Castell de Bellver is Spain’s only circular Gothic castle.
There’s also a museum exploring the castle’s history and in the summer, classical music concerts in the courtyard.

Head for the beach

As for Palma de Mallorca beaches, if you want to feel the sand on your feet or dip a toe (or more), in the Mediterranean, the city’s small crescent-shaped beach at Portixol is ideal.

It’s beautifully unspoiled but this also means there’s not much in the way of deckchairs or sun loungers, so if you want to sunbathe or swim, you’ll want to bring your own towels.

If you’ve got time in Palma de Mallorca cruise port

For art fans, if you’re in town for a day, or even two, it’s worth heading out west of Palma to the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró – the studio where Catalan surrealist painter and sculptor Miró lived. It’ll take you about half an hour each way by bus from the city center or about ten minutes in a taxi. The Sightseeing Bus also stops there.

You can still see his paint pots and unfinished canvases more or less as he left them and there’s also a good collection of his paintings as well as gardens and a café.

Hidden Gems

Shelter from the heat amidst domed ceilings and original Moorish arches at the impressively intact, 12th-century Arab Baths aka Banys Arabes, in the Old Town. You can still see the different bathing areas and the peaceful, palm-tree-filled gardens are a shady oasis.

If you’ve only got one or two hours in Palma de Mallorca cruise port, don’t miss…

La Seu Cathedral and a wander through the Old Town.

Where to eat and drink in Palma de Mallorca cruise port

You’ll find great food all over town on cruises from Palma de Mallorca but the area known as La Lonja in the heart of the Old Town is a particularly good place to start. Otherwise, here are a few suggestions:

Vermuteria La Rosa, (Calle la Rosa 5)

For excellent tapas – and a glass of vermouth on the side, this contemporary bar, with industrial chic decor, is one of the best.

Lunch, dinner or tapas in Palma de Mallorca

La Paloma, (Calle Apuntadores, 16)

Housed in a traditional old building with rough-hewn stone walls and beamed ceilings, this is a long-standing Palma favorite. Now Swedish-run, you’ll find elegant but classic tapas as well as great value set lunch menus (menus del día – around €30 for three courses) featuring traditional Mallorcan fare including grilled meat and fish

Mercat de L’Olivar food market, (Plaça de l’Olivar)

Palma’s central, covered food market [above] is a must for foodies (if you’ve been to La Boqueria in Barcelona, this is the Palma equivalent).

Ogle at tantalizingly fresh prawns or plump, rosy tomatoes at the decorative stalls featuring the freshest fare both from Mallorca as well as mainland Spain. You can also eat at one of the many tapas bars around the market and stock up on Mallorcan charcuterie and wines as souvenirs or gifts.

Fine dining in Palma de Mallorca

Andana (Plaza de Espanya, 6)

Star Mallorcan female chef Maca de Cana made her name at her Michelin-starred restaurant in Port d’Alcudia in the island’s northeast, but opened this new outpost in a former railway station in 2020. Look out for grilled squid with garlic potatoes and mayonnaise and broken eggs, chips and truffle (booking essential).

For people-watching cafés and sundowners by the sea

If you’ve done your sightseeing on your Palma de Mallorca cruise and need to refuel, the cafés around the central Plaça Major square in the heart of the Old town are perfect for people-watching over a beer or tinto de verano (red wine with lemonade).

Otherwise, for sundowners by the sea, look no further than the terrace at Varadero (Camí de L’Escollera, Moll Vell).

Published 09.06.23