To say that the bay of Palma is the most popular place among tourists on the island is an understatement as it accommodates 80% of the tourists who arrive in Majorca every year. An Arab-Spanish city dominated by the imposing silhouette of the Almudaina, Palma is a great place to wander its narrow alleys or the outskirts of the cathedral.
To the east of the city, the bay is a long succession of seaside resorts collectively known as Playa de Palma while Can'Pastilla is one of the more popular and family-friendly places. The airport is located nearby, thus the area is regularly a flyover for planes and a multitude of charter flights in high season. A little further on lies Las Maravillas and El Arenal, surrounded by a bunch of hotels, restaurants and bars; so popular among German tourists that it has become known as 'Berlin beach'. If you are craving for something slightly more authentic, ditch the highly urbanised areas and head for Molinar, a protected area that was once a fishing port."
The large variety of hotels for all budgets means there is a permanent program of things to do such as acquatic sports. If you want to mix with the locals head to Passeig des Born, a wide thoroughfare lined with plane trees, in the Llonja district, a preferred venue for trendy young Majorcans lured by the bars and restaurants. Plaça Major, at the heart of Palma's Jewish neighborhood, features lovely arcades and shaded terraces. Take the opportunity to shop in the numerous shopping streets that jut off the square.
With the focus being on it as a seaside destination, Palma therefore offers little choice of local excursions to the surrounding areas. The old town, home to an impressive number of churches and ancestral homes, remains the cultural site of choice for holidaymakers. Do not miss the cathedral, the Almudaina Palace, the Arab baths or the Bellver Castle.
Surface area : 1,927 sq mi km2
Population : 1,106,049 inhabitants
Time difference : The Balearic islands are on the same time as mainland Spain, that is GMT+1.
Live your days like the locals: the Spanish rhythm means that the afternoon starts at about 4:00pm. and extends to 9:00pm, dinner is not eaten before this time! Stores and offices close between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, but most will reopen their doors until 8:00pm or later.
Those who prefer their holidays more peaceful should avoid the highly urbanised areas of Palma. The island countryside and local villages are well worth a visit, along with the mountains to the west and coves situated to the east. Buses commute regularly from the coastal resorts to Palma, but travel by car remains the best way to discover the island.
Being an island, Majorca excels in its recipes for lobster, cuttlefish and fish dishes. Taste the tumbet, a kind of lasagne with potatoes, aubergines, peppers and tomato sauce.
Here you can find many traditional Majorcan handicrafts. In addition to the famous pearls of Manacor, there are also stunning glass items (the glass is manufactured using traditional techniques), tapestries, leather goods, wrought iron objects and herbal liqueurs.
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