Palma de Mallorca in 1 Day

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The beautiful city of Palma de Mallorca was the third stop on our sailing trip around the Balearic Islands. If you don’t know, the Balearic Islands are an archipelago off eastern Spain in the Mediterranean. The four largest islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera and we visited them all except for Menorca. Though I had visited Ibiza last year (click here to discover why Ibiza is more than just a party destination), it was my first time in Formentera and Mallorca. The moment we pulled into Palma de Mallorca’s harbor and I got a glimpse of its majestic cathedral, I had a good feeling about this city. From strolling through palm-lined avenues to discovering its fascinating history and browsing its charming boutiques, there’s much to see and do in Mallorca’s capital. If you only have one day in Palma de Mallorca, here’s how to make the most of it…

Morning

Begin your day with breakfast at the city’s oldest cafe, Can Joan de S’Aigo in Palma’s Sa Gerreria neighborhood. You’ll feel transported to the 17th century as you feast on its famous ensaïmadas (a pastry from Mallorca) and delicious homemade ice cream. Afterwards, walk off your breakfast by exploring the narrow cobblestone streets on your way to Plaza de Santa Eulália.

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Take a minute to admire the lovely church on Plaza de Santa Eulália before continuing to the nearby Plaza de Cort. Here you will find the Baroque-style City Hall, colorfully painted buildings, and a spectacular, ancient olive tree.

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Plaza de Cort

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This olive tree is believed to be about 800 years old and is one of Palma’s most popular icons.

Palau March

After a five-minute walk along the street Palau Reial, you’ll arrive at Palau March. Once the residence of the phenomenally wealthy March family, today it is open to the public as a museum. Its beautiful courtyard offers a stunning view of Palma’s Cathedral as well as an impressive collection of modern and contemporary sculpture. Inside, you’ll find an extensive nativity scene collection and medieval navigational maps displayed in the stately rooms. In the Middle Ages, Mallorcans were among the most renowned mapmakers in the world so this is well worth checking out.

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La Seu, Cathedral of Palma

Just steps away from Palau March is La Seu, Palma’s grand cathedral. First a bit of history: Palma was originally founded as a Roman camp, then conquered by the Byzantine Empire, colonized by the Moors, and, in the 13th century, reconquered by James I of Aragon. Soon after his victory over the Moors, King James commissioned a massive cathedral to be built on the site of a former mosque. Construction began in 1229 and it took almost 400 years to complete.

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In the early 20th century, La Seu underwent some changes at the hands of the Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. One of his most dramatic additions was the enormous crown-of-thorns illuminated canopy that hangs over the altar. Gaudi’s unexpected Modernist intervention in a classic Gothic cathedral makes Le Seu all the more memorable. Today, Le Seu is by far the most emblematic monument on the island and is not to be missed.

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La Almudaina

Next door to Le Seu, you’ll happen upon yet another impressive sight – the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Originally a Muslim fortress, Mallorca’s Christian rulers rebuilt it into a palace in the 14th century. The result is a beautiful, and very interesting, conflux of architectural styles. Over the centuries, various Iberian monarchs held court there. In modern times, it is the official summer residence of the Spanish Royal Family.

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Afternoon

After a morning spent soaking up Palma’s rich history, you’re bound to be hungry. If you want traditional Spanish food, go to Bar España. This local’s-favorite is known for their delicious tapas and is located right in the center of Palma.

Shopping

Palma de Mallorca is not all cathedrals and museums – it’s also a vibrant, cosmopolitan, Mediterranean city with a wealth of trendy boutiques to explore. While you can find designer brands and high-street stores in Palma, shopping in the local boutiques is more fun. Luckily, the area surrounding Bar España is a great place to discover them.

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A few of my favorite shops in Old Town Palma are:

La Principal– A brand built around Mallorca’s laid-back Mediterranean vibe. Offers mostly menswear but also has a small selection of womenswear. I took home one of their staples, a chic, gray raincoat.

0039 Italy– A German womenswear brand that plays with colors, patterns and shapes. Fun, print blouses are at the centerpiece of every collection.

Braez– An Amsterdam fashion label that blends comfort, convenience and style into all of their designs. You’ll find simple, easy-to-wear pieces for both men and women in various soft colors. I left with a soft-as-butter white hoodie dress with the perfect amount of stretch.

Óptica Toscana– Among the numerous sunglass shops in Palma, Óptica Toscana stands out. It offers a unique selection of young brands and caters to people who care about their vision just as much as their look.

Carmina– Founded in Mallorca in 1866, Carmina has been crafting tailor-made shoes for the past six generations. Today, you can find this fabled shoemaker in major cities around the world. Nevertheless, Carmina continues to use traditional shoemaking techniques, resulting in extremely comfortable and durable leather footwear.

Rialto Living- If you only go to one store while in Palma, go to Rialto Living. Located in a sprawling 15th century building, Rialto Living is pure heaven for those who love fashion, decoration, and design. Wandering through this spacious, luxurious store, you’ll discover everything you never knew you needed from clothing to furniture, books, gifts, accessories, and art. There’s even a charming café where you can rest and enjoy your surroundings.

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Interior of Rialto Living

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Second floor of Rialto Living

Hotel Mamá

After an afternoon of shopping, head to Hotel Mamá on Plaza de Cort for coffee or cocktail break. Designed by renowned Parisian designer Jacques Grange, this five-star hotel is a feast for the eyes. With its flamboyant and colorful décor, you’ll feel as though you just walked into a Wes Anderson film.

Evening

Palma is full of excellent dining options so I’d recommend using this carefully curated list of best restaurants to choose wisely. We dined at Italian restaurant Ribello in an area known as La Lonja. Located in Old Town Palma, La Lonja is the best place to go after dark, with a great selection of restaurants, bars and clubs.

Before or after dinner, save time to wander down Passeig des Born. This pleasant boulevard is lined by beautiful plane trees (similar to the American sycamore tree) and is surrounded by restaurants, cafés, and designer boutiques. Sit on a bench and enjoy the warm Mediterranean evening while you let your wonderful day in Palma sink in.

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one-day-in-palma-de-mallorca-passeig-des-born

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More than a party destination: The White Isle of Ibiza

Ibiza is one of those places whose reputation precedes it. Before going to Ibiza, I assumed it was just a huge party island. I was picturing something straight out of “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” So while I was curious about it, I must say it wasn’t necessarily top on my list of places to visit. I love a good party as much as the next person but I’ve never been into big clubs or techno music (which Ibiza is famous for) so it didn’t seem like my cup of tea. However, when a Swiss friend invited us to celebrate his birthday there (and take his plane!) we were obviously not going to turn that down. Even better, the group we were going with had booked an amazing villa weeks in advance. So we didn’t have to do anything but show up! It was too great of an opportunity to pass up so we packed our bags and hopped on the plane. Next thing we knew, we’d landed in Ibiza for a weekend of partying, incredible culinary experiences, and so much more.

Friday

Dinner at Bambuddha

By the time we had arrived Friday night, we were all starving. Upon landing, we met up with the rest of our group and headed to Bambuddha for a big dinner. Our group included three Swiss, three Italians, one German, one Israeli German, two Spanish, one Siberian(!), one Mexican, and one American (aka me). Out of this jet setting crew Julian and I were the only ones who’d never been to Ibiza before. Luckily, everyone else was well-acquainted with the best places to eat and party on the island and we were more than happy to tag along.

It was a little after midnight when we finally arrived to Bambuddha. This spacious, open-air restaurant looks like something you would find in Goa. We dined under a large bamboo temple packed with people kicking off their weekends. The vibe was a mix of spirituality and sensuality with women rocking low-cut maxi dresses amongst East Asian statues. Bambuddha describes their cuisine as MediterrAsian with fusion recipes inspired by the ancient Spice Route. Their extensive menu has something for everyone and we ordered a copious amount of food for the table. We tried everything from truffle dumplings, to Thai king prawns, Wagyu beef burgers, octopus carpaccio, Thai curry, crispy duck and pineapple fried rice. Everything was delicious but my favorite dish was the miso roasted Alaskan black cod.

After our feast, we were too tired to party. Instead, we decided to get a good night sleep and rest up for what was to come. In retrospect, I think this was a very wise decision.

 Bambuddha ibiza

Saturday

Our Ibizan Villa

Saturday morning I was the first to wake up and I took the opportunity to explore our amazing villa. I absolutely loved the classic minimalist Ibizan architecture with white stucco walls and wooden beams. The vibrant pink bougainvillea trees against the white walls looked like postcards and I couldn’t stop snapping pics. The villa was also perched on a hill and offered a spectacular view of the towns and sea below. Unfortunately, it was hazy over the Mediterranean and remained like that for most of the weekend.

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The master suite

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Villa Gaudi’s beautiful bougainvillea

Located in Sant Josep de sa Talaia, a municipality known for its quiet coves and peaceful fishing villages, Villa Gaudi was the perfect place to relax away from the hordes of partygoers. The only downside was it was far outside of town and incredibly difficult to direct cabs to. Our new friends also told us that booking it was a long and arduous process. So while staying at this luxe villa was definitely a treat, if you’re just going to Ibiza for the weekend I’d recommend booking a hotel. Hotels are far more convenient and much closer to the action.

ibiza villa guadi

ibiza villa guadi

Lunch at Es Xarcu

After a few hours of relaxing by the pool, we were ready to venture outside of our villa for lunch. We had made a reservation at Ex Xarcu, a beachfront restaurant known for its fresh seafood. One of my favorite things about our weekend in Ibiza was our long, Spanish-style lunches by the water. For hours, we sat at our table next to the sea, chatting and getting to know one another while countless dishes and drinks appeared. We feasted on Ibizan specialties such as razor clams, langoustines, shrimp, and various kinds of white fish accompanied by pitchers of sangria. Growing up on the water, I having always been a huge seafood fan. In Ibiza, I loved trying seafood dishes I had never had before. I especially liked the tiny fried fish that you just pop into your mouth and eat whole.

ibiza Es Xarcu beach club

ibiza Es Xarcu beach club view sea

View from our table

Dinner at IT Ibiza

From lunch, we went back to our villa to chill before dinner. In Ibiza, our days revolved around food, which I was more than ok with! For dinner, we headed to the restaurant IT Ibiza. IT Ibiza is located in the Marina Botafoch district, one of the hottest fine dining hubs on the island. I soon learned that, in Ibiza, restaurants are all about the dining experience. While this is true in many chic locales, in Ibiza the experience is everything. In other words, dining is about so much more than the food. It’s also about a restaurant’s style, decor, entertainment, creativity, and overall vibe. At IT, we dined on innovative and artistic Mediterranean and Italian dishes in a luxe setting. After dinner, we moved to the outdoor lounge and sipped on cocktails under the stars before hitting the club.

it ibiza restaurant

Clubbing at Hï

When it came to partying in Ibiza, I didn’t have the slightest clue where to go or what to expect. Fortunately our friends knew all the hot spots. For our first night out, they wanted to try a brand new club called Hï. Hï is owned by the same group that owns the famous open air club Ushuaïa Ibiza. Although I had heard the clubs in Ibiza were huge, I was absolutely blown away by the size of Hï. It was by far the most massive club I’d ever been in with room after room packed with people dancing to loud techno music. I personally found it extremely overwhelming so I mostly hung out outside in their garden area. The garden was more subdued and you could actually have a conversation there. While this superclub wasn’t for me, I can see how Hï would be heaven for someone who loves big techno clubs.

A note on dress: Before going to Ibiza, I was a bit stressed about what to wear clubbing. My wardrobe is lacking in the clubwear department and I was worried I’d be underdressed. Luckily, going out attire is relatively relaxed on the island. Most girls wear skirts and shorts, crop tops, and maxi dresses (aka standard beach attire). Generally, girls also wear flats out since they know they’ll be dancing all night and this suited me just fine.

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The Magic Garden at Hï

ibiza hi club teepee

Sunday

Exploring Old Town Ibiza

After waking up late Sunday morning, I was determined to explore the island. While the others slept late, Julian and I headed into Old Town Ibiza. Unfortunately, Sunday was even cloudier than Saturday but I wasn’t going to let the less-than-stellar weather stop me from touring around. I’d been told the fortress was the highlight of Old Town, both for its history and its views. The imposing city walls that stand today were built in the 16th century to protect the island from pirates. Within these walls lies the remnants of the many cultures who have called Ibiza home, from the Phoenicians to the Arabs and finally the Catalans.

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Entrance to the old fort

ibiza old town fort

On our way to the castle, we explored the narrow, winding, cobbled streets of Old Town. I loved the charming little cafes and shops painted white with a pop of color. It was a hike up to the fort but the views along the way were well worth it. If the sun had been out the sight would’ve been even more spectacular!

ibiza old town houses

ibiza old town

ibiza old town sea view

Lunch at Experimental Beach

Having gotten our exercise for the day, we descended the fort and went to join the others at Experimental Beach for lunch. This hip beach club is a great place to chill over a long lunch or on a luxurious white sunbed. If the weather had been better, Experimental Beach would’ve been the place to spend an afternoon. But even with the clouds we had a great time here. Although it was quite pricey (like most restaurants on the island), everything we ordered was delicious. I also loved the chic boutique and left with an off the shoulder white top that was only too fitting for Ibiza.

ibiza Experimental Beach club

ibiza Experimental Beach club shop

Live Dinner Experience at Heart

For our last dinner in Ibiza, we went to Heart, a restaurant/club that is the result of a collaboration between two chefs and the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Heart was created with the intent of exploring the boundaries between food, music, and art and was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. 

We began our evening at Heart on the terrace for a welcoming aperitif. As we lounged on couches, servers in elaborate costumes delivered tiny, delectable bites and drinks to our table. After a few drinks, we headed downstairs to the live dinner experience. On our way, women dressed in Victorian clothes offered us more tasty morsels, including macarons plucked off of a tree. It was like something out of Alice in Wonderland!

ibiza heart restaurant

Downstairs in the Lab it was a whole other world. As we ate, acrobats performed incredible feats set to enchanting music. It’s hard to put this experience into words so I’ll let this video do the talking for me. After dinner, Heart turned into a club. It was a much more intimate setting than the previous night and I had a blast dancing into the wee hours of the night.

ibiza heart live dinner experience ibiza heart live dinner experience

By the end of our stay, I came to realize that Ibiza is more than just a crazy partying destination. It’s also home to a gastronomy scene full of delights and surprises. Every meal was more unforgettable than the last and I left knowing I’d only had a taste of what Ibiza has to offer. I hope to come back one day to explore more of this beautiful white isle. And maybe next time the sun will decide to grace us with her presence 🙂

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Ibiza guide more than party destination

Have you been to Ibiza? If so, what did you think? If not, would you like to go? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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