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How To Spend 1 Day in Palma de Mallorca

Last updated on May 1st, 2024 at 11:35 am

1 day in Palma?? Yes, it’s entirely possible and definitely worth it!

The island of Mallorca (‘Majorca’ in English) is the largest of the Balearic Islands and is located in the Mediterranean Sea. The Balearic Islands are part of Spain but have been an autonomous community since 1983. Palma is Mallorca’s capital.

Mallorca’s Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches make it a popular holiday destination and Palma the jewel in its Crown.

Whilst many visitors to Mallorca may head straight to their beachside hotels elsewhere on the island, Palma’s architecture, medieval streets, food, galleries and location make it the perfect city break destination. Read on to discover my travel tips and top things you can do in 1 day in Palma.

Getting to Palma de Mallorca

You can get to Mallorca by ferry from major Spanish cities such as Barcelona and Valencia or from the neighbouring Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Menorca. Many cruise ships also dock at the city giving their passengers an opportunity to spend 1 day in Palma. Most visitors however will arrive by air.

The Palma de Mallorca airport (PMI) receives millions of visitors every year and is serviced by numerous flights coming in from European and UK destinations. The flight time from London is around 2.5 hours and from Barcelona it’s about 1 hour.

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Getting from the Airport

If you are arriving in Palma by air there are a few ways to get from the airport to your accommodation:

Airport Bus

By far the cheapest option. Follow the signs from the arrivals hall – the bus stops are across the slip road.

There are 2 bus companies in operation from the airport:

  • the blue, white and green EMT buses which run to/from Palma city; and
  • the red and yellow TIB airport buses (AEROTIB) which connect the airport to other destinations on the island. Note however that the AEROTIB buses only operate during the summer months, usually April to October. To access other parts of the island during winter you will need to use the EMT bus to get to Palma’s main train station and travel from there.

The EMT A1 route runs into the city centre and A2 route will run in the opposite direction toward S’Arenal. Tickets cost €5 for a single journey and you will need to pay in cash using small notes.

Prices for the AEROTIB buses will depend on your final destination and are cheaper if paid by card rather than cash.

Check here for airport bus information.

Rental Car

If you are interested in renting a car to get you from the airport and around Mallorca, you can explore available options and prices here:

Pre-Booked Airport Transfer

Pre-booking a transfer will eliminate the need to wait for a taxi or bus and may be more convenient depending on what time you arrive, however they are likely to cost more. Check available options and prices here:

Taxi

Taxis are readily available at Palma airport – just follow the signs from the arrivals hall, the taxi stand is right outside. Check here for further information regarding taxis, including tariffs.

Where to Stay in Palma

If you intend, as I did, to use Palma as your base for a trip to Mallorca and stay for several nights, then there are many accommodation options available depending on where you want to stay and what budget you have. My pre-trip research showed that staying outside of the historic center of Palma was cheaper, however that does mean having to use local buses to get to the city.

I stayed in the BG Hotel Java which is located near Ca’n Pastilla beach and the Aquarium. The local and airport buses both stopped right outside the hotel – a single journey on the local bus into Palma was only €2.

For accommodation options in Palma and elsewhere on Mallorca, check Booking.com and Expedia.co.uk.

Image of the sun setting over the beach at Palma de Mallorca

Is Palma Worth Visiting for a Day?

Yes, is the short answer!

It goes without saying of course that the longer you visit a city or a country, the more of it you will see and experience. However, if you only have a weekend on Mallorca or you fancy a day trip from your beach resort or your cruise ship is only in dock for a matter of hours, then Palma’s small, walkable centre coupled with its fascinating history and lovely weather, means it ticks all the day trip boxes.

Image taken from the Cathedral in Palma looking out over the city walls and Parc toward the bay.

Travel Tips

Before diving into what you can do in 1 day in Palma, here are a few travel tips:

Weather

Palma can be very hot in the summer with temperatures often over 30°C so make sure you have sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water to drink.

Footwear

One day anywhere isn’t a huge amount of time, but it is possible to see and do a lot regardless. Be warned though, you will exceed (by quite a bit) your recommended 10,000 steps a day, so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes!

Staying Online

If you like to stay online when travelling, either to keep in touch with family and friends, update social media or use google maps, but you don’t want to incur roaming charges from your home provider, then consider an eSim from Airalo.

Easy to install, an eSim avoids the need to buy a local Sim card (and risk losing your home Sim when taking it out!) and allows you to continue using your own phone number for calls and texts.

I have used data packages purchased from Airalo on several occasions now, including in the USA, Mexico and Belize, and can highly recommend them. When time is of the essence as it can be when travelling, accessing online resources can be a real time saver. For solo travellers, it can also be a comfort to know you have online access all the time. UK residents should check with their mobile provider however as to whether European data roaming is included in their tariff.

Take Cash in Small Notes

Make sure you are carrying small notes to cover the cost of buses and some of the activities listed below.

Image of Cathedral and associated buildings in Palma, a must stop if you're spending 1 day in Palma

Here’s What You Can Do in 1 Day in Palma

Each of the activities I have set out below were things that I did in 1 day in Palma.

Visit Palma Cathedral

No trip to Palma is complete without visiting the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria, known as La Seu. 

The Cathedral is located on the site of what was once the main mosque of Medina Mayurka, the capital of Muslim Mallorca for three centuries. The mosque was used as an interim church following the Christian reconquest in 1229. Construction of the Cathedral began in the 13th century and was completed in the 17th.

Inside there are over 60 stained glass windows with the central rose window being the most impressive. The slim pillars supporting the roof are apparently some of the slimmest load-bearing pillars in the world. 

The illuminated crown of thorns above the alter was designed by Antoni Gaudí and look out for the modern take on the loaves and fishes parable by artist Miquel Barceló!

There’s some beautiful art work and over 20 chapels to see too. 

My tips for visiting:

  • tickets are €10 (concessions are available)
  • audio guides cost an additional €5
  • Tours including the Cathedral terraces are available May to October (inclusive) and cost €25
  • Guided tours cost €30 but are only available in English on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11am
  • allow 60 – 90 minutes for your visit. I would suggest going early as it got busy quickly! 
  • don’t forget to have a look at the external parts of the Cathedral – the colour and architecture are both lovely
  • a section of the Palma defensive sea wall, the Dalt Murada (began in 1562, finished in 1801) can be seen together with the Parc de la Mar (with artificial lake) from below the Cathedral. These are good spots for a photograph looking up at the Cathedral
  • check the official site for up to date visitor information

If you want to skip the queue, then book this ticket with Get Your Guide.

Explore the Royal Palace of La Almudaina

A must see during your 1 day in Palma, the Palace is opposite the Cathedral and has amazing views out over the Bay of Palma. It dates back to the 14th century and is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family when they are in Mallorca.

Remains of the former Muslim alcázar can be seen in the current Palace layout and the white marble lion in the courtyard is preserved as a reminder of its Muslim past.

My tips for visiting:

  • tickets are €7
  • audio guides are €5
  • allow 40-60 minutes for your visit
  • don’t miss the view of the Cathedral from the corner of the Palace courtyard
  • check the official site for up to date visitor information

If you want to skip the line, then book here with Get Your Guide.

Visit the Arab Baths

If you take a walk along the old medieval streets of Palma not far from the Cathedral you will see signs pointing the way to Banys Àrabs. 

The Arab Baths are located in the gardens of a former nobleman’s manor. They date from the 10th to 12th centuries and are some of the few remains of the Arab city, Medina Mayurqa.

It’s not a large attraction but very interesting all the same. There is a preserved caldarium and tepidarium and some lovely gardens where visitors would have cooled off after their hot bath all those hundreds of years ago. I can imagine the gardens are a wonderful respite from todays summer heat too! 

Tickets are €3 which includes an informative video. I would allow 20-30 minutes for your visit.

Image of the Arab Baths, a place to visit during 1 day in Palma de Mallorca

Buy Cookies from the Nuns of the Santa Clara Convent

One of the fun things you can do in 1 day in Palma is to purchase cookies from the nuns at the Convent de Santa Clara.

The Convent was founded in 1256 and is still home today to a closed community of nuns who continue a centuries old tradition of baking biscuits/cookies. 

On the right of the church is a small room within which there is a bell and a wooden turnstile called a torno which is set within a window. Choose what you would like to purchase from a menu of available items and ring the bell. A nun will take your order, you place your money inside the torno and, after having turned the torno, the nun will replace your money with the item you have bought and return it to you. In this way, you do not get to come face to face with the nuns. 

Note – there did not appear to be an option for card payment so ensure you have small notes and coins.

Admire the Street Art

The medieval streets of Palma are a good place to see some interesting street art….if you keep your eyes open! Many brightly coloured works appear on the walls of the small alleyways throughout Palma – I suspect I missed more than I saw.

Visit the Mercat de l’Olivar

A visit to Mercat de l’Olivar is a must during your 1 day in Palma. Here you will see a beautiful array of vegetables, fish, meat, seafood, cheese, wine and coffee (amongst other things) for sale.

The market first opened in 1951 and is located close to Plaça d’Espanya, about a 10-15 minute walk from the Cathedral. It’s open from 7am to 3pm, but closed Sunday. There’s plenty to see and eat here! 

Check the official site for up to date visitor information.

Visit the Old Olive Tree

Olivera de Cort is a 600 year old olive tree located in Plaça de Cort. It was transported to Palma in 1989 as a symbol of peace and stands opposite the Town Hall.

The Plaça de Cort derives its name from having been the place where feudal court gatherings once took place. Today, it’s a lively area with cafes and restaurants surrounding it – it can get very busy during the day however so I suggest going early morning or late afternoon. I went back several times during the day before taking this photo late in the afternoon!

Image of the old olive tree located within Place de Cort in Palma de Mallorca

Stop for Coffee at Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo

The café Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo can date its origins back some 300 years and offers a very tasty selection of drinks, pastries and ice cream (I did not try the latter!). Definitely worth a stop for the interior alone.

There are three venues – I visited the one in Calle Sanç which preserves all the features of the first shop that opened in the 1700s. Check the official site for locations and menus.

Dine On Tapas

When in Spain, eat like the Spanish! Tapas is a must at any time but especially if you have just the 1 day in Palma. There are plenty of places to choose from, although I think just wandering down the small alleyways will likely turn up a gem.

Visit the Esglesia de Sant Miguel (Church of St. Michael)

This Church is one of the four oldest in Palma and is located on the site of a former mosque. The façade is the original 14th century Gothic construction but the rest dates largely from the 17th century. I would allow 10-15 minutes for a visit.

Image of the Church of St Michael which you can visit if you are spending 1 day in Palma

Wander Around the Old Town

Palma isn’t a huge place so I would definitely recommend spending some time just wandering around the small, Medieval streets and alleyways, even if you have no destination in mind…you’re bound to stumble upon something interesting!

Image of the small Medieval streets which you should take time to wander around if you are spending 1 day in Palma de Mallorca

Stroll along Passeig d’es Born

A classic boulevard, the Passeig d’es Born is a nice place to wander and do some window shopping. Alternatively, you could take a seat on the stone benches and do a bit of people watching or stop by one of the cafés or restaurants.

Image of Passeig d'es Born, a lovely Avenue in Palma perfect for a stroll.

Relax in S’Hort del Rei

Below the walls of the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, you will find the Kings Orchard (S’Hort del Rei in Catalan). In the 14th century it would have been the place where fruit trees, vegetables and flowers would have grown. Today, it’s a lovely shady, peaceful garden with fountains, ponds and a pergola. It’s free to enter and a nice place to take a break.

Image of the S’Hort del Rei, somewhere to relax during your 1 day in Palma

Admire the Arc de Sa Drassana

At one end of the S’Hort del Rei is the Arc de sa Drassana. It’s one of the few reminders of Palma’s Arab past and is believed to have been the entrance into the Arab Palace and shipyards back when the sea met the city walls and the River Riera flowed along what is now known as Passeig d’es Born.

Image of the Arc de Sa Drassana which can be seen when exploring Palma

If You Have More than 1 Day in Palma

If you plan to base yourself in Palma for a few days or you’re looking for alternative options for things to do, then here are a few additional attractions and activities you could add to your Palma Mallorca itinerary:

  • Take a day trip to Soller – read my guide here
  • Visit Bellver Castle – to access the castle you will need to take a local bus and climb up the remaining 300 steps or join the tourist Hop on Hop Off bus which stops at the castle
  • Join a walking tour – check Get Your Guide for available options
  • Visit the March Palace – home to the wealthy March family, this house museum is located next to the Royal Palace. Consider this tour from Get Your Guide
  • Visit Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró – museum celebrating the life and works of the Catalan artist
  • Visit Palma Aquarium
  • Relax on the beach at Platja de Palma
  • Visit the Palma neighbourhood of Santa Catalina

Final Thoughts

Palma de Mallorca is a great city break destination. Whether you are basing yourself in the city or looking to just spend one day there, you will find plenty to do and see. From history to food, art to relaxation you can be sure you will enjoy 1 day in Palma.

Do check my Resources page here for further help in planning your 1 day in Palma.

Image of ceramics for sale in Palma de Mallorca

Disclaimer – Information correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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