The “pearl of the Mediterranean”, Palma is a beautiful city in Mallorca that has so much to offer. The city is rich in culture, history, with outstanding cuisine and a relaxed lifestyle. Palma has changed considerably, thanks to the city planning and extensive renovations to the old town.
What to expect
- Palma is the capital city of the Spanish Mediterranean island, with a vibrant city center of the Borne, known as the “golden mile”, the main shopping street of Avenida Jaime III, the historic area of Casco Antiguo (Old Town), the trendy area of Santa Catalina, the exclusive hillside golf area of Son Vida, and Playa de Palma. Here are the main highlights of what you can expect when living in Palma:
- The weather is perfect year-round! Summers are hot and shiny and winters are mild and comfortable. Some may say that the summers reach too high temperatures, however, almost every place is fully equipped with air conditioning to offer the best service and experience possible.
Average daylight hours: 15 hours in summer and 9 hours in winter.
Average weather: 30º C in summer and 8º C in winter.
Average rainfall days: 56 days.
Cost of living
- Due to the increase in popularity, the city’s prices went up as well. The cost of living can be rather higher than in other Spanish cities, however, the city offers plenty of benefits and an over-the-top life quality.
Finding an apartment
- There are many websites that can help you find an apartment that suits your needs and adapts to your lifestyle and budget. These websites are almost all in English, and have a service of guiding you on what neighborhoods are the best for your preferences.
- Palma counts with a small but reliable public transportation network, with buses and rail services. There are bus routes that get you in and out of the city center, which is helpful when you live on the outskirts of Palma. There are two rail lines that will get you to the mountains and to Inca, a major destination for shoppers. The train and the bus stations are underground at Estación Intermodal, with a train on the first floor and bus on the second.
- Palma’s economy has grown rapidly over the last years, especially in the tourism and hospitality industries.
- Companies in Palma are more inclined to these industries as they are the sectors that the largest competitors in the city’s economy. However, the professional environment is not limited to that only, as there are a number of startups on the technology and information field.
- Meeting new people in the island’s capital will be more of a pleasant experience than a challenge, as people in Palma are very friendly and easy-going. The primary language is Mallorquin, but most people speak Spanish, English, and a large number of the population speaks German too. The best way to meet people, as recommended by locals and other expats, is to go out. Lifestyle in Palma is outdoors, where you’ll be able to meet new people from all around the world.
- The Balearics’ urban destination is a mixture of historic and modern architecture, with buildings like the City Hall, the Cathedral, La Lonja, among others. There is a wide range of museums and churches that give you an insight into Palma’s history and cultural influences.
- The airport is located 8km east of the city center, making it easily accessible and comfortable to use. Son Sant Joan Airport is the third-largest airport in Spain, with international destinations to most European countries and Africa.
- Palma is always adding something new to the list of its major attractions, and these are some of the highlights:
- Palma’s dynamic yacht industry is one of the top ones on the list, as well as the beaches and the wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose from. Small cafes and popular nightclubs, as well as the waterfront promenade, and extensive cultural scene including outstanding museums and art galleries, traditional festivals, and live music concerts. There is always something to do in Palma.
- Palma is a city of artistic roots, and it can be seen throughout the whole city. One of the most popular exhibitions. Fundació Miró Mallorca, is a unique place thanks to its rich and distinctive artistic and architectural heritage. It offers an insight into Joan Miró’s creative process in the place the artist lived for almost 30 years.
- The Bellver Castle, a circular castle built in the 14th century, sits atop a pine forest hill overlooking the city and the sea beyond. This historical landmark went from being a royal residence to a prison, the Bellver Castle is now open as a comprehensive museum dedicated to Mallorca’s history.
- The San Juan Market makes a real feast with an extensive array of treats to offer, and an impressive interior design. Offering everything from freshly cooked seafood, pintxos, oysters, mini-burgers, hams, croquettes, and much more! Most stalls have an impressive range of wines, and a unique menu to offer. At night, you can enjoy a night out with live music and DJs.
- Palma’s Old Town is filled with narrow cobbled streets, and grand historic palaces, medieval churches, and charming squares. Here you will find all types of stores and little markets that have been there for a very long time. You can walk through the streets or take a Segway tour, which is always a fun thing to do.
- Walk or cycle along the seafront to Portixol, one of the city’s key highlights: a wide promenade and cycle path that stretches for miles. Once a fishing village, now it is an area with a pretty marina and a wide variety of restaurants and eateries. There’s also a little beach for a quick dip and sun-bathing, and then you can head back or keep going for the next beach!
- The Ancient Arab Baths were discovered 100 years ago in the gardens of a manor house in Old Town Palma. These are thought to have been attached to a private home, the Arab Baths seem to have been constructed from the remains of other buildings from other periods. These baths date back to the 10th and 12th centuries, when Palma was an Arab city called Medina Mayurqa.
- Mallorca’s fresh food is one of the unique features of the island. For lunch try the grimalt cheeses, and pastries with various fillings, and the Mallorcan bread with garlic, tomato, olive oil, and sometimes topped with cured ham. Famous main dishes include tumbet, a delicious vegetable dish, fideua, the local “paella” made with noodles instead of rice, fresh fish, pork loin with the traditional Mallorcan sauce, pumpkin fritters and much more to try! Another great Mallorcan dish, and Spanish overall, is Tapas, which are different combinations of meats, vegetables, and sauces. And if you are looking for something sweeter, you should try the “turron”, it’s a handmade nougat with local almonds, and the greixonera de brossat, which is the local cheesecake, if you are looking for a more substantial dessert.
- Sports in Palma is one of the most popular activities among locals and visitors. You can go cycling, sailing, running, play golf, and take part in one of the many sporting events that take place all year long! There are about twenty golf courses throughout the island, especially in the city, where you can enjoy a nice day playing some golf. Also, Palma is the starting point for cycling routes on the island, in which you can join and explore some of the nicest places on the island while getting some exercise. There is a large passion for sailing in the Mediterranean. The Bay of Palma is the ideal setting for nautical sports, which is why the city hosts major sailing competitions throughout the year.
- Magaluf, one of the most popular resort towns in Europe, is known for its nightlife, beaches, and food scene. The beach is around 900 meters long, with golden sand and turquoise waters. Just a 25-minute drive away from Palma, you can decide to stay here for a couple of days for a weekend getaway or just enjoy the whole day with friends and family.
- Soller, just 40 minutes away from Palma lies the interesting town of Soller. It is an old rural town, with Art Nouveau houses, narrow streets filled with tapas bars, shops like bakeries and ice cream shops, as well as upmarket craft shops. You can get here by the iconic tram that travels from Palma to Soller quite often, for the whole cultural experience.
We hope that you have found this guide useful.
Find more details, information, and KPIs about Palma de Mallorca in our Expat Guide.
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