Mallorca is a vibrant destination with a lot to visit. Renowned for its warm and sunny disposition, the island boasts a wealth of historical monuments, museums, and a plethora of places that can easily be worked into a single or multi-day sightseeing. You can enjoy the island like the locals do at a relaxed and unhurried pace, and you’ll quickly fall for its welcoming atmosphere and charm. See our list below for ideas on the places you should not miss.
The most iconic of Mallorca’s attractions is La Seu Cathedral and the main highlight of the Palma old town tour. This emblematic gothic monument which rises majestically on the seashore has earned different names for obvious reasons: Cathedral of the Sea, Cathedral of the Space, Cathedral of the Light.
La Seu – as the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is more commonly called – was founded by King James I of Aragon to honor a vow he made to the Virgin Mary after surviving a terrible storm. Built on the site of an existing Arab mosque, the cathedral is 121 meters long and 55 meters wide and occupies an area of approximately 6.600 m2 .
It was designed in French Gothic style with the north European gothic influences and made from golden limestone from the Santanyi quarries. Large scale but harmonious, its interior features three naves resting on 44-meter tall octagonal pillars. It houses the majestic Royal Chapel, the tombs of Jaime II and Jaime III, and the tombs of Bishop Antonio Gallina and Clemente VIII.
It was a project that took an excessive amount of time to finish, from 1230 to 1601. The main façade that fell off during the earthquake in 1851- was reconstructed entirely in Neo-Gothic style by Joan Bautista Peyronnet. The enormous wrought-iron chandelier surmounting the main altar was forged by Antonio Gaudí, who was involved in the restoration works of the cathedral between 1901 and 1914.
Opening Hours vary according to the time of year. However, it is always open on Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:00.
Situated in one of the tortuous small lanes – Serra passage – that make up the picturesque ‘barrio’ behind the cathedral of Palma, the Arab Baths are the only remaining witness to the Islamic presence in Palma and of 300 years of Moorish occupation.
They date back to the 11th century and still preserve their original state almost without restoration. The bathroom features a classic dome with five oculi that let in light. The twelve columns holding up the small room were pillaged from earlier Roman construction. The floor over the hypocaust has been worn down by people standing in the center mainly to photograph the entrance and the garden beyond it.
The whole room is in a somewhat disreputable condition. The other room is a brick cube with a small model of the baths as they once were in the corner. Unfortunately, one of the columns in this model has fallen over.
You can visit from: Monday to Sunday from 7:00 to 19:00, December-March from 9:00.
Palacio Almudaina, a mix of Moorish and Gothic styles stone palace, was built as a fortress in 903 when the Arabs conquered the island. The building’s rich history and change are reflected in a panoply of architecture from the different periods. The significant alterations to the original building were carried out in the 14th century, including the construction of The Great Hall, the making of the sculpture of the Archangel St Gabriel, and the founding of St Anne’s Chapel.
Almudaina Royal Palace has a rectangular layout enclosed by walls flanked by tall walls and square-based towers. The palace occupies a surface of 20,000 m2. However, it is only partially accessible to the public as it is also the Military headquarters of the Balearics and the venue for official events of the Spanish royal family.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-8pm. Closed on Monday.
General entrance fee: 9 € (15 € incl. guided tour). Children and youngsters (from the age of 5 to 16) and retired persons: 4 €. The entrance is free for citizens of the European Union on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 17:00 to 20:00.
The monastery dates back to 1200. It was built in a secluded place in the mountains. Many Christian pilgrims come here to see La Moreneta, the dark Madonna, who believed to fulfill wishes.
The monastery has a beautiful inner courtyard and the original Renaissance-Baroque church built during 1622-84 and designed by Jaume Blanquer. There is also a museum where archeological, artsy, and sacred objects are exhibited. This is an excellent area for hiking, and the monastery offers peaceful accommodation and Mallorcan food. Guest who would like to spend the night can choose between a cell or a double room, and they will find great value for their money. But must be booked in advance.
A former royal residence and 13th-century Carthusian monastery, the Royal Carthusian of Valdemossa is also known for being the place where Frederick Chopin and his lover George Sand retreated, far away from the prying eyes of Parisian society. According to the legend, the unceasing rainwater dripping throughout the day and night inspired Chopin to compose the so-called Raindrop Prelude, Op. 28 No. 15, the most extended piece in the collection.
The visit includes: the old palace, a beautiful church with frescos of Bayeu, Goya’s brother-in-law; the cells that the monks inhabited for 400 years; cell No. 4, where Chopin and Sand stayed and which is now a Chopin Museum; and Cell No. 2 featuring an art collection of some of the greatest modern Spanish and local artists, including Miró. There is also an old pharmacy with ancient pots and medicines. From the beautiful gardens and terraces, you will enjoy some of the most astonishing views of the valley. Several cultural activities that take place here today, one of the most important, is the Chopin Festival held for over twenty years.
A Winter in Majorca is George Sand’s autobiographical novel recounting the story of her 1838 winter in Majorca in the company of Frederick Chopin.