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The largest of Spain’s Balearic islands. Mallorca’s capital Palma is the administrative centre of the Balearic Island province. There are over 800,000 permanent residents residing on Mallorca island, half of which reside in Palma making it Spain’s 8th largest city.
Mallorca’s history goes back millennia and the island is blessed with a good collection of neolithic ruins. It was conquered by the Romans, the Moors and the Mussolini’s Italy on the behest of Franco during the civil war. The composer Chopin spent some time on the island during a period of ill-health.
From the 1950s onwards, tourism has become Mallorca’s main industry. In the high season around 8 million people, mostly from Northern Europe, holiday on the island. While Magaluf may be infamous thanks to the Club 18-30 Crowd, there is much more to the island than sun, sex and scandal (although who’s to say that’s a bad thing?).
For information about gay rights in Spain, please refer to ur Gay Madrid City Guide page.
While Sitges, Gran Canaria and Torremolinos are known as gay Spanish beach destinations, many gay holiday makers come to Mallorca in the summer months. There is a decent selection of Gay Cruise Clubs, Gay Bars & Dance Clubs mostly scattered around Palma’s Gomila district. Puenta des Grells and Es Trenc are good beaches for cruising.
In June, there is a gay Pride parade in Palma which is very popular. There are parties and talks on the night but throughout the month there is a varied calendar of events. September also hosts ELLA, the international lesbian festival.
Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) is the third largest airport in Spain and one of Europe’s busiest in the summer months. It is 8 km East from the centre of Palma It is well connected to destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East however a lot of these routes only fly during the summer holiday season.
From the airport you can take Routes 1 and 21 into Palma city centre and run from 6am to 1.15am. Journeys cost €5 and run from between every 15-30 minutes with a journey time of half an hour. Lines A11, A32, A42 and A51 take you to the tourist areas and cost between €5-12 depending on your destination.
There is a taxi rank outside the terminal and there is a specific meeting point for pre-booked taxis and private transfers. A journey into Palma should cost in the region of €30 with prices rising if you’re going further. Some hotels offer free airport transfers so that is something worth checking out if you’re staying further afield.
Renting a car is a good way to get out of the airport if you’re staying further away from Palma. Most major rental companies can be found in the terminal building and offer vehicles of all sizes and budgets. To save time it is easier to order the car in advance, so be sure to have the appropriate documents handy.
Mallorca is a popular destination for Mediterranean cruises. There are two ports on the island. One in Alcudia and one in Palma. They mostly offer services to Corsica, the Spanish mainland and other Balearic Islands and can be a cheaper way of travelling than flying.
If travelling around the island it is advisable to hire a car to move at your own pace. Be sure to book in advance as the rates are cheaper and you may struggle to find a car in high season. There are car hire desks at the airport and there are companies operating in Palma and the other main tourist towns.
When driving you must be over 18 and have a valid driving licence and passport on you. The drink drive limit is 0.05% (and also includes cyclists) and random breathalyser tests are common, and seat-belts must be worn at all times. Parking can be difficult in the summer months so be prepared to park further away and walk for a bit.
By public transport
Palma is easily traversable on foot but there are good public transport links in the city with a metro system and a comprehensive bus network. The metro is only of interest if you plan to visit the university or suburbs. You are most likely to get a bus around Palma.
EMT operates Palma’s fleet of blue buses. You can buy tickets from the driver (€1.50 starting rate for singles) but to save money buy a book of 10 tickets from Tabacs or the ticket office (€7.50). The services are pretty regular during the day with some specific tourist routes. There is a night bus service that runs every 25 minutes.
TIB operates intercity bus services which are a good way of getting to and from resorts further away. Services become a lot less regular the further you go from Palma so be sure to ensure you check with the operators to get an idea of the timetables. Note that return tickets can only be used on the day of travel.
SFE runs Mallorca’s small rail network which converges at Palma’s Placa d’Espanya. The main service is divided into 3 routes and covers several towns and villages. The traditional wooden train to Soller is a pleasant 55 minute journey and a good day trip idea with round trips costing around €17) where you can take a tram to the port.
Taxis can be hailed on the street or found at taxi ranks in Palma and the larger tourist resorts but restaurants and hotels will be happy to get you a cab. €1.80 is the fixed rate during the day (€3.60 at night, weekends and holidays) and €0.61 per km (0.91). Don’t be afraid to get out of a car if the rate feels too high. Trust your gut!
The island has a wide choice of hotels to choose from. For a list of recommended hotels on Palma de Mallorca, please visit the Mallorca Hotels page.
La Seu – this impressive Gothic cathedral is one of the island’s star attractions and was built on the sight of a former mosque. In 1901 it was restored by the architect Gaudi who is most famous for his work in Barcelona.
Bellver Castle – situated 3km west of the city. Bellver Castle is notable for being one of Europe’s few round castles. It was used as a military prison, but now it hosts the city’s history museum and offers great views of Palma and the Mediterranean Sea.
Pueblo Español – this village-like museum recreates iconic Spanish architectural works and has artisan shops for you to spend your cash on.
Museo de Arte Español Contemporáneo – in this free museum you can find works by modern Spanish artists including Dali and Picasso.
Valldemossa – the village in the mountains where Chopin stayed. Of particular note is the monastery and the palace where Chopin recitals are common.
Pollenca – this charming mountain town has an excellent Sunday Market and the Good Friday procession to the top of the hill is a humbling sight.
Ses Païsses – one of Majorca’s best preserved prehistoric sights. The ruins were thought to be constructed between 1300-900 BC.
Serra de Tramuntana – this mountain range in the centre of the island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers excellent hiking.
Sa Calobra – this beautiful fishing village is accessible via a winding road.
Cala Sant Vicenc – a beach known for its white sand and crystal clear waters.
The summer months are glorious however this results in hordes of tourists descending on the island. To experience pleasant weather and a slightly less crowded island, consider arriving in April, May or September. Winters are mild, quite rainy and you can also experience snow in the mountain ranges.
Like the rest of Spain, there are festivals held on the island all year round. November sees the Evolution Mallorca Evolution Film Festival which attracts visitors from all over the world. There’s Cala d’Or International Jazz Festival in May, while Festival Isla d’Encanta in July attracts the best in international pop, rock and dance acts.
Spain is within the Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, you should check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
The currency in Spain is the Euro. Cash dispensers are widely available. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Photo ID may be required if paying by card in some shops.
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