After a brilliant impromptu weekend away in Tarifa in southern Spain last year, my girlfriends and I were keen to go away again and, after much deliberation, we decided to go for a city break to Palma (read here for the Top 10 Things To Do in Palma), the capital of the Balearic Islands, situated on the south coast of the island of Mallorca.
Why a city break in Palma?
A lot of tourists travel through Palma airport on their way to other parts of Mallorca such as Magaluf… yep, it’s only 20 minutes away, but don’t let that put you off… Palma is a million miles away from the hen/stag party mecca.
We booked our flights first through the usual budget airlines but finding somewhere to stay was slightly more taxing – only because we were all adamant that we wanted somewhere to sunbathe and lounge by the pool.
I hit the jackpot, though, through HomeAway.com. Situated near the Old Town and Marina, we ended up staying a light and roomy first-floor apartment set back on a residential road, that had three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, two balconies and best of all, a private swimming pool. And it was such a bargain. Costing each of us £80 for the four nights.
On the first night of our arrival after leaving work early, we were all exhausted so managed to find a little Italian down the street who, even though the kitchen had closed, rustled up some delicious fare. Oh, and the wine began flowing, and another bottle was ordered, and another, and another…
Waking up with a crusty mouth and foggy head wasn’t the best way to start the morning, and more so when there was absolutely nothing to eat or drink in the apartment. The first thing three of us did was to attempt to find a supermarket. On a hangover and in a city we didn’t know and not being able to speak any Spanish, either. ‘Supermercardo? Supermercardo?’ in a very pronounced, idiotic way.
But we eventually got our act together, found a quaint cafe to drink some much-needed coffee, then amazingly, the supermarket, before heading back to prepare a sumptuous brunch. Then there was only one option – we made use of the swimming pool and enjoyed the sunshine.
That night, we took our time to wander around Santa Catalina – which was very close by and walkable from the apartment. Santa Catalina is an up and coming district of Mallorca, filled with an eclectic mix of boutique shops, pavement cafe and bars and wonderful restaurants. It had a lively, vibrant vibe and we all commented on how lucky we were to have this area right on our doorstep.
All of us were ravenous and after walking around what felt like the whole district, we eventually found a fabulous tapas restaurant and took at table al fresco. We ordered a lot of food and dived straight in, mopping up all the garlic juices with fresh bread, munching wonderfully fresh anchovies, octopus and calamari, croquettes and spicy chorizo. Washing it down with cool, crisp, white wine. It was truly magnificent.
We then ended up in a couple of cocktail bars that served mojitos and lots more besides and had a whale of a time – and some of the group even went dancing in Titos, after a few revellers suggested this was the place to be. A huge nightclub on several floors, where each and everyone one of my friends lost each other… I, thankfully, called it a night at 4.00am, which I thought was pretty good going.
Sore heads, and hilarious stories meant that we didn’t really move a lot the next day. But rumbling bellies meant that we had to venture out into town again. And wanting a change of scenery we explored the Old Town. And it really felt like we were in the heart of Palma. It had a brilliant vibe, fantastic nooks and crannies, and the smells emanating from the restaurants were simply divine. After a truly heavy night, this was the perfect place to unwind and take it easy.
The weather up to this point had been absolutely glorious, but on our final full day, it decided to cloud over and turn rainy and chilly. Typical, as hubby delighted in telling me it was the hottest day of the year back in England when I skyped him and Monkey for a morning chat.
Exploring Palma de Mallorca
No matter, we didn’t let this deter us from exploring the city proper, from the Cathedral to the La Rambla, and we made use of the cooler weather to wander. It was a brilliant day of chatting, walking, eating tapas, drinking; chatting, walking, eating tapas and drinking.
Palma isn’t necessarily the first port of call when you think of a weekend away, it’s a much more low-profile destination compared to say the likes of Paris, Madrid, Lisbon and Barcelona. And meanwhile, tourists often travel through the airport without giving the city a glance.
Palma is charming, architecturally stunning, with a sense of history alongside wonderfully vibrant districts. There are beaches, art galleries, history, an abundance of first-class eateries, boutique hotels, rooftop bars and fabulous nightlife. And with budget airlines flying there daily, and affordable, accommodation to boot, there’s no excuse not to go and check it out for yourselves.