For a birthday treat I decided to go to somewhere more luxury and venture out to Majorca for my first holiday on an island.
Although the trip felt shorter than it should’ve been as I only managed two full days of activities and sightseeing for the trip due to many delays, which is a story of its own that I’ll cover in another post.
Unfortunately for those hoping I’d break into the Love Island villa I come with disappointment as the villa is located in the northern region of Majorca as opposed to nearby Palma, whih was the ciry I was in and is located in the south-west part of the island.
Palma, formerely known as Palmaria, is one of the two Majorcan cities founded by the Roman Empire in Majorca. It’s a city that always has something going on: whether it’s public performers dressed up as stuffed animals in town squares, families and friends chilaxing and having fun on beaches and beach clubs or buzzing bars and restaurants at night in Santa Catalina.
The attractions in the city I saw through the free walking tour I took part in the first morning there (via the Majorca Free Walking Tour).
Much like the free walking tour in Dublin I enjoyed the walking tour, mingling and talking with other English-speaking travellers as there was a guide in both Spanish and English and trying to gain a deeper understanding of the history area I am residing in. It gave me a sense of comfort and platform to do my learning.
As of now most, if not all, original traces of Roman and Asian architecture has been destroyed by natural disasters affecting the city. All the buildings, walls and balconies you see when exploring the inner city are reconstructions.
Cathedral Le Seu
Commonly referred to as Cathedral Le Seu by Majorcan residents, the Palma Cathedral is described as a gothic temple and is largely seen as the main point of attraction in the city. Le Seu translates to bishop temple in English.
The construction of the original cathedral started between the years 1276-1280 and took 300 years to finish. Unfortunately and the current version of Catheral Le Seu that you see today is a reconstruction, which took half the time to complete.
By looking at the aesthetics I can see why, the architecture is so rich in detail and that’s just the reconstruction. At the top of the cathedral you can see is the statue of San Gabriel, the proclaimed defender or guardian of Palma.
Sunday masses are at 9am and are when there is free entry into the cathedral but apart from that people are looking to pay the full price of €7 at any other time of the week.
Arbol Singular (Unique Tree)
Known to be the oldest living tree on the island the Arbol Singular resides opposite to the. Comics are made and printed to tell many generations stories, myths and tales about the 800 year old tree itself.
Church of Santa Eutalia
The Santa Eutalia is one of the most revered places of worship in the city of Palma and is one of the must-see tourist attractions. It was built in the 13th century, meaning it is the oldest but ironically helped shape modern-day Palma into what it is today.
Much like the Cathedral Le Seu, the church is a piece of gothic architecture that has some Roman ties connected to it. The name of the church is derived from the Patron-Saint of Barcelona, a teenage girl who was tortured and killed by Romans.
The Plaza Espana was where the walking tour was concluded.
Located directly next to San Miguel Street, one of Palma’s busiest shopping streets, Plaza Espana represents what’s left of of the old city of Palma. In the middle of the town square is a statue of James III. There’s a myth from Britain thats said that the lakes are raised when Spanish soldiers die in wars that took place in bygone ages.
Like Plaza Mayor, it is enriched with places to eat and drink at, including McDonalds, KFC and Burger King if you’re a lover of fast-food (I believe there’s a Subway there if you’re looking for a healthier option), as well as street perfomers and kiosks for souvenirs, confectionary newspapers and magazines.
I enjoyed the walking tour, particularly learning more about Spanish culture as a whole. I’d highly recommend it (the link to more details of the walking tour is above) or any other one as there’s got more than one Palma tour guides who do free walking tours around the city.
In Palma I stayed in an area known as Rafael Vell and like in Dublin it was an Airbnb that I took up. Following my success with my first Airbnb experience I felt more at ease about about this one.
The room was quite smaller in comparison to my en suite pad in Dublin and it didn’t help tackle issues with the heat, despite windows and blinds being open. An AC was badly needed for me to survive and make it through the three nights as the room was boling like an electrical kettle. Jesus! Although I had to make do with a fan given to me by Tamara, my Airbnb host, which made things a bit better.
The Airbnb accommodation also had a shared bathroom, kitchen and shower. There was only one plug socket in the entirety of the bedroom which wasn’t as it meant with all the electrical devices I had I could only use one at a time. Positives was that there were plenty of pillows on the bed like my own bed back at home along with loads of drawers for storing my clothes. There was drinking water provided by the kitchen sink and was handy in case I needed to refill my 2L bottle for the day.
As for Tamara my host to be honest I didn’t get the chance to interact with her much and get to know her as I was constantly in and out of rooms and the flat itself, but she was helpful and polite whenever I saw her or needed help with something around the flat.
Rating out of 10: 6.5/10
Celler Sa Premsa
This is one of the busiest and most popular restaurants in the inner-city region of Palma and for the prices and range of its menu you shouldn’t give it a miss.
I won’t lie I was a bit tentative in terms of service fees and extras they may give me without request to make the bill more expensive than it should (most European countries I feel you need to be weary of it) but the staff at Celler Sa Premsa welcomed me and made me feel at ease by providing me with a seat and a menu and such, even though they had a restaurant packed full on a Saturday afternoon which was good to see.
The quality of the food was great for the price. I went for something more international and had roast chicken with chips. The chips could’ve been a touch warmer but with the heat and humidity in Majorca and my desire to eat I’m not complaining, plus the portions were sufficient and weren’t oily either. Same went for the chicken portions, which were medium-sized and came in three pieces as seen in the pics below. All only for €6.50.
The place was buzzing even though there was no music or live TV to create an atmosphere, instead it was created by the people. The locals. All around me was just families and friends spending time chatting away about their lives and for me it made the whole place feel natural rather than an atmosphere being created through artificial means (i.e. live music or TV)
Mercadona is Palma’s Lidl or Aldi basically. Mind you there are actually also Lidl and Aldi supermarkets but not as many as the national one. Much like the aforementioned superstores, Mercadona is one that offers both global and local brands of food and drink as well as healthcare and homeware essentials at affordable prices.
I discovered it when I was exploring the local area of my Airbnb and thought I’d pop in to see what it’s like and wasn’t disappointed. I fully got hooked onto their store-branded 2L lemonade bottle which was just about 60 cents. Regulated my hydration levels I must say! There are various branches around the city so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding one if you’re desparate to keep the costs on food and drinks down.
From what I can remember, maybe from the exception of my Amsterdam break last year, I haven’t turned to supermarkets to keep myself fuelled for so it’s a nice change from depending on restaurants and cafes for food.
Recommendations: Try Tapas, a Spanish snack that can be eaten either hot or cold, and Frito, which is a popular dish containing potatoes, meat and mixed vegetables.
Majorca and Spain as a whole is notorious for its abundant amount of cafes. Take the opportunity to go to one and mingle with some of the locals, especially in the local area you’re staying in.
Getting around Palma was generally a nightmare.
The main way to get round town was with the EMT Bus service, which is basic to say the least.
In comparison to transport systems in major cities like London and Paris it’s lagging. For example there’s no double decker buses so thet can easily get congested. Not to mention that for whatever reason the number of seats on buses are inconsistent: some have the right number while others have too few seats. Another example is only being able to pay in coins and cash (maxmiun limit is up to €10 in terms of what you can pay in) rather than via debit card or or a top up travelcard.
One of the bus routes (28) runs one bus every hour and ended up waiting longer than an hour for one of my trips back to my Airbnb. How I found the patience within me to stay in one spot for that duration of time I’ll never know and can only thank God for.
Another occasion a driver of the same bus 28 on one of my trips back home even refused to stop for me, even though there was space on the bus and people got on other buses from that same bus stop. What’s worse was that the driver pulled into the lane but still kept his foot on the pedal. Ridiculous and disrespectful. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
For the tourists there’s a lack of flexibility in terms of playing for travel. I.e. no travelcard or tourist pass available. Train and tram services are non existent as far as I’m aware (although I could be wrong).
The only positive I can think of is the single bus journey tickets only being €1.50 which is not expensive at all. Mind you return tickets aren’t even available.
So yeah the Palmeria public transport system is not the greatest. If you’re planning to stay inner-city, unlike myself, you’re better off walking since many of the tourist attractions are fairly close to each other. It’s experiences like these for Londoners like me that serves as a reminder not to take what we have for granted.
Rating out of 10: 3 out of 10
I hope you guys enjoyed my Day 1 review. I’ll be coming back at you with a post on the Day 2 of my Spanish adventure sometime next week.
Have you been to Palma before? What’s was your experiences like? Drop your thoughts on the comments below.
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures