Palma: 24 hours in Majorca's magical capital city
Published 29/08/2016 | 02:30
There's more to Majorca than sun holidays, says Tom Sweeney, who once called its capital his home.
10am: Gothic Grandeur
Have breakfast in Santa Catalina fresh food market (Placa Navegacio), a smaller but no less atmospheric version of Barcelona's La Boqueria. Enjoy a coffee and an ensaimada - a fluffy Majorcan pastry sprinkled with icing sugar - before visiting Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art, in the city's old fortress. Next, head to La Seu, a Gothic cathedral where Gaudi's touch is evident (he was involved in the renovations).
How: mercatdesantacatalina.com; esbaluard.org
2pm: Tapa the Pops
Time for lunch with the locals in Bar Dia (Apuntadores 18). I lived in Palma for six years, and ate here three or four times a week. The no-frills, noisy and always-busy tapas joint in the lively La Llonja neighbourhood serves generous portions of fabulous, affordable food. Owner Juanjo rarely smiles, but his customers leave grinning like eejits. For vegetarians and vegans or those who simply fancy a change, Restaurant Bon Lloc (Sant Feliu 7) is another fantastic spot.
How: bonllocrestaurant.com; abc-mallorca.com
5pm: Ships & Shops
Palma's yacht-lined promenade is perfect for a stroll beneath the palm trees, but if you prefer the shade provided by shops, head for Avenida Jaime III and Paseo del Borne. These are the two main, big-brand shopping strips for those with money to burn, but in the side streets off them are exclusive boutiques including Bossa, Miss Zelanea and Pinko and quaint souvenir shops. Rialto Living (Sant Feliu 3) is a great one-stop lifestyle shop.
8pm: Poshest bar on the planet
Artcafe (Bellver 9, El Terreno) doesn't advertise - word of mouth keeps this delightful and reasonably priced courtyard restaurant busy. For after-dinner cocktails, Abaco (San Juan 1) is a must. This former nobleman's townhouse is probably the poshest, most beautiful bar in the world, but everybody's welcome... though not in shorts and T-shirts. Later, retire to Hotel Tres (Apuntadores 3, rates from around €200 high season), where Scandi-cool is the rule in a 16th-century palace.
How: bar-abaco.es; hoteltres.com
Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) and Ryanair (ryanair.com) fly year-round from Ireland to Palma. See also spain.info.