Welcome to Mallorca a guide to Mallorca restaurants, Mallorca bars, Mallorca nightlife, Mallorca culture, Mallorca museums, Mallorca clubs, Mallorca happenings, Mallorca events, Mallorca shopping and Mallorca fashion.
In 2005, there were over 2,400 restaurants on the island of Mallorca according to the Mallorca Tourist Board, ranging from small bars to full restaurants. Despite Mallorca’s location in the Mediterranean, seafood is often imported. Olives and almonds are typical of the Mallorcan diet. The island has over 4 million almond and olive trees. Among the food items that are Mallorcan are sobrassada, arros brut (saffron rice cooked with chicken, pork and vegetables), and the sweet pastry ensaïmada.
The popularity of the island as a tourist destination has been steadily growing since the 1950s, with many artists and academics choosing to visit and living on the island. Visitors to Mallorca continued to increase with holiday makers in the 1970s approaching 3 million a year. In 2010, over 6 million visitors came to Mallorca staying at the many resorts. In 2011, the Balearic Islands as a whole reached 10.1 million tourists.
With thousands of rooms available Mallorca’s economy is largely dependent on its tourism industry. Holiday makers are attracted by the large number of beaches, warm weather and high quality tourist amenities.
The city of Palma de Mallorca is undoubtedly the capital of Mallorca in every sense of the word. Within easy reach of the airport it offers everything you could ask of a cosmopolitan city in the Mediterranean.
The Plaça d’Espanya is the transport hub of Palma. The Estació Intermodal caters for buses and trains (the latter controlled by TIB). The two old buildings home to the tourist information and several cafés sit either side of the two large escalators which lead into the Estació, which interestingly enough sits underneath a large and popular park. On the lawns are several glass boxes, which let in light and ventilation to the station below ground. There are also train-themed playing structures, each one shaped like a train carriage and named after towns along the line of the Ferrocarril de Sóller, a railway dating back to 1911 which has its Palma Station right next to the park. Just down the street from here a new bus station is under construction.
Palma is famous for La Seu, its vast cathedral originally built on a previous mosque. Although construction began in 1229, it did not finish until 1601 and local architect Antoni Gaudí was drafted in during a restoration project in 1901. The Parc de la Mar (Park of the Sea) lies just south overlooked by the great building which sits above it on the city’s stone foundations. Between these two are the town walls. Here there is a vast blue and yellow canopy strung over a lower area, shading rows of wooden benches.
The Old City (in the south-east area of Palma behind the Cathedral) is a fascinating maze of streets clearly hinting towards an Arab past. With the exception of a few streets and squares which allow traffic and are more populated with tourists most of the time, the walkways of this city quarter are fairly narrow, quiet streets, surrounded by a diverse range of interesting buildings, the architecture of which can easily be compared with those in streets of cities such as Florence (Italy), for example. The majority are private houses, some of which are open to the public as discreet museums or galleries. The tall structures, characteristic window boxes, detailed metal carvings and overhanging eaves of these buildings make a stark contrast with the view of the bay that is obtained by stepping out of the shady alleyways next to the cathedral and onto the old city walls. The Old City is also home to the Ajuntament (or Town Hall), the Convent of the Cathedral and the Banys Àrabs.
The Banys Àrabs, or Arab Baths, one of the few remnants of Palma’s Moorish past, are accessed via the quiet Ca’n Serra street near the Convent of the Cathedral, and include the lush gardens of Ca’n Fontirroig, home to Sardinian warblers, house sparrows, cacti, palm trees, and a wide range of flowers and ferns. The small two-roomed brick building that once housed the bath is in fact of Byzantine origin, dating back to the 11th century and possibly once part of the home of a Muslim nobleman. The bath room has a cupola with five oculi which let in dazzling light. The twelve columns holding up the small room were pillaged from an earlier Roman construction. The floor over the hypocaust has been worn away by people standing in the centre, mainly to photograph the entrance and the garden beyond it. The whole room is in a rather 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.