Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Palma de Mallorca

Palma, the largest city of Mallorca is situated on the south side of the island at the centre of the wide Bay of Palma, that is famous for its brilliant sunsets. Palma was built on undulating land, extending into pine-clad foothills to the west. Flatter agricultural land to the north and west.

In 1950 the first charter flight landed on a small airstrip on Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands. The number of annual visitors today hovers around 10 million – most in search of the three S’s: Sun, Sand and Sea, and swamping the local island populace of some 781, 600 people (nearly half of whom live in the capital, Palma de Mallorca).

The island's capital city with a population of 325,000 and a sizeable port, Palma offers a rich mix of history, culture and nightlife. There is also ready access to the nearest resorts of Ca'n Pastilla (5 miles) and Cala Mayor (4 miles). Fascinating central area with narrow streets between the high walls of ancient buildings. This compact, easy to walk historic core of the city extends inland from the commercial port and the most prominent of landmarks - the cathedral and royal palace. These fine monuments were built over the sacked remains of the Moorish Alcazar and mosque, razed to the ground when the Christians regained the island, Mallorca from the Moors.

If you want to go shopping, many shops can be found in the atmospheric and often pedestrian streets of the old city. Further options are available in the Avenidas surrounding the area. Via Sindicato, Calle Jaime III, Calle San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Calle Jaime II, Calle Colon, la Rambla, are some of the streets to head for. Saturday market is called ‘el Baratillo’.

Locals refer to what lies beyond Palma as the part forana, the ‘part outside’. A series of rocky coves and harbours punctuate the short southwest coastline. Offshore from the island’s westernmost point is the large, uninhabited Illa de Sa Dragonera.

The spectacular Serra de Tramuntana mountain range runs parallel with the northwest coast and Puig Major (1445m) is its highest point. The northeast coast is largely made up of two bays, the Badia de Pollença and the larger Badia d’Alcúdia.

The east coast is an almost continuous string of sandy bays and open beaches, which explains the densely packed tourist developments. Most of the south coast is lined with rocky cliffs interrupted by beaches and coves, and the interior is largely made up of the fertile plain known as Es Pla.

The Mallorca high season is between July and September. Book especially early during any holiday weeks or weekends in the United Kingdom or Germany, as Mallorca and Palma in particular are popular holiday spots for people from these countries. The best hotels of Palma de Mallorca are concentrated on the Paseo Marítimo to the west of the centre. Moderate hotels are here too, so is much of the nightlife. Golfers will find top-class accommodation at the Son Vida course. The best sea views are at La Bonanova.

For more information about accommodations in Mallorca and other interesting countries in Europe, go to www.medestino.com.

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