When narrowing down our list of possible destinations for our first ever child-free mini-break this autumn, my husband and I had a couple of requirements. It needed to be a short flight from the UK to maximise those precious hours of ‘freedom’, and offer a healthy dose of warm sunshine, good food, good wine and plenty to see and do-but crucially not so much that the odd couple of hours spent doing nothing much at all would feel too guilt-ridden.
The Mallorcan capital of Palma, with its stylish yet laid back vibe, more than fitted the bill. To start with, the city is simply beautiful. Banish any outdated preconceptions of Mallorca being just the land of the cheap package holiday and instead think honey-coloured stone buildings, cobbled meandering streets and a myriad of cultural and historical influences; all bathed in that magical light and on the shores of the glistening Med. Throw in a thriving culinary scene, plenty of galleries, markets and boutiques and a seemingly endless amount of pavement cafes and bars for you to sit back and indulge in a spot of people watching. It’s the perfect city break destination.
So here’s what we did, and what we loved:
We stayed at Posada Terra Santa, a small boutique hotel in the heart of Palma’s old town. Stylish, friendly and intimate, it’s housed in a beautifully restored 16th century manor house and has a restaurant, small spa and a sumptuously cosy lounge area brimming with books and art work (and a well stocked honesty bar). But our favourite spot had to be the rooftop terrace, complete with a small plunge pool, which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner while staring out over the skyline of jumbled terracotta rooftops. And a special mention has to go to the staff who were so incredibly welcoming and really enthusiastic about helping you enjoy the very best of their city-every one of their recommendations was spot on.
The city’s impressive Gothic cathedralis well worth a visit, not least for the surprises contained within, including some refurbishment by Antoni Gaudi and an incredible ceramic chapel by the contemporary Mallorcan artist Miquel Barceló. The large rose window floods the interior with a burst of rainbow colours as the sunlight streams in, and the setting, perched rising above the sea, is spectacular.
From the cathedral we made our way west along the promenade to the Es Baluard contemporary art museum, housed in a former military fortress and with amazing views over the city from the terraces. The restaurant is a great spot for a quick drink or bite to eat.
Another highlight was our visit to the Santa Catalinamarket. Browse the many stalls with fresh seafood, charcuteries and local produce, or like us stop at one of the numerous pinchos bars for some small bites washed down with a cerveza (him) and a glass of rosé (me), packed in on bar stools amongst the locals going about their day. And the surrounding neighbourhood is definitely worth an explore-it feels quite bohemian, with lots of vintage shops and cafes.
Ahhh, the food. Palma is gaining a real gastronomic reputation and it is easy to see why, and with so much variety on offer you can enjoy really fantastic, authentic food here without spending a fortune.
On our first night we enjoyed rooftop sushi and cocktails at Hotel Sant Francesc(complete with a view of the floodlit Sant Francesc Basilica), and we also treated ourselves to a fantastic set lunch at the Michelin starred Marc Foshduring our stay. But the standout dining experience for me had to be Bar Espana. This pretty unassuming and traditional looking place serves the most outstanding tapas, and the queues of people and packed tables are testament to quite how good it is. We booked ahead, although the staff did a great job of seating people quickly. Initially a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount on the menu, including a bar with a selection of smaller pinchos, we allowed ourselves to be guided by our waitress’s recommendations, and we were not disappointed. Add in a lively and welcoming atmosphere and plenty of well-priced, easy drinking vino tinto and it made for a great night-I would have happily eaten there every night of our stay.
I’m a writer and content creator, working with brands to create inspiring bespoke content, as well as on my own projects. Having spent 12 years working at Glamour before going freelance, I now spend my time working with a diverse range of mainly lifestyle, health, well-being and beauty brands, on anything from blog writing, website copy, features and press releases, to e-marketing, social media content and campaign management. And while my average working day may not be as glamorous as during my time in the magazine industry, I love the flexibility of working for myself and the daily variety of working with new people and on different projects.
Having given up city life for seaside dwelling, if I’m not busy tapping away you’ll probably find me down at the beach with my young children, with a large coffee in hand, or with my nose in a book. Ideally, all three.