Capital of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, Palma is the eighth biggest city in Spain with a population of 440,000. Despite its first impressions, there is so much more to Palma than sun, sea and sand. It is a modern, accessible and sustainable city steeped in history that boasts an array of artistic, cultural, culinary and sporting delights. Easy to reach from most European cities, and with a 100 years’ experience in tourism to fall back on, it is easy to see why 11 million visitors flock to Palma every year.
The vast majority of tourists visit Palma by air, arriving into Spain’s most-used airport. In 2017, the airport welcomed an impressive 28 million passengers and is about to undergo a €14 million expansion project. A further 1.6 million visitors arrived by boat, landing at the fourth most important port in the Mediterranean. Once disembarked, tourists discover a city that prides itself on being barrier-free and accessible to all. Braille signs are available at public transport stops, while the city council consults disability groups each month to discuss improvements to Palma’s infrastructure.
Natural heritage and sustainable tourism
Palma’s greatest asset is its stunning environment and natural resources. The Balearics’ Regional Government is therefore committed to boosting and leading sustainable tourism as it bids to preserve and protect its islands. Efforts to reduce CO2 emissions have led to improvements to public transport, including a new 95-strong fleet of natural gas-powered buses, while visitors can take advantage of BiciPalma — a network of 290 rental bikes and 82km of cycle lanes. Meanwhile, a sustainable tourism tax is expected to raise €120 million in 2018.
Getting connected while visiting Palma is hassle-free, as the city is home to the biggest free WiFi network in Europe. There are a whopping 350 hotspots dotted around the city and tourist attractions, ensuring visitors can get online whenever and wherever they want. Staying connected come in handy too, as there are an abundance of mobile apps that provide information on the city’s beaches, public transport, accommodation, monuments and sporting venues.
The cultural heritage of Palma is widely promoted around the city, with leading figures from the worlds of art and sport playing a big part. The city’s cathedral, built in the 13th Century and home to works by Miquel Barcelo and Antoni Gaudi, is a major point of pride for many Majorcans. A full calendar of cultural events, including literary cycles, art shows, opera and theatre festivals, ensures there is never a dull moment in Mallorca’s capital.