Palma Cathedral aerial view in Palma de Mallorca Spain

Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Unveiled: Must-See Attractions on DIY Itinerary

Docked in Palma de Mallorca for the day? Get ready for a whirlwind adventure! From the awe-inspiring Palma Cathedral to hidden tapas bars tucked away in cobblestone streets, there’s much to uncover.

Palma’s compact city centre means it’s easy to explore independently. So let’s plan your DIY journey through Palma de Mallorca!

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Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? 😎😎😎😎 (Smooth Sailing)

Navigating Palma de Mallorca on your own is straightforward and I gave it 😎😎😎😎 out of 5. Here’s why:

Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands) Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

  • Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Address: Av. de Gabriel Roca, Ponent, 07015 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain – see this marked in my map below 👇
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Spanish
  • Official Websites: EMT Palma has bus routes & timetables – see below for the best bus routes from cruise port to city centre & other attractions.
  • Recommended Transport App: EMT Palma does offer its own app but Google Maps worked just fine with bus routes & live bus times.
  • eSIM for roaming in Spain: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when you’re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout
  • My Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port Map: 👇 Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version. Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. If the map is not loading, click here to see it directly on Google Maps.

Palma de Mallorca Cruise Port to City Centre (Old Town)

Heading to Palma City Centre (Old Town) is super easy on the public bus, thanks to the convenient stop right outside the port gates! Also, bus route #1 mainly caters to cruise port passengers and runs on a continuous loop between the port and the city centre.

  • Cruise Port Bus Stop: The stop is a few steps outside the port gate. You’ll see a bus shelter – I’ve marked it on my map above!
  • Tickets: Purchase €3 tickets on bus with cash. Note Bus #1 is considered a special bus. Fares are more expensive than other local buses. Also no free transfers are permitted. But there is a free bus route around the city centre that you can use – read on!
  • Frequency: Every 20 minutes during weekdays and every 25 minutes on weekend. Visit EMT Palma for timetables
  • Journey Time: About 20 minutes depending on traffic
  • Stops for Old Town: I found the easiest stop for Old Town is Av. de Jaume III – it’s the main Street that will lead you to Passeig del Born, the “Golden Mile” promenade street which takes you down to the Cathedral and the Palace. If you want to head to Plaza Mayor first, then stay on the bus, until the last stop called “Sindicat” – see all these stops marked on my Palma cruise port map above 👆

Insider Tip: Free bus route named “CC” (stands for Circular Centre Ciutat) is useful, given there’s no free bus transfers. Av. de Jaume III stop from Bus #1 is on this route. It loops around the Old Town. If you find yourself needing to go from one end of the Old Town to another, find a bus stop and hop onto this bus free.

Heading back to the cruise port from Old Town? You can use Bus #1 to get back or take #20 from Old Town to see Castell de Bellver before heading back to the ship.

Must-See Attractions in Palma de Mallorca

1. Palma Cathedral (La Seu)

Low angle shot of the facade of Palma Cathedral, Palma de Mallorca
Photo by Markus Winkler

This majestic Gothic cathedral at the edge of Old Town is hard to miss due to its towering spires. Constructed in the 13th century on the site of a former mosque, its grandeur was meant to reflect Mallorca’s wealth and power at the time.

Antoni Gaudí, the famed Catalan architect behind Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, was commissioned to undertake a renovation of the Cathedral. Although his work was ultimately unfinished due to disagreements with the contractor, some of his distinctive contributions remain:

  • The Baldachin (Canopy): Perhaps the most striking of Gaudí’s additions is the massive wrought-iron canopy that hangs above the main altar. This intricate, crown-of-thorns-inspired structure is a testament to Gaudí’s unique style, combining elements of Art Nouveau and Gothic architecture. 
  • The Choir Stalls: Gaudí relocated the choir stalls from the center of the nave to the presbytery, opening up the central space and improving visibility for worshippers. He also designed new, more functional choir stalls with a focus on ergonomics and acoustics.
  • Lighting and Stained Glass: Gaudí sought to enhance the natural light within the cathedral by opening up previously blocked windows and designing new stained glass windows. 

You can also climb to the cathedral’s rooftop terraces for panoramic views of Palma, though it’s pricey!

  • Opening Hours: From April to October, 10am to 5:15pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 2:15pm Saturday. Closed Sundays. From November to March, 10am to 3:15pm Monday to Saturday.
  • Tickets: €10 for Cathedral entry, €25 for Cathedral and Terraces. No kids under 9 on the terraces, even if accompanied by an adult. If you only want to visit the Cathedral, you can purchase Cathedral only skip-the-line tickets online to save time.

2. Royal Palace of La Almudaina

Royal Palace of La Almudaina next to Palma Cathedral, Palma Mallorca.
Photo by David Vives

Next to the Cathedral is this impressive fortress-like palace built between 1305 to 1314 for James II. Since then, the palace has served as a residence for Mallorca rulers and still serves as the official residence for the King and Queen of Spain when they are in Mallorca. Don’t miss the Arabic Baths and there’s courtyards and wonderful gardens to enjoy.

  • Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays.
  • Tickets: Free Entrance on Wednesday and Sunday from 3pm to 7pm, otherwise, €7 for adults, €4 for kids. Audio guides are €5 extra.

3. Old Town

Casco Antiguo Old Town Palma de Mallorca with distinctive architecture style of green shutters.
Image by Thomas G. from Pixabay

The Casco Antiguo, or Old Town, of Palma de Mallorca began with the Romans, who founded the city as “Palmaria Palmensis” in 123 BC. The Romans were followed by the Byzantines and then the Moors, who ruled Mallorca for several centuries. The Arab Baths, tucked away in a quiet corner of the Old Town, offer a tangible reminder of the Moorish era. King James I of Aragon conquered Mallorca in 1229, bring Christian rule to the island.

As you wander through Old Town, all these historic influences are very much evident. Here’s a few landmarks to see:

  • Plaza Mayor: This large, rectangular plaza is surrounded by colourful buildings with characteristic Majorcan architecture: ochre-coloured facades, green shutters and wrought-iron balconies. This is a convenient starting point for exploring Old Town.
  • Passeig del Born: This elegant tree-lined promenade is like a miniature version of the La Rambla in Barcelona. It’s the “Golden Mile” now filled with upscale shops but it was once a jousting ground for knights during medieval times! Come here to window shop or enjoy a leisurely stroll followed by coffee or snack at the numerous cafes and bars here.
  • Basílica de Sant Francesc: The Basilica has an imposing facade but it’s the 14th century cloister that’s designated as a National Monument. This is wonderful as a rest stop. Open 10am to 6pm. €6 entry fee.
  • Consolat de Mar: Once a maritime tribunal and now housing the presidency of the Balearic Islands’ regional government, this Gothic palace is definitely eye-catching. The Sala de Contractació (Contracting Hall), is worth seeing. With its soaring wooden ceiling and intricate stone carvings, is a particularly impressive space.
    • Opening Hours: 10:30am to 1:30pm, then 4pm to 10pm from May to October. 10:30am to 1:30pm, 4pm to 6pm from November to April. Free to enter.
  • Llotja de Palma: Next door is Llotja de Palma, or Sa Llotja, where merchants used to gather to conduct business, sign contracts and settle disputes. The interior, featuring a large open hall with soaring twisted columns is remarkably similar to the contracting hall at the Silk Exchange in Valencia.
    • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. 10:30am to 1:30pm, then 5:30pm to 9pm. Free to enter.
  • Banys Àrabs (Arab Baths): Dating back to the 10th century, only a small portion of the original complex remain today. You can see the main chamber, know as the “caldarium” (hot bath) with a domed ceiling supported by columns and the “tepidarium” (warm bath). Open 10am to 5:30pm daily. €3 fee.

3. Fundación Juan March Palma

Just off Plaza Mayor is the city’s most highly rated art museum, the Palma branch of Museu Fundación Juan March. It’s housed in a beautifully restored 17th century mansion but on display are all 20th-century Spanish art. Expect to see a permanent collection filled with Spain’s most celebrated artists, including Picasso, Dalí, Miró, and Gris.

  • Opening Hours: 10:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, 10:30am to 2pm Saturday. Closed Sundays. Free entrance.

4. Castell de Bellver

Interior of Castell de Beliver circular castle, taken with a fish eye lens, Palma de Mallorca
mage by Karl Oss Von Eeja from Pixabay

Castell de Bellver is unique among Spanish castles because it’s circular! Aside from the panoramic views of Palma, there are courtyards to explore, towers to climb as well as a museum dedicated to Palma’s history. It’s easy to get there from the Old Town, so I suggest that you do the sightseeing in Old Town first. Then visit the Castell on the way back to Palma cruise port.

  • How to Get There:
    • From Old Town: Take Bus#20 to Plaça Gomila and climb up through the pine woods above Carrer de Bellver. It’s a 15 minute walk to the top of the castle. The most convenient stop in Old Town is at the T-junction between Passeig del Born and Av. de Jaume III – I’ve marked this on my map 👆
    • From Palma Cruise Port: Take Bus #1 to “Portopi” stop and change to Bus #4 or #20 to Plaça Gomila
  • Opening Hours: From April to September – 8:30am to 1pm Monday, 8:30 to 8pm Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm Sunday. From October to March, closed Mondays, 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm Sunday. Double check opening hours here.
  • Tickets: €4 adults, €2 for seniors, free for kids under 14. Also free on Sundays!

Sun, Sand ⛱️ and Sea: Beaches Near Palma Cruise Port

Palma de Mallorca boasts a few beautiful beaches and they’re all easily accessible from the cruise port! Here’s the top beaches to consider for your DIY excursion:

  • Platja de Cala Major: This picturesque cove offers clear waters for swimming and snorkelling but it does get busy during summer months. This is the easiest beach to get to from the cruise port.
    • How to Get There: Walk around 3 minutes out of the port gates to stop “Joan Miró“, marked on my map. Catch bus #4 directly to Cala Major – this bus runs very frequently. Check live departure times with Google Maps. Takes about 15 minutes. Pay €2 ticket with cash onboard.
  • Playa de Illetes: This beach is in a sheltered cove and known for its crystal clear waters, fine sand and upscale beach clubs.
    • How to Get There: As above, walk to stop “Joan Miró” and catch bus #4 bus to “Ses Illetes” stop. From there, the beach is a few minutes walk away. Journey time is about 30 minutes. Pay €2 ticket with cash onboard.
  • Playa de Palma: If you want a long sandy beach, then you have to venture a little further away from the cruise port, to Palma’s namesake beach, Playa de Palma. But note that on public buses, it’s over an hour from the cruise port each way. It’s worthwhile if you intend to spend the entire day at the beach. From Old Town, catch bus #25 to get there – it’s about 30-40 minutes depending on traffic.

Featured Photo by Mike Kit

Whether you plan on exploring the historic streets of Old Town Palma or just to chill on the beach, I hope this guide has helped you plan an unforgettable DIY adventure. If you found this post useful, I would really appreciate you sharing it with your fellow cruisers in your roll call groups. Until next time, happy travels and bon voyage!

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