Historic and modern architecture in Palma

Palma de Mallorca It is the capital and largest city of the Balearic Islands of Spain. On the edge of Palma Bay, the city center is a maze of picturesque streets, historic landmarks and a bustling, yacht-filled marina. One thing I find particularly impressive is the eclectic architecture in and around the Old Town. With architectural styles ranging from the Gothic splendor of the 13th century Palma Cathedral to the extraordinary Art Nouveau facades of the 20th century, this is a great reason to visit Palma. My advice is to keep your eyes open and look up as you walk around town. Join me on my architectural walking tour of the most beautiful sights in Palma de Mallorca.

Sights of Palma
Plaça Major is one of the main squares of Palma.

Palma can trace its roots back at least two thousand years, when it was founded as a Roman settlement. Since that time, Palma has been ruled by the Byzantines, Moors and various powers of the Spanish mainland, traces of which can still be seen today. In the early 20th century, the city experienced somewhat of a renaissance. Famous Catalan architects such as Gaudí and Domènech i Montagne created a modernist cityscape that visitors are happy to discover today. Here are the most important historical and architectural sights of Palma:

Palma Cathedral (La Seu) and surroundings

La Sue, perhaps Palma’s most important landmark, is a Gothic masterpiece. Construction began in 1229, and the temple was completed in 1601. Baroque elements were added to the interior of the cathedral in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The construction of La Seu was started by King James I of Aragon in 1229, but was not completed until 1601.
La Seu is a Gothic cathedral with Renaissance and Baroque influences.
Palma Architecture Walk
Surrounding La Seu are magnificent walls with beautiful arched gateways.

In the vicinity of La Seu there are other historical attractions such as Palau de la Almudainaa stunning medieval palace that is now the official residence of the King of Spain when he visits Majorca, and palaces such as Fundacio Bartomeu march (which features beautiful exhibitions and classical concerts).

Palau de la Almudaina Palma
View of Palma Cathedral from Palau de la Almudaina
Sights of Palma
Fundacio Bartomeu March is a museum with wonderful art and antique collections.
Photo by Fundacio Bartomeu Marti Palma
Fundacio Bartomeu march
The buildings of Palma
As you walk around Palma, look up.

Castel Belver

Above Palma, in the southwest part of the city, stands Castel Belver. This 14th century castle was one of the first (and few remaining) circular castles in Europe. Bellver means “beautiful view” in Catalan, which is a great reason to climb the hill. The views of the city and the bay of Palma are stunning.

The circular Castel Belver (image: Wikimedia Commons/Friedrich Haag).

Lottier de Palma

A short walk from La Sioux Lottier, the former commercial exchange. Built in Gothic style in the 15th century, this Palma landmark features beautiful towers, vaulted ceilings and elegant spiral columns.

Llotje de Palma ceiling and spiral columns

Ajuntament de Palma

His Highness Ajuntament de Palma (Palma City Hall) in Plaça de Cort was built in the 17th century. Its baroque facade and massive wooden roof are absolutely stunning.

Palma landmark of the municipality
Municipality of Palma

Can Corbella

A short distance from Plaça de Cort, at the intersection of Carrer de Sant Domingo and Carrer de Jaume II, you will find a stunning. Can Corbella. The Moorish influence is evident in this neo-Mudejar style building (a style synonymous with Seville’s historic architecture).

Architecture of Palma
Can Corbella
can Corbella palma landmark
The splendor of Can Corbella as seen from Carrer de Jaume II.

Edifici Casasayas & Pension Menorquina

It Casasayas Building and Pension Menorquina Modernist-Art Nouveau style buildings with symmetrical and dynamic elements. Located in Plaça Mercat, these identical, symmetrical buildings are separated by Calle de Santacília. Gaudi’s style is characterized by parabolic windows and wavy shapes.

things to see in Mallorca
More stunning modernist architecture at Plaça Mercat.

Fundacio La Caixa

Formerly the Grand Hotel, now the site of a cultural center and café. Fundacio La Caixa is a fine example of modernism and one of Palma’s most popular landmarks. Designed by Domenech i Montaner at the beginning of the 20th century, it is a building rich in Art Nouveau elements. You’ll find it in Plaça Weyler, near Plaça Mercat.

la caixa palma
The ornate balconies of Fundacio La Caixa seen from a side street.

Forn des Teatres

Across the road from Fundacio La Caixa is a beautiful bakery in a chic Art Nouveau style.

art nouveau palma
Forn des Teatres

Can Forteza Rey and El Águila

Can Forteza Rey? and his neighbor Almesenes El Aguila They are prime examples of modernist-art nouveau, clearly influenced by Gaudí. The whimsical facades with their intricate broken tile mosaics (trencadís), bay windows and small balconies are a pleasure to look at. You will find another gem, Casa de les Mitgesin more detail trencadís motifs further down the road on Carrer Colom.

Top attractions in Parma
Can Forteza Rey?
palma art nouveau buildings
Take a closer look at the triangular balconies and trencade mosaics on the upper floors.
Almacenes El Aguila building next to Can Forteza Rey.

Palm Yards

As you wander around Palma, take in the beautiful courtyards of old palaces and mansions, some of which are now public institutions, while others are private residences (although you can see the courtyard outside the gates). You will discover magnificent arches and columns, leafy balconies and elegant staircases. Some of the most impressive courtyards in Palma include: Palau March, Can Berga? (Supreme Court), Can Vivot?, Ca’n Catlar de Llorer and: Can Oleza.

Beautiful arched courtyard in Palau Marsh.
Palm courtyard with a magnificent staircase.

Palau de Congresso de Palma

Another tip for those who love modern architecture Palau de Congresso de Palma is a prominent building on the city’s eastern waterfront. Designed by Francisco Mangado, the convention center opened in 2017 and is an extraordinary structure made of concrete, glass and sandstone.

Modern architecture of Palma
Palma Convention Center.

Read more about architectural travel at Velvet Escape

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