Our hotel was a little removed from the major city but we managed just fine with the bus system. Pro-tip: From the Mallorca airport you can buy a bus ticket that will allow for a bus trip into the city and one bus change (two buses). This costs 5 Euros. However, one bus ride costs 1.50 Euros so the same would cost only 3 Euros if you are doing your math. Bus number 1 picks up its route from the Airport and travels into Palma, and from there any other bus will take you just about anywhere in Palma or the outskirts. Also, during our visit we spent 17 Euros for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus which may have been a bit of a waste. There were very few sites to see that made it almost not worth the price. At least during the winter. If I remember correctly, during the summer they also include boat tours.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma is a very popular site to visit. Your standard Roman catholic gothic style cathedral. However, it parallels an inlet of water from the bay out in front. In one of the tours we were told the waves use to crash up against the foundation. However, with the small inlet you now have the ability on calm days to see the reflection of the cathedral in the water creating an endless sky effect. It is quite the site. This is the second cathedral we visited designed by Gaudi. The first was the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona which is a very different design. I will be honest when I say I prefer the gothic design and traditional feeling of the Cathedral of Santa Maria to the modern spin and neon lighting in the Sagrada Familia.
The Bellver Castle sits on top of the city with quite the view. Pro-Tip: Go on Sunday. It is free to get in this castle and view the museum inside. This castle was a military defensive castle that served many purposes over the years for this island. The Island changed hands many times over the centuries and it was apparent with the many relics left behind by those cultures. Prime real estate for trade in the Mediterranean the island was conquered and controlled over and over again by Carthaginians, Romans, Vikings, French, and Spain. There are more but I am not going to research, list them, and bore you more. The Bellver Castle was used as a monarch’s palace, religious quarters, and as a prison over the years. Surrounded by a moat, (which is now empty), and there was one way in and out. Entire sections and floors were partitioned off to manage the inmates. Prisoners carved their names in the stones of the castle with dates of their stay.
The Food.. Well it is pretty awesome! Here are a few places you may want to visit:
- Port Bar Cafe – is a really cool authentic English Pub Alicia had Fish and Chips with mushy peas, and I endulged with a meat pie.
- Los Pinxito Morunos – A tapas Bar with a very proud owner.
- The Monkey Bistro & Bar – Do not bother with the Pizza. The owner Stevie Levy is an awesome guy and has a passion for cooking. We went in with a small appetite and he talked us into the best of the best. An Australian center cut steak seared and served with a lava stone to cook at the table. Both black and white salt lined the plate and a small portion of real truffle oil to taste with it was the experience. We went twice and got to know Stevie well. So well we went hungry the second time and told him just to surprise us.
- Sa Farinera Rest Grill – This place was on the opposite side of town but worth the trip. Food grilled over open coals I ate rabbit for the first time and the building itself was an old grain mill. Very cool to see up close all the inner workings and large grinding stones now used as tables. The mill powered by one of the windmills that dominate the countryside in various states of disrepair. Anyway order some Cava you will not regret it.
Last but not at all the least, was the highlight of the trip. We ended up there by accident having not done any of the research and it was quite the experience.
The Cuevas del Drach (Dragon caves) are four great caves located on the eastern side of the island. We paid for a guided tour and a 45 minute bus ride to the caves. The four caves called Black cave, White cave, Cave of Luis Salvador, and Cave of the French are connected to each other, extend to a depth of 80 ft. There is an underground lake situated in the caves called Martel Lake, which is about 375ft in length and 100 ft in width, and its depth varies between 12 and 36 ft. In front of the lake they built a theater like area for seating and the main attraction. They turn off all the lights of the cave and a short classical concert is performed by four musicians on three lighted boats on the lake. The sound reverberating through the cave vibrates your soul almost to the point of explosion. I felt as though it was about to escape through tiny openings in the every goose bump on my body. Needless to say, it was very cool!!
Here are some other photos we took there. Overall, it was a very nice and relaxing vacation! We would go back.