An April 2002 trip
to Mallorca by Leesa
Quote: I was expecting an interesting city, but Palma was so much better than expected. A compact city, it was incredibly easy to walk around, and with a great atmosphere – timeless medieval streets and wide leafy boulevards. A great mix of Lisbon, Barcelona & Paris – cosmopolitan yet Moorish.
Don’t even think about driving around central Palma – the narrow lanes, lack of parking, and maze of one-way roads will drive you mad. Taxis proved to be very reasonable, and there is an reliable bus service.
If you intend to drive out of Palma, plan to spend a few days in Palma either at the beginning or end of your stay. It will also save you a few days of car hire.
Hotel | "Hotel Cannes"
We were very pleased with the hotel when we arrived. With an oldish façade, but fully renovated rooms with all modern conveniences (TV, A/C, en suite bath and shower), the hotel had every comfort. Located in the residential part of the city centre, our rooms were on both occasions (front facing and side facing) peaceful enough for two light sleepers. Both in the mornings and after our afternoon siestas, we woke to the sound of swallows wheeling above.
And don’t be concerned about how far away the hotel is from the Cathedral. It is a very pleasant 10 minute stroll either down Passeig De La Rambla, or Sant Miquel straight to Placa Major.
67 euros a night for a double at the end of April. Credit cards accepted.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2002
Lakeview Country Club
+44 (120) 883-1808
The line between restaurants and tapas bars was incredibly blurred. All restaurants seemed to serve tapas either as a starter or as a selection of mains.
Celler Sa Premsa, Placa Bisbe Berenguer de Palou 8 – A huge hall of a place, it was hard to imagine the restaurant packed as the guidebook asserted. The range of dishes remains the best choice we had in Mallorca, with a full variety of tapas available before we moved on to meat and fish main dishes; it proved really hard to decide which of several dishes we fancied. The service was highly attentive, and very patient and encouraging of my attempts at Spanish. Away from the city centre, this restaurant is only frequented by tourists who actively seek it out, and locals. 37,93 euros for a rather too large meal for two with wine. This would be my choice if I had to select one. It is just up the road from Hotel Cannes.
Restaurant Pope, c/ Apuntadors 10 – Like many of the restaurants on c/ Apuntadors, this place looked very touristy on the outside, and we only braved it as the best of the touristy selection on Sunday night. Inside there proved to be more Spanish than there first appeared through the window, and whilst the menu was far more limited than Celler Sa Premsa, the food was good basic fare. 33.83 euros for two starters, main dish with wine.
El Pilon, c/Cn Cifre 4 – A tiny arched cellar of a restaurant, we were very lucky to find a table on spec. This excellent place seems to specialise in tapas, which extend into meals. We tried the stuffed squid, which was delicious in spite of the rather unappetising list of stuffing ingredients – liver, pine nuts, raisins, & herbs. 46.75 euros for two starters, main dish with wine.
La Cueva, c/ Apuntadors 9 – Probably the most touristy of the tapas bars we ate in, based upon the lunchtime customers. But the range of tapas visible at the bar was more extensive than most, and the food good non-the-less. 19.50 euros for four tapas and a couple of beers.
Celler Pagès, c/Felip Bauza 2 off c/ Apuntadors – A charming, seemingly family run restaurant with a few variations on the standard tourist fare. Popular with twenty something Mallorquins, or maybe they were all related to the manageress. 46.75 euros for two starters, main dish with wine.
18 c/ Apuntador, opposite Forn de San Joan – An array of about 10 dishes in a tiny corner bar popular with the locals. No tables, just high stools at the bar. The array of dishes was the best we came across. I think we counted about 10. Since it was patronised by hardened drinkers, drinking beer and whiskey at lunchtime (although there was not one unpleasant drunk), it was hard to get the barman/barwoman’s attention during the passionate discussions between patrons and owners. You will need be assertive to be served, but the food is worth it.
For a tapas bar with tables, we found one in the square behind Consolat de Mar, the bar on the left with your back to the sea. On a warm spring today the first thing we noticed was the array of tables on the left (not on the right as there is another bar), as we walked up from the sea. The elderly waitress/owner brought us the cheap laminated menu with interesting translations, and the food followed surprisingly quickly. Thankfully, in spite of the relatively speedy service, we weren’t moved on and could have wiled away the afternoon alternating cold beer and strong coffee.
Needing to sit down every once in a while, we found several oases. The first, of a more historical nature, was the Banys Arabs. But don't let the name fool you into expecting Arab Baths. Whilst there is a domed room (the caldarium?), little remains, nor is there any description for you to appreciate what you are looking at. The small courtyard garden, however, with its vibrant greens, reds, and pinks, was a complete joy. Provided you can get out of the sun in the heat of summer, this is a very pleasant oasis.
Our other oasis was Can’ Joan S’Aigo, c/Can Sanc 10. This coffee house, hidden in the backstreets behind Santa Eulalia, has fresh sorbet to die for. In the growing heat of spring, this shady wood panelled bar was a tranquil sanctuary. We chose from apricot, strawberry, almond, Cava (champagne), and coffee to name the ones I can remember. Our favourites were almond or Cava.
Leafy squares or promenades also seem to be a feature of 19th Century Palma. Our daily walk down Passeig de la Rambla, through Placa Weyler, then down Passeig d’es Born
Access to the castle was free on Sunday, but with the museum closed it was a little hard to know what exactly we were looking at. Pretty enough as a castle, it affords clear views back over Palma, and it's well worth it to stand in the breeze if you’ve walked the whole way up like we did.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2002
Brighton, United Kingdom