Spanish Island Tour of Palma de Mallorca - Fascinating Day!
Island of Mallorca
My husband and I were staying on the Spanish Island of Mallorca and being flown back and forth for Olympic events in Barcelona. Just the evening prior we had attended the Opening Ceremonies of the XXV Olympiad and had gotten to sleep at 3 AM in the morning.
Previously arranged was a City Tour of Palma de Mallorca for this day and we were awakened after only 4 hours sleep so that we would be ready at 9 AM. We were beginning to feel as though we were a part of the Olympics at least as it had to do with stamina!
Bellver Castle (fantastic views of the castle and city below the castle)
Our first stop on the city tour was at Bellver Castle. It sits high atop a hill in Palma and offers not only a great view of old defensive architecture but also splendid views of the city and the Mediterranean in the distance which surrounds the island.
Built by the same craftsman who also built the Almudaina, Pere Salva, it helped to fortify this area against possible enemies for centuries.
King James II of Mallorca ordered Bellver Castle built in 1300. At times it has housed royalty, it has been a place of refuge and it has also been utilized as a prison during its history. There was a moat around the castle and they even had their own water collection system to make them more self-sufficient.
Since 1976 this circular fortress has served as a history museum. Works of art and other valuable collections can be viewed within these walls.
Bellver Castle - shorter look than the video above
Inside a walled enclosure is a village created to show reproductions of various styled buildings all throughout Spain. It is called Pueblo Espanol. Built according to traditional methods and using authentic materials it is a fairly large area.
Divided into 18 blocks forming 15 streets and 12 plazas one can see many different buildings, fountains, arches and other things one could find in real cities scattered throughout Spain. Shops and restaurants are part of this village and one can not only view but also purchase handicrafts such as ceramics, leather items, glass-works, etc.
Old Section of Palma
After seeing some of Pueblo Espanol our tour group was next directed to walk through some of the old section of Palma. We saw many buildings that were erected in close proximity to one another. There were many balconies in which the inhabitants could get some fresh air into their abodes. The streets were cobblestoned.
On one of the plazas there was an ancient olive tree that was said to be several hundred years of age. I got my husband to pose by it and tourists were all taking turns getting their photographs taken by this thick and gnarly based tree.
Some of the buildings had ornamentation like frescoes on their exteriors. I snapped a photo of an elderly lady who was tending her caged bird and she waved as we passed under her window.
When we were in the area of government buildings I was intending to snap many photos but was warned by a policeman or someone in the military that it was not allowed. Apparently security is an issue or at the least they wish to negate any problems. So I quit taking photographs in that locale.
The Almudaina Palace
This original Moorish fortress was substantially altered in the 14th and 15th centuries. It now has a dominant Gothic style. Today it serves as the summertime residence for the King and Queen of Spain. Part of the building also functions as a museum. It also houses the general military headquarters for the Balearic Island region.
The Almudaina Arch was the gate to the protective wall of the emir's palace which was built in the 11th century.
Part of the Almudaina Palace sits alongside the old section of the city. It is also adjacent to the Palma Cathedral.
The Palma Cathedral
This Gothic Cathedral was built more than 500 years ago and is a major landmark in the City of Palma de Mallorca. Adjacent to the Almudaina Palace it towers over any other structures in the area.
Photo details of the Palma CathedralClick thumbnail to view full-size
The beautiful exterior of the cathedral is matched by its interior. This is an active church but it also serves as a major tourist attraction.
Photos of Palma Cathedral in every type of light with music
It was very interesting learning some information about the city of Palma and getting to see some of the major landmarks in the area. It is the largest city on the Island of Mallorca which also provides an airport and seaport.
Fresh water is in short supply on the Island and the windmills that we saw operating bring up water from underground that can be utilized for watering plants. It is too salty to be used for drinking. Naturally water conservation is of utmost importance.
Valparaiso Palace Hotel
After the tour we spent a little time exploring the grounds of our hotel. Our hosts had arranged for us to stay at the Valparaiso Palace Hotel for the duration of our trip which included airplane flights to and from Barcelona for Olympic events. We were with a group of about 90 people who were being rewarded with the same wonderful vacation trip.
The grounds were gorgeous and the hotel offered views of the city and the sea. The wait staff offered superior service and we felt completely pampered while there.
Dinner That Evening
After relaxing a bit and taking in the scenery around our hotel we were split into groups and taken to area restaurants.
Bahia Mediterraneo Restaurante was the one that we got to enjoy. Was it ever a special treat!
Crystal chandeliers, marble floors and potted palm trees with wide expanses of windows overlooking the bay compose the interior of the luxurious restaurant. We got to sit on the wide terrace protected by awnings and had the Bay of Palma with all the twinkling harbor lights as our decor. Personally I can't think of a more beautiful setting for dinner. Piano music floated our way and the wonderfully prepared food offerings and interesting company made for the most delightful of evenings.
People dine late in the evening in Spain. I seem to remember our dinner started at something like 10 PM.
After being taken back to our hotel we had to have a wake up call at 4:30 AM so that we could catch a flight to Barcelona for our Olympic event. Not much time allotted for sleep! This was an almost daily experience for us while on this trip of a lifetime. We could catch up on sleep once we were back home. We certainly wanted to see and do all that we could while on this trip.
Bahia Mediterraneo Restaurante...shows terrace where we dined overlooking the Bay of Palma
Hope you enjoyed this Spanish Island tour of Palma de Mallorca. It was an educational and fascinating day for us and merely the beginning of many more adventures while in Spain.
Have you ever visited Spain?
© 2009 Peggy Woods