Enjoy the year-long mild climate
Palma is a vibrant place and a world away from the heaving tourist enclaves of the surrounding bay.
MSC Cruises shore excursions can be a clever option to enjoy Palma. Finding your way around Palma is fairly straightforward once you’re in the city centre. The obvious landmark to see in Palma on your cruise holiday is the Catedral, which dominates the Mediterranean Sea waterfront and backs onto the oldest part of the city, a cluster of alleys and narrow lanes whose northern and eastern limits are marked by the zigzag of avenues built beside – or in place of – the city walls.
Five hundred years in the making, Palma’s Catedral is a magnificent building and a surprising one, too, with its interior featuring modernista touches designed by Antoni Gaudí. The original church was built following the Christian reconquest of the city, and the site taken, in fulfilment of a vow by Jaume I, was that of the Moorish Great Mosque. Essentially Gothic, with massive exterior buttresses to take the weight off the pillars within, the church derives its effect through its sheer height, impressive from any angle but startling when glimpsed from the waterside esplanade.
Opposite the cathedral entrance stands the Palau de l’Almudaina, originally the palace of the Moorish walis (governors) and later of the Mallorcan kings. The interior has been painstakingly restored, but its rabbit warren of rooms and corridors has been left comparatively bare, the main decorative highlight being a handful of admirable Flemish tapestries, each devoted to classical themes.
With an MSC excursion, you can catch a boat across from Sant Elm’s minuscule harbour to the austere offshore islet of Sa
Dragonera, an uninhabited chunk of rock some 4km long and 700m wide, with an imposing ridge of sea cliffs dominating its north-western shore.