Enjoy our quick guide to Palma, the capital city of the Spanish island of Mallorca.
Bursting with a lively array of restaurants, shops and other amenities, the city of Palma has always been compared to Barcelona in terms of architectural features.
The most iconic is perhaps the mammoth Gothic cathedral which is situated down by the sea front. Otherwise known as La Seu, it measures 121 meters in length, 55 meters in width and 44 meters in height.
Other notable places worth visiting include the 13th century Almudaina Palace, the Bellver Castle, the old Arab quarter and the gothic building of Palma Town Hall.
Below we feature an expat interview with Amanda J. Butler of MJC Associates S.L. who covers the Palma area.
Specifically, we wanted to learn from Amanda the many reasons why people should consider moving to this area and the value for money they can get once they decide to stay permanently.
Amanda, thanks for helping our readers. I guess we should start off by asking what would you say would be the advantages to living in Palma de Mallorca compared to other Mallorca towns?
Palma is a stunning city, the jewel in the crown of the Baleares. Dating back to the 13th-century, its old walled town is a richly studded diadem of historical Christian and Moorish architecture. Wander in any direction from the awe-inspiring Gothic Catedral at its historical heart and you’ll find narrow medieval streets lined with aristocratic townhouses, looming baroque churches, teeming public squares, vibrant bohemian neighbourhoods and markets overflowing with all the bounty of the island.
Palma also shelters a seemingly endless array of boutiques, shops restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as offering a plentiful array of craft and art galleries, music and theatre – something for everyone.
Would the area not suit certain types of people, i.e. are there any possible downsides?
What proportion of the local population are Spanish?
What are your favourite things to do in the area?
Walking round the old town discovering what lies around the next corner.
Can you give us some insider tips to the best bars or restaurants?
The areas of La Lonja and Santa Catalina offer the most condensed concentration of bars and restaurants. From Spanish to Japanese, Indian, Mexican and Vietnamese – an eclectic mix of tastes, sights, sounds and flavors. Some of my favorites include Koh Thai and A Ma Maison (a French Tunisian restaurant run by a lovely lady called Saloua, all prepared with “fresh ingredientes combined with love”) in Santa Catalina and La Boveda for traditional Spanish in La Lonja. The Sky Bar at Hostal Cuba is a favorite on a summers night, not to mention Ábaco which is a feast for the eyes, if rather a sting in the pocket!
Are there many facilities such as doctors and dentists, shops etc?
There is a plentiful array of everything you could need.
Are there smaller villages nearby that you might also recommend?
Portixol along the sea front is a Bohemian mix of quaint bats, cafes and restaurants with a sea front walk with bicycle and roller blade path.
What are the nearest international schools and how good are they?
There are numerous to choose from including Queens College, Agora, King Richards, Global and a French Lycee. All have good reputations although preferred choice is best based on the preferred choice of schooling system – Spanish, French or British.
Is crime an issue for expats?
Where there is concentration of wealth and holidaymakers, there is crime but fortunately most is petty crime – pick pockets and petty theft. With it being a small island with limited exit and entry points as well as a favored holiday home for the Spanish Royal family, Mallorca prides itself for being one of the safest places to live in Europe.
Coming onto buying property, what is the market like now in terms of prices going up, or down or staying the same?
Sea view and seafront properties are where the price rises have been substantial, with country properties staying the same since the downturn.
Is this a good time to buy and are there any repossessions or very cheap properties still available to buy?
In the centre of Palma, it is a good time to buy since we are still near the bottom of a rising curve.
What urbanisations are there and can you describe each one and how they might differ from each other?
There are many different urbanizations, but the most popular with the expats are:
Old town/Calatrava – cobbled streets and Palacios, elegant apartment blocks with some old buildings still to be developed.
The Borne – elegant historical buildings overlooking the wide tree-lined boulevard
La Lonja – is the former maritime trade exchange, which gave its name to the surrounding area. When darkness descends this area comes to life – An eclectic mix of apartments, boutique hotels, restaurants and bars.
Santa Catalina – the Soho of Palma, the old fishermans quarters of the city. The centre marked by Santa Catalina market, surrounded by a delightful mix of pretty shops, bohemian cafes and bars – full of character and neighbourhood life.
Portixol – situated on the outskirts of town en route to the airport, is an old fishing village with a Sea front Boulevard and a wide array of “boho” cafes, restaurants and bars, not to mention the main half circle sandy beach, with beaches on both sides.
How much are the typical property prices in Palma de Mallorca for apartments, villas etc?
Prices range from around 2500 euros per square meter up to 15.000 dependent on location and views. An 80 sqm apartment with street views starts at around 200.000 in the less trendy areas up to 12-15 million for an old Palacio (palace) with sea views.
Any tips and advice to people looking to buy in Palma de Mallorca or surrounding area?
Obviously deciding on budget at the outset is important, but then finding the right agent who will discuss your main wish list and family lifestyle choices is the first step to deciding on the best location from where to start your search. The right agent will assist you in finding the right location and property to suit your lifestyle, and then guide you through the buying process from start to finish from finding the right lawyer, the most cost effective currency exchange, taking you through to completion, renovation if required, interior design and furnishing.
Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to help our readers with your experiences in Spain. If you want to contact her, you can find her details below.
MJC Associates S.L.
C/ Convent des Caputxins 4B – 1ºD
07002 Palma de Mallorca
Tel. +34 690 075 169
Here’s an interesting tourist video on Palma de Mallorca.
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