Category: Gothic

Category: Gothic

Bellver Castle

Bellver Castle, Palma

Bellver Castle – updated 27 September 2022

Bellver Castle is a well-preserved 14th century circular castle straddling a wooded hillside to the west of Palma with spectacular views of the Bay of Palma and the Tramuntana mountains in the distance.

Bellver Castle Palma

Round Castle

Surrounded by fragrant pine woods, the castle is unique in design and is Spain’s only round castle. Now a renowned Palma landmark located at the top of the hill Puig de Sa Mesquida, the former grand fortress and Catalan Gothic masterpiece attracts visitors by the hundreds who come to admire the architecture, the views and visit the interesting ground-floor museum.

King Jaume II gave the order for Bellver Castle to be built back in 1300 and the job was given to Pere Salva, the architect who designed the Almudaina Palace (The Royal Palace).

Bellver Castle Mallorca

Three towers

Bellver has three large towers surrounding a two-level central courtyard and a moat. You’ll see a contrast of architectural design as you explore the castle ranging from Gothic arches to rib-vaulting to semi-circular arches. The best way to see these contrasts is to look down at the courtyard from the roof.

Royal Residence

The castle was built to serve as a royal residence; however, with the exception of residencies by King Sanç and Joan I of Aragon, the building has spent more time as a prison than a home. Bellver Castle has hosted many prisoners over the years including King Jaume IV & King Jaume III's widow and sons and has been used as a penal institution during both the Napoleonic and Spanish Civil wars and World War II. If you visit the roof of the castle, you can see prisoners’ graffiti, carved into the stonework.

Museum

On the ground floor is Palma's museum of municipal history (Museu d’Història de la Ciutat) which follows the development of the city from the prehistoric Talayotic civilisation to the present day via its artefacts including pottery from Talaiotic, Roman, Arab and Spanish periods and classical statues from the Despuig Collection.

The central courtyard is the stage for a series of classical music concerts performed by the Balearic Symphony Orchestra each July. These open-air evening concerts are very popular.

The best way to get to Bellver Castle is via car, there is parking available, alternatively combine your visit with the Palma City Sightseeing open-top bus, which stops at the castle as part of its circuit. If you use public transport, then the closest you will get is Plaça de Gomila, from there it is a 15 minute, 1km walk up a steep hill.

Book Tickets

Palma Electric Car Tour & Castle Bellver

Palma Electric Car Tour & Castle Bellver

On this Palma tour with a twist, you won't be walking around the city. Instead, you'll have the fun experience of driving a 100% electric car to the top spots and standout photo stops. You'll get behind the wheel and follow your guide on a two-hour route that includes entry to the San Carlos Military History Museum, Bellver Castle and the Caves of Genova. – Book now

The Castle of Bellver Audio Tour: A History of Resistance

Visit one of the most unique architectural gems of Mallorca as never before. You will relive battles and understand the importance of the military features of Bellver Castle. When you get to the main tower, you will hear the horrific stories of those who were held in the “Olla” in the past as a form of torture. This unique audio experience will move you as you hear the sad stories of those who were imprisoned in Bellver, such as Alexander Jaume during the Franco regime. The tour ends with the story of Gaspar Jovellanos (who was responsible for inspiring the current Spanish Constitution) and the reasons why he was locked up in Bellver for years. – Book now

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

La Almudaina

Royal Palace of La Almudaina – updated 28 September 2022

The Royal Palace was a 10th century Muslim fortress (alcázar ) prior to being converted into a residence for the Mallorca Royal Family at the end of the 13th century.

Roman Fort

A long time before the Moors arrived in the 10th century, the site had been utilised by both the Talaiots and the Romans and the area was once home to a Roman fort.

Royal Palace La Almudaina

King of Spain

Symbolically, the King of Spain still resides here; however, it is unlikely that you will see him there with the exception of an occasional important ceremony, the Royals prefer to spend summer in the Palau Marivent (in Cala Major) instead. In fact, since King Jaume III died in 1349, no king has lived in La Almudaina on a permanent basis.

Balearics military command

Remodelled in the Levantine Gothic style by the Christians, The Royal Palace of La Almudaina is located opposite the magnificent Palma Cathedral, La Seu. Its elevated position has provided the palace with protection and strategic importance over the years and the building still serves as the Balearics military command.

Scenic views

Today, the palace is one of the capital's main attractions and tourists can enjoy incredible, scenic views overlooking the Bay of Palma in addition to exploring the inside of the palace and its numerous rooms.

Interior

Whilst exploring the interior of the palace, you will find three grand rooms with bricked-in-Gothic arches that have been cut off in the middle, they were once double their height and would have formed a vast hall. These rooms have been luxuriously decorated and furnished with period pieces and tapestries.

Courtyard

Within the main courtyard, you will find the 11th century lion fountain and the entrance to St Anne’s Chapel. This Chapel was built for the Queen at the beginning of the 14th century, as was St. James’s Chapel, which was for the use of the King.

Royal apartments

The grand staircase takes you up to the royal apartments with beautiful timber ceilings and lavishly appointed rooms, which are worth seeing as many of the palace rooms are completely bare.

Joan Miro

Beneath the palace are the S'Hort del Rei gardens which are a great place to sit, relax and watch the world go by. Look out for Joan Miro's Egg sculpture and the Arc de la Drassana, once the gateway to the royal docks.

Getting there

If you are staying in Palma, it's a short walk or public bus ride to the Royal Palace. There are also plenty parking spaces in front of the Cathedral along the Paseo Marítimo.

The palace is open from 10am – 4pm Tuesday to Friday (closed on Monday) and 10am – 6pm on weekends and public holidays.

Visitors can explore the grand rooms and apartments, and the chapel, at their leisure. See the opulent art, tapestries and furniture, then wander through the tranquil gardens.

BOOK TICKETS NOW

Free entrance: Wednesday all day and Sunday from 3pm to 6pm.

Further information can be found on the official website – patrimonionacional.es

La Almudaina tours

Palma Electric Scooter Tour

What to expect

Explore parts of Palma you never knew existed with an electric scooter tour. Save on tired legs and still see the sights as you zoom around the city with ease. Learn about Majorca's historic capital as you follow a guide by must-sees like La Seu cathedral, Almudaina Palace, Passeig des Born and through the trendy La Lonja district.

Old Town Palma

Palma Old Town

Old Town – updated 22 October 2022

There are a few must-see tourist attractions in Palma and many of these are located in Palma’s Old Town.

El Casco Antigua

In Spanish the area is known as 'El Casco Antiguo' and it is home to the vast, beautiful and historic Palma Cathedral, the Royal Palace Of La Almudaina and the Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum.

Palma Old Town is very picturesque and the best way to explore it as by foot. You’ll find medieval streets, Gothic architecture, a host of shops selling antique products and the elegant avenue Passeig des Born with its designer brand shops.

Old town

Over the years, many different cultures have left their mark on Palma, and you can see this imprinted on and within the architecture of Palma Old Town.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of La Almudaina was a 10th century Muslim fortress (alcázar ) prior to being converted into a residence for the Mallorca Royal Family at the end of the 13th century. Not so far away, another reminder of the Arab's time on the island are the Arab Baths.

La Seu

The Cathedral ‘La Seu’ occupies the site of what once was the central mosque of Medina Mayurka, the capital of Muslim Mallorca for 300 years. The story behind the cathedral is long and full of interesting twists but began with the young King Jaume 1 who vowed to build a grand cathedral if he was successful in surviving a storm and also ridding the island of Moors.

Old town

Glory of Palma

Climbing high above the old city walls, the cathedral is the glory of Palma, a magnificent demonstration of the wealth and strength of the island’s Christian conquerors, from the sea, it is a superb sight.

This started a period of time when Moorish structures were either demolished or adapted and today many structures around the city show Gothic and Baroque influences.

Within the Old Town, you will also find 17th & 17th century homes, many now restored and adapted to become boutique-style hotels.

Things to do in Palma