Laurent Vella/Courtesy Relais & Chateaux
Top 10 European Cities for Smart Splurges
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
THE DRAW For wealthy Spaniards, the island of Mallorca is the Hamptons of Spain: the place to spend the summer months. King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía keep a residence there; the Almudaina Palace in the main city of Palma is their official summer office. But despite its royal connections, Palma is still a relative bargain for travelers when compared with Spanish destinations like Barcelona. Even compared to other European cities, Palma has one of the largest and most impressive old towns on the continent, an atmospheric maze of Gothic architecture and narrow Moorish alleyways, topped by a majestic cathedral that Antoni Gaudí helped redesign.
DON’T MISS The burgeoning contemporary art scene. Mallorca has become an island of artists, and Palma is its showcase. Not to miss are galleries like ABA Art (www.abaart.com) and Galeria Maior (www.galeriamaior.com) as well as the Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern (www.esbaluard.org), which will display its new acquisitions this summer.
WHEN TO GO In late spring to early fall. But avoid August, when the island is crowded with vacationing Europeans and prices are at their highest.
WHERE TO STAY The 12-room Palacio Ca Sa Galesa (www.palaciocasagalesa.com), hidden in the narrow passageways of Palma’s old town, feels like the well-kept mansion of an ancient family. The Santa Clara (www.santaclarahotel.es), a stylish 20-room hotel with historic-meets-contemporary interiors, is also well located in the city’s traditional heart.
COMBINE WITH A day trip to the port of Sóller on the historic Sóller Railway. The trip through the mountains on the vintage wooden train takes about an hour.
See our Spain Travel Guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to save up to 70 percent off flight, hotel, cruise, and package deals to Palma de Mallorca.