After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions, and everyday life after your class is over. Visit the Old Quarter and Cathedral, sunbathing on one of the many beaches, enjoy the best nightlife of the Mediterranean, take an excursion through the Call or Jewish district of Palma. Get yourself started for a trip to Palma de Mallorca with the links below:
Main Sights: Get to know Palma de Mallorca
Palace of Almudaina:
A royal palace has stood on this site since the Muslim walis (governors) built their alcazar soon after the Arab conquest. It was convected into Gothic style under Jaume II, but elements of Islamic architecture remain - like the Moorish arches seen from the seafront, lit up at night like a row of lanterns. The courtyard, laid out in 1309 and flanked by palm trees, is at its best in late afternoon when the sun falls on the cathedral towers overhead. Just off the courtyard is the royal chapel, Capella de Santa Ana.
The S'Hort del Rei gardens beneath the palace make a pleasant place to sit beneath the fountains watching the world go by. Look out for the Arc de la Drassana, once the gateway to the royal docks as near here is a statue of a hondero or Balearic slinger. The gardens were rebuilt in the 1960s and their best-known landmark is Joan Miro s Egg sculpture, which few people can resist sticking their heads through.
The glory of Palma - a magnificent Gothic cathedral whose sandstone walls and flying buttresses. Take some time to stand on the seafront and gaze up at the golden sandstone exterior that climbs above the old city walls. La Seu stands out uttery from its surroundings, a demonstration of the might of Mallorca's Christian conquerors to all who arrived by sea.
Tradition has it that a storm arose as Jaume I was sailing towards Mallorca. He vowed that if he landed safely he would build a great church in honor of the Virgin on New Year's Day 1230, a day after the fall of Palma, the foundation stone was symbolically laid on the site of the city's main mosque. Work continued for 400 years - and had to resume in 1851 when an earthquake destroyed the west front.
When you're tired of tourist sights and want to meet the people of Palma instead, head for this covered market. Here you'll find dazzling displays of flowers, huge piles of oranges, and huge buckets full of olives all waiting to be turned into a signature Mallorcan dish!
You'll find a choice selection of fresh meats in the upper levels of the market, but if you're squeamish you may want to avoid that area. It's also a good place to buy ham and cheese or for a quick snack at a tapas stall or even a quick of coffee!
Passeig des Born:
For more than a century this short, tree-lined promenade has been at the heart of city life. It has been the host for numerous festivals and countless events. Go here to take in the rhythm of Palma at a cafe and watch as the city comes alive! Nearby is Can Solleric, a modern art gallery which opened in 1995 in a former mansion.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
A Day on the Train:
The opening of a railway line from Palma to Soller in 1912, and a tram linking Soller to its port the following year, brought the northwest coast within easy reach of the capital. The vintage railways are still in use and are loads of fun for both tourists and locals. There are five trains a day that leave Palma and although there is a 10:40 train for tourists, you only get a quick photo stop and the train is usually packed.
The train leaves Palma and runs down the city streets before heading into the suburbs and not long after that you're passing small country stations and farmland. You can get off at Bunyola and visit the Tunel factory where Mallorca's herb-based liqueurs are made.
Stay on the train and soon arrive at Soller. The Orange Express tram to Port de Soller will meet you here, take a seat and ride along as it clatters through orchards and gardens. It takes 20 minutes to complete the 5-km journey to the port. If you do not want to return the same way, buses leave from the jetty for Palma via Deia and Valldemossa.
The villages of S Arenal and Magalluf sit facing each other across palma Bay. The area is very diverse as one moment you can be in Portals Nous, with its chic marina and the next you could find yourself browsing some of the British Pubs in Magalluf!
Follow the road beyond Magalluf through the pine woods and you'll find tiny coves and small private beachs. Eventually you'll reach the headland of Cap de Cala Figuera where you can look back at sweeping views of the entire bay! Come here at midnight for a peaceful view of the city and sounds of the ocean.
Architecture: Discover Unique Styles & Structures
These 10th century baths are virtually all that remain of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqa. They were probably part of a nobleman's house and are similar to those found in other Islamic cities. The tepidarium has a dome that features 25 round shafts for sunlight, supported by a dozen columns.
Notice how each of the columns is different - they were probably salvaged from the ruins of various Roman buildings, an early example of recycling. Hammams were meeting-places as well as washhouses, and the courtyard gardens had palm and orange trees that would have made it a pleasant place to cool off after a hot bath.
The Gran Hotel was Palma's first luxury hotel when it opened in 1903. Designed by the Catalan architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, it was the building which began the craze for modernists (art nouveau) architecture in the city.
Restored by the Fundacio la Caixa and reopened in 1993, it is now an art gallery featuring changing exhibitions and a permanent display of paintings by Hermen Anglada-Camarasa, the founder of the Pollenca school on the ground floor there is a bookshop and a trendy cafe-bar.
With an angel over the door, this 15th century seafront building looks half-castle, half-church. In fact it is neither as it was designed by Guillem Sagrera (the same architect of the Portal del Mirador). Stand among the spiralling pillars and try to imagine the sounds of merchants 500 years ago haggling over silk, spices and silver. Nowadays La Llotja is mostly a cultural center that hosts temporary exhibitions.
On the outskirts of Palma, you'll find reproductions of famous buildings from Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid all gathered together with other typical houses from Spanish regions. You can also try some Spanish food in the Plaza Mayor or sit outside a cafe and watch the tourists buy pearls and souvenirs at the village shops.
A visit here gives you a tour of Spanish architecture as it developed through Muslim and Christian influences. If you have never been to Granada, it's worth coming just for the reproduction of the salon, baths and patio from the Alhambra Palace. Various artists sell their works here as there are many studios scattered throughout the village.
Chapels: Step Onto Sacred Ground
Cathedral of Saint Francesca:
The facade of this 13th century church is a massive, forbidding sandstone wall with a delicately carved postal and a rose window at the center. You enter through Gothic cloisters with orange and lemon trees and a well at the center. Inside the church is the tomb of Ramon Llull (1235-1316), the Catalan mystic who became a hermit and was later stoned to death attempting to convert Muslims in Tunisia.
His statue can be seen on the Palma seafront; outside the basilica is a statue of another famous Mallorcan missionary named Fray Junipero Serra, who once lived here.
Museums: Experience The History of Past Generations & Cultures
This small museum of religious and historical artifacts is based in a wing of the former episcopal palace tucked behind the cathedral. Among the paintings, pulpits and prayer books are splendid Arab tapestries, a collection of ceramics spanning five centuries and a 17th century painting of Jesus carrying a cross. Look out for the portrait of St. George (Sant Jordi) with medieval Palma in the background!
Billed as Mallorca's most important museum, this undoubtedly contains some fascinating exhibits including some Roman artifacts, Moorish ceramics, and Christian art which provide a quick look into Mallorcan history. Even the building is an exhibit; a 17th-century palace!
This small collection of 20th century Spanish art belonged to the Mallorcan banker Joan March. There are 36 pieces, each by a different artist, including Picasso, Dali and Miro!