Introduction To Palma, Jewel Of The Balearics
Palma is positioned on the south west coast of the island of Mallorca in the West Mediterranean Sea.
Romans were the first people to exploit the potential of Mallorca as a trading base, and in 123BC set up two ports, once of which was Palmeria. During medieval times Palma was ruled by Moors, who called the city Medina Mayurka. There are very few traces of this era remaining, apart from sections of the walls of Almudaina Palace and the Arab baths.
The Moors used Palma as a base to harass Catalan ships sailing to and from the mainland. In 1229, to remove the menace, James I of Aragon captured Palma, bringing the island under the rule of the Kingdom of Aragon. The Golden Age of Mallorca began, with a blossoming of the island’s agriculture, trade and commerce. The massive Bellver Castle and superb le Seu cathedral were constructed, and the Almudaina was transformed into a fine Renaissance palace.
At the start of the 16th century, the Balearic Islands were merged with the Kingdom of Spain as a result of the political union of Castile and Aragon. Mallorca went from being an important part of the Kingdom of Aragon to being a rather neglected satellite of a much bigger country. During the next three hundred years Palma fell into a seemingly endless era of decline, caused by a mixture of political indifference, several plagues, and unremitting attacks by Berber Pirates based in North Africa. Eventually the threat of the Berber Pirates was removed when the French occupied Algeria in the early 19th century. Palma’s industry and trade started to revive.
At the start of the 20th century, tourists started to discover the beautiful shoreline and the pleasant climate of Mallorca. World War II did not effect Mallorca directly, but brought shortages, rationing and a halt to tourism. At the end of the war tourism started to grow strongly once more, soon becoming Mallorca’s main source of revenue.
Today Palma is a charming and vibrant city, combining the vitality of a capital with the slower pace of a Balearic island town. It has a number of cultural attractions, a friendly population, striking architecture and enjoyable sidewalk cafes.
Mallorca is situated at the center of the Western Mediterranean long making Palma a favorite port-of-call for cruises. In recent years, in main thanks to the large nearby Palma de Mallorca airport, the island has also become a busy departure port for cruise ships, and the number of cruises from Palma on offer has increased dramatically.
Palma Cruise Port
Estacion Maritima 1,2,3,4
Estacion Maritima 1,2,3,4 cruise terminals serve ships docked at the Poniente and Paraires quays. The terminals are joined by a network of covered walkways. Services comprise of telephone kiosks, police station, post office, snackbar, office, cafeteria and restrooms. The Poniente quay is around a mile and a half southwest of Palma’s center.
Estacion Maritima 5
Occasionally ships dock at piers inside Dique Del Oeste (the west sea wall). These piers are served by the Estacion Martima 5 passenger terminal.
Cruises From Palma
A 7 day voyage around the Western Mediterranean Sea is the most common itinerary for cruises from Palma.
Enjoyable shore excursions available at ports-of-call include Michelangelo's iconic David in Florence (from Livorno), the leaning tower of Pisa (from Livorno), the incredibly well preserved ruins of Pompeii (from Naples), the scary Cappuchini Catacombs in Palermo and the atmospheric old town of Ibiza.
Towards the end of the year repositioning cruises may be available to the Canaries and the Caribbean.
Things To Do Near Palma Cruise Port
Palma’s magnificent cathedral la Seu is Palma’s most visited attraction. Construction work began in the first part of the 13th century, and carried on for over 300 years. A significant rebuilding scheme commenced in the the 20th century, with the famous architect Gaudi designing several contentious additions.
The archetypal Moorish architecture of the Palacio de la Almudaina tells of its initial history as a Moorish castle. On the occupation of Mallorca by Catalan forces in the 13th century the fort was converted into a palace for the Mallorcan monarchy. Today it is a museum containing works of art including middle eastern carpets, Flemish tapestries and a superb collection of paintings.
The towering Bellver Castle is home to the Palma History Museum and the Despuig Classical Sculpture Museum. There are spectacular views from the castle’s ramparts over the beautiful Palma Bay. Bellver Castle is a 10 minute hike up the hill from the Estacion Maritima.
C'an Pere Antoni Beach
The seafront south of the cathedral has a thin ribbon of sand, which, if you walk for a short distance in the direction away from the main port, broadens into the large C'an Pere Antoni beach. The golden sands shelve gently into warm waters. A few palms at the back of the beach provide welcome shade, and nearby stalls offer beach items and snacks.
Palma To Soller Railway
This old-fashioned electric train links Palma de Mallorca with the small mountain village of Soller, a journey 27km long. The railway traverses a wide plain, then heads upwards through 13 tunnels to reach Soller. The excursion, which takes just over an hour, is an excellent way of seeing the picturesque interior of the island. The Palma station is sited in the center of the city, just next to the modern train station.
Getting To The Cruise Port
From The Airport
Most vacationers booked on cruises from Palma arrive at the airport, which is well served by low-cost flights from all over Europe. The easiest way of traveling from the airport to the cruise port is by taxi or shuttle coach. An alternative is to catch the number 1 bus which runs from the airport through Palma center to reach the Estacion Maritima. After alighting from the bus walk into the Estascion Number 2 terminal opposite then follow the signs to the applicable terminal.Cruise Port Map
(click on image for larger image)
Port Authority of the Balearic Islands
Autoriad Portuaria de Balears
Current Marine Traffic Palma De Mallorca Marine Traffic
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