Towering above the seafront is sandstone giant La Seu Cathedral, a Gothic frenzy of flying buttresses and filigree spires. Visit in the morning to see the enormous rose window cast kaleidoscopic colors and patterns. Step back to the Middle Ages exploring the circular bailey of hilltop Bellver Castle, the domed 11th-century Arab Baths and battlements of Almudaina Palace. Relax with a walk along the old sea walls.
Palma city breaks begin over light, sugar-dusted ensaïmada pastries with espresso on pavement terraces flanking the arcaded Plaça Major. Poke around nearby streets for bustling tapas bars and cellars where good-value day menus might star Mallorcan favourites such as lechona (suckling pig) or arrós brut (dirty rice). The day's catch is often sold by weight at the lively seafront fish restaurants in Portixol and former fishing village Es Molinar.
Choose a seafront Palma hotel for the breeze and the view. Flop on the golden sands or splash in the sea at nearby beach resorts like Platja de Palma, and Cala Major, where the water is shallow enough for kids to paddle. Cool off by the trickling fountains in the serene Moorish-style S'Hort del Rei Gardens.
Picasso, Miró, Dalí and a host of other avant-garde Spanish artists draw art buffs to the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Art, occupying an 18th-century townhouse. Fusing Palma's old fortifications with a striking new building, Es Baluard spotlights contemporary art. Teatre Principal stages first-class opera and theatre.