Palma, capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands, is a busy, cosmopolitan city in true Spanish style. Its city centre forms a lively montage of shopping centres, a maze of narrow lanes and restored buildings surrounded by ancient ruined city walls, and modern boulevards.
Like mainland Spain, Mallorca and Palma itself was under Moorish control between the 9th and 13th centuries until the re-conquest by Jaume I of Aragon. The Moorish heritage is still evident as are the remnants of Palma’s golden years when it rose to wealth and prominence in the 15th century as the prime port of call between Europe and Africa.
Set on the beautiful bay Bahia de Palma, the city became a favoured Royal retreat, which helped it to become the popular holiday destination of the rich and famous. Despite the invasion of foreign tourists Palma has kept its local flavour, particularly in its old quarter lined by cafes and tapas bars. Often the native dialect of mallorquin is the only language heard in the backstreets.