Palma de Mallorca is home to the ancient 13th century palace called Palacio d’Almudaina. Existing since the Muslim era, the royal palace is situated right next to Palma’s cathedral. Furthermore, it is the second biggest building in Palma, right after the cathedral and was first the residence of the Muslims and afterwards of the Kings of Catalonia. In fact, the palace still is the residence of the Spanish Monarchy, as the they use the 20.000 square kilometer huge estate during their summer holidays for festive celebrations on the island. Other parts of the building are used by the military. Most parts of the building are open to the public and can be visited during a guided tour.
Under the reign of King Jaume II, the Arabic style building was converted to Gothic style. However, if you look closely, you will realise that some parts of the Islamic architecture remains, for example the arches seen from the seafront. Inside the building you will find many rooms, decorated and furnished in different styles, which show the different eras throughout the palace’s history. It is a journey through Mallorcan history, where you should look out for the Flemish paintings and the tapestries from the 17th century.
You will also see a beautiful courtyard, dating back to 1309, bordered by palm trees. Here is situated the royal chapel, Saint Anna, built in the 14th century. The entrance to the chapel is built in Roman style and you can see many fantastic animals for its decoration. The Arc de la Drassana was once the gateway to the royal docks. The S’Hort del Rei (Kings garden) is a nice garden to sit and relax in the shade next to the fountains. The garden was rebuilt in 1960 and you will notice that many people stick their head through one of the sculptures. It is the best known landmark in this garden, a sculpture by Joan Miró featuring an egg.
The palace is right next to the cathedral, so it is close to the historic city centre. You can take the bus line 15 to get there.