Planning a trip to the largest Balearic island on a budget sounds like a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be. Visiting its villages, towns, and beaches is a budget-friendly activity, and you’ll also find plenty of free things to do in Palma de Mallorca, the capital city.
From museums and landmarks to gardens and photogenic streets, here’s how to enjoy the best of Palma on a budget.
*I try to keep the information on this blog as updated as possible, but I still recommend consulting the latest prices, opening hours, and other details on the official website of each site, hotel, and tour, as well as checking the updated public transport routes and timetables.
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BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN
TAKE A FREE WALKING TOUR
Free walking tours are a fantastic budget-friendly way to get to know a new destination, especially when you can find themed tours that unravel different aspects of a city’s history and culture.
Check out the free walking tours you can take in Palma:
- Free walking tour of Palma de Mallorca, focusing mainly on the old town
- Palma’s city walls free tour
- Three cultures of Palma free tour, in which you’ll learn about the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian history of the city
- Free mysteries & legends evening tour (in Spanish)
STROLL THROUGH THE OLD TOWN’S BEAUTIFUL STREETS AND SQUARES
Any city with a charming old town automatically provides the free activity of roaming its alleys, streets, and squares, and Palma is no exception.
Here, you’ll find a good mix of busy streets lined with shops, tapas bars, and cafes and secluded streets that seem to have nothing “special” but end up being the most enchanting of all.
From Plaça de Cort, Plaça de Quadrado, and Plaça Major to Carrer de Colom, Carrer de Sant Miquel, and Costa d’en Brossa, take your time to explore this intriguing maze because it’s full of surprises.
EXPLORE THE JEWISH QUARTER
Within the old town, you can wander through a few streets and squares that belong to Palma’s old Jewish quarter.
Not much of it has remained, but as a traveler passionate about her Jewish heritage, it was thrilling to know this was where the Jewish community lived centuries ago.
Head to Centre Maimó Ben Faraig, a 2-room museum dedicated to the Jewish history of Palma, and take a map showing all the points of interest in the Jewish quarter, including Monti-Sion street and the statue of Jafuda Cresques.
Imprinted into the ground, you should also look for the symbol of the Red de Juderías de España – Caminos de Sefarad, the amazing organization that preserves the Jewish history and heritage of Spain.
CHECK OUT LA LONJA DE PALMA
Built in the 15th century, La Lonja de Palma (Llotja de Palma in Catalan) is a stunning Gothic-style building that served as a maritime trading center and a meeting place for merchants.
With its embellished windows, beautiful turrets, and interiors that look like a palm grove, it’s definitely a unique historic spot in the city (that often gets overlooked).
SEE THE JAW-DROPPING PALMA CATHEDRAL
While you do need to purchase a ticket to step inside Palma Cathedral (also known as La Seu), don’t underestimate exploring the exteriors of this remarkable 13th-century Gothic-style historical building (one of the tallest in Europe).
Commissioned by the Crown of Aragon after it conquered Mallorca from the Arabs and established the Kingdom of Majorca, the cathedral took almost 400 years to complete.
If you decide to marvel at its interiors, you can also see the most magnificent stained-glass windows, including one that curiously depicts a Star of David (love that!).
With stunning architecture and an imposing location in the old town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Palma Cathedral is a famous Spanish landmark you cannot miss.
VISIT THE ROYAL PALACE OF LA ALMUDAINA
Across from the cathedral stands the 14th-century Royal Palace of La Almudaina.
Commissioned by King Jaume II of Majorca and built on the site of a Moorish fortress, the palace functioned as the seat of the court and is still an official residence of the Spanish royal family today.
You can visit it free of charge on Wednesdays and Sundays from 3 PM to 7 PM (access until 6 PM) to see some of its rooms, halls, and courtyards.
STROLL THROUGH S’HORT DEL REI GARDENS
One of the best free things to do in Palma de Mallorca is to check out its green spaces. Originally an enclosed garden belonging to the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, the Jardins S’Hort del Rei (translating to The King’s Orchard) is an unmissable urban oasis.
The garden you see today was designed in the 1960s in Andalusian style, with fountains, orange trees, wooden benches, sculptures, and other beautiful elements that will make you want to sit back and take it all in.
VISIT A MUSEUM OR TWO
While you won’t find a whole lot of museums in Palma, you’ll be glad to know that you can visit the best ones for free.
Start by heading to the Museum Foundation Juan March, housed in a 17th-century manor, to marvel at a collection of 20th-century Spanish contemporary art, which includes pieces by Picasso and Dalí. Open from Monday to Friday, this place is always free to visit.
Next, check out the Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma, located in the 16th-century Bastio de Sant Pere, boasting a collection of hundreds of works (paintings, sculptures, and more) by local and international artists.
To make it more accessible, if you visit on Fridays, you decide how much to pay for your ticket, starting at €0.10 (10 euro cents).
On the outskirts of Palma, you’ll find the Pilar and Joan Miro Foundation, showcasing thousands of artworks by the Barcelona-born Surrealist artist Joan Miro. It is free to visit on Saturdays from 3 PM – 6 PM and the first Sunday of every month from 10 AM – 3 PM.
In that area, you can also visit the Military Museum, housed in the 17th-century fortress of the Castle of San Carlos.
UNWIND AT PARC DE LA MAR
Not a typical park but still a lovely public space, Parc de la Mar is a beautiful spot in the city, standing right where the sea reached the city walls. From its big artificial lake to the palm trees around it to the views of the cathedral, the park is also a great photo spot.
CHECK OUT SOME INDOOR MARKETS
Seeing the local produce and the locals doing their market shopping is exactly why I love visiting markets so much, especially if they also offer an opportunity to grab a bite.
When in Palma, head to Mercat de l’Olivar (founded in 1951) and Mercat de Santa Catalina (founded in 1905), the city’s most well-known indoor markets.
Both are open from Monday to Saturday and boast dozens of stands selling anything from vegetables and cheeses to baked goods and spices. They also make a great place to have lunch, though that’s when they can get very crowded.
PHOTOGRAPH UNIQUE MODERNIST BUILDINGS
Catalan Modernism (also referred to as Catalan Art Nouveau) is one of my favorite architectural styles.
While Barcelona is the best city to admire such architecture (thanks to the UNESCO-listed creations of Antoni Gaudi), Palma is not too shabby either.
The old town is home to several insta-worthy modernist buildings you have to check out, such as Can Forteza Rey, Can Corbella, Edifici Casasayas, and Gran Hotel.
VISIT THE BELLVER CASTLE
Overlooking the entire city, the 14th-century Gothic-style Bellver Castle (Castell de Bellver) is one of the few circular castles in Europe.
Commissioned by King Jaume II of Majorca, it served as a royal residence, later as a prison, and it now houses the city’s history museum.
A couple of its most notable features are its defense towers and inner courtyard, and the panoramic views it offers of the Bay of Palma are another reason why it’s such a visited landmark.
Free admission is offered on Sundays when the castle is open from 10 AM to 3 PM (the last entry is at 2:30 PM).
A car or the Hop-On Hop-Off bus will take you all the way up to the castle unless you’re in for a short yet slightly challenging hike, in which case – bring comfortable shoes.
WALK ALONG THE PORT
Palma’s port is the largest in the Balearic Islands and makes a wonderful place for a coastal walk. With countless ships and yachts, it really is a vision, so don’t forget to add it to your itinerary.
If you’re in for paid water activities, you can also book one of these boat tours and cruises.
VISIT SOME ART GALLERIES
Since you want to enjoy Palma de Mallorca on a budget, it’s good to know that the city center is home to quite a few art galleries that don’t charge any entrance fee.
I absolutely loved the colorful and quirky Galeria Frank Krüger, though many others are also worth visiting, including Soho Gallery, Galeria K, and AHOY! Art Gallery Palma.
EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF SANTA CATALINA
Santa Catalina is an unmissable spot in the city.
What used to be the old fisherman’s quarter is now considered the Soho of Palma, boasting colorful houses, cozy breakfast and brunch spots, international-cuisine restaurants, designer boutiques, vintage shops, trendy bars, and even a 100-year-old indoor market.
It’s such a fun neighborhood to explore on foot and definitely a great place for a fun night out in Palma de Mallorca.
WALK ALONG PASSEIG DEL BORN
A stone’s throw away from the S’Hort del Rei Gardens, you’ll find Passeig del Born, Palma’s most famous avenue.
Lined with luxury brand shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as an abundance of trees and benches, it’s an ideal place for an afternoon stroll.
VISIT THE MARIVENT GARDENS
The Marivent Palace is situated on the outskirts of the city, in the area of Cala Major. Built in the 1920s, the palace was the home of painter Juan de Saridakis and now functions as a summer residence of the Spanish royal family.
While the palace itself cannot be visited, its gardens are open to the public and free to visit. Formed by 40 native plant species, they are a lovely oasis you can check out if you find yourself with some extra free time in Palma de Mallorca.
EXPLORE ES JONQUET AND PHOTOGRAPH SOME WINDMILLS
Windmills are not an uncommon sight on the island of Mallorca, many of which date back to the 14th-18th centuries, and the neighborhood of Es Jonquet is one of the best places to see some of them up close.
With its cobbled streets and white and pastel houses, this small enchanting historic district truly feels like an old fishing village, and its centuries-old windmills make it even more irresistible.
SEE THE CITY’S BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES
Some of Palma’s prettiest buildings are its churches. So regardless of religion, if you love seeing beautiful historical landmarks, check out places like Basílica de Sant Miquel de Palma, Església de Santa Eulàlia, and Basílica de Sant Francesc.
GO TO THE BEACH
The city of Palma might not have the best beach in Mallorca (far from it), but since you’re looking for free activities, pay a visit to Platja de Can Pere Antoni.
Whether you’ll love it or not depends on the day, as it can be quiet and clean or busy and slightly dirty, so it’s something to consider before making time for it on your itinerary.
Read more about the Mediterranean island of Mallorca and Spain:
- Hidden gems in Mallorca
- Is Mallorca worth visiting?
- What to pack for Mallorca
- Hidden gems in Spain
- Best Spanish road trips
- Long weekend getaways in Spain
- Spain travel tips
- Novels about Spain
- Gifts for Spain lovers
- Spain travel quotes
- Virtual tours of Spain
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