A weekend away ... in Palma, Mallorca


| April 27, 2018

Watching white-sailed boats skim the surface of the still blue sea in Palma de Majorca’s bay, it’s easy to see the attraction of this historic city for artists and visitors alike. The graphic sail shapes echo the gleaming white curves perched across the roof of the studio, built by architect Josep Lluis Sert for his friend and fellow Catalan, Joan Miro. Inside the light-drenched studio, Miro’s surrealist works are propped on easels ready for the next brushstroke. Nearby, the artist’s earlier studio, home and a modern gallery of his work build a picture of the artist and the inspiration for his works.

Joan Miro’s studio, designed by fellow Catalan, Josep Lluis Sert Examples of Modernista architecture from the early 20th century add a Catalan feel to Palma’s winding streets and palm-lined boulevards. The city’s willingness to embrace the new is epitomised in the history of the Cathedral. After the towering gothic structure was damaged by an earthquake in 1851, it was restored and then later embellished by another Catalan. Famed Antoni Gaudi transformed the altar with a wheat and vine festooned canopy. Between 2001 and 2006, contemporary Majoran artist, Miquel Barcelo, reimagined St Peter’s chapel in sombre grey tones with a striking abstract design evoking biblical miracles. Palma cathedral

Palma cathedral

Contemporary artists continue to fill Palma’s galleries with vibrant pieces. Set in a 16th-century fortress, the Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art displays works from Miro to Barcelo in a modern space. After enjoying the art, sip a coffee on the terrace of the gallery’s restaurant and enjoy the beautiful views over the Bay of Palma. Market stall with local produce

Market stall with local produce

Palma’s cuisine combines influences from Catalonia, North Africa and beyond; head to the noisy food market Mercat de l’Olivar for a lunch full of local flavour and simple ingredients. We ate platters of oysters, shrimp and octopus accompanied by glasses of flint-dry Cava. Before dinner in one of the nine Michelin-starred restaurants, sample a local vermouth or gin and tonic at one of the many chic hotels’ rooftop bars. Alternatively, opt for a spa hotel, such as the Hotel Hospes Maricel & Spa, which offers sea views and an eight-course tasting breakfast. Fresh oysters

Fresh oysters

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