Heading into Majorca’s capital city, Palma de Mallorca, from the airport, you’ll find yourself driving along a panoramic motorway along the bay, and you’ll spot an intriguing and distinctive landmark up in the distance: el Castell de Bellver.
It’s not just the dramatic siting that’s notable, but also its shape, quite rare in the world. This 14th-century, Gothic-style castle is, you see, perfectly round. Flanked by a quartet of crenellated towers, this atmospheric pile is unsurprisingly one of the most popular attractions of Palma and indeed Majorca as a whole. Whether you’re on holiday to the island’s famous beaches or studying in this fun and fascinating city, it should be a Balearic bucket-lister.
Crossing its impressive moat and passing through the enormous wooden gates into the castle is truly like travelling back in time, to the days of knights in shining armour (though actually, knights as a major force in Europe were on their way out by the time Bellver was built). Inside you’ll find an interesting museum of city history, but the kicker is of course heading up to the ramparts for one of the most sweeping and beautiful views (which is what the castle’s name actually means in Catalan) out over the city, the port, forested hills, and the sea.
It’s also an active venue for various events – concerts, fashion shows, and other performances; special dramatised tours with actors in period garb – and activities in the surrounding forests. In fact, you’ll likely spot as many locals as visitors, as they love to come to stroll, jog, bike, picnic, walk their dogs, and more.
And by the way, if you want to get the best photo ops of Bellver itself (as opposed to from the castle), perhaps the best spot back in town is the terrace of Es Baluard, the museum of contemporary art in the hip Santa Catalina neighbourhood.
Bellver Castle is open daily, but if you really want to save money, come Sunday, when entry is free. And you can complete your day at Costa de las Pols with a coffee or a refreshment 🙂
Photo | Cristian Bortes