Tuesday, 16 October 2012 7:55 AM
While Mallorca – and indeed the rest of the Balearic Islands – is a popular destination for sun-seeking holidaymakers, it also has a fascinating history that you should check out. Exploring the isle's historic attractions makes for a wonderful alternative to lazing around on the beach and, in doing so, you may feel like you have taken a step back in time.
Period landmarks are to be found all over the island, so, no matter where you are staying or the length of your getaway, you should have more than enough opportunity to take in some culture over the course of villa break in Mallorca. Here is a guide to some of the most amazing landmarks that you can explore.
La Almudaina Palace
Situated in Palma, the island's capital, the 13th-century La Almudaina Palace dominates the city's skyline. Originally built to be the seat of power for the independent state of Mallorca, the sprawling medieval complex was inhabited by several kings, including Jaime I and Sancho I.
It would later be used as a Muslim fortress until the island was absorbed into the kingdom of Aragon in the 14th century. Today, the building is used as a residence by the Spanish monarchy when carrying out official summer ceremonies.
With such a rich history to take in, it is well worth going on a guided tour of the palace. It is open every day between October and March, with the exception of Mondays, with admission costing €9 (around £7.20) for adults.
As you wander through the complex, you'll get to see everything from Arab baths and intricately-woven tapestries to period furniture and the St Anne's Chapel, which has gothic architectural features.
Palma de Mallorca Cathedral
A visit to the stunning Palma de Mallorca Cathedral is also certain to appeal to history buffs and, like La Almudaina Palace, was built in the 13th century during the era of Mallorcan independence. It is considered a stunning example of gothic architecture, with the Mirador door containing mesmerising decorative vegetal motifs.
In a similar vein like La Almudaina Palace, the cathedral has undergone substantial expansion and renovations over the years, with such work seeing architect Antonio Gaudi renovate its facade in the early 20th century to repair the damage caused by an earthquake.
While the attraction is certainly beautiful to look at out from the outside, it is not until you step through its doors that you will get to appreciate its true splendour. Make sure you look up to see Miquel Barcelo's wonderful ceramic mural in the Santisimo Chapel, while the Trinidad chapel in the main nave contains the remains of kings Jaime II and Jaime III.
If you wish to learn more about the life of Jaime II, you should incorporate a trip to the Bellver Castle into your cultural holiday in Mallorca. The king ordered the building's construction in the 14th century and, while it was initially used as a royal residence, it would later be converted into a mint.
Visit the gothic structure and you will find a wide range of architectural features to catch your eye, including a circular bailey set over two floors and a keep divided across four levels. Admission to the building costs around €2.50 for adults, although children can enter for free, and guided tours take place on a regular basis.