Palma Neighbourhood guide #
Beach vibes and village life just next to Palma
Getting there #
Get in your car, or take bus number 3, 20 or 46 from Palma, and leave the city behind. It won’t take long until that big city buzz turns into beach vibe and holiday feel, when you enter the more relaxed coastal areas of Cala Major and San Agustín. Just up the hill, in the neighbouring Génova, you will find a quiet, authentic Spanish village with a peaceful atmosphere and stunning views. All of them, just a bus ride away from the city.
Cala Major #
Just ten minutes from Palma, the atmosphere suddenly goes from business to beach. In Cala Major, meaning the big bay, you will inevitably notice more flip flops, bikinis and surf boards and you will find more than one shop that sells inflatable matrasses, boats and unicorns along the main street. It’s quite a busy area with a lot of people visiting during the summer, big hotels creating a touristy feel, and it can get a bit noisy during peak season. With that said, there are many locals living in Cala Major, and during winter it turns into a calm neighbourhood right next to the sea. It’s an area that lives all year round, it just changes with the seasons.
Points of interest
San Agustín #
Divided by a cross street, the neighbouring area San Agustín could be described as an extension of Cala Major. In San Agustín, however, the holiday feel turns into a more quiet combination of residential areas and restaurants, as well as small beaches and rocks perfect for sunbathing. You can almost sense the shift from holiday to everyday, just from the little shoe repair place, the greengrocer’s shop, the supermarket and the gym.
Génova, located just next to the Bellver forest, is different from the coastal areas, but very unique in its own way. This is the closest village to Palma, and therefore a very sought after place among those who want to combine that lovely Mallorcan village life with the wide range of everything that Palma has to offer. Thanks to its position up on a hill, the view from Génova is stunning. From up here you look across a mile wide panorama of coast, mountains and green forest.
Local Sights #
The biggest attraction of Cala Major is the beach, where both tourists and locals come to spend the day by the turquoise water and have lunch or a snack in the salty breeze. However, if you’re up to some culture, the Joan Miró Museum is located on walking distance and is also very close to the king’s palace Marivent, where the garden was recently opened up for the public.
When in San Agustin you should pay a visit to the small port of Cala Nova From the roof top bar, overlooking the luxurious yachts and sailing school dinghies, you get a really nice view of the area. There is also the Zhero Beach Club which is a nice restaurant and lounge area if you want to spend the day by the sea but with more amenities and the choice of cooling off in a swimming pool. Although a swim in the sea is still only a couple of steps away thanks to the direct access from the beach club.
What to see in Génova is the picturesque Génova itself. It’s a beautiful village with breathtaking views and it gives you the feeling of being far away from everything else, even though you’re not. If you’re craving some green nature, in contrast to the sandy beaches, you can walk for hours in the Bellver forest and make sure to visit the Bellver Castle while you’re there. Inside the castle there’s a museum that shows the history of Palma divided into different periods.
Don’t forget to stop and be amazed by the view. The name Bellver actually comes from Catalán meaning “lovely view”.
Food & Drink #
The restaurants in the Cala Major/San Agustín area are not what you would call authentic Spanish, but still have a nice blend of both locals and visitors dining at their tables. The diversity among restaurants is impressive though. On the main street connecting Cala Major and San Agustín, you will find Indian food, Thai food, sushi, Italian restaurants and pizzerias just to mention a few. Altogether, it’s a sweet mix and gives a certain charm to the area.
In Génova on the other hand there are far more restaurants with Mallorquin and Mediterranean cuisine, where you can order a homemade paella, a local lamb dish and finish with a crema Catalana.
If it’s spectacular sea view you’re after, you should definitely make a reservation for a table on the terrace of Il Paradiso. For the price of less than 25 euros, you can get a glass of cava and a nice pasta, and it comes with priceless surroundings.
Contact: +34 971 10 33 79
Kokomo surf café
This is the place to be if you don’t want to leave the beach even for a second. Order a nice salad, chicken fingers or a burger and enjoy it with your toes still in the sand.
Contact : +34 971 25 57 63
A traditional Spanish restaurant with rustic beams, wooden furniture and Mallorquin cuisine. This is probably not the best place for vegetarians though, since the menu consists mostly of meat, snails and Iberian ham.
Contact : + 34 971 401 858
The shopping experience in these areas is not really worth mentioning, to be honest. The stores and shops you’ll find here are more the ones catering to your everyday needs, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, bakeries and the occasional souvenir shop. However, there are a few small boutiques with exclusive clothes and accessories, as well as a couple of bazaars where you can find anything from screwdriver or colouring book to glittery underwear and gardening supplies. If you’re after a wider range of shopping, the suggestion would be spending the day in Palma or take the bus to the Porto Pi Shopping Mall only four stops from Cala Major. Here’s also a cinema for rainy days. (Well, on the rare occasion that actually occurs.)
Sports & Recreation #
Thanks to the beach and the proximity to the water, Cala Major and San Agustín are popular areas for water sports. You can rent stand-up paddle boards and surf boards on Cala Major beach, and rent jet skis and get tickets for boat trips in Cala Nova. In winter time the waves can get quite high in the Cala Major bay, which attracts surfers. If you prefer not getting wet while doing sports, there is also a big gym in San Agustín called – Big Gym.
Charm factor #
There are different opinions about Cala Major and San Agustín when it comes to the charm factor in these areas. Some say it’s too touristic, while some love having the relaxing holiday feeling while still being so close to Palma.
In Genova you get a sweet combination as well, but with village life and Palma proximity. Narrow streets, stone houses and green surroundings and yet just a bus ride away from the city centre.
If you’re looking for “best of both worlds” maybe one of these areas would be a perfect fit for you. Beach, village or big city – you don’t really need to choose.
By Maria Strömqvist
20 November, 2018