Palma Neighbourhood Guide #
Only a short distance from the city suburbs of Son Dameto and Son Espanyolet to the hip and trendy heartbeat of Palma, Santa Catalina and Es Jonquet.
Santa Catalina and Es Jonquet #
Just as New York has Greenwich Village and London has Nottting Hill, Palma can easily toast Santa Catalina and La Jonquet as its own artistic and Boho quarter. Brimming with a vibrant energy, this area is the best place to be if you’re looking for a cultured community that’s free spirited, adventurous and enjoys diversity. Explore any street in the vicinity and you will discover an array of boutiques, shops, popular cafes and lively bars. Visit the famous Santa Catalina market if you’re looking to buy your own fresh produce, or sample any of the restaurants that offer a wide choice of world cuisine. In all, this historic, modestly sized neighbourhood is perfectly situated in between some of the more formal areas of Palma and the impressive harbour on Paseo Marítimo all the while safeguarding its own alternative culture status.
Son Dameto #
Perfectly located in central Palma is Son Dameto. To the north, it borders onto the Via Cintura (Palma’s main artery highway) with its connections to other parts of the city and regions of Mallorca. Head Southwards through Son Espanyolet and you’ll arrive at the fashionable downtown districts of Santa Catalina and Es Jonquet.
Built on a hillside, this area feels airier and more spacious than other urbanised zones. Primarily, Son Dameto is a residential neighbourhood which can boast ‘Healthcare’ as its greatest asset. This includes: Juanada Hospital, Juanada dentists (specifically for infants and adults), specialist clinics and chiropractors. Of course, there are many other useful and enjoyable local amenities.
Son Espanyolet #
Descending towards sea level, either via Calle Industrial or Calle Espanyolet (two long main roads) it’s clear that -while remaining residential- these streets are becoming much more commercial. There’s an increasing number of eateries, cafes, bars and various types of shops available. Son Espanyolet has the extra advantage of security as the main local police station is located nearby.
The area of Santa Catalina and Es Jonquet is as old as the bay of Palma itself. Situated above and behind the city’s great defence wall (built during the 1300’s), development continued into the 20th century. Its easy to feel the history of the place just by looking at the surroundings. The buildings were constructed to be city dwellings. There are taller houses on terraced streets, while others are considerably more cramped and smaller in shape and size. It's a known fact that for hundreds of years this area was inhabited largely by the poorest population and ‘gitanos’ (gypsies). However, as so often happens when gentrification takes over a neighbourhood, the last decade has seen a significant amount of investment and reformation which has greatly increased property prices in the area.
Although similar, there are obvious differences between the two neighbouring areas of Santa Catalina and Es Jonquet, and what divides them is simply a single street with archways or narrow pathways connecting them.
Walking around, Santa Catalina is noticeably larger, and its streets form a grid with residential properties mixing with commercial ones. As it’s a very popular hot spot you naturally pick up the vibrant energy about the place.
Es Jonquet, by comparison, has a much quieter and more private atmosphere. A labyrinth of tiny streets gives the hidden leafy locality a sense of peacefulness. Without doubt, what makes Es Jonquet so special is from its high vantage point beside ‘Los Tres Molinos’ (The Three Windmills) it possesses the most spectacular view of the enormous harbour that runs alongside the Paseo Marítimo towards the city’s cathedral, and the scaling medieval rooftops of Palma.
On a bright Saturday morning, I took my daughter ‘P’ to look around. The first stop for P and I was to explore Santa Catalina Market before it closed at 2pm. Here, one is spoiled for choice! This popular market regularly receives customers seeking fresh produce: Fruits and vegetables, fish and meats, cured meats, cheeses, breads, and more unusual items such as dried fruits and sweets, oils, spices, wines and more. There’s a very jovial interaction amongst the customers and the stall holders, that P and I noticed as we bought warms rolls, cut flowers, olives and chocolate, and if all that shopping makes you hungry and thirsty, there’s tapas and sushi stalls and bars dotted around. A visit will surely inspire culinary delights!
- Other shopping options may include:
- ‘Flamingos -Vintage Kilo’ (Calle Cotoner, 43)
- ‘Bconnected Living Concepts’. (Calle Dameto 4-6)
- Happy N’Things (Second Hand Store - Calle de Monterrey)
- Hallelujah Shop (womens clothing – Avinguda de L’ Argentina, 29)
- Hardware stores (Calle de Sant Magi)
Santa Catalina is generally made up of Restaurants, Cafes and Bars. Here’s the top pick of each:
Mediterranean, European, Asian cuisine. Vegetarian and vegan friendly as well as being gluten free!
Contact: +34 971 07 17 38
Calle Soler, 36
Flor de Lis
Spanish/Mediterranean/Latin fusion. Veg and veg friendly.
Contact: +34 971 07 99 88
Calle d’Espartero, 20
Naan Street Food
Delicious food and genial service. Not overly expensive.
Contact: +34 971 91 55 22
Calle de Caro, 16
Fabulous Thai dishes and great atmosphere.
Contact: +34 971 28 70 39
Calle de Servet, 15
Great place to get a light snack and a coffee.
Contact: +34 971 68 85 69
Bistro style cuisine with a relaxed atmosphere.
Contact: +34 971 91 89 19
Plaça de la Navegacio, 17
Original and tasty food, great vibe while promoting Art and Music.
Contact: +34 871 02 60 79
Calle de la Fábrica, 43
Temple Natura Café
You might not expect this in a café, but the Temple is the ultimate Zen experience! In a lovely place decorated with great care they offer delicious organic teas brewed with extra-clear water and sandwiches to die for, all vegan, and all of it served with loving kindness. Don't miss out on that!
Contact: +34 971 71 86 88
Carrer del Temple, 4
Ziva to Go
all natural vegan organic health cafe
Contact +34 871 966 967
Plaça de la Navegació, 11a, 07013 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain
MALA The Bar
Cocktails with a great fun and funky atmosphere
Contact: +34 679 88 06 12
Calle Sant Magi, 41
Bar Cuba’s rooftop terrace offers extraordinary views to the cathedral - albeit at an exorbitant price. Its bottom floor offers a well-catered lunch service, and at midnight becomes a noisy and rather crowded nightclub. While I personally wouldn’t recommend it, it’s still an important landmark.
Contact: (+34) 971 45 22 37
Calle San Magín, 1
LAB Cocktail Bar
LAB, next to Bar Cuba, play a mix of electronic and hip-hop music, offer well-priced cocktails and get overly crowded on the weekends. If that’s your kind of thing - then it’s an excellent recommendation.
Contact: +34 649 54 78 16
Carrer de Sant Magi, 22
Three Lions offer decent food at a decent price during the day, and at night play nostalgic 80’s and 90’s rock music and often have live bands playing and a perfectly rambunctious atmosphere. We highly recommended checking this place out if it sounds like your type of thing.
Avinguda de Gabriel Roca, 4
Sports & Recreation #
Very popular and clean gym, although small in size the machines work well.
Contact: +34 971 07 31 65
Calle de Caro, 23
Challenge Palma Club
Good value for money and decent space to train.
Contact: +34 871 94 77 53
Calle de la Indústria, 14
Very professional teaching. Therapeutic yoga knowledge and a pleasure to attend.
Contact: +34 636 17 54 04
Carrer de La Indústria, 12
Parks and Outdoor Space #
Across the road from Santa Catalina is by far one of Palma’s best parks, Plaça. Sa Faixina. My daughter knows exactly where she’s going and runs excitedly for the most fabulously fun playground for children of all ages! There’s so much to enjoy, ‘P’ is having the time of her life and using up loads of energy! All kids will be happy for hours. An al fresco café is on hand too. In between the park steps, a waterfall cascades towards an Obelisk monument and further fountains.
There are plenty of grassy areas to sit and enjoy a picnic. Sa Faixina often attracts skateboarders and roller bladers to come and practice their moves. The park is a great place to relax from the busy streets surrounding it.
By Romy Bunn Belamy
22 November, 2018