Spoil yourself with a last-minute city-break in Palma de Mallorca this Christmas, where the festivities are in full-swing, and the housing market is open for business.
Mallorca is famous for its long summer season but many aficionados of the island most enjoy the capital out of season, when the weather is mild and sunny, and the city can be enjoyed without the crowds.
At Christmas time the famously-picturesque city looks even more magical with lights and decorations, whilst many of the shops, restaurants and hotels are open, and there is no shortage of flights to get you to the island from all over Europe. Javier Vich, President of the Palma Hotel Association, confirms that 80% of hotels in Palma will remain open this winter, boosted by the demand from Europe, especially the cold, overcast north.
Apart from enjoying the mild sunny weather hanging out in Palma’s cafes and bars, what is there to do in Palma in December? You can’t go wrong if you like shopping, Christmas celebrations, and housing-hunting.
Christmas shopping in Palma
On the shopping front visitors will find top international designer names in Palma like Burberry, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Cartier, and Mallorca’s very own FARRUTX luxury leather goods. In the city’s two El Corte Ingles department stores all the big names are there.
Venture off the high-streets to explore Palma’s side streets and you will find original boutiques, art galleries, ceramic emporiums, and fashion boutiques full of stylish outfits you won’t find anywhere else.
Given its long history of leather craftsmanship Mallorca is a bit of a Mecca for lovers of shoes and leather goods, and you’re sure to find gorgeous presents for them in shops like Lotusse, Carmina and Camper. And for those who are tricky to buy for try something different with typical Mallorquin lace and embroidery work or handmade wicker baskets called Senallas found in some of Palma’s traditional shops.
Fiestas and feasting in Palma
After shopping it’s time to turn to the fiestas and feasting that Palma celebrates so well.
In Mallorca’s capital you will see some of the oldest and most ornate nativity scenes on the island, in particular in the Santa Catalina Market, and the Misericordia Cultural Centre featuring the “Betlem Mallorquí” with exquisite detail, and churches such as the Iglesia de la Sang with its crib dating back to 1480. In the March Foundation Museum there is an ornate crib scene of Italian origin “Belén Napolitano” with 2,000 hand crafted pieces dating back to the 18th century, and in Palma’s Town Hall the nativity scene reflects the island’s life with handmade figures.
On Christmas Eve, called Noche Buena in Spanish, a midnight mass is celebrated in Palma’s magnificent cathedral where a child, carrying a sword, sings the ‘Canto de la Sibila’ a Gregorian chant that has been sung on Christmas Eve since mediaeval times, and has been declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
On New Year’s Eve – Noche Vieja – traditionally bands play in front of the local town hall and the bells ring out the Old Year whilst revellers open bottles of cava and eat 12 grapes in time with the chimes up to midnight.
On the 6th of January, Epiphany celebrations – Los Reyes – take the form of an elaborate parade through the city where the Three Kings arrive by boat and walk throughout the city distributing sweets and presents to the children in the crowd.
Off-season house-hunting in Palma
If you are planning to buy a home in Mallorca there’s no better time to go house-hunting in Palma and its surroundings than in December when you get to see the island ‘out of season’ without the crowds. Whilst estate agents might be rushed off their feet during the high-season, at this time of the year they can give you their undivided attention, and the market is still very much open for business.
“Although sales activity is quieter in the run-up to Christmas, agents are still at work and closing sales for last minute buyers who want to wrap up the year with a final investment,” says Terence Panton, Managing Partner of Engel & Völkers Palma Centre. “House-hunters come because the city is pleasantly calm but they still have a good choice of great restaurants, shopping, and culture. The island’s mild climate is also a big draw and normally there’s plenty of sunshine at this time. So those in the know, love Palma in the winter.”
Hans Lenz, Managing Director of Engel & Völkers Mallorca Southwest, which includes the southwest of Palma, confirms that the housing market is active at this time of the year. “Vendors are still looking for buyers, and house-hunters love what the city has to offer in the mild winter months,” Hans explains. “Many newcomers are blown away by Palma at this time of the year because there is still so much going on.”
So if buying a home in Mallorca is one of your goals in the coming months, consider treating yourself and your loved-ones to a last-minute city-break in Palma over the Christmas holidays. You won’t find a better city to enjoy the shopping and festivities, and it’s a great time to go house-hunting in Palma.