Set atop a wooded hill overlooking Palma, the 14th-century Bellver Castle (Castell de Bellver) is known for its distinctive circular design—it is supposedly the only Spanish castle to bear this shape. Built for King James II, the castle later served as a military prison and mint and now houses the City History Museum (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat).
Many sightseeing tours of Palma de Mallorca (Majorca), including bike tours and boat tours, pass by the castle’s Gothic-style exterior. To fully appreciate the history of the fortress, it’s necessary to go inside. Visitors can explore history-focused exhibits and see graffiti left by former prisoners on the castle’s upper walls. Guided tours, lasting 30 minutes, are also offered. Alternatively, download the app beforehand and explore with the aid of an audio guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bellver Castle is a must for history buffs, architecture geeks, and sightseers.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the approach to Bellver Castle is up a steep hill.
- Bring a camera to capture the great views over Palma bay and the city afforded by the hilltop castle.
How to Get There
Bellver Castle is situated on Carrer de Camilo José Cela, about 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) west of Palma’s Old Town on the island of Mallorca off Spain’s east coast. EMT Palma buses numbers 3, 20, and 46 stop at Place Gomila or Joan Miró 16, both of which are about a 20-minute walk from the castle proper. Hop-on hop-off buses and sightseeing tours with transfers will drop you closer to the castle entrance.
When to Get There
The castle is open Tuesday–Sunday and is busiest during the summer months, from June through August. Arrive early in the day to beat the crowds. If you want to join a guided tour of the castle, come between Tuesday and Saturday, when guided English-language tours take place mid-morning.
Other Historical Attractions in Palma
After exploring Bellver Castle, you may want to visit other noteworthy historical attractions in Palma, such as the Palma La Seu Cathedral. Converted from a Moorish-era mosque by King James I, the magnificent Gothic-style structure is now one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Also worth seeking out is Almudaina Palace, a former Islamic fort that was converted after the arrival of the Christian monarchs in the 13th century.