Spain's lovely island of Mallorca is full of wonderful surprises that include a vast wealth of well-preserved historical sites, and one of the most visited is the impressive Royal Palace of La Almudaina. It's impossible to miss on its perch high on a cliff overlooking the harbor and just opposite of the popular Le Seu, and it provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to get a feel of how royalty lived throughout the centuries. Even today, the palace is considered the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain even though they don't actually live there, and it's used for special ceremonies and receptions throughout the year.
About Almudaina Palace
Originally constructed for use as an Arabian Fort, it was claimed as the official royal residence in the early part of the 14th century. It has remained the home of royalty since that time, and it's currently owned by the Spanish government. Through the ages, the palace has been home to several royals that include King James II, King Sancho I and King James III, who was responsible for the building of the Royal Cellar. Each new ruler made some changes and additions to the palace in order to make it the spectacular structure that it is today, and it still houses items from each time period.
Enjoy an Excellent Tour
The palace is open to visitors all year long, and it's closed only on Mondays and certain holidays. You'll want to plan on a minimum stay of one to two hours to get the most out of your visit, and you'll have a choice in the type of tour that you take. You may enjoy a self-guided tour, and it's made easy by the information that is listed in each room in English. An audio-guided tour is available as well, and it supplies you with highly detailed commentary on every room and its contents. Guided tours may also be arranged with knowledgeable guides who speak English and are happy to explain the history of each room that you visit. The palace is handicap-accessible, and there is no admission price for children under the age of 5. There's much to see in the palace and on its grounds, and these are just a very few of its most popular points of interest.
The Toore del Angel: The entire palace is surrounded by immense walls and towers, and the most impressive tower is that of the Torre del Angel, which is otherwise known as the Angel Tower. It's easy to see where it came by its name because an incredible statue of the Archangel Gabriel sits atop this tower. In 1117, the Almoravids originally built it at a terrific height, and the Angel Tower once served as the palace's primary watchtower. It was constantly manned by men who were tasked with keeping an eye out for enemies approaching from the bay, but the entire tower failed to survive the natural elements throughout the ages. A shorter version of the original Angel Tower still stands today, and it also boasts a very unique bronze-covered angel that turns with the wind and serves as a weather vane, which was added in 1310 by James II.
The Courtyard and Gardens: A truly splendid sight that is fit for royalty awaits visitors in the palace's courtyard and gardens. Beautiful landscaping features incredible plants and flowers grown to perfection, and there are several footpaths that allow visitors to walk through the entire area. There is also a huge bubbling fountain and other elegant water features, fabulous sculptures by Miro, Calder and Subirachs, an abundance of seating for anyone who wants to stay awhile to admire the surroundings and a large body of water that houses a pair of graceful swans.
The Royal Chapel of St. Anne: Construction of this area of the palace was commissioned by James II in 1310, and it's the main area that has changed the least through the years. You'll be able to enjoy the same chapel that numerous members of royalty visited for religious services, and the chapel itself serves as an excellent example of Lavantine Gothic architecture as well. The chapel boasts a beautiful warhead cross and an altarpiece of San Julian from the 15th century.
The Arab Baths: Perfectly nestled between the King's Palace and the Queen's Palace are the three private baths that were available for the use of the royal family and select members of their court. One offers a cold-water bath, the next offers a warm-water bath and the last is the original hot tub.
Former United States President Bill Clinton spent a comfortable night in the palace on July 5, 1995, while attending a NATO summit held in nearby Madrid. While on the island, he enjoyed seeing the sights with King Juan Carlos I and his wife Queen Sophia.