Palma Neighbourhood Guide #
An oasis of peace and quiet just outside the vibrant heart of Palma - The area in and around Son Rapinya has it all!
Son Rapinya is one of the oldest districts built outside Palma's ancient city walls and, thanks to its elevated position, used to be a popular destination for Sunday outings. In the hottest months of the year, townsfolk gathered in the shade of a gigantic pine tree to enjoy the cool sea breeze and the view across the Bay of Palma which, on clear days, reaches as far as the Isle of Cabrera.
Nestled within the area of Son Rapinya are a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own individual charm and unique selling points.
Son Vida #
On the ‘not so affordable end of the spectrum’ lies the exclusive area of Son Vida, renowned for its impressive villas and exquisite golf course. Although Son Vida displays an array of modern architecture there is a still a trace of it’s past, as its very name comes from the Vida family, who claimed the land during the 15th century and developed it for agricultural use and farming. In fact, you can even step back a little further in time by visiting the impressive Castillo Hotel, a 13th century castle overlooking the exquisite Bay of Palma.
In recent years Son Vida’s reputation for luxury and indulgence has sparked interest with many a star of stage or screen, renowned for its style and sophistication, why wouldn’t you want to holiday here? Son Vida has the ability to make you feel as though you have been transported to a secret island retreat, however Palma and all its fabulous amenities, including nightlife, shopping and fabulous restaurants, are a mere 10 minutes away- what’s not to love!
Los Almendros #
With a literal translation to ‘The Almond Trees’ Los Almendros has you hooked from the start. Like neighbouring Son Vida, it holds a country style charm whilst maintaining fabulous links to the city of Palma. Unlike Son Vida, Los Almendros can’t promise elegant hotels and golf courses. However, it’s unspoilt views across the breath taking Tramuntana mountains and interesting combination of traditional and modern architecture make it an appealing place to reside. Los Almendros finds itself on the ‘more affordable’ end of the scale although property prices vary greatly within this area.
This quiet residential neighbourhood has many local facilities including a library and a sports centre, making it a perfect place for families, particularly when popular schools such as Escola Global are easily accessible. Within walking distance of wherever you are, you are sure to find a wide variety of cafes, bars and public transport links. Only 20 minutes from the airport and 15 from Palma’s centre, everything you need is literally on your doorstep!
Son Dureta #
Son Dureta can be found, nestled between the Bellver region, and the city’s centre,. A great location for commuters and families alike, as many fabulous amenities such as the historic Bellver castle, an impressive range of international schools, and Porto Pi shopping centre can be reached with ease. Out of the three neighbourhoods, Son Dureta certainly offers you more for your money, as the average property price sits at around 250,000 euros. Not cheap as chips, but certainly far more affordable than Son Vida!
Only 10 minutes from the trendy area of Santa Catalina, you are able to access a range of cool bars and restaurants, as well as the incredible indoor market, , a must for food lovers! However, if Sunday strolls are more your style then you are also only 10 minutes from the Paseo Maritimo and Bellver park and Castle, (where entry is free on a Sunday). Whatever you choose to do in your free time, Son Dureta has you covered!
Although much of the architecture within the Son Rapinya area is unapologetically modern, with angular buildings, clean white walls, (and enough glass windows and roofs to keep the window cleaners busy all year round!) not all of its historic charm has been lost. Through the back streets of Son Rapinya towards Son Vida your eyes are opened to a display of ramshackle houses, apartments and traditional shops displaying traditional Mallorquin construction at its finest.
The historic nucleus and former name-giver of the area is the Finca Son Llull. Why the designation was changed to Son Rapinya is disputed among historians, but many say it was because of the many robberies ("rapiñas") taking place here, inspiring locals to nickname the finca Son Rapinya - Robbery House.
For many years, residents of this area had to hire a horse cab to drive down into the city until, in 1920, a tramline was built to connect Son Espanyolet, Son Rapinya, Son Serra y Son Roca to the centre. Unfortunately, this fabulous acquisition had to go in 1958 to make way for the new bus line. With the introduction of this new service, Son Rapinya went from being an area for summer people and Sunday outings to modern Palma neighbourhood.
Possibly one of the most impressive buildings is the local Church, located in the centre of Son Rapinya. It dates back to the 1880’s and was built to honour San Bartolomé. Intricate stone carvings, stained glass windows and imposing oak doorways transport you, within in seconds, to a simpler time.
Despite its lavish reputation, the area of Son Vida had humble beginnings, purchased as farm land and later developed into the celebrity playground that we see today. Fields, once full of cattle, have been replaced by 5-star golf courses which are frequented by the rich and famous. However, much like Son Rapinya, the presence of the 13th century castle (now the Castillo Hotel) is a constant reminder of Mallorca’s medieval past.
Local Sights #
Son Rapinya itself doesn’t boost too many spectacular sights, other than its church. It really is only host to residential properties. However, its location means that there is a wealth of exploring to be done! A short 7-minute car journey can bring you to one of the finest castles in Spain, Bellver Castle. The unique rounded shape, typical to Spanish castles of this era, is one of very few examples of this style still found today. The castle is set within fabulous forests, and was originally built for King James 2nd of Mallorca, during the 14th century. The gothic building sits high on a hill, and is surrounded by an incredible moat. This innovative architecture meant that Bellver Castle survived two sieges during the middle ages. For many years the castle became a military base, before being converted into a museum during the 1970’s. Today, many visitors from across the globe can be found enjoying the views and admiring this incredible feat of construction, on a daily basis.
If castles don’t appeal to you, then fear not, surrounding the entire Son Rapinya neighbourhood are the rolling Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Whether you want to sit on your balcony and simply admire them, with a cool drink in hand, or take a drive through the awe-inspiring roads you certainly couldn’t ever tire of these sights!
Food & Drink #
If you’re looking to splash out on exquisitely innovative and exciting cuisine then look no further than Vandal. Situated between the city centre and small neighbourhood of Son Dureta, Vandal maybe seems a little out of place. The fusion of Spanish and Asian cuisine will tantalise your taste buds, and allow you to experience flavour combinations that you never thought were possible! Combine this outstanding menu with a vibrant atmosphere and fabulous selection of alcoholic beverages, you’ll be wanting to visit time and time again. If there is a party of eight of more guests, they also offer a excellent set menu that won’t break the bank (menu’s range between 46 an 56 euros per person). The A La Carte menu isn’t the most affordable on the island, but it is worth every single penny, as this is one dining experience that you won’t forget in a hurry!
Contact: +34 871 04 51 74
Plaza Progreso, 15, 07013 Palma
Bar Son Rapinya
When travelling, we don’t always want to be spending a fortune on food and drink. Here at Bar Son Rapinya you can be sure to be treated to a traditional tapas feast for a very affordable price. A range of local delicacies such as pa amb oli, croquettes and chiprones are prepared to order each day, with food being offered from as early as 10am on some mornings. Bar Son Rapinya has been feeding the hungry mouths of locals and, not so local, travellers for many years; always famed for its reasonable yet delicious meals. Although renowned for tapas, it offers a varied selection of meats, fish and vegetarian options, meaning there is something for everyone. For a cosy comfort meal that won’t cost an arm and a leg, I suggest you head on down to Bar Son Rapinya!
Contact: +34 971 79 32 12
Camino Son Rapinya 49, 07013 Palma
Shopping and/or Markets #
Son Rapinya doesn’t hold its own market, unlike other villages and towns across the island. Although this might sound disappointing, there is a wealth of market stalls and shopping malls within touching distance of the area. One of the most impressive and diverse is the indoor market in Santa Catalina. Showcasing some of Mallorca’s finest produce, from fresh fruits and vegetables to the best local meats and cheeses. If all that shopping has got you feeling tired, then simply stop in one of several bars that are strategically placed around the market. Shopping can be thirsty work so sample a local craft ale, whilst nibbling on some fresh olives or homemade croquettes! What a delight! Be warned that the market closes around 2pm, so make sure you’re up with the larks in order to experience this food-lovers paradise!
If shopping for food doesn’t thrill you, and you prefer to be a fashionista, then you can head to fantastic mall Porto Pi. Housing all your favourite high street and designer brands, as well as a large Carrefour (which sells just about everything you can think of!) Porto Pi has everything you need and more! There is even a nail salon, for those you who want to pamper yourselves whilst having some retail therapy! Porto Pi is around ten-minutes' drive from the Son Rapinya area, although it also accessible via local bus (check the TIB website for more information).
Sports & Recreation #
Calling all Golf Lovers!
In this particular area of Palma, golf is a prevalent sport. Through the rolling hills of Son Vida you can find three exquisite courses that make up part of the prestigious Arabella Golf Course. The first course to open was the ‘Golf Son Vida’, later followed by the ‘Son Quint’ and ‘Son Muntaner’ courses. All the courses boost 18 holes, across beautiful greens, with outstanding views of Palma and its surroundings, and if 18 holes is just a few too many, then you can take the executive 9-hole course at ‘Son Quint’. Every course has a clubhouse, which provides fabulous food and drink for the hardworking golfers, and there are even hotels onsite with spas to aid relaxation! Green fees start at just 10 euros for the 9-hole course, but expect to pay considerably higher prices for the 18-hole courses. Popular with the Chelsea football team, these courses attract golfers from across the globe, and who can blame them!
Ready, Set, Go!
In the centre of Son Rapinya proper there are a variety of gyms and fitness places, and with such a short drive to the Paseo Maritimo you have no excuse to not sign up to the Zafiro Palma Marathon! This fantastic event occurs every October, and runners can choose to sign up for 10km, a half marathon or the full marathon! The route begins at Palma’s stunning Cathedral and traipses across the Paseo Maritimo and through every nook and cranny of the city centre it’s quite spectacular! There is even a children’s race, so the whole family can get involved in this fabulous fitness weekend!
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Here in Mallorca we know how to party! Every town plays host to its own fiestas and celebrations, and Son Rapinya makes no exception! On the 24th of August we see the annual celebration of the Correfoc Dimonis when the central square is transformed into a hellish inferno! Traditional music, dance and costume bring this celebration of demons to life! Although very traditional here in Mallorca, and celebrated across the island, it can be a little scary (and noisy) for little ones.
Living in Son Rapinya #
This charming residential area of Palma seems to have it all! Easy access to the city centre, countryside and peaceful living, top local and international schools, what more could you need? However, this area does come at a price and prices fluctuate depending on your proximity to Palma’s centre.
When searching for property in Son Vida you should expect to pay anywhere in the region of 350,000 € for a small two bed apartment, and up to 4 million € for a five bedroomed detached property, certainly a pretty penny!
However, if you’re willing to compensate and settle within the suburbs of Son Dureta or Los Almendros then you can anticipate finding properties between 2 and 3 bedrooms for around 200,000 €, and up to 1.5 million €, with Son Dureta certainly being the more affordable of the two areas.
This region, that hugs the outskirts of Palma, allows city slickers and holiday makers to combine their love of the city and countryside all in one. Whether it be mingling with the stars, or raising your children within a safe and loving community, why look anywhere else!
Charm factor #
Bringing a touch of Beverly Hills luxury in Son Vida, and oozing family fun and community spirit in Son Dureta, Son Rapinya and its surrounding areas are sure to make you feel at home.
By Zoé Holmes
23 November, 2018