On a wooded hill near Palma de Mallorca lies the Castell de Bellver, a castle dating back to the 14th century. Its unique round tower is the only one of its kind in all of Spain. The castle is clearly visible from the sea and from all over the city. Apart from the cathedral, the fortress, which has been converted into a museum , is the most famous landmark of Palma. The spectacular panoramic view from the castle over the forests, the entire city to the marina and the sea is the highlight of every visit.
King Jaume II had the picturesque castle built in 1300 on the Puig de Sa Mesquida, which lies 112 metres above sea level. It was completed within 10 years. The castle was originally intended as a royal residence, but proved to be unpopular. Only King Sanç and then Queen Joan I of Aragon moved into the castle for a short time. In 1717, the fortress was converted into a military prison and later used as such both in the Napoleonic War and in the Spanish Civil War. The thick walls of the Castell de Bellver, which were originally intended to keep enemies away, were then used to enclose them. The inscriptions of the prisoners carved into the masonry can still be seen on the roof of the fortress.
The most striking feature of the castle is its round shape, which represents an architectural peculiarity both from the outside and from the inside. The surrounding wall and the inner courtyard are just as circular as the three smaller towers and the castle keep. A moat surrounds the entire fortress.
When you enter the lovely annular courtyard, you can sense the special atmosphere. It is pleasantly cool here, even on hot summer days. A fountain is found at its centre, which indicates the presence of a cistern underneath. The castle is built as a two-storey building around the central courtyard. All surrounding buildings of the castle are connected to this courtyard by a gallery of Gothic arches. The courtyard is now the setting for a variety of festive events, concerts and cultural events. Since the 1990s, the castle has been a popular location for civil weddings.
The Museu d'Història de la Ciutat (Museum of the History of the City) on the ground floor traces the development of the city from prehistoric times to the present day. In addition to Roman and Arabic ceramics, the museum displays informative panels, the classic statues of the Despuig collection and other artifacts. Upstairs you’ll find a number of mostly empty rooms, including the former kitchen. The entrance fee includes a visit to the roof, from which there is a breath-taking view of the Balearic capital Palma de Mallorca. Admission costs four euros for adults. Children under the age of 14 may enter free of charge. A small café is available for refreshments.
The open-top bus from Palma City Sightseeing travels up to the castle on its round trips through Palma. In addition to a rental car or taxi, this bus offers the most convenient way to get to the castle. The public bus lines 3, 46 or 50 only go to Plaça de Gomila, from where you have to walk up a steep hill for about 15 minutes. If you are traveling by car, you can drive up to the parking lot in front of the fortress and park your vehicle there.
The Castell de Bellver is a popular destination for e-bike or hiking tours in Mallorca. Especially the way back, downhill through the forests, is highly recommended. If you go up by bus, you can walk back and reach the city centre of Palma de Mallorca in just half an hour.