Lucy Gornall

When you think of visiting Palma, the capital of Mallorca, you likely think of beaches, basking in the hot sun, cocktails and if you’re a party person, the nearby town of Magaluf. But, actually, Palma is a total gem for those seeking a sunny, active escape, with plenty of downtime too.

Women’s Fitness writer Lucy Gornall headed to Playa de Palma, just 16 minutes from the centre of Palma and a short 13 minute taxi journey from Palma airport. Whilst there, she kept up her training, ate like a queen and also witnessed some pretty impressive Olympians.

Here’s why she rates the island so highly and thinks you too should consider this gorgeous island for your next trip overseas…

Witness the biggest global event in Olympic sailing

If sailing takes your fancy, then a visit to Palma is perfect. Every year, Palma hosts the biggest event in Olympic sailing in the world; the H.R.H. Princess Sofia Trophy. This year marked the 53rd edition of this pre-Olympic event with 800 boats and 1100 sailors from 75 countries competing for a spot in this year’s Marseille Olympics. The regatta, held at Club Nàutic S’Arenal and sponsored by Iberostar Hotels & Resorts makes the Balearic sea come alive throughout this entire six-day event.

You’ll witness all sorts of boats, windsurfing, kitesurfing and catamaran, with the world’s best sailors displaying their skills. We took a tourist boat out to sea to watch one windsurfing race and it really was quite exciting.

Or set sail yourself

The Club Nàutic S’Arenal yacht club, where the Princess Sofia Trophy was hosted, is open all year should you wish to sail on the beautiful waters. Book in for kite surfing or paddle surfing classes, head out fishing or even venture out into the sea with a guide and take a swim in the water.

Healthy food is plentiful

It’s really frustrating when you head away on holiday only to find that the local food is greasy, and unsatisfying, especially when your diet at home is filled with goodness to fuel your workouts and exercise routine.

A couple of places stood out to me in terms of food. Cafeteria Tres Torres is a small Spanish restaurant a few minutes from the coast that serves cheese and ham platters as well as delicious salads, at a reasonable price.

If you’ve got cash to splash, try Guethary, a new restaurant in town with an earthy, minimal feel. The 12 course tasting menu- which will set you back €160 – offers a fine selection of seafood (I had octopus, prawns, sardines and mackerel). Each course is very small and there is a noticeable lack of vegetables and sides, however the seafood was cooked to perfection and needless to say, I hit my protein intake pretty quickly.

Do stay for dessert; the cheesecake is really divine. It’s about balance after all!

Katagi Blau, an Asian fusion restaurant at the Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma hotel also serves up delicious small plates as well as salads and fresh fish. In its commitment to consume 100 per cent responsibly sourced fish and seafood by 2025, in 2023, Iberostar Group reached 94 per cent consumption of these products in Spain and 83 per cent across its entire hotel chain. You can literally taste the sea when you eat here, which proves just how fresh the food is.

Read Lucy Gornall on how you can stay safe on your ski season this year.

A haven for runners…

Along the coastline of Palma is the Paseo Maritimo, Palma’s promenade, which has miles of wide, well kept pavement. As a runner, I know all too well how reassuring it is to know that the path continues for many miles with zero breaks, so my runs aren’t disturbed and I don’t end up lost in a town or city that I’m unfamiliar with.

I went out running every morning of my three-day trip and found the warm morning air a total dream. Keep running past the hustle and bustle of the town and the coastal path will lead you to grassland where your run will take a more scenic route with greenery on one side and the beautiful Balearic sea on the other. It’s very easy to keep running along the water – in fact, if you struggle to run long distances due to boredom, then this should keep you entertained.

…and cyclists will love it, too.

The same path which I spent my mornings running along actually ran alongside a cycle path, so cyclists and pedestrians don’t need to get under each other’s feet (or wheels!) There are several bike rentals scattered around, including Quintana Mallorca Bike Rental and Huerzeler bike rental, so picking up a set of wheels is easy and accessible. Plus, you can bike further inland following one of the many biking routes on the island.

You can recover properly at Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma

As I am currently following a gruelling ultra-marathon training regime, I headed to the  spa at the luxurious 5-star Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma for what I will say is one of the best massages I’ve ever had (and I’ve had my fair share of massages).

I opted for a 60-minute full body massage, and after telling my masseuse how tight my legs were from ultra-marathon training, she promptly increased the pressure and sorted out some major muscle pain that I’d been carrying for a while. I’ m convinced she actually stood on me at one point, but with my head down in the breathe hole, I can’t be certain.

Whilst at the spa, I popped into the gym that sits alongside the entrance. For a hotel gym, I was seriously impressed with the number of machines, dumbbells and gym accessories available. The gym officially opens at 10am but for the early exercisers, you can go to reception and ask for the key earlier.

Visit Palma with Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma, where prices start from £157 per night.