Palma would do well to look across the water at how Barcelona works and why. | CCL


Barcelona is packed with tourists from all over the world, from the UK to the United States and Asia, so why is not Palma? I have never known Barcelona as well as Madrid but some 10 days ago, heading for the Pyrenees and some skiing, I spent a night and the best part of a day in Barcelona. My travel companion is not one for sitting around so off we went and in the space of about four hours managed to take in most of the sites in the city centre from our hotel just off Plaza Cataluña.

The city was buzzing with people from all over the world, the shops were enjoying brisk trade and Barcelona’s golden mile of luxury boutiques and hotels is extremely impressive. Through the gothic quarter, apart from the architecture, what struck me was there was no graffiti, in fact I did not see any in the centre. What is more, it is extremely clean and there were plenty of police dotted about but not in an intimidating way, they were busy helping lost tourists while keeping a general eye out for everyone’s safety - it was very comforting.

Then there is the marina, originally reformed for the Olympics but has been continually transformed and expanded ever since. Shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, bars, you name it and all very tastefully done. Barcelona was a real breath of fresh air and offers extremely good value for money, not to mention all its culture, plus it is cheaper than Palma. Lessons to be learnt if Palma wants to seriously become a city destination.