The Marivent Palace gardens in Palma. | Teresa Ayuga

The Marivent Palace gardens will not now open to the public in January but will do so from February. Tourism minister Biel Barceló has announced the date and explained that the gardens will be open for nine and a half months a year. They will be closed for two weeks over the Easter period and between 15 July and 15 September: the Royal Family is typically making use of the palace at these times.

The hours will be from 09.00 to 20.00 May to September and 09.00 to 17.30 for the other months. Entrance will be free, and it will be through the main gate to the palace. There will be a path of 75 metres leading visitors to the gardens. If there are too many people at one time, it may be necessary to limit entrance, although in principle this is not envisaged.

There will be running costs of 100,000 euros for security and cleaning, while 385,000 euros are to be spent on various installations: the fence to separate the public gardens from those reserved for the Royal Family and to also give additional security; toilets; benches and wastebins; and ramps for disabled visitors. This work will last three months.

When everything is ready, says government spokesperson Pilar Costa, the public area will be around one hectare in size (slightly under 10,000 square metres in fact) and will have "great botanical, cultural, historical and symbolic value".

In making the announcement today, Barceló did not rule out the possible opening up of other areas at the Marivent. The arrangements as they are represent a first step. Costa added that the Royal Household had been fully cooperative in discussions regarding the gardens. The time it had taken to come to an arrangement was because of the technical nature of the project.

She explained that the cost will not mean an overall increase in the annual budget for the Marivent, as 200,000 euros have been trimmed elsewhere.