The old centre is a popular area for holiday apartments. | Patricia Lozano


Holiday rental of apartments has been expressly prohibited in Palma for three years, but this ban is not stopping the advertising of this form of accommodation. According to the Airbnb website, bookings for apartments in July and August are currently 25%; for June they are 40%. Searches for an apartment to rent have risen 250% over recent months.

Although these rentals are banned, the bookings do at least indicate that there is a reactivation of general tourist demand. By contrast with last summer, there are hardly any offers to rent by the day, while prices - which were reduced by up to 50% - have recovered. As an example, an apartment near the Cathedral is available at 1,522 euros for six nights in August (cleaning and service fee included). Most apartments offer free cancellation.

The old centre, the Paseo Marítimo, Portitxol and Can Pastilla - there are apartments in different areas of the city, some 300 of them for rent for a period of days. These are not residential lets, and Balearic tourism legislation from 2017 established that any apartment offered for a short period, e.g. a week, is a holiday let. As well as Palma town hall having banned holiday apartment rentals, regulations prevent apartments in the city from being registered as tourist accommodation with the tourism ministry.

Registered accommodation has a government licence number, and this is meant to be displayed with adverts for holiday rentals. Airbnb was fined by the government for including accommodation that didn't have licence numbers, but the Balearic High Court annulled this fine, citing European Union directives governing e-commerce. Airbnb, the court ruled, is a medium and cannot be responsible for advertisers displaying licence numbers or not. A government appeal to the Supreme Court was unsuccessful.