Visit Castell de Bellver in Palma de Mallorca: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiter le Castell de Bellver à Palma de Majorque

Immerse yourself in Mallorca’s history with a visit to Castell de Bellver in Palma de Mallorca! Follow our practical information guide to make sure you don’t miss out on any of this must-see sights.

The capital of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, has many surprises in store for visitors around the walls of its old town. Three kilometers from the historic center, set against a wooded hillside, the Castell de Bellver is well worth a visit! Perched a hundred meters above sea level, it offers spectacular views of the Bay of Palma and the mountains. Built in the 14th century, the castle served as the residence of King James II of Aragon, before becoming a prison in the 16th century. Its imposing architecture is unique in Spain. Circular in shape, it is built in Mediterranean Gothic style. The building also houses Palma’s interesting history museum. Occasionally, classical and jazz concerts are held within the castle walls. A magical, timeless experience not to be missed!

Whether you’re a fan of medieval architecture or a lover of cultural sites, the Castell de Bellver is a must-see during your stay in Palma de Mallorca! In this article, you’ll find all the practical information you need to know before your visit.

History of Castell de Bellver

Histoire du Castell de Bellver

Photo credit: Shutterstock / the_pictures_of_life

Among the buildings erected in the course of Spanish history, the Castell de Bellver is undoubtedly one of the most original. King James II of Aragon, known as  » the Just « , ordered the construction of the castle in the early 14th century. ordered the construction of the castle in the early 14th century. Suffering from tuberculosis, the sovereign wished to live in a healthy and sanitary residence. He therefore commissioned the architect Pedro Salvá to oversee the construction of the royal fortress. It took almost forty years to complete the building’s distinctive circular shape. To this day, there are only four other castles of this type in Europe.

The site was then occupied by James III of Majorca, before he was defeated by Peter IV of Aragon in 1343. The latter turned part of the fortress into a prison for the family of his defeated enemy. He himself lived in the castle during the plague epidemic in Barcelona.

From 1717, Castell de Bellver de Palma became a military prison. Among the personalities who stayed there were Gaspar Melchor Jovellanos (1744-1811), a famous Spanish politician, and François Arago, who was imprisoned there in 1808, during the Franco-Spanish war. In 1821, the castle was temporarily used to manufacture coins. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1938) marked the last period of imprisonment. More than 800 Republicans were imprisoned here. In 1931, the State ceded the building and surrounding forest to Palma City Council, which installed the city’s history museum. Today, numerous cultural and recreational activities are organized by the municipality.

What to see and do in Castell de Bellver?

Que voir et faire au Castell de Bellver à Palma ?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Mr Dmitry

A visit to the Castell de Bellver de Palma and its museum will take you on a journey through the history of the Balearic Islands, from the Talayotic civilizations to the 20th century. The castle is sure to delight lovers of Spanish culture. Guided tours and audio guides make for a fascinating visit. On certain evenings, classical and jazz concerts are held in the central courtyard. Don’t miss out on this timeless experience!

The building

The château was designed as a fortress-palace where rulers could take refuge in case of danger, and sovereigns could stay for varying lengths of time. The elegant, refined taste of the royal residence bears witness to this dual use. The overall layout of the building is original. The three towers, each seven meters high, and the keep face the four cardinal points. The keep, also known as the Tower of Homage, rises to a height of 15 meters. It faces north and is separated from the rest of the building by a moat, to serve as a fallback point in the event of an attack on the château. At its center is a two-storey central courtyard, whose pointed arches and roof are characteristic of the Gothic style.

The moat surrounding the castle was built in 1330 to prevent offensive forces from approaching. During your visit, small exhibition rooms lead you to the centerpiece, a large, ornate round hall. Information panels explain the history of the castle and its construction.

Upstairs, the gallery leads to a number of rooms, including the Throne Room, the Jovellanos Room and the Chapel of St. Mark, the castle’s patron saint. You can then climb small stone steps to reach the balcony and roof. From up there, the view of the bay and the mountains is breathtaking, ideal for panoramic photos. Not for nothing does its name come from the medieval Catalan bell veer, meaning beautiful view!

The collection of Roman statues

The first floor arcades feature Roman statues bequeathed by Cardinal Despuig (1745-1813). Son of the Counts of Montenegro and a regular artist in the intellectual circles of the time, the cardinal was one of Mallorca’s most prominent figures. During his years of residence in Rome, he built up an important collection of sculptures, many of which came from excavations in the region. The Palma Town Hall acquired the collection in 1923, with the support of the Lul-liana Archaeological Society and the Mallorcan intelligentsia.

Palma History Museum

A visit to Palma’s Castell de Bellver allows visitors to follow the different eras the city has experienced since its foundation in 123 BC. Eight rooms shed light onPalma’s fascinating history and chronology: prehistory, the Muslim conquest, the establishment of the Kingdom of Mallorca, the construction of Renaissance walls, right up to its demolition in 1903. Photographic panels show some of the architectural remains found in the basement of the bishop’s palace when the city was under the yoke of the Roman Empire. The room dedicated to the Muslim period shows the hydraulic system and the layout of a typical medina. A little further on, we learn that the cathedral’s Gothic style is the result of James I’s conquest of the city on December 31, 1229.

How do I get to Castell de Bellver in Palma de Mallorca?

  • On foot

Several footpaths through the woods lead to the monument. Beware, there are many steps to reach the top and the walk can be tiring, especially on hot days!

  • By bus

Buses 3, 20 and 46 from the center of Palma (Plaza España) drop you off at Plaça Gomila, from where it’s a 20-minute walk (with stairs) to the castle.

The tourist bus stops in front of the Castell de Bellver and also makes it easy to visit the town’s other points of interest.

  • By car

If you come by car, free parking is available.

Castell de Bellver de Palma opening hours & rates

Horaires & tarifs du Castelle de Bellver à Palma de Majorque

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Jani Tisler

SCHEDULES

  • Tuesday to Saturday: 10am-7pm (April to September) / 10am-6pm (October to March)
  • Sundays and public holidays: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Closed on Mondays, 25/12, 1/1 and Easter Sunday

Tickets can be purchased up to 45 minutes before closing time.

Free guided tours (duration 30 minutes):

  • English and Spanish (Castilian): Tuesday to Saturday
  • Catalan: Tuesday to Friday

RATES

  • Adults: €4
  • Pensioners, young people aged 14 to 18: €2
  • Resident (Palma): €2.50
  • Travel agencies: €2.50
  • Free admission on Sundays and for children under 14

GOOD TO KNOW

– An audioguide is available free of charge.

– Numerous steps make stroller access difficult.

– Dogs are allowed.

– The ticket office is located near the parking lot, not at the castle entrance.

– There are two children’s parks in the vicinity of Castell de Bellver.