LOOKING for some time in the sun? Then head to Mallorca the island of sundials, with more than anywhere else in the world.
Statistics show that Mallorca has the highest concentration of sundials per square kilometre on the planet.
There are a staggering 829 of them at last count, and no fewer than 112 of them can be found in capital city Palma.
The iconic Cathedral of Santa Maria – picture: Silvia Weinbaum
Over the centuries, sundials have largely lost their fundamental purpose and have fallen into disuse. But not here.
Yes, it’s easier to check your watch or smartphone but the Palma Tourist Board is more than happy to count them in the city’s cultural heritage.
So much so that they’ve teamed up with the Commission of Sundials (yes, there is one – of course there is!) to spotlight the top sundials to see.
The sundial at Plaza Juan Carlos I
“Palma’s sundials can easily be found in the most characteristic buildings of the island such as churches, convents, historic public and private buildings, as well as on streets and in ‘plazas’,” says Miquel Àngel García Arrando.
He should know. He’s the author of the book ‘Sundials of Mallorca’ and a prominent member of the Commission.
“They often go unnoticed due to the rhythms of life and the passing of time”, explains Miquel. “But a visitor walking through Palma’s Old Town can spot a large number of sundials.”
On the Esplanade Sta Domingo
They come in shapes and sizes, ranging from the ancient to the relatively recent with quirky examples such as sundials such as those in Palma’s Paseo Marítimo and at Parc de la Mar (next to the Customs building).
There’s one at Muelle Viejo (on the path of the breakwater), and others in Jardines de Sa Faixina (in front of the Balearic Monument) – and in Gabriel Roca Avenue (Esplanade of Santo Domingo).
Among the best are those on the main façade facing the famous Paseo del Borne in Plaza Juan Carlos I, and on the San Nicolás church (it’s on the side of Plaza de Santa Catalina Tomás).
The sundial on the Church of San Francisco
There’s one on the façade in Calle Bolseria 1 in Plaza Sta. Eulalia, another in Plaza San Francisco, on the front of the church of the same name), and in the Bishop’s Palace.
“These magnificent sundials are scattered around the city and are easily missed unless they are sought out,” says Pedro Homar, manager of Palma Tourist Board. “They mark a significant part of the island’s history and a true journey through time.
The modernist sundial at Mulle Viejo
“But these sundials are another secret well worth a detour.”
“Palma offers varied insight into its past history from important institutions from the Middle Ages such as the first parish church, the Arabian Citadel, the Merchant Guild’s Headquarters, the Royal Dockyard, the Bishop’s Palace or Palma’s Main Jewish Quarter.
I was last in Palma in August 2019, calling off during Jon Bon Jovi’s Runaway To Paradise rock and roll cruise.
Jon Bon Jovi and Paul Cole party on the cruise
I’d sailed from Barcelona on a Med party ship with the likes of Jon, Goo Goo Dolls frontman Jonny Rzeznik, Grace Potter, Kris Barras and a host of rock and roll bands.
We visited the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria, took a horse and carriage ride through the streets and alleyways of the old town, and enjoyed a promenade gelato while looking out to sea.
For more information about Palma as a tourist destination visit www.visitpalma.es