Discover the fascinating excursion to Bellver Castle in Majorca
A fortification with breathtaking views
Mallorca Island is an ideal destination for those seeking to enjoy the Mediterranean climate, crystal-clear waters, nature, the beauty of its landscapes and municipalities, as well as water and mountain sports. However, it also boasts a significant historical component due to its strategic geographical location. The historical heritage of Mallorca is reflected in both the local culture, traditions, and the ancient architectural works scattered throughout the island. Buildings, caves, towers, and fortifications remind us of the island's past, its origins, and fortunately, still stand today, allowing us to visit and immerse ourselves in the stories these iconic places tell. Therefore, today we are going to discover one of these fortresses, perhaps the most iconic in Palma de Mallorca: Bellver Castle. A circular Gothic-style fortification built in 1300 by order of James II, the King of Mallorca, located 3 kilometers from the city and 112.6 meters above sea level, providing stunning views of Palma de Mallorca Bay, the Sierra de Tramuntana, the city, and much of Mallorca's 'Pla.'
FROM GRAN HOTEL SÓLLER TO THE CASTLE
To visit Bellver Castle, we'll start our journey by car towards Palma until reaching Carrer del Castell de Bellver. We'll drive along the castle's private road to the visitor parking lot, approximately a 35-minute drive from Gran Hotel Sóller. Alternatively, visitors can take the Sóller Railway to Palma and then catch a taxi from the Plaça d’España Station to Bellver Castle. Once there, the unique circular shape of the castle becomes evident, maintained both on the exterior and interior. From the outside, we can also observe three towers connected to the castle and a fourth, the tallest tower, separated from the main structure, facing north: the homage tower, which, together with the other three towers, forms a cross. Finally, we'll see the large moat surrounding the fortification, which we'll cross before entering Bellver Castle through the outer gate.
THE HISTORY OF BELLVER CASTLE
The castle was initially constructed as a royal residence and was inhabited by the three Kings of Mallorca: James II, Sancho I, and James III, although for very short periods. In 1717, the fortress became a military prison. Between 1802 and 1808, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, the Minister of Finance and Grace and Justice during King Charles IV's reign, was imprisoned in one of the first-floor rooms. Additionally, numerous defeated French soldiers and officers from the Battle of Bailén were confined in the castle. Later, in 1821, the castle temporarily became a coin mint and was once again used as a prison during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1938) for over 800 Republican prisoners.
THE ARMORY COURTYARD OF THE CASTLE
Upon entering the castle through the stairs leading to the outer gate, we'll pass through an arch and a wooden bridge, arriving at the castle's esplanade. From there, through a vestibule, we'll reach the armory courtyard. This beautifully detailed courtyard features 16 doors leading to various rooms. Interestingly, during the reign of King James II, around 1310, bullfights were held in this same courtyard. After exploring the armory courtyard, we'll ascend to the first floor, the residence of rulers and kings, evident from its more elegant style and the details of this section, including its vaulted ceiling. Subsequently, we'll visit the Chapel of San Marcos, the patron saint of Bellver Castle, adorned with original 14th-century elements and still used for weddings today.
The celebrated writer and statesman spent 6 long years imprisoned in the castle, as indicated by the inscription on the wall. During his initial years of captivity, he was not allowed to write or communicate with anyone. However, he later began writing, as evidenced by the two original plastered sections on which Jovellanos wrote some of his famous verses, albeit difficult to read.
THE KING'S CHAMBERS
Continuing our tour, we'll enter the royal chambers adorned with two paintings by Krekovic: one depicting King James I and the other portraying the death of James III. The elegance of these chambers contrasts with the fortress's robustness, reflecting its dual purpose: not only as a defensive castle but also as a royal residence, although interestingly, it was seldom used for these purposes, as it never faced combat, and the royalty inhabited it for very brief periods.
THE UPPER TERRACE AND THE HOMAGE TOWER
Finally, we'll ascend to Bellver Castle's terrace to enjoy magnificent views of Mallorca Island. Subsequently, we'll access the 34-meter-high Homage Tower. Connected to the castle by a stone bridge (formerly wooden), this tower turned into an impregnable fortress. Its interior comprises 4 floors connected by a spiral staircase with 118 steps. According to legend, it was the most feared dungeon of Bellver Castle. After exploring the tower, we'll conclude our visit to one of Mallorca's most iconic and intriguing locations. This place is filled with legends and curious stories, such as the supposed hidden passage linking the fortress to the Royal Palace of La Almudaina or the graffiti left by prisoners, which can still be seen today. Undoubtedly, we highly recommend this visit to uncover a unique spot in Mallorca and its history while enjoying some of the best views of Palma Bay, the city, and the Sierra de Tramuntana.
If you're staying at our hotel and would like more information about this or other visits to emblematic and historic places on our island, don't hesitate to ask our reception team, who will be more than happy to assist you!
Entry Price: €4
Opening Hours from October to March:
Monday CLOSED - Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Sundays and holidays: from 10 am to 3 pm.
Opening Hours from April to September:
Monday CLOSED - Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sundays and holidays: from 10 am to 3 pm