About Castell de Bellver
Castell de Bellver or Bellver Castle is a striking completely round 14th century citadel near Palma in Majorca. Set high atop the bay of Palma on a wooded hill, it comes as little surprise that the Catalan name Castell de Bellver translates as ‘the castle with a lovely view’.
Visitors can walk around the moat before climbing to the roof of Castell de Bellver to look down into the beautiful round and arched courtyard or across Palma to the sea.
Castell de Bellver history
Construction of Castell de Bellver began in 1300 under the rule of King Jaume II, who commanded a tower built on the hill known as Puig de Sa Mesquida. With 3 main towers centred on a pretty Gothic-style courtyard and a looming keep, Castell de Bellver is a great example of military advances of the time, particularly as this style of castle was fairly unusual in Spain.
While intended to be a royal residence, only King Sanc (1314) and Aragon’s Joan I (1395) lived in the castle for any amount of time. Nevertheless, the structure reflected elements of defence with the comfort needs of a palace.
The lower levels of Castell de Bellver have a history of their own, having acted as a prison from 1717 and subsequently used as such during the Wars of Spanish Succession, Napoleonic Wars and Spanish Civil War. The most famous figures imprisoned at Castell de Bellver include the family of King Jaume III.
Castell de Bellver today
Today, Castell de Bellver houses a museum of history (Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat), displaying objects ranging from ancient Roman artefacts through to Arab pottery and 17th century ceramics, tracing the city’s history. Upstairs, you can walk through a series of empty chambers including what once was a kitchen.
From the top you get not only stunning views of the woods, Palma, the Badia de Palma and out to seas, but you can also see the prisoners’ graffiti etched onto the walls.
Getting to Castell de Bellver
Buses 3, 46 and 50 will get you closest to Castell de Bellver, stopping at Plaça de Gomila from where you will have to walk 15 minutes up a steep hill. If you are not keen for the climb, hop onto a sightseeing bus that climbs up to the castle. There is also parking available for those driving.