Gènova: village within the city

Gènova is a district of Palma – and yet it’s much more like a village. It just has a character all of its own. It does its own thing, and simply leaves Palma to be the Majorcan capital. Close to the sea, close to Palma, close to the mountains – Gènova combines many advantages, making it somewhere you can live the good life. That’s why it’s so loved by foreigners too.

Corner shops

The heart of the neighbourhood is the church of Sant Salvador, which was built on a knoll in 1860 to honour the patron saint of Gènova. From a long way away, the church bells can be heard as they tirelessly proclaim the time, determining the rhythm of this village in the city. At the foot of the church, a few shops sell everything you need for daily life – stationery, tobacco products, general goods and groceries…and of course bakery products.

Palma – but not Palma

The bakery Forn de Gènova is also a café and is known for its fresh, crusty baguettes, its croissants, delicious “ensaimadas”, “cocas” and filled pies called “empanadas”. In front of the door are some tables and chairs, where you can sit and have a “cortado” coffee, perhaps, or a “café solo”. The little bit of “village banter” comes free with it. “Gènova”, say the locals, “is Palma without being Palma”.

Dine beneath trailing vines

If there’s something people really love doing in Gènova, it’s eating well, because there’s a surprisingly large number of restaurants to choose from. Cuisine ranges from traditional Majorcan to wood-fired pizza. You have the cosy Sa Ximbomba, for example – a real neighbourhood restaurant that does a particularly excellent pizza. It looks unremarkable from the outside, but on closer inspection turns out to be a little paradise, with its enormous terrace adorned with flowers – as well as pomegranate trees and trailing vines. The name Ximbomba refers to the old Spanish musical instrument of the same name, which is a type of drum that was played in Majorca.

Iberian ham and grilled dishes

The restaurant Mesón Ca’n Pedro, on the other hand, is dedicated to hearty cuisine. In a rustic atmosphere, it offers Iberian ham, Majorcan bread with olive oil called “pa amb oli”, escargots and especially meat dishes. Casa Jacinto is more refined and serves grilled specialities and more.

In the belly of the earth

Gènova’s stalactite caves bring you down into the belly of the earth – where nature has played the role of sculptor. At 36 metres deep, the Coves de Gènova reveal a fairy-tale-like underworld formed out of shell limestone. Impressive stalactites and stalagmites have developed here over thousands of years. Did you know that a stalactite only grows around ten centimetres in 1,000 years?

Elephant’s head sculpted from limestone

The weird formations sometimes resemble sculptures. With a bit of imagination, you can make out a Madonna and Child statue. You may also spot an elephant’s head! For a long time, locals had no idea what a treasure trove lay dormant beneath their homes, until two brothers were drilling for groundwater in 1906 and promptly came across the cavity. You can visit the cave, which has floodlights inside dramatically bathing it in coloured light.

An amazing outlook!

If you have your sights set high in Gènova – no problem, off you go! After all, it lies at the foot of the Serra de na Burguesa, which is an extension of the Tramuntana mountain range. You have fantastic views from the na Burguesa viewing point right above the district. The winding journey to the holy statue of Nostra Senyora de la Pau, which watches over Gènova, is worthwhile in any case. To get a view of the whole Bay of Palma…a sea of lights in the evening…it’s absolutely magnificent!

Hiking to the mirador

The mountain range seems virtually predestined for hiking too. If you like to be active, you could head off on an easy trip to the Mirador de n’Alzamora viewing point, for example. The panoramic view from here is no less captivating – of the valley of Calvià, the Bay of Palma and the surrounding mountains – including the Puig de Galatzó, which at 1,027 metres, is one of the highest mountains in Majorca.

Gènova is altogether an attractive place to live in Majorca – or to treat yourself to relaxing breaks in your own private property. Since it has its own access to the motorway, you can reach Palma’s Son Sant Juan Airport in a few minutes. It’s also not far from international schools.