Built at the beginning of the 17th century to protect the merchants arriving at the port, the Castle of San Carlos is an imposing fortress.
Nowadays it houses a complete museum narrating the military history of Mallorca.
The San Carlos Military History Museum is located in the well-known Dique del Oeste in the Bay of Palma.
It is a military castle that has preserved practically all of its rooms.
These rooms are now used as an exhibition space to permanent & temporary collections.
San Carlos History
At the beginning of the 17th century, King Philip III ordered the construction of a tower at the request of the merchants of the time in order to protect the ships that anchored in the port.
The construction was carried out between 1610 and 1612 and the tower was located on the original site where the old Porto Pi lighthouse stood.
Although it was initially called Castell de Porto Pi, it soon became known as San Carlos in honour of Viceroy Carlos Coloma.
Half a century after its initial construction with the view of increasing the castle’s size, in 1662 under Philip IV, the construction of the second phase of the extension was undertaken.
This work was carried out by the illustrious military engineer Vicente Mut.
Four large bastions were added, giving it the peculiar shape of an irregular polygon with a star-shaped appearance.
In the 19th century, it underwent the third major reform.
In 1890, the fortress underwent various changes in order to install a battery of cannons with their ammunition traverses in the South West area of the fortress.
During the 20th century, it was used for various purposes:
- Prison for officers
- Battery of salvos
- And since 1981 Military Museum
In 1997 the San Carlos Castle Consortium was created to administer the castle.
This organisation includes the following public bodies:
- Ministry of Defence
- Government of the Balearic Islands
- Council of Mallorca
- Palma City Council.
This Consortium has governed the Museum ever since.
The San Carlos Military History Museum
It is open almost all year round and the best thing about it is that it is completely free of charge.
It has an exhibition area of 1,270 m2 & presents the military history of the Balearic Islands through different rooms (most of them are really spectacular).
They range from the most remote antiquity to the most recent history.
The exhibit includes more than 3,600 pieces largely from private collector donations.
- firearms, etc.
From the parade ground of the fortress, you can access different rooms that have been converted into exhibition halls.
These mainly hold military pieces from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century that are displayed to document the military history of the Balearic Islands.
Throughout the exhibitions, you’ll find different chapters in the history of Mallorca.
This can be seen from the pieces of artillery and weaponry, uniforms, models and graphic documents.
Through the years the Castle of San Carlos de Mallorca was always kept on alert for potential threats.
It offers an excellent view of the coastline from its upper part, as well as excellent views of the nearby towns from a distance.
An Incomparable Setting
A visit to the Castle of San Carlos has all the ingredients for success and it is rightly one of the main tourist attractions in Mallorca.
It is located near Palma, offers beautiful views and interesting exhibitions and is free of charge.
Telephone: 971 402 145
Address: Crta. Dique del Oeste s/n, Palma.
Price: free of charge.
Car park: YES.
Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. Closed on holidays and Mondays.
Services: Cafeteria, bar & toilets.
Accessibility: The museum has ramps.
How to get there:
Bus: Bus no. 1, Airport-Port line.