The charm of the island lies in its originality: while Mallorca and Ibiza have everything ready for tourists, Menorca is more modest. Package tourism has not yet taken over the island. The Menorcan people always observed what was happening on the neighboring islands.
As more and more stretches of coast were built there with hotel complexes, they decided to do things differently. So there is no built beach, but unspoiled natural landscapes. We will tell you which highlights await you in Menorca.
The capital of the island, Mahón, is located in the western part of Menorca. Maó, as it is called in Catalan, has been the capital of Menorca since 1722. Around 29,000 people live here. It is worth taking a day trip on vacation, because the city is extremely diverse. The island’s bus network is well developed, so you can easily reach the cities from any holiday resort.
Whether it’s the picturesque old town with its Art Nouveau buildings, the gigantic harbor with the lively promenade or the restaurants or shops – there is a lot to discover! The most beautiful street is Carrer Isabel II with countless whitewashed houses. Here you can take particularly beautiful photos. If you are interested in culture, it is worth visiting the Església de Santa Maria church, famous for its organ, or the “Museo de Menorca”, where you can see the largest collection of history and archeology in Menorca.
The port of Mahón
A superlative of the island is right in the capital of the island: the port of Mahón is the largest natural harbor in the Mediterranean and after Sydney the largest in the world! The fjord is gigantic: it is 5.5 kilometers long and up to 1.2 kilometers wide!
It is worth taking a tour of the harbor to explore the entire harbor area and the fjord in all its glory. Then you go on the water first along the background of the city and then between islands, fortresses and small villages. There are several providers for a harbor tour, for example “Yellow Catamarans”. If you buy your tickets online in advance, you save time and don’t have to queue.
Mahón’s counterpart is Ciutadella in the western part of the island. Both cities share a loving rivalry, due to the island’s history. Because Ciutadella was the capital of Menorca until the 18th century. What both cities have in common are many remnants of the British colonial era.
The main attractions of Ciutadella are the Gothic-style Cathedral of Santa Maria de Menorca, the Episcopal Palace, the Augustinian Monastery and the Església des Socors, known as the most beautiful Renaissance church on the island.
The heart of the city is the Plaça des Born and the town hall. All around you can stroll among noble palaces and fortresses and stroll through small alleys lined with bars, restaurants and boutiques.
Traces of British colonialism can be found all over the island, but one village in particular stands out. Es Castell was even named Georgetown in honor of George III. from England. Today you stroll through Arms Square with the English barracks and past the Town Hall, painted in the typical British red, and admire Fort Marlborough, an 18th century English fortress, in the bay of Sant Esteve.
But there is another reason why you should definitely come to Es Castell. The country is located in the easternmost part of the island and therefore of Spain and is therefore the first place in the country where the sun rises. Early risers experience a spectacular sunrise over the sea!
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As everywhere in the world, the same goes for Menorca: the best view is at the top. That is why a trip to Monte Toro is worthwhile. Although the mountain is only 357 meters high, it is still the highest peak on the island – and the panoramic view is truly impressive!
It rises from Es Mercadal via a winding road. On the summit stands a former Augustinian monastery whitewashed, and there is also the restaurant “Sa Posada del Toro” with a large terrace where you can have a drink and enjoy the view.
S’Abulfera Natural Park
Menorca has a great protagonist: nature. That is why the island was declared a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 1993. In the north-east you will experience lush nature in the S’Abulfera des Grau Natural Park. It is a protected area of about 5100 hectares, characterized by different ecosystems.
The nature park is incredibly diverse with landscapes ranging from sand dunes to wetlands. The Saline are a paradise for bird watchers. Hundreds of migratory and native bird species live here. On site you can also go hiking, cycling or swimming on Es Grau beach, rent kayaks or a SUP board.
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Cap de Favaritx
A highlight in the S’Abulfera des Grau Natural Park is the Cap de Favàritx. A lighthouse surrounded in black and white sits on its throne on bizarre black slate rock formations. A visit is especially worthwhile at sunset and the view of the northeastern coast.
Exciting: the rock here is one of the oldest geological formations in the Balearic Islands. Fossil remains of mollusks and other small marine creatures can still be found in the shale rock.
Chief of Cavalry
Another promontory of Menorca that is worth visiting is located at the northern end of the island. The Cap de Cavalleria has a particularity: it is surrounded by red sand! The lighthouse was inaugurated in 1857 and is the oldest lighthouse on the island.
The sandy beach of Playa de Cavalleria, surrounded by dunes and shimmering reddish rocks, is very close. Fun: The red pigments are not only found in the sand, but also in the mud, so you can have a little spa treatment on the beach.
A typical Menorcan fishing village is Es Fornells. Almost 1000 people live here who have dedicated their lives to fishing. Shrimp fishing in particular has a long tradition in Es Fornells. If you like to eat fresh fish, this village is the perfect destination!
The center of the village is located around the harbor and enchants with many white houses and fish restaurants. If you are in Menorca in July, you can experience the Virgen del Carmen lake festival in Es Fornells. A procession with colorful boats takes place in honor of the patron saint of fishermen.
A village straight out of a picture book is located in the south-east of the island: Binibeca Vell at first glance looks like a traditional fishing village, but appearances can be deceiving. The all-white village is not historical, but the result of a resourceful architect!
In 1972, the Minorcan architect Antonio Sintes Mercadal designed the village of Binibeca Vell and even won an architecture award for its creation of cobbled streets, whitewashed apartments and Moorish arches. The village is small but incredibly photogenic and holiday rentals are in high demand here as well.
A mix of beach and sightseeing awaits you in Son Bou on the island’s south coast. Known today as a popular seaside resort and for having the longest sandy beach in Menorca, there is also a historic site to explore: the early Christian Basilica of Son Bou.
The Basilica dates back to the fifth and sixth century AD and is one of the most important late ancient testimonies of the island. However, it wasn’t discovered until the 1950s. It has a rectangular plan oriented from east to west. The basilica has a facade divided into three parts, three naves separated by pillars and a colonnade.
If you want to immerse yourself in the history of the island, you can do it through several caves. About ten kilometers from Alaior there are almost 100 caves. The oldest date dates back to the 11th century BC and once served as a burial place. Here caves were dug in the limestone up to the 4th century BC
Later, traces of Roman settlers were also found, after which the seafarers and fishermen used the bay protected from the wind as a refuge. Hippies from Spain and other European countries also settled in the caves.
Naveta of the Tudons
You can discover a great piece of island history near Ciutadella: the prehistoric burial site Naveta des Tudons dates back to the Late Bronze Age. It is the most famous prehistoric tomb on the island and probably the oldest known structure in Europe.
There are massive blocks of sandstone that were assembled around 3,400 years ago. From the outside, the shape resembles an inverted hull. Inside, jewels and remains of human bones were found, so it is assumed that it is a burial chamber.