We continue to discover, little by little, the most charming towns of Menorca, its most beautiful villages. In this case, we stop in the town of Fornells. Located in the northern part of the island, it is dominated by its majestic defense tower; besides, among many other things, it is a must for lovers of lobster stew. Let’s go!
Located in the extreme north of Menorca, the locality of Fornells has a population of only a thousand people. There is evidence of its existence at least since the fifth century B.C., as evidenced by its paleo Cristian ruins. Although Fornells belongs to the municipality of Mercadal; some years ago, Fornells wanted to become an independent municipality, application that was finally rejected.
The most visited place in Fornells is definitely its Defense Tower. Built in 1801 during the times of English domination of the island, it has a very unique shape. It was privately owned until the beginning of the 90s, remained in an almost ruinous state until its acquisition by the City of Mercadal, which took care of its rehabilitation and its denomination as cultural heritage.
Another spot of big interest and popularity is the harbour of Fornells, located close to the tower. It is undoubtedly, one of the most charming harbours in Menorca. Nestled in the bay of Fornells, it stands out for being surrounded by white houses – which are typically Mediterranean – of the town. Being essentially a fishing harbour, the truth is that it is the second one with most moorings after the harbour of Mahón. It is the ideal spot to practice a fair number of water sports such as: water-skiing, surfing, kayaking, sailing, diving…
A harbour, besides, with a great fishing tradition, especially those delicious lobsters that characterize the waters in the north of the island. The same which are used to produce the famous “Fornells stew”. A delicacy that can be tasted in local restaurants such as Es Port, Sa Llagosta or Es Cranc, along with all kinds of other fresh seafood. Many consider Fornells the capital of Menorcan gastronomy.
In its surroundings, about 6 Km away, we cannot miss visiting one of the seven lighthouses of Menorca: the Cavalleria Lighthouse. It is the northernmost of the island and was opened in 1857. Its tower is at almost 100 meters above sea level, making it a place of very privileged views, both of the incredible cliffs that surround it and of spectacular sunsets.
Among the natural attractions we highlight the Bay of Fornells, the second broadest one of the island. Inside we find three little islets (Las Lagartijas -where a defence tower stands out-, Las Yemas and Los Puerros), as well as two salt flats. La Mola de Fornells is a protected area of about four meters in longitude where we can find caves as interesting as Na Polida (“La Bonita” in Spanish or “The beautiful one” in English, highly appreciated by divers), the Cuevas del Rayo (mostly submarines) or the Cueva de los Ingleses, which can only be accessed from the sea.
Fornells, as if this wasn’t enough already, also has its own church and castle. Both were built in the seventeenth century and named after the saint of the town: San Antonio. The church of San Antonio Abad (built in 1639 and enlarged in the eighteenth century) is a simple construction with only one nave and three chapels. Castle of San Antonio, protected at the time by the famous Tower of Fornells, was dismantled by the Spanish after the end of the British denomination, but some remains of the structure are preserved.
Among the main attractions of Fornells two archaeological sites are to be highlighted. First, the set of buildings and early Christian burials the harbour basilica. Discovered in 1958 and excavated in the 70s, it is a unique building dated between the 5th and 7th centuries b.C. Inthe vicinity of Fornells we also find the Sanisera site, and ancient Roman city dating back to the 1st century.
This said, Fornells is definitely another essential and mandatory place to visit when travelling to Menorca. Enjoy its most charming places and get lost in the quietness of the town and its surroundings or practice some activities such as cycling, horse riding or even, golfing or various adventure sports. Enjoy!