Imagine a city of barely 30,000 inhabitants, right by the sea, located southeast of one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean Sea, with a natural harbour which is more than 5 km long and surrounded by the natural park of s’Albufera d’Es Grau. Well, it is not a dream: it is Mahon, the capital of Menorca.
Magón, the youngest of the brothers of Aníbal Barca, gave the name to this beautiful Menorcan city. The different civilizations that have passed through the island over the past centuries, have left an extensive cultural legacy that is projected onto its streets, buildings and archaeological and architectural remains. Let’s see below what those emblematic places that you cannot forget to visit in Mahón are.
The harbour of Menorca
With 5 km of coastline, which make it one of the largest natural harbours in the world, Mahón is one of the most important harbours of Menorca for its intense activity of commerce, tourism and fishing. Full of bars and restaurants where you can see what this island tastes like, and terraces where you can stop to recharge your batteries, it is also where nightlife in Mahón, the capital of Menorca, is concentrated. It is also here that you can embark on one of the boats that make tourist trips to check out the beauty of the administrative capital of the island from a very marine perspective.
The fortress of Isabel II
Located in the peninsula of La Mola, at the northern entrance of the harbour of Mahón, this fortress perfectly exemplifies what the military architecture of the island is. Built in the nineteenth century at the orders of Queen Elizabeth II, it consists of ten fronts divided into two groups (land defence and maritime defence), and since the fortress has never been attacked it maintains a magnificent state of preservation. As a curiosity, we point out that this is where the most eastern point of all Spain is located.
San Felipe Castle
Another must to visit when in Menorca is this powerful fortification built in the sixteenth century to protect the city, and that was demolished partially at the order of Charles IV in 1805 to prevent it from falling into foreign hands. We recommend a visit to the fabulous and impressive network of underground galleries which runs through its structure and that currently is in the process of improvement.
The heart of the city
Mahón is undoubtedly one of the mandatory stops if you are going to be visiting the island, a city that preserves in its streets, full of Mediterranean flair, many different churches, noble buildings and palaces that provide it with its own charm and personality.
Right in the city center, in the Plaza de la Constitución, we find the Town Hall or Sa Sala, a building which was built in 1613 but then reformed according to the canons of the French Baroque, and which on its top has a 18th century clock as a present from the first English governor. The Church of Santa María, with its 19th century organ of 4 keyboards and 3,120 pipes. The “Principal de Guardia”, a colourful building typical of the French baroque. A few meters from this town hall, the Church of Carmen and the Church of la Concepción are also worth a visit.
Museum of Menorca
And for lovers of art and history, this is another essential spot to visit if the route of your trip takes you to Mahón, the capital of Menorca. This museum can currently be found in the old Franciscan convent of Jesus, which was part of the Church of San Francisco, located only a few meters away from it. With a single nave and a large Romanesque and baroque façade, the history of the island is explained through the objects and documents of past centuries in the rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors. But it is definitely its beautiful cloister which is praised the most by locals and tourists.
Walks in the city
Many streets and squares seem irresistible when walking through Mahón, since they themselves they are authentic museums. One of them is Calle Isabel II, where spectacular homes built during the 18th Century can be contemplated. The Plaza de España is also noteworthy because, although it is only a century old, you can admire architectural works such as the Pescadería building (1927) or Casa Mir there. Furthermore, the nearby Plaza del Príncipe is famous for its beautiful nineteenth-century houses such as Casa Soler. Also in the centre of this municipality we find the Main Theater, known for being one of the oldest opera houses in Spain.
But, what if to wrap up this tour we return to the harbour and choose a bar where we eat a tapa of Mahon cheese and finish it off with a drink of the famous Menorcan gin made in the distilleries of Gin Xoriguer (also worth a visit)? Sounds good, doesn’t it?