Holidays to Mahon do a capital job of bringing you boutique shops, sleek bars and possibly the best tapas on the island.
A capital choice
Menorca’s capital, Mahon, sits proudly on the east coast of the island. It’s been doing the job since 1721, so it comes with lots of elegant 18th-century mansions among the churches and Gothic cathedral. That’s just the sights, though. Mahon loves its shopping, and it’s really into its nightlife, too, so you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of restaurants, bars and clubs. And there are some fantastic beaches nearby as well.
Mahon packs in just about everything except beaches. That’s okay, though, as there are lots of them close by. Drive north for about 10 minutes and you’re at Mesquida, an unspoilt cove with nothing but sand and sea. And 5 minutes on there’s dune-backed Es Grau, which comes with sunloungers, beach bars and watersports. Southbound, meanwhile, you’ve got Blue Flag Punta Prima.
History on the streets
Mahon used to be ruled by the Brits, and you’ll get a real sense of its colonial past along Carrer Isabel ll, with its balconied townhouses complete with sash windows. There’s more 18th-century history at the Xoriguer gin distillery down by the harbour. It’s altogether more Gothic at the cathedral, though, where the organ recitals come courtesy of 3,000 pipes.
Daytrips to Ciutadella
Ciutadella used to be the capital. Take the main route across the island and on the 45-minute drive there you can stop off at Alaoir – famous for its shoes and cheese – and Mercadal, which is the gateway to Monte Toro, Menorca’s highest peak. Once in Ciutadella you’ll see that it also comes with stately mansions and a Gothic cathedral, not to mention plenty of shops and marina-side restaurants.
Things to See and Do in Mahon
Mahon, or Mao as it’s known locally, has no beach of its own but make some time to stroll along its pretty harbour and take a pew at one of the paveside seafood restaurants or quaint cafés, where you can watch the world sail by. Just south of the city the quiet cove of Binibequer has sugary soft sands to stretch out on and soak up the sun.