The charming harbour town of Mahon is the capital of Menorca, possibly the most laidback island in the Balearics.
Historic stone buildings sit above a sheltered bay in a town centre that oozes character, making an unusually charming gateway to the rest of the island.
Arriving at Mahon Airport
Menorca Airport (MAH), also known as Mahon Airport, is your gateway to the island of Menorca. The airport is located at the eastern end of the island, about 10 minutes’ drive from the town centre in Mahon and about 45 minutes’ drive from Ciutadella de Menorca. As you fly in, see if you can spot Mallorca out to the west of the island. In the distance, at the far end of the Balearics, you might spot Ibiza and Formentera.
The airport itself is pleasingly compact, with one main terminal and quick access out of the airport to your next destination. Book your car hire in advance and you can pick up a car at the airport to get straight on the road. Hiring a car can be very useful if you’re planning to travel outside the capital of Mahon.
Alternatively, you can catch a reasonably priced taxi into town or take one of the buses that run to Mahon’s central bus terminal. From here you can connect to buses that take you to all the other major destinations on the island.
Flights from London City to Mahon run throughout summer, so seize the moment while the weather is nice and the route is open.
Mahon’s bus terminal is a transport hub and your ticket to the rest of Menorca. Board an air-conditioned bus to Ciutadella de Menorca, Es Castell and other destinations around the island. Pick up a reloadable card at the bus station if you’re planning on multiple bus trips during your stay here. The roads are winding and slow, so be prepared for long but scenic journeys between major destinations.
Book your car hire in advance with London City Airport and you can collect your car either at the airport or in destinations around the island – a good option if you only need a car for part of your trip. Driving is one of the best ways to explore Menorca as it offers faster and more convenient journeys to destinations at the other end of the island, such as Cala Morell or Cala Galdana. The roads are beautiful, too, winding through the wooded centre of the island with little traffic.
Mahon town centre is easy enough to navigate as a pedestrian and it’s a real pleasure to stroll between the different sights of the capital. Wander along the seafront in the evening and get into holiday mode as the sheltered harbour glows with lights.
City centre: for food
Mahon’s city centre is one of the best places on the island to eat out or pick up locally produced food. A fish market runs throughout the week, selling fresh seafood straight from the Mediterranean. Head to dairy farms just outside the city to try Mahon’s legendary cheeses or visit a local grocer to pick up a jar of mayonnaise, which Menorcans adamantly claim was invented in this town.
For the ultimate Mahon dining experience, head to a friendly, family-run taverna on one of the town’s cobbled streets to try out local dishes such as caldereta de llagosta (lobster stew).
S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park: for flora and fauna
The whole island of Menorca is a UNESCO-recognised biosphere, but for the best wildlife-watching opportunities, head out of Mahon to peaceful S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park, north of the city. Walking trails wind through the wetlands and out along some of the most scenic parts of Menorca’s coastline. Bring binoculars to spot fish eagles, and keep an eye out for tortoises and lizards. Take a break from your wandering at serene Cala Presili, a remote beach in the north of the park that you can only reach on foot.
Ciutadella de Menorca: for the island's history
Ciutadella de Menorca, on the other side of the island to Mahon, was once the capital of Menorca and today retains a very different character from Mahon. Head here for a trip into the island’s past, to an era without cars or tourists. Start in Plaça des Born, an atmospheric square surrounded by buildings from the 1800s. The town's 14th-century cathedral, historic mansions and Castell de Sant Nicolau defence tower are all key sights that give an interesting look at Menorcan history.
Time Zone: Central European Time (GMT +1) and Central European Summer Time (GMT +2)
Languages: Spanish and Catalan, although Menorca also has its own dialect of Catalan known as Menorquín. English is widely spoken