Port Mahon Port Guide

When your western Mediterranean cruise nears its port of call at Port Mahon, you realize you're in for a treat. The 3-mile long fjord-like inlet that leads to the port is lined with old forts and passes by tiny islands of lush vegetation. Port Mahon is the friendly capital of the sophisticated holiday island of Menorca, one of a group of four that make up the Balearic Islands.

The port and city are situated on a cliff-edged site at the eastern end of the island; and the island itself is surrounded by more than 50 beaches. This site formed an excellent natural harbor and is one of the deepest in the world. Less well known than its sister islands of Majorca and Ibiza, Mahon's main feature is the fact that much of its territory is still pristine and untouched despite the development of the tourist industry.

Throughout the island one finds a unique collection of megalithic stone monuments denoting prehistory human involvement, turning this destination into a real prehistoric outdoor museum; cultural assets include ruins from the Bronze Age and over 200 truncated pyramids. Though English is spoken, Spanish is the official language and visitors would do well to learn a few simple phrases; currency is the Euro. The climate is moderate, but a light sweater or jacket may come in handy in the evening. There is a reasonably priced and efficient bus service that connects to all areas of the island, as well as taxis and rental cars. Motorcyles and bicycles are also widely used for sightseeing.

Shopping

There are several small boutiques near the harbor itself. From there, take the Rampa de la Abundancia that leads to the Plaza de Espana where will be found market stalls lining the arcades of the former Carmelite Friary. Locals will be happy to guide you to small, out-of-the-way shops not usually visited by tourists.

Things to See

The amazing Mahon Port is an adventure unto itself for those interested in maritime history. Near the pier is the Xoriguer Gin Distillery where one can tour, sample and purchase this local liquor. The Albufera de Grau Nature Reserve and the Es Colom small island constitute a very interesting offer for international tourists. Museums of Art, Architecture and Natural History as well as an abundance of awe-inspiring churches give one a sense of the ancient history of the island. English-style Gregorian houses and Catalan-Gothic architecture abound. Several beautiful towns and small picturesque villages and farms dot the island. Beaches and coves of different sizes and characteristics offer something for every water-lover. In Cuitadella, coves are really paradisiacal; the most visited are Cala Blanca, Cala Santamaria, Cala en Brut, Cala en Forcat and Cala en Blanes.

Restaurants and Bars

Along the lively harborfront are found many small, casual cafes; the city proper contains cafes and restaurants from casual to somewhat more formal serving up both local and traditional fare. The Mirador Des Port Restaurant overlooks the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean with gorgeous seaside views; reservations strongly suggested here.

 

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