Away from the beach…
What to see & where to go
Menorca is an island of contrasts and surprises, and those visitors who do not stray from its (admittedly beautiful) beaches are missing out on much that is on offer. There is beautiful coastline scenery, stunning countryside, and amazing local traditions and rituals to witness.
Menorca attractions guide
There’s history at every turn too, and plenty of opportunities to get the local experts to guide you around the island’s attractions. Here are some top Menorca sightseeing suggestions…
Some ideas for vacationers…
The natural beauty of Menorca is one of the island’s greatest attractions, and the great thing is that you don’t have to travel far to take in some – or even all – of it. The coastline is varied and dramatic and much of it is easily reached, even if you are on foot. Read our beaches page and the section on the Cami de Cavalls coastal path for further details.
Lighthouses are a tourist-trail obsession on Menorca and there are plenty to go and see. Three of the most picturesque are Punta Nati north of Ciutadella, Cap d’Artutx near Cala en Bosc and Favaritx on the north coast, close to the virgin beaches of Tortuga and Presili.
Menorca is not known for its mountains! In fact, there is but one – Monte Toro, near Es Mercadal in the centre of the isle, which is all of 342m above sea level. There’s a great view to be had from there to the four corners of Menorca.
Talking of views, there are few finer places in Menorca from which to watch the sun go down than Cova d’en Xoroi at Cala en Porter. Perched on the cliffs and with spectacular Mediterranean views, Cova attracts a crowd every fine evening, many of whom stay on to party the night away. Entrance is by ticket only, which includes one drink.
If it’s ambience you seek while dining or drinking, look no further than the quaint little harbour of Calas Fonts at Es Castell, which is lined with restaurants and bars and clothing and souvenir shops, and features street entertainers in the evenings.
The fishing village of Fornells in the north of the island is a great place to spend a few hours and take in the sights, as is the (slightly more modern!) ‘fishing village’ at Binibeca Vell in the south-east with its labyrinth of lanes and pretty whitewashed cottages and shops.
Up there at the top of the unusual attractions list is the beautiful Lithica quarry near Ciutadella, which has been developed into a lovely tourist destination with beautiful gardens and a stone labyrinth, and the weirdly atmospheric necropolis near the beach at Cala Morell – chambers cut from the limestone which were used as dwellings and as tombs.
Fun activities for kids of all ages
There is plenty to do in Menorca beyond the regular diversions that a day at the beach can provide… For example, the island has several water parks which, while not exactly at Universal Studios standard, are nonetheless more than enough to keep a family occupied for a day.
The newest water park is Splash Sur Menorca, not far from the beach at Punta Prima in the south-east of the island. It offers a variety of grimly named attractions such as ‘Kamikaze’, ‘Black Hole’ and ‘Adventure River’ and there’s plenty of horizontal activity also in the shape of sunloungers for whacked-out parents. Entry is 20€ adults/12€ children.
There are waterparks in the west of the island also – Aquarock in Cala en Bosc, which also boasts a kart track, and Aqua Center in Los Delfines, which has all manner of slides and a pretty good restaurant.
In the north, there’s also the Carema Splash Park in Playa Fornells.
The biggest and best kart circuit is at Castillo Menorca sitiuated on the island’s main central highway, the Me-1, between Ciutadella and Ferreries. There’s a large shopping centre there also, plus a restaurant.
Sun driving you indoors? There’s tenpin bowling in Mahon, as well as ‘laser combat’ and paintballing.
Historical sights of Menorca
There’s no end of history in which to immerse yourself in Menorca, ranging from the very early origins of humankind through to some very interesting modern military history.
Dotted around the island are talaiots or talayots, which are Bronze Age megaliths dating to the late second millennium and early first millennium BC. There is also the 1200BC Naveta d’Es Tudons, the megalithic chamber tomb near Ciutadella which some argue is the oldest surviving structure in Europe.
In the east of the island, near Es Castell, Fort Marlborough, built by the British occupiers between 1720 and 1726, stands today and provides a great insight into the everyday life of a footsoldier in the 18th century.
Directly across the bay of Mahon from Fort Marlborough is the La Mola fortress, built to defend the port from naval attack in the mid-1800s. It’s a remarkable feat of engineering and there are a variety of ways to tour the area, including by golf buggy!
Near Es Castell, Collingwood House (now a hotel) was the home of Admiral Lord Collingwood, vice admiral in command of the Royal Navy fleet in the Mediterranean, and then there is Isla del Rey, Mahon’s ‘hospital island’, which is being restored and can be visited on Sundays via boat trip from Mahon harbour.
Also well worth a visit is the Museo Militar in Es Castell.
Menorca trips & excursions
There are trips and excursions available right across the island of Menorca, none more popular than the Mahon harbour ‘glass-bottom boat’ trips which can be picked up from Mahon or Calas Fonts harbour in Es Castell. One of the best-known boat tour companies is the Yellow Catamaran company; they also run Sunday morning trips over to the Isla del Rey.
You can pick up boat excursions also in Ciutadella harbour, from Cala Galdana, Fornells and the marina at Cala en Bosch.
Many people never stray far from the coast in Menorca, which is a great shame because the interior of the island is stunningly beautiful and amazingly unspoilt. There are few better ways to explore it than by Jeep Safari. On offer are trips to remote beaches and little-seen gorges and areas of outstanding natural beauty, as well as sunset excursions.
If Jeeps are a little speedy for you, then why not try a sedate ride through the Menorcan countryside with Menorca Horseriding? The company offers beginners and less confident riders the chance to take a leisurely countryside excursion, while more experienced riders can enjoy the stunning views on the ‘coast and beaches’ ride.
Menorca’s fiestas are a centuries-old tradition and are celebrated in grand fashion by the island’s inhabitants, who welcome all holidaymakers to join in the fun, much of which is fuelled by Pomada, a mix of Mahon gin and lemonade.
The stars of the shows are the magnificent horses and their skilled riders, who charge through the crowds at speed and rear up on their hind legs while the bravest among the crowd try to touch their hearts. Yes, it’s insanely dangerous but a great spectacle. There are fun fairs, street music and food, fireworks and much merriment.
Each town has a different take on the fiesta, and they vie with each other to provide the best entertainment. Be warned that shops in the town will often close for the duration of the celebrations. The biggest and most popular of all is Ciutadella’s Festes de Sant Joan.
Menorca fiesta dates
Third weekend: Es Mercadal
24/25/26: Es Castell
Fourth weekend: Fornells
First weekend (or fifth weekend July): Es Migjorn Gran
First weekend: Llumecanes
Second weekend: Alayor
Third weekend: Sant Climent
Last weekend: Sant Lluis
Third weekend: Cala en Porter