Menorca — Attractions
It’s all about the beaches in Menorca, and though there are fewer stretches of sand here than on nearby Mallorca, there are plenty of places to sunbathe and swim. The south coast has the best beach attractions, including Son Bou and Cala en Porter, with the latter home to the stunning Xoroi Caves. Mahon is the cultured capital, while nearby is the must-see S’Albufera des Grau nature area.
Son Bou Beach
Menorca’s largest beach resides on the south coast, along with most of the rest of the popular beaches. It has the longest, widest stretch of sand on the island, as well as decent facilities. There are plenty of places to escape the crowds and the west end is even popular with nudists, while the eastern end is home to a huge resort, making it the more family-friendly zone. Good swimming can be found here, but small children should be aware of the strong currents.
Address: Playa de Son Bou s/n, 07730, South Coast
Cala en Porter
One of the iconic beaches of the ‘littler’ Balearic Island, Cala en Porter is noted for its wide stretches of sand and clear waters. A nature reserve runs along its western flank, with resorts and houses fronting the east. Steep banks rise up from both sides to create a stunning landscape and great snorkeling. There’s a section for small kids and a lot of restaurants and bars within easy reach.
Address: 07730 Alaior, South Coast
Cala Galdana is one of the many cute bays on the southwest coast. It is one of Menorca’s prettiest stretches of sand, hemmed in by cliffs and featuring shallow waters backed by trees. Cala Galdana shelves have great snorkeling, along with options for other water sports including scuba diving. There are several large hotel resorts at the beach and it is within easy reach of Ciutadella and the nearby unspoiled beach of Cala Mitjana.
Address: 07750 Ferreries, South Coast
Punta Prima is one of the best bets for those staying in and around Mahon and the Es Castell and Sant Luis areas. It sits on the southeast coast and is easily accessible by bus or car. The beach itself is large and sandy, has great swimming, and is especially popular with families, with a section set up for those with small children. Facilities are good, kayak rentals are popular, and there are plenty of shops, eateries, and bars around the area. If staying at Binibequer or Cala Torret, take the resort train and get off at the nearby Binibèquer Vell fishermen’s village if coming from Mahon.
Address: 07713, San Lluis, Southeast Coast
Built on cliffs around one of the world’s largest natural deep harbors is the island’s capital, locally referred to as Mao. The waterfront is the main draw and is loaded with striking Georgian buildings, while a network of narrow streets head inland. Of the many historic buildings to check out, the Arch de San Roque is the oldest, which is the remainder of Mahon’s ancient wall. Head to the main square to see the Town Hall (which dates from the 1600’s) and the Church of Santa Maria, or visit the Menorca Museum to learn about the area’s early history. The nearby Plaza de la Conquesta is highly photogenic, and just a bit out of town, but provides fine views is the must-see Castell de Santa Agueda. Mahon is fun by night, with plentiful bars and restaurants.
Address: Port Mahon, East Coast
Similarly based around a long harbor, Ciutadella (Citadel) is Menorca’s former capital city. It is a feast for the eyes and appeals to cultural connoisseurs. Ciutadella is best seen on foot to capture its old buildings and squares, many of which are Moorish. Of the most attractive is the Palace Torre Saura, which has fine views over the harbor. The main square, Plaza de’s Born, is by the water and home to the Town Hall, while farther back is the Plaza de Pio XII cathedral. Streets are typically narrow and if you keep heading east, you’ll reach the popular Placa Alfons III and Avda de la Constitucio, which have many cafés. The nearby Naveta dels Tudons burial chamber hails from around 1,500 BC.
Address: Ciutadella, West Coast
Xoriguer Distillery resides right on the harbor and has been in operation since the 1700’s. This longtime distillery churns out some of Spain’s most notable drinks, including the tasty Xoriguer gin (introduced by the British). Tours are open during the week and Saturdays, and allow tourists to sample some of the product (provided they are over 17 years old). There’s also a shop on site to buy the goods directly from the source. Open: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday), 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Saturday).
Address: Carrer del Moll de Ponent, 07701, Mahon
S’Albufera des Grau
S’Albufera des Grau is the main coastal nature reserve on Menorca, stretching for several miles to the north of Mahon. The wetlands section is a one mile-long lagoon near the village of Grau, which is close to the shallow beach of the same name. Many people come here for the easy walking trails and bird watching. There are many native species including heron and great crested grebes, and well-placed observation spots and hideaways. Also on site are Roman ruins, and nearby is Cap de Favàritz.
Address: Ctra. de Maó a Es Grau, Km 3.5, 07700, Mahon
Mount Toro is the highest peak in Menorca and provides fine views of the landscape. Although smack dab in the middle of the island, it is not far from either Mahon, Ciutadella, or the coast, and is also close to several small villages. Es Mercadal is the nearest village of interest, a cute little whitewashed community at the foot of the mountain with winding streets and an ancient church and specialty restaurants. The best way to get here is to rent a car or scooter.
Address: Central Menorca
Cova d’en Xoroi
The Xoroi Caves is a stunning complex overlooking the inlet to Cala en Porter beach. There are walkways and stone lairs galore with soft lighting and tables for a romantic picnic, with dancing taking place later on. It is one of the trendiest places for sundowners on Menorca.
Address: Urb. Cala en Porter, 07712