I have been to Menorca on many occasions, it is our holiday destination of choice since we started taking Joe abroad. However, I had never actually been to Mahon – we had merely used the airport, then jumped on a coach to our holiday destination. We decided that this year we would take a proper trip to Menorca’s Capital city and have a little explore.
I have to say I totally fell in love with Mahon. It combines stunning coastline (it is Europe’s 2nd largest natural harbour) with interesting architecture that shows a range of influences on the city historically. Much like Ciutadella, the former capital of Menorca that I will be featuring in a future post), Mahon has a large, central square that is used for a rather vibrant market daily from about 10am – 2pm. The city then spreads off in all directions with an unusual array of shops selling everything from clothes, to locally distilled gin.
Getting to Mahon
We used the local Torres bus company and paid around 15 euros for three single tickets. The journey from Ciutadella to Mahon is around 55 minutes, but the buses are air conditioned so it is not too unpleasant. Buses pull into a central bus station from where it is easy to get to the main city square.
One great way of seeing the City and the harbour area is by the mini train tours. These can be joined at various areas around the city, and cost around 20 euros for 2 adults and 1 child. The tour costs 45 minutes and there is a great stopping point where you can take some pretty beautiful photographs of the harbour and coast. Unfortunately, there was no audio, so buying a decent guidebook may help you to find out what you are actually seeing. Other than that, just sit back and enjoy the view.
The harbour and Port area, as you would expect, has a real maritime feel. There are giant anchors, and memorials to those lost at sea. Mahon is a cruise port, so you will often see a huge cruise ship in the port – this was very exciting for my ship-mad 6 year old.
There is a great market that takes place in the main square most days of the week. This sells a range of leather goods, jewellery, brightly coloured sarongs, and lots of clothing made from cool cotton and linen. I got a gorgeous cotton kaftan top that is very similar to the style that Alexa Chung wears at Coachella and have been wearing it to death.
In terms of ‘big’ stores, Menorca is not like Majorca which has a lots of High Street names. Mahon has a great Mango that is spread onto four floors, and also has Stradivarius, Desigual, a good selection of sports shops and perfumeries. There are also some good shoe shops selling a great selection of Pretty Ballerinas – these are made in Menorca and are total lust haves.
When a cruise ship is in the port, a small market is often set up on the steps and the harbour area. This makes this area lovely to visit, bustling, vibrant and colourful.
The Fish Market in Mahon is now a fabulous, vibrant destination for tapas and snacks. It has a range of bars and eateries and is reasonably priced to. Situated just around the corner of the harbour steps, it is well worth a visit.
There are lots of little cafes with tables outside to eat in the sunshine. We chose an unusual one called Bar & Shoes meeting point. This was at the top of the harbour steps and was an unusual building – bare stone walls, Vespa Motorbikes on display, and also selling local designer products. The food was lovely – fresh tuna, crusty bread – very rustic. They also did the most fabulous, James Bond style Martini for 3 euros.
Have you ever been to Mahon – do you have any hints and tips for people traveling there this year?
A few more views