Cruise Port Atlas | Mahon (Minorca), Spain Day Trips | Attractions

Mahon (Minorca), Spain Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Mahon: Star Clippers, Azamara Club Cruises, Paul Gauguin, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, MSC Cruises

Cruise lines that visit Ciutadella: Seabourn

Key Attractions: Port Mahon, Church of Santa Maria, La Mola (Isabel II Fortress), Castello de San Felip, Fort Marlborough, Son Bou Beach, Cala Galdana, Pinta Prima, Diving and Snorkeling, Birdwatching, Lloc de Menorca Zoo, Talati de Alt, Trepuco, Naveta del Tudons, Cala Morell Caves, Cuitadella de Menorca, Menorca Cathedral, Menorca Town Hall, Monte Torre, Fornells

Port Mahon Attractions

Port to Santa Maria Church - 4.2 KM by taxi, 9 minutes, 4 minute walk (uphill)
Port to St. Felipe Castle - 6 KM, 14 minutes
Port to Fort Marlborough - 6 KM, 15 minutes
Port to La Mola - 8 KM, 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Mahon (sometime called Port Mahon) is a city with strong 18th century British character, including many Georgian buildings in its old center, a Gin distillery and an impressive English fortress. The 5 kilometer long harbor will give you the impression of being on a river, but it is in fact the second deepest harbor channel in the world and an impressive sight. On the southern shore of the harbor is the old town which is a short, but steep, walk (stairs) from the cruise berth or a 4 kilometer taxi ride. Harbor tours are a great way to hear about the dramatic military history of the island. Near the dock is a Military Museum. Regular tours of two of the city's fortresses are available: La Mola (Isabel II Fortress) on the north coast of the harbor and the English Fort Marborough, which is mostly underground and barely visible from the sea. The city's archaeological museum is a great introduction to the rich prehistoric sights that dot the island. Mahon city center has no major historic building but it is a lovely walking city with several nice squares with great people watching and inviting cafes.

        

   

Photo of Mahon's Old Town by Henning.Schroeder, Photo of Fort Marlborough Gate by Ridho Nur Imansyah

Cuitadella de Menorca

Port to Cuitadella de Menorca - 47 KM, 48 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Until the British took the island in the early 18th century, Cuitadella was the capital of Minorca and to this day it remains the ecclesiastical center for the island's culture. Roughly the same size as Mahon, it contains about one-third of the island's population. The 13th century Gothic cathedral is not as imposing as many others and does not have the typical Latin cross layout, but rather a single large squat tower which now has a neo-classical facade. There are several palaces in the city that can be toured, including Arab Governor's Palace which became the Royal Palace under the Aragon kings. You will not see the British influence here as in Mahon, but more Moorish, Spanish, and Italian architectural elements. All that remains of the city walls are several towers (bastions) which provide a glimpse into the island's military past. The Castell de Sant Nicolau now houses a museum featuring an exhibition of elements of the Minorca Biosphere Reserve.

        

   

Photo of Cuitadella Harbor by J.Braun, photo of Cathedral Square by Mac9

Fornells

Port to Fornells - 26 KM, 28 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

In a long narrow bay on the north coast of the island is the scenic fishing town of Fornells, well-known for its white-washed buildings and the summer visits of the Spanish Royals. It is a great place to go and sit at a charming cafe along the water and have a bowl of the famous lobster stew that is the island's specialty. Both the man-made and natural sights of the area offer great photographic opportunities with the rustic lobster boats tied along the shore and the windy hills surrounding town covered with bent trees created by the intense local winds that sweep above the town. There was once an important fortress in Fornells, but all that is left is its tower.

        

   

Photo of Fornells Waterfront

Minorca's Beaches

Port to Binibeca - 11 KM, 22 minutes
Port to Punta Prima - 12.5 KM, 23 minutes
Port to Son Bou Beach - 21 KM, 25 minutes
Port to Cala Galdana - 37 KM, 39 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Minorca's rocky shore has many small coves and bays which offer short stretches of sand. The most popular and largest number of beaches are on the south and southeast shores, though the northern and western shore have a few as well. In the south, most beaches offer a shallow sandy bottom making them great for children and for snorkelers. The largest and most developed beach on the island is at Son Bou, with sands stretching over 3 kilometers; it also offers all the amenities. Not far to the west in a scenic bay is Cala Galdana, protected from Mediterranean currents and with excellent facilities available. Just a few kilometers southeast of Mahon is Punta Prima, great but sometimes a little rough depending upon the water conditions. There are many other beaches on Minorca, some of which are undeveloped and accessible only by walking or by boat. A local expert can direct you to your best options if you want a very quiet beach.

        

   

Photo of Cala Galdana by Matth i

Minorca's Natural Attractions and Active Tours

Port to Zoo - 9 KM, 10 minutes
Port to S'Albufera d'Es Grau Nature Reserve - 7.5 KM, 10 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Minorca has been designated an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its beautiful and varied flora and fauna which include many birds, wildflowers and butterflies. The island has varied eco-systems, from low mountains to wooded plains to wetlands, so you can see everything from wetland wading birds to woodland songbirds such as the lovely bee-catcher. The best place to see these natural wonders is at the S'Albufera d' Es Grau Nature Reserve, a short distance north of the port. If you'd like to ride a horse or rent a mountain bike, the relatively easy terrain makes it a great place to explore. The island also has a nice small zoo just to the west of Mahon. There are some excellent diving spots at various places around the island and these include wreck diving and cavern diving.

              

   

Photo of Bee-Catcher by Rashuli, photo of Cleopatra Butterfly by Rixonrixon

Minorca's Prehistoric Sites

Port to Trepuca - 3.6 KM, 10 minutes
Port to Talati de Alt - 5.5 KM, 9 minutes
Port to Naveta del Tudons - 40 KM, 39 minutes
Port to Cala Morell Caves - 50 KM, 50 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Beginning around 1500 BCE, a significant prehistoric Bronze Age civilization built rock structures which can be found in many locations around Minorca. Combined with a visit to the Minorca Museum, you can learn much about the early settlers of Minorca. Two of the most popular sites are very near Mahon at Talati de Dalt and Trepuco. Talati de Dalt is most famous for its taula (a T-shaped stone structure made with 2 or more stones), a conical talayot (a tower possibly built for defense), along with walls and houses. Trepuco has the largest of all Taulas. At the other end of the island is the burial site at Naveta Des Tudons, a well-preserved stone building found to contain human bones and other artifacts. Near Cala Morell on the northwest corner of the island are the Cala Morell Caves, a necropolis that features 14 man-made caves with columnar supports. These offer a dramatic glimpse into the spiritual life of the early inhabitants of the island.

     

   

Photo of Prehistoric Taula by ZenTrowel

Monte Torre

Port to Monte Torre - 25 KM, 28 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Near the geographic center of the island (and not far off the road between Mahon and Cuitadella) is the islands highest point, Monte Torre, providing a great opportunity for photos, a large statue of the Virgin, and a Franciscan Convent that welcomes tourists in the summer months. (The name of the peak comes for the Arabic for “highest mountain”, not from the Spanish word for “bull”.)

     

   

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible