Hiking around Menorca: on the Cami de Cavalls

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Balearics, Europe, featured, Leisure, Spain, Walking

It was a perfect day for walking in Menorca, one of those late May days when the sun is warm, the sea sparkling but the temperature in the comfortable early 20s. Although we’d had showers the day before, the skies had cleared with puffs of cloud and the sea seemed to be lit up an intense turquoise. Spring and autumn is the perfect time for walking on Menorca, when the weather is generally warm, before the heat of summer descends and everyone just heads for the beach.

Hiking around Menorca

Our walk for the day would take us along the Cami de Cavalls, an ancient walking path and bridle way that encircles the whole island of Menorca. The importance of this path was recognised by the island’s rulers in the Middle Ages so that horses could move around for defence and goods could be easily transported. The trail gets its name from the Catalan word Cavall which means horse – it’s literally a path for horses.

Cala Galdana, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cala Galdana, Menorca

Our walk for the day started at Cala Galdana, one of Menorca’s most popular resorts where we were staying at Hotel Artiem Audax, a lovely, stylish 4* hotel overlooking the marina. The resort on Menorca’s south coast is an excellent place to base yourself for a walking holiday, with immediate access to the coastal path as well as a number of bars and restaurants to enjoy in the evenings.

Walking from Cala Galdana, Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking from Cala Galdana, Menorca

We climbed up from the little marina onto the coastal path, almost immediately giving us the kind of views that you expect to see on postcards. Our path took us up onto the rocky cliffs, where wind-twisted pines framed the view of the the turquoise sea glittering below and the cliffs of the headland beyond.

Walking from Cala Galdana to Cala Macarella, Menorca Heatheonhertravels.com

Walking from Cala Galdana to Cala Macarella, Menorca

Before long the route veered off away from the sea on a broad, flat stony path with scrub and trees of pine, olive and oak dotted around us. On one side, the path was bordered by a dry stone wall. Scattered in the grass were miniature pink gladioli and wild orchids, which would have been in full bloom in March and April but were just starting to dry out as summer approached.

Wild orchids near Cala Macarella, Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Wild orchids near Cala Macarella, Menorca

The whole of the southern coast of the island is now owned by the Menorca government, to ensure that it is preserved from development. However, the land on either side of the path is owned by individual farmers who graze animals there to ensure that the trees and shrubs do not become too dense.

The cliffs above Cala Macarella, Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

The cliffs above Cala Macarella, Menorca

As I walked, I breathed in the scent of pine needles crushed underfoot and noticed the splash of pink flowers on the cistus and the vibrant green clumps of pine seedlings, pushing up beside the rocks covered with yellow lichen.

The cliffs above Cala Macarella, Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

The cliffs above Cala Macarella, Menorca

From the broad path, there were other paths that took us to viewpoints on the cliff where only the twisted olive wood fences protected us from a sheer drop down to the sea below. A white speedboat passed below us and I imagined myself to be the girl at the wheel, wind in my hair, speeding to one of the secluded coves along this coast.

On the cliffs, walking on southern Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

On the cliffs, walking on southern Menorca

We reached a boardwalk which took us down to Macarella beach, with broad wooden steps leading down through the pine trees. The beach is a very popular one, although due to all the ravines that run down to the coast, it can’t be easily reached by car, which is one of its charms for walkers. The normal bridle path continued alongside although it was so steep that I wouldn’t have fancied riding a horse down it.

Walking down to Cala Macarella, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking down to Cala Macarella, Menorca

Although the Cami de Cavalls encircles the whole island, there are some sections that are better for walkers, others that are more flat and open for horse-riding. Many farms have stables near the trail and offer horse-riding which my friend Zoe tried while we were doing the walk – read her article about horse-riding on the Cami de Cavalls.

Walking down to Cala Macarella, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking down to Cala Macarella, Menorca

Macarella beach is broad and sandy, with some shady pine trees offering shade at the back and sides of the beach. This would be a lovely place to spend an afternoon with the family and despite having no public road access, there was a large cafe at the back of the beach serving drinks and meals.

Cala Macarella, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cala Macarella, Menorca

While some of our group stopped to relax at the cafe, I decided to walk a little further round the headland to the smaller Macarelletta beach (the name means little Macarella). Set into the cliff face beside the steep path were some caves, probably used in the past as an ancient burial site by Menorca’s Talayotic culture.

Walking down to Cala Macarelleta, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking down to Cala Macarelleta, Menorca

The walk around to Macarelleta was idyllic, the sea coloured intense turquoise with patches of deep blue. The path led down through the dunes and over the rocks with a few sunbathing spots on the rocky ledges. As I came down, I realised that this is a nudist beach although in May most people seemed to be keeping their swimsuits on, still I had to be a bit careful where to point my camera.

Walking down to Cala Macarelleta, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Walking down to Cala Macarelleta, Menorca

At the back of the beach were sand dunes and a covering of pine trees, with a rattan fence to protect the dunes. Once again this idyllic spot is only accessible by walking, with the nearest car park being at Cala en Turqueta, which is the next beach if you continue along the coastal path.

Cala Macarelleta, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cala Macarelleta, Menorca

As for us, it was time to return by the same route, clambering up the path through the dunes and around the headland to Macarella, then along the broad path back to Cala Galdana. It’s an easy and popular walk, and all the nicer because the lack of car access means the beaches are natural and unspoiled. In the spring and summer I’d walk on to Cala en Turqueta and perhaps some of the pretty beaches and coves beyond, while in the heat of summer it would be perfect to stop at Cala Macarella under the shade of a pine and laze the afternoon away.

Hotel Artiem Audax at Cala Galdana, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Artiem Audax at Cala Galdana, Menorca

Where to stay in Menorca

I stayed in Hotel Artiem Audax in Cala Galdana overlooking the marina, which was right opposite the start of the coastal walk I’ve described. The hotel is Adults Only with bright, modern decor and delicious food with breakfast and dinner served buffet style. The hotel is part of the Artiem Hotel group which has many excellent hotels around the island including the Hotel Artiem Capri in Mahon where I also enjoyed staying.

Hotel Artiem Audax, Urbanización Serpentona, 07750 Cala Galdana, Menorca

Compare prices and book hotels in Menorca on my Hotels Booking page powered by Hotels Combined.

Have you done any walking in Menorca? What was your favourite part of the Cami de Cavalls?

More articles about Menorca

How to spend a perfect day in Mahon, Menorca
Where and what to eat and drink in Menorca (Travel with Kat)
Traditionally Menorca (Mallory on Travel)

Visitor Information for Menorca

To plan your holiday in Menorca visit the Menorca Tourism website or follow them on social media: Twitter @TurismMenorca | Facebook | Instagram

For holidays in other parts of Spain you can find more information at www.Spain.info or follow them on social media: Twitter @Spain_inUK | Facebook | Instagram

If you need a guide to show you the sites of Mahon and Menorca, I can highly recommend Luis Amella of Menorca Guides

Thanks to Menorca Tourism for hosting my stay in Menorca, in a project in partnership with Spain Tourism, Menorca Tourism and Travelator Media

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Read about walking in Menorca on the Cami de Cavalls

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Discovering Menorca’s prehistoric past – the Talayotic culture

As we walked along the grassy path, the stone monument stood solid, like an upturned boat, surrounded by a field of wildflowers and glowing in the late afternoon sun. We’d come to visit the Naveta d’es Tudons, one of Menorca’s best known prehistoric monuments, a burial chamber that dates back to around 1000 years BC, built by the people we know as the Talayotic culture.

Menorca's Prehistoric culture

The Naveta d’es Tudons (Naveta being the Catalan word for boat) was excavated by archaeologists in the 1960s, when they discovered the remains of over a hundred men, women and children who had been laid to rest here together with some of their personal possessions, such as metal hair ornaments or spear heads. Once a body was placed inside the tomb, it was sealed and later the bones and skull would be moved to one side to make way for the remains of the next person.

All over Menorca you’ll find similar burial chambers, towers and settlements that are unique to the island and are now being preserved with the aim of having them declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Since Menorca is an island where stone is readily available, the buildings of the Talyotic culture were left alone for us to visit today, unlike other places where the stone would have been taken over the centuries for other buildings.

Naveta d'es Tudons in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta d’es Tudons in Menorca

On our visit to Naveta d’en Tudons, we noticed how well it had been restored to its original appearance, all except the final stone that seemed missing from the parapet at one end. Local legend has it that two giants sought the hand of the same girl and so to decide between them, each was set a task. One was to build a Naveta, the other to dig a well and whichever could complete their task first would win the hand of the girl.

When the giant building the Naveta was carrying the final rock to place it in position, he saw his rival at the bottom of the well who had just struck water, and in his anger threw down the stone and killed him. Realising what he had done he ran away, so that the girl was left with neither suitor, and of course this explains what happened to the final stone to complete the Naveta d’es Tudons.

Naveta d'es Tudons in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta d’es Tudons in Menorca

While the entrance to the Naveta d’es Tudons was sealed, on another day Zoe Dawes and I were able to go inside a similar tomb at Rafal Rubi where there are two Navetas built close together. These Navetas had not been restored and had a tumble-down appearance of a pile of rocks, since the upper story of the Naveta had collapsed and the stones seemed to have disappeared.

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca

At the south Naveta of Rafal Rubi we clambered through the small, but finely cut square hole to stand inside, under the roof of huge stone slabs. Inside the tomb, it felt rather bare and bleak (probably not helped by the pouring rain), with all remnants of the past taken away to reside in one of the island’s museums. Around the square opening was a lip, cut by expert stone masons, to keep the entrance stone in place that would seal the tomb.

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca

Without our guide, we would never have found this site, hidden away down a grassy path and surrounded by meadows and farm land. It reminded me of how Stonehenge, now complete with splendid new visitor’s centre, must have looked a hundred or so years ago when it was just part of the farming landscape, surrounded by grazing animals.

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca

We moved on to the second of the two Navetas, the northern one, where again the upper chamber had collapsed, but this time we didn’t go inside. Due to the pouring rain, it was not much of a day for lingering so Zoe and I made our way back through the olive trees and stone walls to the road.

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Naveta Rafal Rubi in Menorca

In addition to the burial chambers like these Navetas, there are many conical structures around Menorca named Talayot, after the Spanish word atalaya or watchtower. It is from these that the Talayotic culture got its name and these towers demonstrate that the people had come together to live in larger settlements, with a highly organised culture.

At Torre d’en Galmes, I was able to see some of the conical Talayot towers which seem to have doubled as living space with a watch tower on the upper level. The Talayots were normally situated within a settlement and also within sight of each other, so it is thought that they might have been used as a network to signal from one to another in times of danger.

Torre d'en Galmes in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Torre d’en Galmes in Menorca

Another unusual feature of the settlements around Menorca are the Taules or T-shaped rocks made of a slab of stone embedded in the ground with another rectangular stone on top. The name Taule comes from the Catalan word for table, perhaps a table where giants would eat. Rather than being a balancing trick, I observed how a slot had been made in the upper rock to allow it to slot into place on the pillar rock, illustrating the advanced skills in working stone of the Talayotic people. These Taules are thought to have some religious or ritual significance, perhaps representing the horns of a bull or religious beliefs, just as Christians use a crucifix as a symbol of their religion.

Torre d'en Galmes in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Torre d’en Galmes in Menorca

At Torre d’en Galmes I was able to sense the scale and organisation of the Talayotic settlements, with circular stone enclosures enclosing an inner courtyard, with different chambers and rooms built around the circle for sleeping, storage and keeping animals. The society was clearly well organised with a system of channels to collect rainwater and transport it to the underground reservoirs called Sitjots.

In other places around the site, huge slabs of rock were balanced on stone columns to make shelters that could have been used as storage chambers, topped with roofs of leaves and branches.

Torre d'en Galmes in Menorca Heatheronhertravels.com

Torre d’en Galmes in Menorca

I wondered why such large slabs of stone had been used in this way to create walls and roofs, since the effort involved to transport them and lever them into place was so enormous. However Zoe, who knew the island well, explained that Menorca is an island with plenty of stone but very little wood, so stone was used in the same way as huge oak beams might have been used elsewhere in Europe for building.

If you visit Menorca, I hope you’ll take time to visit at least some of these unique prehistoric monuments and settlements that are dotted around the southern half of the island. There are 32 sites that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage proposal and maps are available from the tourism offices around the island. You can also find more information from the www.menorcaarqueologica.com website who arrange regular group tours to see some of the main sites.

Museums in Menorca that cover the Talayotic Culture

While in Mahon, I also visited a couple of museums to learn more about the Talayotic culture.

Ca n’Oliver – Centre d’Art i Història Hernández Sanz

In the Ca n’Oliver house in Mahon there was an interesting exhibition in the basement about the Talayotic culture and on display in one of the rooms were household pots and grinding stones, which were part of the collection of the house’s owner. Carrer Annuncivay 2, Mahon. 

Displays at Ca n'Oliver in Mahon Heatheronhertravels.com

Displays at Ca n’Oliver in Mahon

The Museum of Menorca in Mahon

The Museum was under renovation when I visited in May 2016, with most galleries closed, but they did have a temporary exhibition about the Talayotic culture which was free. Once the whole museum reopens, you’ll find galleries that cover the whole fascinating history of Menorca from  the first inhabitants to  the 19th and 20th centuries, including all the Talayotic history. Museo de Menorca, Avinguda del Doctor Guardia, Mahon.

Museum of Menorca in Mahon Heatheronhertravels.com

Museum of Menorca in Mahon

More articles about Menorca

How to spend a perfect day in Mahon, Menorca
Slideguide to Menorca (Mallory on Travel)
Video: The enchanting island of Menorca (Travel with Kat)

Pin It

Read about Menorca's prehistoric past

Visitor Information for Menorca and Mahon

To plan your holiday in Menorca and Mahón visit the Menorca Tourism website or follow them on social media: Twitter @Turismhttp://www.menorca.esoMenorca | Facebook | Instagram

For holidays in other parts of Spain you can find more information at www.Spain.info or follow them on social media: Twitter @Spain_inUK | Facebook | Instagram

If you need a guide to show you the sites of Mahon and Menorca, I can highly recommend Luis Amella of Menorca Guides

Thanks to Menorca Tourism for hosting my stay in Menorca, in a project in partnership with Spain Tourism, Menorca Tourism and Travelator Media

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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How to spend a perfect day in Mahón, Menorca

May 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Balearics, Europe, Leisure, Sightseeing, Spain

Menorca is the smallest and calmest of the Balearic islands, a haven for lovers of understated luxury. It’s a place that doesn’t like to boast too much about its charms, but is full of history, fashion and great food. If you’re flying in to Menorca, or visiting on a cruise, why not take a day or so to explore Mahón, the elegant capital of the island. For those who enjoy mellow old buildings, stylish shopping and lazy seafood lunches by the port, here are the ingredients for your perfect day in Mahón.

How to spend the perfect day in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

A boat tour around the harbour

Start your day in Mahón with a relaxing 1 hour boat tour around the harbour, to dip into the naval history of the area. Because of the city’s deep harbour and strategic position in the Mediterranean, the British dominated the island for much of the 18th century and have especially left their stamp on Mahón. Buy your ticket at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps close to the cruise terminal and take your seat on the top deck for the best view, although you can retreat downstairs if it’s a bit too windy. As you pass the main sites of interest, there’s a commentary in several different languages including English.

Boat trip around Mahon harbour Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Boat trip around Mahon harbour

Now if you ask me for every detail of the harbour history it’s a bit hazy as I was taking too many photos, but to start with we passed by some of the swanky villas where the wealthy folk of Mahón live. We passed the English Arsenal, painted red as was the custom for military buildings, and further on Quarantine Island with a hospital where those with infectious diseases were treated. I imagine that those who went in wondered whether they would ever emerge alive. Near the harbour entrance, the water got quite choppy as we passed  briefly to the open sea. As soon as we turned around the water calmed again, and we returned past Cales Font, the pretty harbour of Es Castell which was the 18th century British garrison town.

The harbour boat tour is run by 2 main operators, the Yellow Catamaran and the Don Juan Catamaran which cost around €12 per adult (cheaper if you book online). Between them they run every half an hour throughout the day, selling drinks and snacks on board.

Mahon Harbour tour Photo- Heatheronhertravels.com

Boat tour of Mahon harbour

Elegant buildings overlook the harbour

Back on dry land, let’s climb up those white flights of steps to start to explore Mahón properly. As you near the top, look up to your right to see the elegant Art Nouveau facade of Casa Mercadel and up on your left there are plenty of viewpoints where you can have a drink with a view over the port. To your immediate left are two huge trees with roots like an elephant foot which are a well known landmark.

View of Mahon in menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View of Mahon in Menorca

The elegant Casa Mercadel was one of the homes owned by a noble Menorcan family and was built in on the site of an ancient castle that overlooked the harbour, now housing a cultural centre.

Casa Mercadel in Mahon, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Casa Mercadel in Mahon, Menorca

A mid-morning snack at the fish market?

In Placa d’Espanya at the top of the steps, you’ll find the Mercat del Peix or fish market with all the lovely fresh fish on sale until 2pm (closed Sunday and Monday).

Fish Market in Mahon, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The bright red prawns and spiny lobster are used to make the lobster caldereta and other seafood dishes that you can order at restaurants along the seafront. Despite all the groups of tourists trooping through to take photos, the stall holders were very good humoured and relaxed.

In the fishmarket at Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

In the fishmarket at Mahon

Tapas with a glass of wine

Walking past the fish you’ll come around to the other side of the market with stalls selling tapas, snacks and drinks. If you’re ready for a mid-morning break, this is the place to grab a drink and a snack, sitting at one of the stools inside or tables outside in the courtyard. On a Saturday lunchtime the place was buzzing with locals meeting their friends for a glass of wine and a chat.

Tapas in the fishmarket Photo- Heatheronhertravels.com

Tapas in the fishmarket of Mahon

The tapas typically cost between €1 and €3 and you can just point at whatever takes your fancy. I loved all the glistening olives and the appetising slices of bread topped with onions, peppers and anchovies. There was also a stall selling tasty seafood croquettes so I had to try a few of those as well, including one that was black with squid ink.

Tapas in the fish market of Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tapas in the fish market of Mahon

A little further up the square next to the fish market is the Carmelite cloisters which has been converted to a covered market selling everything from fruit and veg to shoes and local food specialities. Worth knowing that there’s a public WC here as I didn’t find one anywhere else in the old town.

The cloisters in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The cloisters in Mahon

Dip into the history of Mahon at Ca n’Oliver

If you’d enjoy visiting historic houses, pay a visit to Centre d’Art I d’Historia Hernandez Sanz at Ca n’Oliver, a mansion which belonged to one of the most powerful families of Mahon in the 18th and 19th centuries. This gorgeous house now houses the Hernandez Sanz collection of artworks which are on display over several floors around the ornate wrought iron staircase with a painted fresco to impress you in the lobby.

Staircase at Ca n'Oliver in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Staircase at Ca n’Oliver in Mahon

The paintings, maps and displays give insights into the British legacy on Menorca as well as the Oliver family who made their money as merchants in the Mediterranean and supplied the military in Mahón. I especially enjoyed the painted ceilings with religious and classical scenes in many of the rooms, designed to show the wealth and taste of the family who lived here.

Centre d’Art I d’Historia Hernandez Sanz at Ca n’Oliver, Anuncivay Street 2. Open daily except Monday 10-1.30pm and on Thursday, Friday, Saturday also 6-8pm.

Ca n' Oliver in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels

Ca n’ Oliver in Mahon

The Museum of Menorca in Mahon

Another fascinating place to visit is the Museum of Menorca in the old Franciscan monastery which was built in the baroque style at the end of the 17th century but confiscated in 1835. The Museum was closed for renovation when I visited but I was still able to see the beautifully preserved cloisters and visit an interesting exhibition about the Talayotic culture on Menorca explaining the background of some of the stone burial chambers and settlements I’d seen in different parts of the island.

Museum of Menorca in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Museum of Menorca in Mahon

Normally you can also see rooms which cover the history of Menorca from the earliest times, through the 18th century when the island was occupied variously by the English, French and Spanish, to the 20th century when the industries of shoe and jewellery making replaced shipbuilding.

Museum of Menorca, Avinguda Doctor Guardia, Open daily 10am – 2pm and some evenings. Closed Mondays. Normally €2.40 but free during renovation.

Cloisters in the Museum of Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cloisters in the Museum of Menorca

A leisurely lunch by the Port

By around 1.30 the shops and museums will be starting to close so it’s time to find somewhere to have a leisurely lunch. Of course there are plenty of bars and cafes in the old town but a great alternative is to walk back down to the main port area where you’ll find a string of bars and restaurants overlooking the marina.

The Port of Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Port of Mahon

Settle in to a table with a view of the harbour, so you can people-watch from behind your designer sunglasses and oggle a few of those expensive boats. Most restaurants have a well-priced set menu at lunchtime that includes 3 courses, wine and bread with both seafood and meat options. We really enjoyed La Minerva (Carrer Moll de Llevant, 87) which has a nice terrace and tried their Arroz, a cross between soup and risotto with rice and seafood in a rich sauce, which is what Menorcan families like to eat on a Sunday.

Seafood in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Seafood in Mahon

A wander around the old town streets

After lunch most of the shops will be shut until around 4.30pm, so it’s a good time to wander around the streets of the old town while they are less crowded and admire the mellow stone buildings. Turn your back on the fish market and walk up towards Placa de la Constitucia to see the Town Hall of Mahón with the clock presented by the English Governor, Richard Kane.

The old town hall of Mahon Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

The old town hall of Mahon

In the square is a bar called Boinder, named after the Menorcan term for the overhanging bay windows which you’ll see in many of the older houses around town. They are a legacy of the English, along with sash windows, door latches and highly polished brass door knockers. I have quite a collection of door-knocker photos!

Old door knocker in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Old door knocker in Mahon

From here follow Carrer Isabel II which runs parallel to the port and look out for the narrow passages between the houses that lead to viewpoints over the port. There are three that I found, the final one being at the end of the street where you’ll reach the Museum of Menorca.

View over the port of Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View over the port of Mahon

The influence of the British on Mahon

On the right hand side as you walk up Carrer Isabel II is the impressive Governor’s Residence, which was adopted by British Governor Richard Kane in 1722 when he moved the island’s capital from Cuitadella to Mahón. Although Cuitadella had been the ancient capital of the island, he found it too inconvenient to travel back and forth from one end of the island to the other, since the English fleet was based in Mahon.

The Governor's Residence in Mahon Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Governor’s Residence in Mahon

From the town hall, another interesting street to explore is Carrer de Sant Roc with some of the oldest houses owned by the noble families of Menorca leading to the gateway of Sant Roc which was once part of the city wall. The metal bands on the ground near the tower mark the line of where the city wall once stood. The gate overlooks a pleasant square, Plaça Bastio with café terraces and a children’s playground in the centre, so if you have children you’ll be able to sit with a drink and watch them play happily (at least that’s the theory).

Arc de Sant Roc in Mahon Photo Heatheronhertravels.com

Arc de Sant Roc in Mahon

A girl can never have too many shoes

Once the shops open later in the afternoon, it could be time do some souvenir shopping along the main shopping street of Carrer Hannover. Menorca has become a centre of quality shoe production and as we know a girl can never have too many shoes! The Avarca sandals that you’ll see in almost every shop were originally made with soles of old tyres but are now a high fashion item with many sparkly and colourful variations. Also look out for Pretty Ballerinas, a high fashion brand that is based on the island – their main shop is in the port area.

Sandals in Mahon, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sandals in Mahon, Menorca

Don’t go home until you’ve tried the cheese!

You can’t go home without trying the traditional Mahón-Menorca cheese which has a protected designation so it can only be made with milk from the island. The taste varies depending on how long the cheese has been matured and you’ll tell the artizan cheeses by the wrinkles made by the cloths in which they are wrapped. Around town there are quite a few shops that will let you have a taste before you buy and one of the best is Autentic, a deli shop on Plaça de s’Esplanada which has a good range of cheese, sausages and other produce of Menorca such as honey and flavoured liqueurs.

Mahon cheese in Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Mahon cheese in Menorca

Is it time for a drink yet?

At some point in the day you will want to taste some of the local gin which was another happy British introduction. In the past there were many distilleries on Menorca to keep the sailors satisfied, but now only Xoriguer remains. They have several shops around town but a good place to try their gin is in the main distillery on the harbourfront near the cruise terminal. Through the glass windows you can see the stills in operation and you are free to taste a range of the different gins and flavoured liqueurs that they produce and sell here.

Tasting the Xoriguer gin distillery Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tasting the Xoriguer gin distillery

The local way with gin is to mix it with fizzy lemonade to make a Pomada, deceptively refreshing in the summer and served in vaste quantities at all the fiestas on Menorca. You might want to try it as an aperitif in one of the bars once you’ve finished your shopping.

Pomada, the gin and lemon drink aperitif on Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Pomada, the gin and lemon drink aperitif on Menorca

Dinner at Es Castells

Of course there are plenty of places to eat in Mahón, but for a change of scene why not take a 10 minute taxi ride to Es Castell where there are lots of restaurants around the pretty harbour of Cales Fonts. Take some time to look aound the town square which was once a parade ground, with the red painted military buildings, before settling into a table at whichever restaurant takes your fancy.

Boats in the harbour at Cales Fonts Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Boats in the harbour at Cales Fonts

Time for bed at Hotel Artiem Capri

Having enjoyed the sunset and fresh seafood for dinner, a taxi will return you to your hotel in Mahón. I stayed at the very pleasant Hotel Capri close to Plaça de s’Esplanada and a 15 minute walk from the port. My room was spacious and modern and there is a lovely rooftop pool (which sadly I was too busy sightseeing to try out). The hotel is part of the Artiem Hotel group which has many excellent hotels around the island including the Hotel Artiem Audax in Cala Galdana where I also enjoyed staying.

Wherever you stay I hope you have a perfectly restful end to your perfect day in Mahón!

Hotel Artiem Capri in Mahon, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Artiem Capri in Mahon, Menorca

Hotel Artiem Capri, Caller San Esteban, 8, Mahón, Menorca.

Compare prices and book hotels in Mahón on my Hotels Booking page powered by Hotels Combined.

Hotel artiem Capri in Mahon, Menorca Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Artiem Capri in Mahon, Menorca

Have you visited Mahón or Menorca? What were your favourite Menorcan moments?

Visitor Information for Menorca and Mahon

To plan your holiday in Menorca and Mahón visit the Menorca Tourism website or follow them on social media: Twitter @Turismhttp://www.menorca.esoMenorca | Facebook | Instagram

For holidays in other parts of Spain you can find more information at www.Spain.inf0 or follow them on social media: Twitter @Spain_inUK | Facebook | Instagram

If you need a guide to show you the sites of Mahon and Menorca, I can highly recommend Luis Amella of Menorca Guides

Thanks to Menorca Tourism for hosting my stay in Menorca, in a project in partnership with Spain Tourism, Menorca Tourism and Travelator Media

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Read how to spend the perfect day in Mahon

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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