This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea between the coast of Northern Africa and mainland Europe, the Balearic island of Menorca offers a mix of beautiful scenery and interesting local culture.
The port at Mahon – the island’s capital – is the second largest in Europe and one of the most beautiful natural ports in the Mediterranean region. Furthermore, its east-west orientation protects it from the region’s ‘tramontana’ northerly winds.
Menorca’s shores have been imprinted with the footprints of different civilisations throughout history, including Phoenicians, Greeks, Punics, Romans and Vandals.
During the 18th century, Menorca was ruled for more than 70 years by the British. This occupation left a mark on many aspects of the island’s culture and daily life, from the local dialect to buildings like Nelson’s House. Here, according to legend, Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton lived out their love in the summer of 1800. Travellers have the opportunity to take a tour of these iconic places from Mahon’s city hall.
Visitors to Mahon can take a look around the port, before discovering the island’s gastronomic offerings and trying the famous Menorcan gin. Mahon also has a close relationship with the opera, and the Teatro Principal, with more than 180 years of history, is a must-see in the city.
Away from Mahon, visitors to Menorca will discover points of interest and fantastic natural beauty at every turn. Travellers can see the island’s seven lighthouses, its white, sandy beaches, and try the local cuisine.
Visitors can also discover the prehistoric history of Menorca, with more than 1,500 archaeological sites on the island. In fact, the island’s talaiots – Bronze Age megaliths from the talaiotic period – are a candidate to receive Heritage of Humanity status. Travellers can visit these historic sites thanks to a range of excursions and guided tours which are available throughout the year.
All these special historical, cultural and geographical features help make Menorca an appealing destination to cruise passengers. Couple this with the fantastic port facilities at Mahon, and the island offers a winning combination.