Originally a Moorish settlement, the hillside town of Alaior (Alayor) in Menorca has narrow winding streets and whitewashed houses which give it a distinctly medieval feel. With a great selection of shops, banks, restaurants, bars and cafes, Alaior is Menorca's third largest town.
The town was founded in 1304 by King James II of Mallorca on the site of the farmhouse of Ilahor. One of the prettiest towns on the island, Alaior is built around the old hill of Ilahor whose crowning glory is the beautiful Santa Eulalia Church.
Alaior is a fascinating town to wander around, with its dramatic topography, interesting buildings, charming courtyards and squares, colourful shops and weekly markets. The town boasts a good selection of places to eat, including some great ice cream parlours! There are some very good quality restaurants serving locally-sourced fresh produce, as well as numerous local bars and pavement cafes to soak up the town's ancient atmosphere.
Thanks to the herds of dairy cows grazing on the lush pastureland surrounding Alaior, the town is the cheese-making capital of the island. Matured for up to a year, Menorcan cheeses have a very distinctive flavour - as well as being widely used in local cuisine, the cheeses are popular 'souvenirs' for tourists to take home with them! Alaior is also well known for the production of high quality shoes, and as with the dairy produce these can be bought direct from the local factory outlets.
Alaior's central location puts it in easy reach of all the island's beaches. The resort of Son Bou (and the neighbouring areas of San Jaime and Torre Soli Nou), is only 5 minutes drive from Alaior. With its soft pale sand, Son Bou beach is a sun worshippers paradise. Being nearly 3 km long (the longest beach on the island) there is plenty of room for everyone including those looking for a quiet haven!
The capital Mahon (Mao), with its waterfront restaurants and bars, and the airport are only 15 minutes drive from Alaior.