No holiday to Menorca (Minorca) would be complete without a trip to the island's capital Mahón (Maó). Mahón (Maó) is famous for its breathtaking natural harbour, which stretches an amazing 5km inland, where you will see everything from local fishing boats to millionaires' yachts.
The best way to see Maó is by foot and as you wander through its labyrinth of streets and beautifully preserved buildings you'll discover the legacy of the various civilizations that have passed through this wonderful town. Start at the Plaza de Bastió to see the only remains of the medieval wall that once surrounded the town, then walk on through to the Gate de San Roc, damaged by the infamous pirate Barbarossa in 1535. Throughout the streets you will see a rich Georgian architectural style, a lasting legacy of the British rule in the 18th century.
Today Mahón (Maó) is a sophisticated and bustling town offering shopping galore from designer boutiques to local craft shops. It holds its daily fruit and vegetable market in the beautifully restored cloisters of the Church of Carme as well as musical events here throughout the year.
At the other end of the town is the main town square of Plaza Esplanada which holds a craft market every Tuesday and Saturday and includes a children's play area - perfect for keeping them amused whilst you shop.
The best way of seeing the historic Port of Mahón (Maó) for the first time is via the impressive steps from 'Ses De Voltes' that lead down to the waterfront. The harbour front is relaxing by day and buzzing by night and offers endless bars, restaurants and boutiques. It's easy to spend many hours down in the port, watching the ships, admiring the view, enjoying the hospitality of the restaurants or just quietly taking in the balmy atmosphere.
But the beauty and harmony of the Maó’s harbour is best appreciated from the water.
Visible from the water are old fortifications and villas that played a part in history of the harbour, such as the Golden Farm, which has a commanding view of the entire bay and was the residence of the British governor Richard Kane. There are many inlets and islands to be seen, such as the Illa del Rei and El Llatzaret, from1817 - 1917 it was an obligatory quarantine station for ships all carrying people and merchandise.
Chartering a boat is the perfect way to explore Menorca's numerous sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Boats can be chartered for any duration, but if you don't have the requisite skills you can still enjoy the thrill of being at sea by being part of an organised boat trip for anything between a couple of hours up to a day.