Minorca - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Minorca


Despite its popularity as a holiday Mecca, the Balearic island of Minorca remains one of the loveliest, most unspoilt islands in the Mediterranean. The local population support the control of resort development and the woodlands and fields of its hilly rural interior remain largely untouched. This is the result of a thriving local industry that is less dependent on tourism for its survival than the other islands are.

Minorca is only nine miles (15km) wide and about 32 miles (52km) long, and boasts stretches of varied beaches, from silver-sanded gently curving bays to rocky inlets. Aside from beaches and resorts the island also has plenty of interest for history buffs and culture vultures, with several attractions to experience, including a world famous pipe organ and several mysterious prehistoric archaeological sites related to the second millennium BC Talayot culture.

The more recent history of the island is a saga of British, French and Spanish attempts at control and colonisation, each of which have left their influence on the local culture and architecture.

Information & Facts


Minorca enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Experiencing 315 days of sunshine a year, July and August are by far the hottest months with temperatures reaching over 86°F (30°C). Winter is mild and often sunny with the highest rainfall occurring during these months. The north wind known as the tramontana, blows regularly, bringing with it changeable weather.

Getting Around

Small as it may be, Minorca has a reliable and safe public transport system. Buses run from the Placa de s'Esplanada in Mahon regularly throughout the town and between other towns such as Fornells, Es Mercadal, Alaior, Ferreries, Ciutadella and Cala en Porter. Taxis can also be hailed from the Placa de s'Esplanada in Mahon. Rental car agencies can be found throughout the towns and at the airport.

Kids Attractions

The quiet and unspoilt island of Minorca offers wonderful activities for children and families to enjoy while on holiday. Pack the bucket and spade and head off to one of Minorca's fabulous beaches, such as the soft sanded Binibequer, the mile-long Son Bou, or the picturesque Cala Galdana and Cala En Porter. But don't forget the sunscreen and hats! Head up to the north coast to enjoy more secluded beaches, or stop in at the Cap de Cavalleria lighthouse to admire the view. In Mahon take the kids for stroll along the waterfront, admire the boats, grab an ice-cream and take a ride on a glass-bottom boat. Children with a bit more energy will love the Aquarock Water Park in Cala en Bosc and the Los Delfines Water Park near Ciutadella. On days when the when outdoor activities for children are not an option, finding an indoor playground is not easy, but most of the hotels provide children's clubs or indoor playground facilities to keep the little ones entertained on colder days.

Spanish is the official language, but English is widely understood in areas frequented by tourists. Catalan, Galician and Basque are spoken in the relevant areas.

Spain's official currency is the Euro (EUR). One Euro is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at bureaux de change and major hotels, but banks give the best rates. All major credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining money.


Unlike its Balearic neighbor, Ibiza, Minorca doesn't offer wild parties, hectic nightlife and clubs where party people can dance the night away. The nightlife in Minorca is laid back and centred round hotels, quiet bars, restaurants and the occasional club. In the capital of Mahon there are a few live music bars, pubs, and tavernas where soaking up the views and atmosphere while sipping on a cocktail is the overall mood. Resort towns such as Cala En Porter offer younger visitors themed bars, but most of them close before midnight. Known for its live bands and cocktails, Akalarre Bar on the waterfront in Mahon is a popular haunt, while the Caves of Xoroi in Cala En Porter is a must for drinks or to enjoy the cave disco and breathtaking views.


Most of the towns, and particularly the resorts, in Minorca are full of the usual gift shops selling tourist tat, but in Mahon exciting shopping opportunities abound. Head towards the centre of town where the cobblestoned streets are lined with boutiques, clothing shops, jewellers, ice-cream parlours and shoe stores. The tourist areas are also loaded with shops. Great souvenirs to bring home from Minorca include traditional leather sandals called Albarques,leather goods, jewellery and the Minorcan gin, Xoriguer. Mahon has a wonderful market every Sunday where anything from clothing to fresh food and produce can be bought. Most shops open between 9am and 9pm, but close between 2pm and 5pm for siesta. Tourist shops are usually open during siesta hours.


Minorca offers a few historic sightseeing opportunities, but most noteworthy places worth visiting are the exquisite, unspoilt beaches with soft, white sand and crystalline waters, or the fantastic old villages, which in themselves are attractions. In Mahon, explore the waterfront, take a tour of the 3.5 mile-long (5.6km) natural harbour on a glass-bottom boat, visit the Xoriguer Gin Distillery and admire the beautiful architecture. Head out to Fornells on the north coast for the day to enjoy a lazy lunch and spot of shopping in this sleepy fishing village, and organise a scuba dive in the marine reserve while you're there. The north offers stunning remote beaches such as Cavalleria, Son Parc and Cala Tirant, or visit the lighthouse at Cap de Cavalleria. Head to the 13th Century town of Ferreries for lunch or the west coast port town of Ciutadella where fantastic restaurants abound. Check out the oldest roofed building in Spain at Naveta dels Tudons on the way to Cuitadella, or visit Minorca's highest point of Monte Toro in Es Mercadal.

Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October). The Canary Islands: GMT (GMT +1 in summer).

Featuring water slides, pools and even a go-karting track, a trip to Aquarock Water Park is a must for families travelling in Minorca with kids. The famous kamikaze slide is a must, little ones can splash in the pools and parents can simply relax in the Jacuzzi. There are also trampolines, mini golf and video games.

One of the largest coastal developments along the central south coast of Minorca, Cala 'n Porter's picturesque and breathtaking cove and beach keep tourists flocking here throughout the summer season. Famed for its Cova d'en Xoroi, Cala 'n Porter is located on the edge of beautiful sheer cliffs, creating perfect views over the Mediterranean and mind-blowing sunsets. By Minorcan standards, this resort is lively, but visitors should not expect to find pumping clubs and bars like on sibling Baleariac islands, Mallorca or Ibiza.

Minorca's second town, the compact port of Ciutadella, is west of the capital and linked to it by the main island road. Ciutadella is very different in character to Mahon, sporting a distinct Moorish and Spanish influence in its Gothic and Baroque grand mansions and palaces. The town does not boast any specific sightseeing attractions but it does offer excellent restaurants, interesting shops and arcades as well as a relaxed ambience; perfect for wandering around. There are also some coves nearby inviting exploration.

Rated as one of the top kids attractions in Minorca, Club San Jaime, located in the beach resort of Son Bou, this water park and play area features slides, pools, waterchutes, and a restaurant. A great day out for the whole family, the children can enjoy splashing around or riding the slides while parents hang out at the restaurant.

Visitors to Minorca cannot leave without making the short trip to the beautiful Cala n' Porter to enjoy the Cova d'en Xoroi (commonly referred to as 'The Caves'), a bar/restaurant perched on the side of a very steep cliff overlooking the sugary white beach and cove of Cala 'n Porter. Located inside a historic grotto, this spectacular location is a must for sundowners and a great place to get into the mood for a Minorcan night out. Revellers can also enjoy a disco in the famous caves every Friday and Saturday at 11pm.

Surrounded by rolling green hills, the 13th century town of Ferreries lies nestled in the centre of the Minorca next to the island's second highest mountain. With orange tiled roofs and pokey, narrow streets, this little town may not be an obvious attraction, but it's natural charm and location make it a great place to stop to see how real locals live.

Located in the north, which is known for its unspoilt and very often, deserted beaches, Fornells is a sleepy resort and fishing town. Originally founded to serve the 16th century castle as a defence against the Barbary pirates, all that remains of the military is the watchtower perched upon a hill, which visitors can visit. Fornells' quaint waterfront area lined with shops and restaurants bustles during the summer months, but remains quiet the rest of the year. Travellers can enjoy water sports here, such as windsurfing and scuba divers can enjoy an excursion to the marine park off the north shores and marvel at the magnificent colours and marine life.

Minorca's capital town, Mahón, is an unavoidable port of call for visitors arriving on the island, and most head for the string of restaurants and cafes that line the harbour frontage. The town itself is sedate and conservative, featuring classic Georgian townhouses (bearing testimony to the British occupation of bygone days) and tall apartment blocks. The town does have some attractions for those interested in making more of their holiday than dashing off to the beach. The mansion house, Golden Farm, overlooks the harbour and was once occupied by Admiral Lord Nelson. Also on the sightseeing list is the Xoriguer Gin Distillery where famed Minorcan gin is produced in an age-old process, and the celebrated huge organ (with more than 3,000 pipes) in the church Esglesia de Santa Maria la Major. The Swiss-made organ was brought to Mahon during the Napoleonic wars and is used during an annual music festival in July and August.

Minorca has a variety of beaches and resorts. Fornells, an attractive fishing village on the north coast, is on a spectacular bay ideal for windsurfing and watersports. Close by is the beach Cala Tirant. Cala Galdana is one of the most popular beaches, set in a horseshoe bay, while Santo Tomas with its stretch of golden sand is a small resort favoured by families and honeymoon couples. Son Bou is one of the longest sandy beaches on the island, backing on to open countryside and unspoilt by development, although there are a few shops, bars, restaurants and a discotheque nearby. Binebeca and Binisafua on the southwest coast were Minorca's first resort centres, now mainly residential areas filled with private villas fronting numerous sandy bays.

Regarded as the 'cathedral of prehistoric monuments' the Naveta des Tudons is the best-known sight on Minorca. One of numerous navetas on the island, it is situated just outside Ciutadella on the road from Mahon and stands two stories high, shaped like the upturned bow of a ship. It is accepted that navetas were funereal structures, but they remain surrounded by mystery and legends. Another important ancient sight is the Torre d'en Gaumes, the largest prehistoric village in the Balearic Islands, which is on the south side of Minorca between the village of Alaior and the Son Bou beach. The village features three talaiots (stone towers) surrounded by a defensive wall, pillared naves and a taula (a T-shaped stone temple structure). There is also a dolmenic burial chamber at the site.

Children will love taking a ride on a glass-bottom boat through Mahon's natural harbour, the largest of its kind in the Mediterranean, and out towards open waters where kids can go down below to look through the boat's glass bottom. The tour features a narration available in a variety of different languages and takes passengers through the harbour highlighting buildings and houses along the way. Passengers can move freely and adults can even make use of the bar. A fun excursion that the kids will love and a great way to see the city from a different angle, a tour on the Yellow Catamaran is a must.

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