If you planning your holidays in Mahon, Menorca, the following information may help by giving you an overview of the resort and the surrounding area.
Mahon is Menorca’s walled capital and is a maze of narrow streets filled with bars, shops and restaurants all built around a bustling port on a huge natural harbour. The Plaza Esplanada is Menorca’s largest square and a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists. Lined with cafes and restaurants in historic buildings, it was once a military parade ground.
Probably the best way to arrive on your Mahon holidays is by boat, watching as the city appears – a jumble of attractive whitewashed houses which seem to grow out of the old sea walls. You cannot separate Mahon [or Mao] from its harbour – it is the reason why the great powers fought over Menorca for so long and why the British moved the capital from Ciutadella to Mahon.
When the European power fought over Menorca in the 18th century, the greatest prize was the harbour at Mahon [also known as Mao]. The worlds second largest natural harbour [5km long and up to 900m wide] was wrongly believed to provide an impregnable Mediterranean base.
The best way to see the harbour is on one of the one-hour boat tours that leave from the foot of the harbour steps in summer. The water is deep, but is very clear and from the glass-bottomed boat you can see the sea bed. From the water you will also get the best views of the 18th century houses lining either side.
Mahon’s town hall [Ayuntamiento] was built in 1613 but completely refashioned in 1788 with the additional of an English clock which was a gift from the first British governor, Sir Richard Kane. A stone stairway leads to the portico where plaques record the completion of the original building, together with royal visits and coronations. Also, there is a sculpted image of Sant Sebastian, the patron saint of Mahon.
Cala Figuera – If you take the long stairway which lead from Plaza d’Espania down to the harbour and then along Moll de Llevant, following the promenade for about 30 minutes and you will enter the deep cove of Cala Figuera. This is the fashionable area of Mahon – the yacht club is here, along with the casino. Boathouses, shipyards and fishermen’s caves have been turned into trendy shops and bars, and restaurants specialising in everything from sushi to pizza and fresh fish. From here you have a perfect view of the Illa de Rei in the middle of Mahon harbour. Cala Figuera was known as the “English Creek” in the days then Royal Navy ships moored here for fresh water. Keep walking around the inlet beyond the restaurants and bars and eventually you reach Cala Fonduco, a peaceful cove just a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the port of Mahon.
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