Despite the mass tourism that began in the 60s of the twentieth century, Menorca still remains a relatively peaceful place compared to neighboring islands such as Ibiza and Majorca. The sea and beach life are the main tourist attractions in Menorca. The most popular resorts are concentrated along the south coast, while the north coast remains wild and picturesque.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: PREHISTORIC MONUMENTS
The historical heritage is among the most important tourist attractions of Menorca. This is represented by prehistoric monuments, remains of the Roman era, ruins of early Christian churches and vestiges of the Islamic period.
Among the prehistoric monuments are the villages-sanctuary of the Talayotic era the “taules” (Taula di Trepucó, Taula di Torralba d’en Salort). The funeral monuments called “navetas” (Naveta des Tudons). The large stone towers called “talaiots” (Talaiot of Es Fornàs de Torrelló, Talaiot of Trebalúger, Tailot of Torralba d’en Salort). The talaiotic villages of Trepucó, Torralba d’en Salort, Son Catlar, Talatì de Dalt and Tore d’en Galmés.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS
Among the necropolises worth mentioning is that of Calas Coves where excavated in the rock of the cliffs there are about one hundred tombs, some from the Talaiotic or Bronze Age, (1200-750 BC), and others from the Iron Age (750-123 BC). The caves were used from the 11th century BC. until the arrival of the Romans in 123 BC. Near the beach of Son Bou there are the remains of an early Christian basilica, one of the oldest religious buildings on the island, dating back to the 5th-6th century AD. Another early Christian basilica is that of Es Fornàs de Torrelló, with a single nave, dating back to the 6th century AD.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: HISTORICAL MONUMENTS
The island is also rich in majestic fortresses, built to defend the island from invasions by pirates and other populations. The most important nucleus is located in the port of Mahon (Maó): we can admire the fortress of the Mola (1848-1875), the remains of the Castle of Sant Felip, the Fort Marlborough (built by the British between 1710 and 1726), the fortress of Isabella II; the Stuart Tower.
Along the coast of the island there are numerous lookout towers: Torre de Sa Mesquida (built by the British), Torre Son Ganxo (XVIII century). To learn more about the use that was made of the towers and the defense system of the island between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, you can visit the exhibition located in the Torre di Fornells (built by the British in 1801).
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: THE HISTORICAL CENTERS
The main urban centers are Mahón and Ciutadella. There are numerous religious and historical buildings on the island. In Ciutadella, the ancient capital of the island, there is the most important religious building, the Cathedral of Menorca, built starting from the thirteenth century in the Gothic style. The historic center of Ciutadella, characterized by the elegant Plaza des Born, is full of numerous aristocratic palaces, among these the Palace Martorell built at the end of the seventeenth century stands out. The Palace Saura, in colonial baroque style, was built between the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. Other interesting buildings are the Torresaura Palace (19th century) and the Salort Palace (19th century). At the entrance of the port of Ciutadella there is the castle of Sant Nicolau, it is a defense tower built by the Spaniards at the end of the eighteenth century.
In Mahon (Maó) there is the church of Santa Maria (1750-1820) with the neo-Gothic interior; while neoclassical is the church of Carme (1748) with the adjoining cloister. The lazaret of Mahon (Maó) is also interesting, built on an island in the center of the port in the late eighteenth century. To visit on the top of the small hill overlooking the island, Monte Toro, the 17th century Sanctuary of Mare de Déu del Toro.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: BEACHES AND NATURAL PLACES
But as we said the coasts are the main tourist attractions of Menorca. In Menorca there are beaches for all tastes, the beaches of the south coast have white sand and are surrounded by green pine forests, the north coast is wilder. Among the most beautiful beaches are Cala en Turqueta, Cala Mitjana and Cala Mitjaneta. Cala Macarella and Cala Macarelleta, Cala Presili, Cala Trebalujer. Playa Son Saura and Cala des Talaier. Playa Binimela, Cala Pregonda, Cala Algariens and Cala Morell. Son Sauracon, Playa Son Bou.
Finally, let’s move on to the natural areas of the island. In 1993 Minorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Ponds and lagoons are present all over the island. Among the marshy areas of the coast, we find the Albufera Natural Park of Es Grau (a paradise for migratory birds, fish and reptiles), Addaia, Son Saura and Son Bou. To these wetlands, another 8 dune systems are added, seven on the north coast: the marine lagoon of Es Grau, Son Saura, Tirant, Cavalleria, Pregonda, Cala Pilar and La Vall. While another is located on the south coast: Son Bou. Other natural attractions are the gorges, the underwater caves, and the terrestrial caves.