According to Minorcan oral tradition, so swift was the last Moorish king’s escape during the Christian Reconquest that his horse’s horseshoes remained embedded for good in the stone pavement of Santa Àgueda Castle. This, and much more, is what is on offer in Ferreries—or Ferrerías, in Spanish—a municipality situated in the western-central part of the island neighbouring Ciutadella, Es Mercadal and Es Migjorn Gran, providing visitors with centuries of history, an idyllic landscape and an atmosphere of absolute tranquillity.
The municipality’s first constructions date back to the pre-Talayotic period, more specifically the naviform period (1500–1200 BC). The most important example of this type of architecture is in Son Mercer de Baix, one of the oldest archaeological complexes in Minorca, composed of various extended navetas (a type of megalithic chamber tomb unique to Minorca), among which the Cova des Moro is the best preserved. Excavations have been taking place at the ruins since the mid-twentieth century and in 1966 the site became classified as an Asset of Cultural Interest.
Although it has already been mentioned, it’s worth touching on it again: Santa Àgueda Castle, one of the most important fortifications of the Moorish period in Minorca, was built between the tenth and twelfth centuries, and later became neglected after the Reconquest. Today, its main attraction lies in its panoramic views of the island, as it is situated at the highest point of the municipality (the third-highest in Minorca).
Aside from its historical facet, nature also takes on special importance in Ferreries. Thanks to its geographical location, the municipality serves as a showcase of the island’s varied landscape, encompassing the wild and precipitous northern coastline, and the idyllic, tranquil southern shores. It is therefore a great place to relax, without forsaking the active tourism that its beaches have to offer. In the north, for example, is Els Alocs, a wild rocky cove famous for its naturists and mud baths, whilst in the south, is the incredibly famous Cala Galdana and the less well-known Cala Mitjana and Cala Mitjaneta, which are connected by a large, unspoilt Mediterranean forest.
As far as the town is concerned, Ferreries originated in the late thirteenth century around a former chapel on the site of which Sant Bartomeu Church would later be built, in honour of the patron saint of the area. It is situated on the town’s main square—also called Plaça de l’Església [Church Square]—whose central role in the social life of Ferreries explains the presence of other important buildings, such as the Town Hall and Casa de Ses Voltes, an icon of Minorcan civic architecture. Nowadays, every Saturday morning the square becomes the scene of an important craft market where typical handcrafted goods from the region are sold, such as artisan bracelets and necklaces made from macramé, or traditional avarcas—rustic sandals also known as menorquinas. Nevertheless, to get a real feel for Ferreries, one has to lose themselves amid its narrow white streets. Carrer de Sant Joan and Carrer de Dalt, to name just a few, are still home to small, traditional manufacturing businesses.
All that remains today are the ruins of the historic Castell de Santa Àgueda castle, the island’s great protector.
Cala Galdana, one of Minorca’s most popular tourist destinations, is a family-friendly beach with turquoise waters where you can try your hand at all kinds of nautical activities.
There are hundreds of places where to eat in Minorca. Most restaurants serve food with a special emphasis on produce and enhancing the local flavours.