The Minorcan municipality of Mahón is proud to be the easternmost point of Spain, but it’s not the only thing it has to boast about. With a population of 28,592 inhabitants (according to a 2018 census), you could almost say that locals are familiar with one another. However, due to an influx of tourists, the local population swells during a large part of the year.
The 117 km2 of the territorial area of Mahón (since 2012 officially known as Maó-Mahón) is home to the eponymous capital of Minorca, and several urban areas larger or smaller in size, including Es Grau, Sa Mesquida, Es Murtar, Sant Climent, Llucmaçanes, Binidalí and Es Canutells, in addition to several residential areas, such as Sant Antoni, Binixíquer and Cala Llonga.
The location of Mahón, alongside a large natural harbour in the Mediterranean, has led to it being coveted by numerous civilisations throughout history. In fact, it was founded by the Carthaginian general Mago Barca, who was coincidentally the brother of Hannibal. After the Carthaginians came the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Moors and, with the Reconquest, the Castilians. However, its evolution didn’t stop there, as it was also captured by the British and it remained under their rule for 70 years. It is for this reason that the architecture and customs of the municipality are highly diverse.
When visiting Minorca there are two main points of entry, both in Mahón: the port, where numerous cruise ships dock each year, and the airport, situated just four kilometres from the city centre. Mahón is, therefore, the first gracious host to greet visitors when they arrive on the island.
The capital, Mahón, offers holidaymakers an attractive historic quarter with various places of interest such as La Mola Fortress, Santa María Church, the City Hall building, the Museum of Minorca, Sant Roc Bastion and an interesting market where you can acquaint yourself with local produce from both the countryside and the sea. When night falls, the city transforms into the liveliest place on the island.
Of particular note among the rest of the towns and villages are Es Grau, one of the former summer resorts of islanders; the whitewashed houses in the small village of Llucmaçanes; the fishing village of Sa Mesquida; Sant Climent, with its picturesque church; the unspoilt beach of Binidalí; the cliffs and tourist resort of Es Canutells; and the small cluster of houses in Es Murtar, a very family-oriented, tranquil spot.
On the other side of the harbour are other residential areas that don’t go unnoticed either, such as Cala Llonga with its beautiful summer villas, and Sant Antoni, where a love affair between Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton is said to have been played out. As if that weren’t enough, Mahón also boasts several islets that are even clearer to see when arriving on the island by boat: Illa del Rei, Illa del Llatzeret, Illa de la Quarantena and Illa Pinto.
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