The Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza are among the most popular cruise destinations in the Mediterranean. Hundreds of cruise ships call at the ports of Palma de Mallorca and Eivissa every year. In 2019, the last year before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, Palma's port recorded 820 cruise ship calls (source: statista). It is completely different with Menorca. Although the island is beautiful, the port company reported only 55 calls by cruise ships for the coming year as of the end of November of the current year. The green and tranquil Menorca is reserved for tourists arriving by plane and is less the destination of primarily small, luxurious ships.
Cruise Pirs Mahón
Menorca in numbers
Menorca, the second largest island in the Spanish autonomous region of the Balearic Islands, is 694 square kilometers in size. The name of the island already expresses it. In Catalan it means "the smaller". The much larger neighboring island of Mallorca with an area of 3.603 square kilometers is called “the larger” in Catalan. It's no exaggeration: Menorca is overshadowed by its big sister in terms of comparative values.
Menorca is approximately 50 kilometers long and a maximum of 16 kilometers wide. Approximately 100.000 people live on the island, 30.000 of them in the island's capital, Mahón. The city is situated on a thirty meter high rock plateau above one of the largest and deepest natural harbors in the Mediterranean.
The upper town of Mahón
The second largest city on the island is called Ciutadella. It is also located on a natural harbor. Ciutadella was the capital of the island until the 18th century. After that, the capital function was transferred to Mahón.
The island is divided in two by the landform. In the north it looks rocky; the coastline is rugged. Towards the south, the landscape is rather gentle. Menorca is green, densely wooded and characterized by agriculture.
Menorca - lots of green land
Mahón – a little history
The city looks back on an eventful past. Legend has it that Carthaginians founded the city. After that, Mahón belonged to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires. Later, like much of Spain, the place came under Moorish rule. In 1287 the island was liberated from the Moors. In the years that followed, the Balearic Islands fell to the House of Aragon. And even later they were part of the Spanish monarchy.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Menorca came under British influence. France followed England. Only with the Treaty of Versailles did Menorca return to Spain. This did not prevent the British from occupying and shaping the island again between 1798 and 1802. A number of sacred and profane buildings are still reminiscent of the city's eventful history.
Mahon - Portal de San Rocque
Mahón for cruise ship guests
The Cruise Pirs of the city of Mahón are extremely conveniently located within walking distance of the city center. The visit to the historic city is preceded by a passage through the Bay of Mahón. The cruise ships pass beautiful bays, fortifications, islands and modern tourist residential areas.
Mahón - Ferry and cruise ship docks
Under Mahon / Menorca Sights we report on our visit to the island's capital.