Menorca is just one of Spain's beautiful islands, and its capital city of Mahon has much to offer. It's home to an immense natural harbor that is one of the largest in the entire world at more than three miles long and nearly 3,000 feet wide, and its waters are deep and beautifully clear. The harbor, which is sometimes referred to as Mahon Port, is a hub of excitement all year around, and you'll definitely want to spend some time in this area during your stay in Menorca.
A Bit of History
It's only natural that such a large harbor would attract a great deal of notice, and that hasn't always been a good thing for the island. In 1708, the British fleet sailed into the harbor and captured Menorca to use as a naval base. The French weren't any too happy about that development, so they sailed right into Mahon Port with some 15,000 troops in 1756. The French took the island by storm and knocked the British right out of their position of power, and it was no doubt an embarrassment to the British that not a single French life was lost during the siege.
As a result of this incredible victory, the French leader Duc de Richelieu ordered the chef to prepare a celebratory meal. The chef smartly chose to create a wonderful dish made of fresh seafood caught right out of the harbor, and he made a brand new special dressing, which he called mayonnaise in honor of the brilliant capture of Mahon Port. Though the world's favorite sandwich spread was invented thanks to this particular battle, the French still returned the island to Britain in 1763 before it was ultimately returned to Spain once and for all in 1802.
Explore Mahon Port
A great many of Menorca's millions of yearly visitors make it a point to spend some time at Mahon Port, and one of the best ways to enjoy the clear waters of the harbor is with a fun ride in a glass bottom boat. These are two of the most trusted tour companies that offer a fun, safe ride in the harbor.
This company is considered to be the most diverse, and its onsite bar is open during each tour with beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks available. These are just a few of the tours that you may choose from.
- Return to the Port: Available all seven days of the week between May 1 and Oct. 31, this hour-long excursion takes you on an incredible ride around the harbor while the knowledgeable guides teach you all there is to know about the history of Mahon Port and Menorca. You'll enjoy the best views of the wonderful colonial houses and impressive fortifications from your vantage point on the water, and you'll be treated to the sight of the many sea birds that come into the harbor as well. Before your tour is over, you'll be allowed to go down to the catamaran's underwater rooms for a close-up look at the abundant sea life.
- Isle of the King: This tour may be combined with the one above for a longer excursion. You'll be transported by catamaran to the very center of the harbor for a visit to King's Island, which is the location of the old British military hospital.
- Special Group Tours: Other boating excursions through this company include the romantic sunset cruise, and you may also book one of the catamarans for a specific special occasion. Birthday parties, graduation parties, anniversary celebrations and graduation bashes have all been enjoyed at Mahon Port. Just let the company know what you want, and you'll be taken care of.
This tour company boasts a large and comfortable catamaran with four of the largest underwater viewing chambers on the entire island, and you'll be able to see everything under the sea from the 24 large glass windows. One-hour tours around the harbor are offered four times daily except Sunday from May through October. Your English-speaking guides will delight you with their knowledge of the area's peculiarities, characteristics and history, and you may enjoy a wonderful view from both the open top deck and the sheltered main deck.
Enjoy a Meal at Cafe Mares
Before or after your harbor cruise, you'll want to enjoy a stroll alongside the water. You'll find many nice spots to shop, stop for a drink or have a snack or a meal, and Cafe Mares is one of the best harbor-side restaurants with a magnificent view across the water. The head chef is a genius with food, and you'll find a menu that features fresh seafood, local meats and seasonal vegetables. Popular dinner items include pork cheeks, rabbit, cod, octopus, scallops and slow-cooked lamb.