Most everyone knows that Spain's picturesque island of Menorca is home to miles of endless beaches that are among the most beautiful in the world, but the island also boasts some 16 exceptional museums. Each is open to the public, and these include those dedicated to the military, art, history and science as well as five specialty museums that you won't find anywhere else. These are just a few of the most popular museums, and if your Menorca plans include lodging with us here at Exceptional Stays, then we'll be happy to arrange for your tour of any of the island's excellent museums.
Isla del Rey
Reached by a Yellow Catamaran boat ride, this entire island, located right in the middle of lovely Mahon Harbor, is a museum in itself. Once referred to as Bloody Island, it houses an old, impressive military hospital that was used by the British Navy in the 1700s, and it was set up to serve as many as 336 sailors with separate quarters for those who were sick and the surgeons, nurses, watchmen, naval officials and the director of the hospital. The building is an architectural wonder with its unique U-shape, columns, arches and other interesting touches, and it's currently being restored to its original magnificence. In addition to a guided tour of the hospital, visitors will also see the remains of a basilica from the early Christian era and explore the interesting flora and fauna that dominates the island. At the conclusion of the tour, participants are invited to enjoy a meal of tapas, other traditional area foods and drinks.
The Military Museum
Conveniently situated in Es Castell's 18th century barracks of Cala Corp, this museum houses all things that are related to the long, rich military history of the island. It addresses each of the military occupations that have taken place on the island, and you'll learn everything that you ever wanted to know about Menorca's military throughout the years. Two full floors hold various exhibitions that include model soldiers and ancient weaponry such as guns with a special emphasis on the 15-inch Vickers, cannons, fire systems and special gun sights. You'll also see the massive walls of Son Catlar and the fort of La Mola, and there is a video room and a library where you can read and watch films about the military. Four times each year, there is a brilliant reenactment of the handover of Menorca from the British to the Spanish. Be advised that the museum is currently being renovated, and it will reopen in March of 2018.
This Ferreries specialty museum offers a look into the life of both the traditional rural Menorcan people and the early noble families. You'll enjoy several unique experiences as you tour the farmhouse museum and the manor house museum, and you'll be treated to interesting demonstrations that feature early farming techniques with live animals. Also onsite is the Museum of Natural Sciences of Menorca, and it boasts some 8,000 native species. Visitors are encouraged to sample the traditional Menorcan cuisine at the museum restaurant, take time to enjoy a walk through the lovely gardens and explore the large ethnological collection. Plan to spend a full morning or afternoon to experience everything that this museum has to offer.
Museo de Menorca
A Mahon favorite, this museum houses a comprehensive history of Menorca with a vast collection of historical artifacts. You'll see archaeological items that date all the way back to periods of time that include the Talayotic, the Roman, the Byzantine and the Islamic, and there are also historic maps, ancient sculptures and art from throughout the centuries on display. Guided tours are available from English-speaking guides who will take the time to explain the exhibits, and there are special activities available for children, youth, adults and entire families.
Municipal Museum of Ciutadella
Nicely situated in the 1677 Sa Font bastion of the old city walls, this museum provides a wonderful view over the port and an excellent collection of Ciutadella history. Visitors will discover artifacts that range from pre-Talayotic times straight through to the island's rule under the kingdom of Aragon in 1287. Expect to see exhibits that include prehistoric skulls, ancient pottery, coins from throughout the ages, artwork, literature, tools and other items that were used in early times and some amazing jewelry. There are also temporary exhibits that change throughout the year.
Centre Artesanal de Menorca
A great little art museum in Mercadal, this became the first craft center in the Balearic Islands in 2005. It showcases the skills of the Menorcan craftspeople, and visitors may expect to enjoy a permanent display of tools and materials used throughout the ages with tutorials on how each craft was made and a large display of historical and current arts and crafts.