Mahon with the family
Mahon, the capital of Menorca, is decorated with elegant 18th century mansions, stunning churches and a beautiful gothic cathedral. Eating, shopping and exploring are the best things to do with the kids here, as well as driving out to explore the impressive nearby beaches.
If 24/7 beaches aren’t for you though, this is definitely the place to be. Mahon is easy to get to and around – just take advantage of the well-thought-out public transport system and then relax in the knowledge that the main streets are all pedestrianized, so you don’t have to worry about watching that the kids don’t venture into traffic.
Things to do
Mahon is well known as a stylish hub on the Balearic Island of Menorca. With local markets and enough designer outlets and shops to keep you busy for at least a week anyone with a few euros to spend will have an excellent time.
Once you’re done with the wealth of shops in Mahon, visit the huge cathedral during an organ recital and you’ll soon find out what it feels like to have 3,000 pipes playing all around you.
Back in the days of the Roman Empire and throughout Medieval times Menorca was pretty much a pirate retreat. Today there are lots of nods to the pirate history and one of the best to be enjoyed by the whole family is the Pirates of Menorca tour. Sign up to sail along Menorca’s coast – you’ll have your eyes on the coves, white-washed villages and rocky headlands while the kids are busy hearing tales of pirate life told by one of the on-board swashbucklers inside a cave-like sea grotto.
Other things to do in Mahon for the family include the Museu de Menorca – the island’s largest museum with a collection of local fine arts. If your children are a little older they may enjoy the science behind the 18th-century Xoriguer Gin Distillery, located on the Moll de Ponent harbour front. Visitors can admire the enormous copper stills, bubbling to produce the spirit, and anyone over 18 can sample the finished product. Alternatively how about taking a boat trip around the harbour? It’s a great way to get some cool photos of the island.
The Port of Mahon is a beautiful place to relax with a meal and a glass of wine. The two-mile strip has plenty of choice for your dinner, and also has some shops too. While you’re there go and take a look at how the other half live at the yacht playground.
Restaurants in Mahon
Local Mahon specialities include calderata de llagosta (lobster stew), paella, plus fresh fish and shellfish. One of the best places to enjoy your ‘spiny lobster stew’ is at the Cap Roig Restaurant perched on the edge of a cliff. It’s just 5km from Mahon, and has amazing sea views.
Right in the centre of Mahon you’ll find Ses Forquilles. It’s a bright and sunny restaurant, and a real treat if you’re out for a special occasion. The tapas and seafood come highly recommended. See if you can get the kids to sample some local dishes, or stick to places that serve more familiar dishes like pizza and hamburgers if they are particularly fussy.
The only traditional holiday entertainment Mahon doesn’t have is beaches, but you can find beautiful unspoilt coves just five minutes away. Es Grau has a sandy beach and shallow water, so it is the perfect choice for families. If you fancy a boat trip you can pop over to the nearby Illa d’en Colom too.
One of the biggest and most famous beaches on the island is the Punta Prima Beach. It’s about a 20-minute drive south where you’ll be rewarded with white sands, pedalos, windsurfing, diving and sailing equipment, too.
Day trips from Mahon
There are plenty of other day trips from Mahon for the whole family to enjoy. Take a day at Ciutadella – this used to be the capital before Mahon was given the honour. Drive there from Mahon and you can include a stop at the popular tourist spot Alaoir – made famous for its shoes and cheese.
If you’ve got a car, follow the winding roads up the mountain to visit Monte Toro, Menorca’s highest peak. Here you can enjoy a 360-degree view out over the whole island, and visit the church on top.
The Splashtastic theme park makes for a fun day out no matter how adventurous your family is. As well as the Kamikaze waterslide there’s also cool, fresh waters and a children’s play area to splash around in.
As for the evenings, Menorca is very proud of its pure bred horses, so why not take a trip out to see them in action? One of the best evening activities for the whole family is the dancing horses show where jockeys and animals combine visual effects with music and dance.