|As the Menorca tour guide likes to emphasise the island is virtually divided into two by the main road which joins the old capital of Ciutadella with the curent capital at Mahon. Nowadays the capital is more frequently referred to by its Menorcan name of Maó.|
The harbour at Maó, is the second largest natural deep water port in the world. The whole island is a European Biological Reserve and Unesco Biosphere Reserve aiming to preserve environmental areas. More than a 75% of the territory is protected, according to the Menorca tour guide. You can watch some of the last turtles of the Mediterranean, birds and protected species.
An identifying sign of Menorca according to the tour guide is its fascination with horses. All things centre around horses and the people love them. Minorca has its own race of black horses. In all the festivities the horses and their "caixers" (riders) are the centrepieces. The "Cami de Cavalls" is a pathway surrounding the island for horse riding and it was used in the past for defence of the coast by horse.
Menorca is a relatively quiet island which the tour guide explains that the island is geared to provide for more wholesome, family fun holidays. If you prefer a more vibrant night scene, head to nearby Ibiza or Mallorca for a bustling city atmosphere.
During the 18th Century, the Minorca tour guide says that the island was a bone of contention among the British, French and Spanish powers. This was due to the Port of Maó, the finest natural harbour in the Mediterranean, and one of the best in the world, which could protect the largest fleets of the time in their entirety. The Utrecht Treaty, signed in 1713, gave place to the first British presence on Minorca, which lasted until 1755. The first British Governor was John Campbell (Argyll) nominated by the Queen Anne. Richard Kane ,from County Antrim in Ireland, the second British Governor, is still fondly remembered for his effective support of agriculture on the island according to the Menorcan tour guide he introduced the cultivation of the apple, promoted cattle breeding and built roads and reservoirs which are still in use today. The Scottish Col.Patrick Mackellar (Argyll) was the chief engineer of Minorca and responsible for the main constructions of the british legacy. The main contribution of Mackellar was the design and construction of Georgestown (Es Castell) near to Sant Felip fortress at the entry of Mahon harbour.
The Menorca tour guide likes to point to two later periods of British presence on Menorca, from 1763 till 1781 and 1798 to 1808. The British left more than their earthworks and ramparts behind. Things as varied as the growth of Maó, which enthusiastically accepted the opportunities for trade and the abolition of the Inquisition,, the traditional woodworking and boat building techniques and designs and Menorca's most popular drink, gin.
The Golden Farm, a summer house near Maó, descibed in the Menorca tour guide is one of the symbols of British presence on Menorca, perhaps as much as the bow and sash windows still to be found in the capital's old part quarter.
Son Granot is a Georgian style house built during the British presence on Menorca and is where Mackellar lived. This building is the second symbol of British presence and is considered a monument. Now the house is totally restored keeping the original concepts of XVIII century and it is a pretty land hotel and restaurant at the entry of Mahon harbour. It is the first house(red and white) you can see arriving by ship.
The other interesting and significant towns on Menorca are Fornells, small fishing village on the north coast. Here according to the Menorcan Tour Guide, you can find delicious seafood restaurants perched on the edge of a large picturesque bay.
Nestling on the roadside between Maó and Ciutadella lies the University Town of Alaior. The Menorca tour guide also points out that the town is home to the local cheese and shoe industries.
Minorca is not entirely dependent on tourism. It has a number of industry such as leatherwork, costume-jewelry production, dairy farming, and the gin distillery which contribute to the Islands economy.
Life on the Island is quiet and relaxed, there are no glittering night clubs as there are in Ibiza. In Minorca nearly everybody, local and visitor alike, is in bed well before midnight.
The Menorca Tour Guide will make you aware of some of the fascinating things to do on the Island forthose interested in history, archaeology, music, and art. Many artists live in Minorca, and exhibitions of their work are listed regularly in the local paper. The Catedral de Santa María in Mahón has one of Europe's great pipe organs, at which world famous organists have given free concerts.
It is well worthwhile to make time during your visit to at least take a single day to embark on the Menorca tour, rather than visit another beach!
You can use the links on the right hand side of the Menorca Tour Guide page to navigate around the site or the buttons to the left if you prefer. If you take time to discover Menorca your visit will be even more rewarding and interesting.