Ciutadella, Menorca

You will find the former capital of the Island of Menorca, on the westernmost section of the Island. A treasure trove of Balearic Island history, and not to be missed.

Ciutadella has its own idyllic harbour, most people including us prefer it to its larger counterpart at Mahon. Mahon's harbour, don't get me wrong, is lovely too. It's just the power station built further along the banks at Mahon that tends to just take the edge off Mahon Harbour and give Ciutadella the bragging rights for historical looks.

We love the culture and everything about the former capital, it has everything you need for the perfect destination either for a day out or a day trip. Ciutadella's fantastic restaurant's, bars, fish market, and beautiful shops make a really joyful experience when there. Ask any local or holiday rep, where is the best town or resort in Menorca, and they will probably say CIUTADELLA DE MENORCA.

Visit Es Born, the historic part of the city. If you like culture and historic churches, medieval looking streets all accompanied by traditional Spanish restaurants, make sure you take a look on your stay. The mix is perfect with most tastes in music catered for and perfect for late night entertainment. Bravo!

Lots of things to do on your visit
  • Small beaches down to the south of the city.

  • Boat excursions from the harbour

  • Entertaining Bars and sumptuous restaurants

  • A shopping delight in the centre of town

  • A market day every Friday and Saturdays in the main square Placa des Born 9 am - 2 pm

  • Summer months at Carrer de Pere Caplloncan evening craft market nightly 10 pm-midnight

  • The harbour itself Port Antigua and picturesque views looking up to the fortified walls

  • Hotel Accommodation and apartments aplenty

  • 28 miles from Mahon Airport with a travel time of just under an hour

  • Most buses run to Ciutadella from the larger resorts and towns on the island

  • Main taxi rank can be found at Placa des Born

One of the two main harbours on the island, Ciutadella gives Mahon a good run for its money.
That is why we always like to visit this unique part of Menorca.

Ciutadella History

To the west of the island of Menorca, you will find the old historic former capital of Ciutadella

The city has so much character and archaeological heritage with the Talaiot, the Navetas and Taulas stone structures known as megalithic structures which means large stone constructions without any bonding materials like concrete or mortar. These such structures can be found worldwide as in the UK with a good example called Stonehenge.

Around this wonderful Menorca city and port can be found Es Born, the historic section surrounded by Churches, medieval streets and fortresses. As you walk around you can sense the bygone history and unique atmosphere.

It is a wonderful place to sample the traditional dishes Minorca (as it's known to the locals) freshly caught fish and seafood cooked in a traditional Menorcan style. The aromas are just delightful and the cuisine is second to none.

Primitive Ciutadella human settlements can be found in the area dating back to 2000 B.C. and across other parts of the island. There are many preserved archaeological sites on the island as some of the structures are well known. The Talaiot is a tower assembly and one construction that is probably one of the most photographed is Taulus, a 'T' shaped megaliths.

There is also a Roman settlement of Lamo, now Ciutadella, which dates back to 73-74 A.D. The city was given municipality all those years ago by Emperor Vespasian. The great thing is all this history is out in the open for all to see and explore.

We now move to the Middle Ages and the city became the islands Political Administrative hub and stayed that way through hundreds of years under Arab Rule. The island then became under Christian rule in the 13th century after a winning battle from King Alfonso III. It was only when the British took the island and ruled over Menorca, was a decision to move the capital to Mahón which has the second natural deepest port in the world.

The City

One of the best reasons Ciutadella is such a joy to visit is that most of the streets and charming Es Born with the old parade ground, can be explored on foot. The focal point is the parade ground which has an obelisk dominating the traditional square. This is then the ideal meeting place for all the local festivities and social events in the city.

The square is overlooked by many infamous buildings, some of which are significant are the City Hall which dates back to the 19th Century. The Palace of Salort is open to visits at various times of the year and next door is the Palace of Vivó and its strange Neoclassic Red façade made up of Traditional and ornamental motives.
 
In the 14th century, the cathedral was undertaken by King Alfonso III in the 14th century, to be constructed on the High Mosque that had been there since the Arab rule. A minaret was saved and preserved from the old mosque and made into a belltower. The amazing Catalan Gothic includes a temple along with a nave plus six chapels including the amazing Chapel of Animas dating back to the 18th century.

The city became an important religious part of the island with many buildings being built such as the Cloister of the church of Socors which was part of the Augustinian Monastery, and the convent of Santa Clara. The Palace of Olive, a Neoclassic facade, can be found just across from the cathedral housing a Roman Figurine found at an archaeological site at Pujol Antic, Menorca. Don't miss the Palace of Count of Saura facade, dating back to the 17th century.

For great views of the port, make your way to the 'Mirador' which means viewing point, situated behind the City Hall.

There are 5 bastions and the main one in the centre of Ciutadella is the Bastió de Sa Font. The 5 made up the old walls around the city built in the 16th century. The Municipal Museum at the precinct and Castell de Sant Nicolau which has the Minorcan Biosphere Reserve exhibition are well worth a visit.