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Local Regions: Maó

Guests who are coming to stay in Menorca often ask me for a brief overview of the island’s layout: where are the cities, the towns, the beaches and the nature reserves? Is one side of the island different from the other? 

Fishing Boats in the Port of Mahon

My next series of blog posts will focus on one of the eight regions of Menorca, with highlights of what you will find in each one. I’d like to start by looking at Maó, the home of the island’s capital city and governing body.

Where Is It?

Maó is a large region in the east of the island; it extends from the tip of the S’Albufera Es Grau Natural Park on the north coast to the picturesque fishing villages that time forgot in Es Canutells on the south coast.

City Life: Maó-Mahón 

The jewel in the crown of the Maó district is Menorca’s capital city, Maó-Mahón (Maó in Catalan, Mahón in Spanish). Anyone who thinks that the island is sleepy has never visited this bustling port; its narrow streets lined with colourful buildings lead down to the blue water of one of the largest natural harbours in the world.

With a wealth of museums and an idiosyncratic mix of architectural styles, I would recommend exploring the city on foot to soak up its atmosphere. If you’re a keen foodie, make sure you visit Sa Placa, a lively indoor food market in the lofty environs of a stone cloister. You can buy fresh fish, meat and, of course, the famous Mahón cheese as you browse hundreds of stalls.

Wildlife: Es Grau

Maó is a region of contrasts. Although it has the vibrant capital city within its parameters, it also lays claim to one of the most tranquil and unspoiled areas of the island. The S’Albufera Es Grau Natural Park is one of the key reasons why the island was made a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

This large, sprawling wetland area covers over 5000 hectares, including five small islands just off the north-eastern coast. It is a paradise for birds – and for bird lovers. Taking a walk along its leafy trails is an opportunity to experience the astounding natural beauty of this special island. 

The Quiet Life: Es Canutells

Even by Menorcan standards, the resort of Es Canutells on the south coast is a world away from the bustle of the city’s markets and salsa clubs. Set into the side of a natural gorge, the area is made up of a string of quaint former fishing villages and is still largely residential.

Our villa in the stunning location of Es Grau is the perfect base for exploring the region of Maó. If you’ve been inspired to book your Menorcan holiday, our friendly sales team would be more than happy to hear from you.


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