It was to protect the harbour at Mahón (big enough to shelter an entire fleet during bad weather), that in 1554 the Castillo de San Felipe was built. Sadly much of the Castillo (or ‘castle’) has since been destroyed, but its ruins are still of major historic interest today.
The History of Castillo San Felipe
Originally constructed by the Spanish, the castle was significantly added to by the British when they took over the island in the 1713, making it the biggest fortress in Europe at that time.
Unfortunately when Carlos III of Spain recaptured the island in 1782 he had much of the castle demolished. Although the British tried to rebuild it again when they took back control of Menorca at the end of the 18th century, they were unable to complete it before the Spanish took the island back again a few years later.
Even though much of the huge structure which used to exist above ground is no longer standing, a network of underground tunnels belonging to the castle still remains today.
Take a Tour
Tours of the castle in English and Spanish are held every Thursday and Sunday throughout the summer months at 10am (don’t be late because the guide won’t wait!). The tour takes visitors through the immense network of tunnels, conjuring up the castle’s dramatic past with live re-enactments and dramatic tales of life in the castle under siege.
Check local tourist information for regular evenings of re-enactments and other entertainment held at the castle over the summer months.
How to Get There
It is only a short taxi ride or car journey for guest staying in our villas in Punta Prima and Binibeca on the southeast coast or from our traditional farmhouse villa in Alaior. Visitors will find it well worth the journey to discover more about our island’s thrilling military past.