Mahón Travel Guide

All sightseeing, tourist attractions information and tourism tips for the city Maó, the capital of Menorca

Maó, (also known as Mahón) is the capital of Menorca located on the Eastern coast of Menorca, just 5kms from the islands airport. The capital has a population of approximately 30,000 residents, with the predominant language being Menorcan (Menorquí) a dialect of Catalan.

The city stands a vibrant testament to the islands rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant multicultural society where Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, French, British and Spanish, among others, have passed. The name Mahón originated as Mediterranean Portus Magonis its name is believed to have derived from the Carthaginian general Mago Barca, the brother of Hannibal, who had taken refuge on the island in 205 BC during the Second Punic War. Evolving from name “Mago” to “Mahón” over the centuries.

Plaça de Colom
Plaça de Colom in Maó
Explore Maó old town
Explore Maó's old town with its Alleyways, looking towards the Santa Maria Church

The city has a legacy of British rule with its stunning Georgian-style buildings that adds a unique charm to its streets and despite being a capital, maintains a very relaxed charming vibe. Streets and pedestalised pathways are lined with stylish cafes and bars, boutiques, local shops of locally crafted produce, and the city’s markets and festivals provide lively opportunities to engage with local traditions and crafts. Markets are held every Tuesday and Saturday morning until 2pm.

Whether on a day trip or staying in Maó, our comprehensive guide will share our favourite things to see and do, recommendations on where to eat and drink, best local beaches, plus our own recommendations and tips to travelling to Maó.

Plaça de Colom
Plaça de Colom in Maó
Explore Maó old town
Explore Maó's old town with its Alleyways, looking towards the Santa Maria Church

Things to See and Do in Maó, Menorca

The Port of Maó

The Port of Maó is the biggest attraction to anyone visiting Maó or anyone visiting the East or Southern cost of Menorca. It’s the largest and deepest natural harbour in the Mediterranean, stretching over six kilometres inland and amongst the biggest in the world along with pearl harbour and Sydney. You frequently see enormous cruise ships and ferries from Barcelona and at times military ships such as UK/US frigates and destroyers.

We would recommend a walk down from Plaça de s'Esplanada, that offers stunning views across the harbour, then a stroll along the port road Moll de Levant to admire the array of fishing boats, sailing and speed boats with their names and countries flags a board. Further along the port you’ll discover some stunning luxurious yachts, parked up by the Maó casino.

Port of Maó
Port of Maó, biggest harbour in the Mediterranean
The mermaid of Maó
The mermaid of Maó (La Sirena Mô)

Explore the harbour and book a boat trip

Booking a boat trip from the port is an excellent way to discover and learn about the harbour’s history and nearby attractions. A company based next to the cruise terminal on Moll de Llevant called the Yellow Catamarans, offers glass bottomed boat trips. A harbour tour will take 1hr and travels to the mouth of the port via the north side before returning on the south side via Es Castell.

You can also book a trip to Isla del Rey, a small island in the middle of the harbour where you can visit an 18th century British built naval hospital. The island is also home to Hauser & Wirth, a contemporary and modern art gallery, whose galleries with international acclaim are located around the world, including Isla del Rey since 2021.

La Sirena Mô
Yellow Catamarans glass bottomed boat trips form Maó port
Es Castell
View of Es Castell from the Yellow Catamarans harbour tour

Museums, houses & buildings

The Museum of Menorca is a recommended visit for anyone interested in the rich history and culture of Menorca. Housed in a beautifully restored former Franciscan convent, there is an extensive collection spread over numerous floors including prehistoric artifacts, Roman relics, and exhibits from the Moorish and British occupations.

For a glimpse into Menorca’s aristocratic life during the 18th and 19th century, visit the Hernández Sanz Centre of Art and History at Ca n’Oliver. A beautiful preserved 19th century mansion that belonged to the Oliver family, it now houses impressive collections from the Hernández Sanz - Hernández Mora family. Spread over several floors connected by a stunning imperial staircase with ornate ceilings painted by Italian artists Giuseppe Patania and Stefano Cotardi.

Maó’s Town Hall, also located at Plaça de la Constitució is a working town building but offers free access at times to several areas including the main hall (Sala de Plenos) containing a portrait gallery of famous Menorcan’s. The town hall clock on the front of the town hall building was acquired by order by Richard Kane governor of Menorca at the time in 1731 and placed on the hall in 1788.

Sant Francesc Church and Menorca Museum
The Menorca Museum and St Francis's Church
The town hall for Maó
Maó's 17th-century Town Hall

Churches, cathedrals & religious buildings

The Santa Maria Church (Iglesia de Santa María), located in the oldest part of town at Plaça de la Constitució is Menorca’s most famous church, gothic styled and dating back to the 18th century. It has a single nave with 17 side chapels dedicated to different saints.

Another spectacular 18th century church well worth a visit is the neoclassical Carmen Church, located at Placa del Princep. The Carmen Church Cloister (Claustre del Carme) has been transformed into a vibrant indoor market selling fresh and cured meats, cheeses, clothing, fruits and vegetables with a relaxing outside terrace, used for live performances in the evenings. A modern supermarket is located in the basement, along with a carpark and toilet facilities.

Also, another example of a church built in the 18th century is the Saint Francis Church (Esglesia de Sant Francesc), located next to the Museum of Menorca is a worthy visit.

Santa Maria Church
The 18th century Santa Maria Church
The town hall for Maó
Carmen Church and its Cloisters, now a virbant indoor market



Plaça de Colom
Plaça de Colom in Maó
Explore Maó old town
Explore Maó's old town with its Alleyways, looking towards the Santa Maria Church

Public squares, parks & gardens

For those seeking to escape the city’s bustling streets, its central squares offers a quiet retreat such as the charming Plaça de s'Esplanada opposite Mahon bus station and Freginal Park, a peaceful and relaxing family-friendly park located in the heart of the city with a large children’s play ground and gardens.

Cinema and theatres

The Theatre Principal de Maó is located in the heart of the city and the oldest opera house in Spain dating back to 1829. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of performances, from classic opera’s and ballets to contemporary plays and musical concerts.

Cinema in Maó
Cinema in Maó
Teatre Principal de Maó
Teatre Principal de Maó

Nearby beaches

A guide to Maó wouldn’t be complete without a recommendation on nearby local beaches. Sa Mesquida is the closest being just 6km to the north and a local’s favourite. Es Grau, a stunning natural beach offering water sports. On the south coast we’d recommend the beaches at Binibeca, Punta Prima and Alcaufar.

Check out our favourite things to do in Maó and nearby:

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