Slow Sightseeing in Mahón
06 May, 2015
An appealing and thoroughly slow day might involve strolling leisurely through Mahón, the island’s capital city, as it has one of the most beautiful promenades in the country. The clear waters and the gentle sea breeze wafting in from the gulf make a walk along this promenade an essential experience. We propose the following itinerary, having judiciously weighed up many other potential alternatives.
Start out on the Camí de Ciutadella and link up with Calle s’Arraval, which leads you into Plaza Bastió. Still standing there is one of the old city gates, a vestige of the 14th century. It is worth stopping in the square to have a bite, before setting out on the walk. Head for Santa Rita, which offers tapas and well-drawn draught beer as its fortes. From there, make for the old town and stroll aimlessly about. After a while, you will inevitably draw gradually nearer to the harbour. The stretch running towards the Moll de Llevant jetty is very pleasant. The right side is lined solid with shops, from those selling craft souvenirs of the island to restaurants, ice-cream parlours and seafaring pubs whose calling card, currently in vogue, is a cocktail based on gin and tonic, downed – gulp! – to the rhythm of chill-out music.
But, let’s take a breather, and the best place to relax is Can Vermut, a youthful spot where you can have well-priced tapas while savouring one of their wonderful aperitifs. As an accompaniment, we recommend the huevos estrellados cabreados (fried eggs and chips with pungent red pepper), anchovies and homemade chicken croquettes.A great tuck-in there will cost you less than 15 euros. After that, the best way to promote digestion is to continue along the itinerary, at a leisurely pace, calmly taking in everything happening around you – enjoy the marvellous maritime views, with the breeze caressing your skin. Before pressing on, go over to the sea side of the street and delight in the sight of yachts and other vessels dotting the coastline. Also entertaining is watching the fish – some are really huge! –in the crystal-clear waters. One way of enjoying the moment is to chill out on the terrace of the kiosko, on the lower reaches of La Costa de Ses Voltes. There, the breeze is likely to rouse you from your lethargy and, if you order a coffee to boot – here, they are served strong – you will regain the necessary vitality for resuming your sightseeing venture.
“Wanderer, there is no path”
Refuelling would be in order now, particularly if you want to negotiate the steep slope back up to the old town. This will take you to the Museu de Menorca, which affords a stunning, panoramic view of the spectacular gulf. The museum is housed in the erstwhile convent of Sant Francesc, where the building and its contents are equally interesting. The latter include unique exhibits from all ages, illustrating the socio-cultural evolution and changes wrought in Minorca, from its pre-history to the present. After that you could have a stroll around the shopping centre, starting at the Plaça de la Constitució, where you can admire the neoclassical architecture of the Ayuntamiento or City Hall. Inside the adjoining Church of Santa María you can have a peep at the monumental organ, comprising 3,210 pipes and four keyboards, designed by the German masters Otter and Kirburz. Near there, at 11 Ses Moreres street, is the Heladería Ambrosia. Resisting the temptation to enter this ice-cream parlour when passing by would be something of a feat. So, you choose a flavour and then head for the Claustro del Carme, just a few metres away, immediately opposite the Plaza de España. From here, both sides of the Calle del Carme are lined with small shops offering wares ranging from confectionery and delicatessen to fine leather.
Tell Me a Story
After window shopping in Mahón, you’re certainly going to need a rest. You could go over to the Teatro Principal de Mahón, to see what’s on the programme. It is really well worth visiting. This was the first opera house to be unveiled in Spain and last year marked its 185th anniversary. The fact is that Minorca has a long-standing operatic tradition. The story goes that many companies that were touring the continent used to stop over at Minorca and it was here that they would stage their dress rehearsals before pressing on to London, Paris or Vienna. It was then that Minorcans came into contact with this genre of theatrical music, and the decision was made to build a theatre devoted mainly to opera, in order to enjoy works in a comfortable setting. And, to round off the day, we recommend going for a pomada – Gin Xoriguer and lemonade – at the Bar Nou. Opened in 1986 by Joan Saura in an art nouveau building, it is now a whole institution among Minorcans, and here they really know what they’re doing.
I’m sure you’re eager to explore Mahón – check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
06 May, 2015