The 2nd largest of the Balearic Islands, it is 47 km east of Majorca, is about 48 km long by 16 km wide, with a total land area of approx. 702 sq km.
The population is approximately 69,000 and is home to a diverse range of culture, language and outstanding natural beauty. Some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Spain can be found in Menorca. Beaches that would look at home in the Caribbean.
Island industries include wine, oil, shoes, cheese, gin and of course, tourism. Tourism has, by far, made the biggest impact on Menorca's economy. Its impact on the environment is carefully monitored and regulated. In the last few years however, this seems to have changed dramatically with tourist numbers dropping significantly and the summer season becomming ever shorter.
In 1993 UNESCO declared Menorca a Biosphere Reserve ensuring the preservation of the wetlands and archaeological sites (like the Naveta des Tudons) found all over the interior. This declaration has also resulted in stringent regulations and tighter control over housing development, leading to significant year-on-year increases in the value of property.
Mao / Mahon - the modern capital of Menorca
Mahon or Mao is the capital of Menorca and is located on the Eastern side of the Island. The city is a maze of narrow and atmospheric streets filled with bars, restaurant and shops, built around one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Mahon is also well-known for its gin distillery, which is located in the port.
There is a range of architectural influences that can be easily spotted around Mahon. The British influence, for example, can be seen in the sash-windowed Georgian houses.
Ciutadella - the old capital of Menorca
Ciutadella, which feels quite different to Mahon and sits at the opposite end of the Island, also acts as a port and although not as big or as commercialized as Mahon, offers an alternative, yet impressive, glimpse of the past through its diverse and perfectly preserved architecture. The Cathedral is a perfect example of this and is currently going through extensive renovations.
The streets here, especially in the older parts of the city, feel very atmospheric and many have remarked that it feels as if they were walking around a film set.
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