Sun, sand, sea and sangria... Menorca is the place to enjoy island living Spanish-style. But pick up your hire car at Mahon airport and you'll discover this Balearic beauty has lots to offer beyond the beaches. Book car hire Mahon airport
Why hire a car at Mahon airport?
Menorca's manageable size and well-signposted inland and coastal routes make driving here a doddle - just remember to stick to the right-hand side of the road!
That all-important first mile:
driving out of Mahon airport?
Menorca is an easy island to navigate. Once you've picked up your hire car at Mahon airport, head for the Me-12 motorway to access Mahon (signposted Maó), or follow the Me-14 and Me-1 (the island's main road, which runs across the middle of the island) if you're venturing towards the sun-kissed resort of Ciutadella.
"We're the shining jewel of the Balearic Islands, a beautiful city brimming with rich archaeological history."
Mahon, the capital of Menorca, has indeed retained its charm, and while it doesn't thump to the Balearic beat of neighbour Ibiza, there's no shortage of shops, bars and restaurants.
Pretty cultured. Jazz is very popular and being the most peaceful of the Balearics makes for a nice relaxed ambiance in town.
Mahon was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993, making it a place of architectural importance that cannot be tampered with. Hence the locals are pretty happy.
A fraction cooler than its sister islands (Majorca and Ibiza), but you'll still frazzle alive if you neglect a good smear of factor 12.
Gin is a popular choice, having been brewed historically for the enjoyment of the visiting sailors back in the 18th century. Or try the famous Mahon cheese - it's square.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who own a home on neighbouring Majorca, often pop over to Mahon.
Mayonnaise was invented in Mahon before being taken over to France and put on chips.
"The capital of Menorca still preserves a number of churches, ancestral buildings and palaces, lining streets of deep Mediterranean flavour." - www.spain.info
Once you've picked up your luggage from the carousel, follow signs for the car hire desks, which are located in the arrivals hall (look for a picture of a key above a car).
Back in the 18th century, islanders began distilling gin to meet the demands of British sailors living on Menorca. Why not pick up a bottle of local liqueur Xoriguer and enjoy an ice-cold gin and tonic or native cocktail pomada (gin and lemonade) on your return home?
There are two banks at the airport, in the arrivals and departures halls, each with their own cash machine. There is also a bureau de change.
Once you're through security and in the departures lounge, you'll find three cafés - perfect if you fancy a snack and a coffee. To enjoy a selection of tapas before boarding the plane, look out for Dehesa Santa María.
If you're looking to pick up gifts or souvenirs at the airport, head for Divers. This one-stop shop - with a perfumery and internet café -sells handmade Menorcan jewellery and local crafts.
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If you've planned a trip to Menorca, chances are your first port of call will be the beach, and this two-mile stretch of sand is the island's longest. It gets a bit busy in July and August, but walk away from the main entrance (where most sun-seekers set up camp for the day) and you're bound to find a quieter spot. Alternatively, Cala Pregonda on the north coast is a fine spot to soak up some rays, while Cala en Turqueta and Cala Macarelleta are also worth checking out.
The Menorcan capital oozes historical charm. Its narrow streets and shady squares boast a plethora of curious shops and welcoming cafés, while the buzzing port is a great place to sit, relax and watch the world go by. At night, the picturesque waterfront comes alive as locals and tourists alike enjoy a meal and a glass of the local tipple in one of the many restaurants and bars.
Halfway between Mahon and Ciutadella, Monte Toro is Menorca's highest point. Offering some outstanding views of the island it is an important pilgrimage site with a Franciscan convent located at its peak. You can drive up the steep, winding roads to enjoy the stunning vista, or if you're feeling energetic, park at the bottom and tackle the hill on foot.
Head north of Mahon and explore the lagoons and wetlands of the S'Albufera des Grau. This tranquil environment (visitors are encouraged to remain as quiet as possible so as not to disturb the wildlife) is a great place to spot migratory birds while following one of three walking trails.
Were someone like Indiana Jones to visit the Balearic Islands, he'd walk off his hangover at this place. It's a museum of natural history, perfect for any budding archeologist/adventurer.
There's underground parking in Plaza de la Explanada, right near the Ateneo Cientifico.
The archeology doesn't end in the museum either - a short trek to Plaza Bastion will acquaint you with yet more evidence of a long interesting history with relics galore.
There's plenty of street parking around this central spot. It's €1 for two hours and free after 8pm and at weekends.
Not far outside the centre of town is this weird prehistoric village, which houses all kinds of strange and dusty monuments.
There's a free car park at the village itself, which is just over three miles from the town centre.
Possibly the showiest area of the city where all the serious spectacular stuff is stashed - you'll find a monument to Alfonso III, a big library, and a beautiful square where you can unwind with a cuppa.
Plaza de la Conquista itself is pedestrianised but you can easily walk from the car parks in Plaza de la Constitucion, Plaza Espana and Plaza de ses Voltes.
Welcome to the last remnants of the impressive city wall, which serve as a sobering and inspiring reminder of Mahon's military past.
The arch is in the pedestrianised part of the city, but you can park nearby in the car park in the Plaza de Miranda.
Keen bird watchers, great news: this nature reserve is very popular with your sort. Other people can enjoy the dunes, the Roman ruins and the wetlands.
Drive north of Mahon on the Me-7 and the follow signs to S'Albufera des Grau, about eight miles away.
A quieter, more residential area with a nice little beach and a picturesque cove area where you can have a taste of life as a local fisherman.
Take the Me-12 to Sant Climent, then the Carretera de Sant Climent a Bintda towards Es Canutells. It's seven miles from central Mahon.
When the gorgeous sandy beaches and endless sunbathing sessions have become too much, head out to this lovely fishing village to unwind by a tranquil marina.
Drive your hire car north out of Mahon towards the Carretera de Grau, which takes you all the way there in about 15 minutes.
Ahh, the Cales Coves, home to numerous prehistoric caves. It's like a secret lagoon, albeit one jam-packed with snazzy looking yachts and sailing boats.
Take the Me-12 through Sant Climent and follow signs to the coves. They're just 20 minutes from the centre of Mahon.
" Mahon is a very little town so my advice is to park your hire car in Calle de las Sinia Costabella or Sinia des Cuc and walk for 15 minutes or so through the centre. It's give you a chance to get to know the vibes of this quiet and friendly place. Where the car comes into its own is for driving to some of the many amazing beaches around Mahon. In general driving and parking here is easy - it's not crowded and nobody is stressed. "