Figuring out the logistics of booking a holiday with young children while on a budget can give most people a headache. The Balearic Islands, however, offer a few affordable and beautiful spots where young families can holiday, and Ciutadella de Menorca is one of them. Full of historical sites where children can run around and explore nature while you learn more about the history and culture of the island, we propose that castles be the theme of your Balearic break.
After all, who said that children and medieval castles are not a match? That is certainly not true in Ciutadella!
Fortaleza de la Mola
Also known as the Fortaleza de Isabel II, this fortress was commissioned by Isabel II in 1848 as a response to the military pressure that Britain’s navy was putting on the island due to its ideal strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea. Once it was inaugurated in 1875, however, its artillery had, unfortunately, become outdated due to huge improvements a decade earlier. Nevertheless, it was never attacked, which means it’s been amazingly preserved for present day tourists to visit.
The best example of 19th century military architecture in Menorca, the fortress attracts many visitors, who are fascinated by this imposing structure. It is a great place to bring younger children as there is plenty of space for them to explore and run around within the fortress and, more importantly, they are welcomed to do so by the fortress’s keepers. However, especially if you are bringing children, it is highly recommended that you visit earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, as midday temperatures can get quite high and there are few shaded areas.
The Fortaleza de la Mola is open daily in June-September between 10:00h and 20:00h; on Tuesdays through Sundays in October-April between 10:00h and 14:00h; and on Tuesdays through Sundays in May between 10:00h and 18:00h.
An adult ticket costs €8. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 pay €4. Children younger than 6 years old are free.
Built by British conquerors between 1710 and 1726, Fort Marlborough is situated on the Cala de Sant Esteve and was one of the main areas involved in the fight for possession of Menorca between Spain, the United Kingdom, and France. It was partially destroyed by the Spanish in 1782 and had to be rebuilt later in the 18th century.
Nowadays, the fort is fully refurbished and offers a very immersive tour to visitors. Children in particular enjoy the visit, as they get to walk through underground tunnels and rooms excavated into the rock, while a re-enactment including sound effects and uniformed soldiers helps them understand what it must have felt like to be in the fort when it was under siege.
Once above ground, there are old cannons and other military artefacts on display, and the views from the fort’s tower are stunning, making it a great spot for family pictures.
Fort Marlborough is open from Easter to the end of November on Mondays from 09:30h to 16:30h and on Tuesdays-Sunday from 09:30h to 20:00h. In December, it is opened from Thursday to Sunday between 09:30h and 15:00h. It is closed between 21 December and Easter.
General admission tickets are 6€. Children younger than 8 years old enter free of charge.
Although technically not a real castle, as it wasn’t built to fulfil that purpose, Castillo Menorca is a wonderful place to take young children. Full of entertainment and shopping opportunities, it is located a mere 7 kilometres from Ciutadella. The splash zone has a swimming pool with slides and a small diving board and, for younger children, there is an area full of water fountains where they are welcome to play with the water and a small lagoon where they can board boat-shaped inflatables. There are also trampolines for slightly older children, as well as a mini-golf course where the whole family can play together to make their way to the end.
Apart from children’s entertainment, there are also plenty of shopping options, including the largest Lladró porcelain display in the island and plenty of jewellery and leather accessories. A bar-café in the premises is great for a quick snack, although you can bring a packed lunch and eat al fresco in one of the many communal areas.
Castillo Menorca opens Monday to Saturday between 10:00h and 19:00h from May to October and Monday to Sunday from 10:00h until sundown between May and October.
Adult tickets are €4 and children pay €3.
How to Get to Ciutadella from Menorca Airport
Ciutadella de Menorca is located on the opposite end of the island to Menorca airport, so the best way to get from one to the other, especially with young children who require car seats and plenty of extra luggage, is to book a private Menorca transfer service. The drive is around 45 minutes and you will be able to take in the views in comfort.
Where to Stay:
Apartamentos Es Brucs – These self-catered apartments are great for families on a budget, as their fully equipped kitchens including fridge, washing machine and microwave mean you can make as many meals as you want. They are also very close to the beach and have private terraces where children can play safely.
Apartamentos Vista Playa I – Lovely, Balearic-style apartments, they are perfect for families with young children, as they are very spacious and bright, making it easy for children to play and entertain themselves. There is a swimming pool available to guests, as well as a restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has plenty of child-friendly options.
Apartamentos Blancala – Offering sea views from all their apartments, a bar-restaurant in a garden terrace, and plenty of entertainment options, including two outdoor swimming pools and a mini-golf course, this apartment complex is great for younger families who need a welcoming environment to stay in during their holiday.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is a trusted and respected provider of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa. We provide a fast, friendly and convenient service from the airport or cruise port of your choice, and our easy to use booking system allows you to make all your arrangements before leaving home. Choose between a private or shared transfer, make an online booking, and let us do the rest.