As one of the more laidback of the Balearic Islands, Menorca’s list of positive attributes stretches as long as its Talaiotic history. Its sunburnt landscape, gentle aqua waters and stunning white-sand beaches are the stuff of picture postcards, making it the destination of choice for thousands of visitors every year.
But if you’ve got the time and the inclination you can wring even more out of this near-perfect island by exploring a little further beyond the front door of your villa. Our scenic transfer route from Menorca Airport to Ciutadella takes you through numerous towns and villages that are well worth a half- or full-day excursion. Take advantage of the journey to chat to your driver and get the local low-down on these Balearic beauties.
For anyone interested in experiencing the more traditional and authentic side of Menorca, Alaior (which you’ll pass around 20 minutes into your journey from the airport) has a quieter, more relaxed ambience than some of the more popular towns. It’s a pleasure to wander along the charming cobbled streets of the historic centre and happen upon tiny out-of-the-way cafes, bars or restaurants, which show you a true slice of local life.
If you have children with you, Placa Ramal offers ice-cream heaven, while if you’re looking for a bit of retail relaxation, Carrer des Ramal is lined with quirky boutiques distinctly lacking in tourist tatt. The cultural star is the lovely Church of Santa Eulalia, which presides over the town from an elevated vantage. As one of the most significant buildings in the region, the church offers an insight into Menorca’s fascinating past, with its mix of Gothic and medieval architecture.
Recommended Visit Time: Half-day visit.
2. Es Mercadal
A little further along the route you’ll pass Es Mercadal, another traditional market town with a typical medieval flavour. While it couldn’t be called lively, its charm lies in the narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses and its spectacular views – the Mediterranean to the front and the imposing form of Mount Toro to the rear.
The one time it really does come to life in the most delightful way, however, is fiesta time in July. If you happen to be holidaying on Menorca around this time, the Fiesta of Sant Marti is an important date on the cultural calendar. As with any Spanish fiesta there is plenty of food and wine, but there’s also the added excitement of the tradition of the cargols, where the young men of the town (Jaleos) attempt to touch the hearts of rearing horses for good luck.
At 358 metres, the peak of Mount Toro is the highest point on the island. Whether you hike up or take the less energetic option of driving, the magical panoramic views and the statue of Jesus of the Sacred Heart with outstretched arms that await at the top are your reward.
Recommended Visit Time: A couple of hours is enough to see the sights of town, but if you’re planning on hiking up Mount Toro set aside half a day.
As you head slightly west on the route to Ciutadella you’ll pass Ferreries. As the highest town on the island, it makes for a perfect full-day trip for anyone who wants to do a bit of hiking. Set amongst a hilly landscape, it’s the ideal place for some short starter hikes for those with younger children or something a little more strenuous, to explore the countryside and take in some breathtaking rural views.
Ferreries is also a great place to shop for gifts and souvenirs, with some quirky little boutiques selling locally crafted jewellery, shoes and other goods. But the highlight is the twice-weekly markets (held every Tuesday and Friday) that spill out of the main square of the town. These farmers’ markets are renowned throughout the island and are packed to the brim with all manner of local produce, including cheese, fruit, cured meats, wine, biscuits and anything else your heart (or stomach) could possibly desire.
Recommended Visit Time: A full day is recommended in Ferreries, especially if you plan on making the most of the market.
4. Castillo Menorca
Situated between Ferreries and Ciutadella, Castillo Menorca provides an absolutely stellar day out for families. It’s actually three different attractions in one, with a large retail outlet, a free adventure and waterpark, and an outdoor go-kart track.
The adventure park includes multiple swimming pools with slides, mini-golf, a boat lake, climbing frames, trampolines, seesaws and indoor games galore. The go-karting is something the slightly older children can enjoy (above the age of about eight), with a fun and safe track with plenty of challenging corners to get some holiday thrills. There are also some two-seater go-karts, so younger children can bunk in with parents if they want in on the fun.
The well laid out shopping precinct at Castillo Menorca has shops with an excellent selection of toys, leather goods, ceramics and (surprisingly) Europe’s largest collection of Lladro porcelain figurines.
Recommended Visit Time: If you’ve got children, you’ll definitely want to make a day of of it!
From Menorca Airport to Ciutadella
This lovely Balearic island offers a whole lot more than first meets the eye. Of course there’s the legendary sun, sea and sand to take advantage of, but by visiting some of the lesser known towns and villages you can see along the route from the airport to Ciutadella, you’ll enjoy a more authentic and fulfilling holiday for the entire family.
About Shuttle Direct
If you need a ride from Menorca Airport to Ciutadella you can rely on Shuttle Direct. As Europe and North Africa’s most trusted provider of airport transfers, we make it easy for travellers to love us, from our user-friendly website to our fast and friendly services.
NB. This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Menorca Airport to Ciutadella does not include stops to these destinations.