The capital of the island, built on a 50 m high cliff, overlooks one of the safest natural harbours in the Mediterranean (it is also said to be the largest natural harbour in this sea), 5 km deep and sheltered from the high winds that blow on the island several months a year. Palaces, churches and stately homes line the narrow streets of the old town.

History. Tradition attributes its foundation to the Carthaginian General Magon, brother of Hannibal, who took refuge on the island after his defeat on the peninsula. From antiquity to the beginning of the 19th century, Menorca and the natural port of Maó were a major strategic issue for the control of the Mediterranean. Aware of its importance, the Romans developed the Portus Magonis, which was taken from them by the Vandals, who were driven out by the Byzantines, who had to give way to the Saracens. Reconquered in the 13th century by the Aragonese, Maó was fortified in 1346 by Peter IV of Aragon, which did not prevent the Turkish pirates of the dreaded Barbarossa from razing the town to the ground in 1534. English domination in the 18th century was a prosperous period for Maó. The governor, Richard Kane, develops the port, fortifies the city, creates the central road that connects it to Ciutadella and establishes the freedom of trade. Jewish, Greek and Italian merchants flocked to the island and promoted its economic development. In spite of the brief interludes of French domination in the 18th century The city is said to have been extremely refined by the Maonesos in the 19th century, but it is above all marked by its British conquerors, who bequeathed to it their politeness, their taste for tea and their fondness for gin!

To see / do Mahón – Maó

Prepare for your trip Mahón – Maó

  • Book a train
  • comp_pv_maritime
  • Find a hotel
  • Holiday rental
  • Airbnb rental
  • Tailor-made trip
Services / On site
  • Airbnb experiences
  • Book a table
  • Activities & visits

Pictures Mahón – Maó

To discover on Petit Futé