The second-largest island in the Balearics, Menorca is a growing tourist destination. Whilst Majorca and Ibiza are better known, Menorca (also known as Minorca) offers a more authentic Balearic experience. It’s known for its outstanding natural beauty – with rugged coastlines and a small mountain range in the centre.
Since Menorca isn’t as overrun with tourists as its two cousins, there isn’t as much information available about where to stay. It’s still a big decision to make – even for such a small island. You’ll get a completely different experience on the island depending on where you choose to base yourself.
That’s where we come in! Consulting tourism experts and locals, we’ve come up with this guide to the three best places to stay in Menorca. Whether you’re on traveling a budget, looking for a calm escape, or interested in the unique culture, we’ve got you covered.
So let’s go – vámonos!
Extravagant Escape in Menorca: Cala Vel Mari
Airbnb Luxe is the premium range of properties. Not only do they showcase thoughtful design and breathtaking locations, but they also offer a whole host of additional services. This particular property comes with airport transfers, spa services, and even a private chef to hand! Situated in the suburbs of Ciutadella, it comes with stunning views and a calm vibe. It doesn’t get much more luxurious than this.
Peaceful Farm House in Menorca: Monte Toro
Get back to basics in this idyllic farm stay just outside the town of Es Mercadal. Perched on top of a mountain, you can enjoy sweeping vistas of the rolling green hills, and even as far as the sea on a clear day. As part of a working farm, you will also get to experience local culture in an intimate setting.
Adult Only Hotel in Menorca: Casa Ládico
Looking for some calm and serenity away from the family groups? Look no further than this stunning hotel in the heart of Maó. Housed within a 19th Century building, this five-star hotel oozes class and elegance. Whether you make use of their peaceful spa services or bask in the sunshine by the pool, you’re sure to feel refreshed by the time you leave.
Maó (the Catalan name) is the largest city in Menorca and home to the island’s burgeoning tourism industry. For first time visitors, this is your main gateway into everything the island has to offer.
Surrounded by mountains and rolling farmlands, Es Mercadal is the rural heart of the island. What really sets it apart is the lack of tourists on an already low-tourism island. Es Mercadal is where you can really see an authentic side to life on the Balearics.
On the opposite end of the island from Maó, Ciutadella de Menorca has transformed a lot over the years. What was once the bustling capital of the island is now a much sleepier city.
Menorca’s Top 3 Places to Stay
Menorca is a fairly small island, so if you’re traveling with a car we recommend taking a trip around the island one day, and through the middle of it the following day. This will give you a great insight into everything on offer on the island. If you’re traveling without a car, the bus network is pretty decent and will allow you to explore different areas.
Maó (also known as Mahón in Spanish) is the largest city on the island, known for its nightlife, culinary scene, and stunning port. For first-time visitors, this is a great place to gather your bearings before exploring further afield. It also has the best public transport connections – perfect if you don’t have a car.
Want to veer off the beaten path? Es Mercadal is right in the heart of the island. It doesn’t have a coastline, meaning it isn’t as popular with tourists. What it lacks in beaches, however, it makes up for with authentic charm. It is also one of the cheapest places to stay on the island – perfect if you’re travelling on a budget.
On the opposite side of the island is Ciutadella de Menorca (known simply as Ciutadella to locals). This used to be the capital city of the island, though that baton has since moved on to Maó. These days, Ciutadella offers a peaceful atmosphere and stunning coastal locations. It has just enough to do that you’ll never get bored, but not so much that you’ll get overwhelmed. This is perfect for families!
Still undecided? We’ve got some more information about each town below, as well as our top accommodation and activity picks for each.
Maó (the Catalan name) is the largest city in Menorca and home to the island’s burgeoning tourism industry. For first-time visitors, this is your main gateway into everything Menorca has to offer. Here, you can discover the island’s decadent culinary scene, stunning scenery, and unique cultural attractions.
It’s also the home to the only nightlife on the island. Whilst most visitors don’t come to Menorca for this, you’ll be missing out if you don’t visit a couple of the bars and clubs in Maó. Ibiza might be better known as a party-destination internationally, but Maó is where you can live it up like a local in the Balearics.
This extravagant Airbnb Luxe property sleeps 10 people – perfect for large families and groups heading to Maó. The stunning pool terrace is surrounded by bougainvillea trees and offers views across the Menorcan countryside. It sits just outside the city, giving you some peace and quiet away from the tourist crowds. The attention to detail of the interior design is breathtaking, you’ll never want to leave!
Cute Studio in Maó: Port Apartment
On a tighter budget? No worries – there are still some great Airbnbs for you in Maó. This quirky little studio is right on the waterfront. This doesn’t just give you stunning views – it also means you are within walking distance of the port. This is perfect for those that plan to explore further afield during the trip, or even just take the odd boat tour of the island.
Boutique Hotel in Maó: Casa Ládico
This decadent hotel is right in the heart of Maó. It’s adults-only, so you won’t need to worry about screaming children running about the place. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – this hotel prides itself on being a calm and relaxing space. Each room comes with a spa bath and walk-in shower, as well as gorgeous views across the city.
Things to See and Do in Maó:
- Maó Harbour is the second-deepest natural port in the world – head down there to take a boat tour, learn about the city’s culture, and admire the scenery.
- Avda de la Constitucio is the main shopping district in the city, which also transforms into a bustling nightlife zone in the evenings.
- Placa Alfons III is located at the end of Constitucio – this is where you will find some excellent restaurants and the local tourism office that’s housed in a windmill.
- Learn about the long and turbulent history of the island – from the Catalan settlement, right through the British Occupation and Spanish invasion – at the Museu de Minorca.
- Menorca might not be known for its distilleries, but that’s sure to change as more and more people visit the Xoriguer Gin Distillery on the Maó dockside.
2. Es Mercadal – Where to Stay in Menorca on a Budget
Surrounded by mountains and rolling farmlands, Es Mercadal is the rural heart of the island. What really sets it apart is the lack of tourists, providing insight into the authentic side to life on the Balearics. From locally-owned restaurants and cultural hubs to vast agriculture zones, Es Mercadal is super unique.
This lack of tourism also makes it one of the more affordable places to stay on the island, perfect if you’re traveling around Spain on a budget. The few hotels on offer in the area provide some fantastic rates on their rooms. You don’t even have to avoid the coast – the north of the Es Mercadal region is just as quiet, with some great coastal getaways that won’t break the bank.
Stay right in the heart of the town with this cute little pied-à-terre. We say little, but it’s actually deceptively large with three bedrooms – perfect for families or groups on a budget. The building is a typical Menorcan-style house, offering a shaded courtyard and rustic décor. Our favourite feature is the solid barbecue area built into the foundations of the house.
Secluded Farm Stay in Es Mercadal: Monte Toro
This is our top pick for those that want to veer off the beaten path in Menorca. It’s just outside Es Mercadal, giving you a calm and quiet location to enjoy the Balearic sun. You’ll get to interact with a local farming family who can help you get to know the region better. Guests will need a car to get to this property, but it’s only a five-minute drive from the main town.
Locally Owned Hotel in Es Mercadal: Hotel Jeni & Restaurant
What better way to learn more about the area than to stay in accommodation owned by locals? This cute little hotel is right in the heart of Es Mercadal and enjoys friendly and welcoming guest service. The on-site restaurant offers delectable Moroccan cuisine, but if you fancy something else, there are plenty of great restaurants on the same street.
Things to See and Do in Es Mercadal:
- Fornells, in the coastal part of the Es Mercadal Region, is home to some great boat excursion, including this trip circling the entire island.
- Avinguda del Dr Llansó is the main shopping street in the town, with a number of local boutiques and artisanal food stores.
- One of the most unique museums in the world is located on the outskirts of the town – the Museu Es Racó de Sa Ràdio Antiga, dedicated to old-fashioned radios.
- There are a number of excellent wineries in Menorca – Bodegas Menorquinas is among the most popular and is just outside the town.
3. Ciutadella – Best Area in Menorca for Families
On the opposite end of the island from Maó, Ciutadella de Menorca has transformed a lot over the years. What was once the bustling capital of the island is now a much sleepier city. This super calm atmosphere makes it the perfect spot for families.
Don’t be fooled, however. This sleepy little city still has a lot to offer under the surface. Ciutadella was the capital during the British occupation, and you can still find signs dotted around the city. Whilst Maó is the modern hub of the island, Ciutadella offers a more fascinating insight into Menorca’s past.
Feel like splurging? You’ll live like a true monarch in this stunning villa in Ciutadella. Located right by the beach, you’ll get to enjoy stunning views across Menorca and the coast from the vast pool deck. What really makes this property stand out is the attention to details. Our particular favourite part is the alfresco dining area – perfect for enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine in hand.
Budget Friendly Hotel in Ciutadella: Hotel Cala Bona-Mar
This hotel offers some of the best room rates on the entire island! What’s better, they even offer family rooms, so it isn’t just reserved for backpackers. It’s located right on the sea promenade, only a few minutes’ walk from the most popular attractions in the city. Rooms are somewhat basic, but with prices this good, we’re happy to leave the frills behind.
Calm Hotel in Ciutadella: Prinsotel La Caleta
Kick back, relax and soak up the sunshine in this tranquil, four-star resort. Santandria Beach is right on the doorstep, with plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance. Rooms are bright and spacious, with modern furnishings enhancing your comfort. There’s also a stunning pool terrace where you can socialise with other guests.
Things to See and Do in Ciutadella:
- Mediterranean Cuisine is arguably the most famous in the world. Learn more about Menorca’s unique contributions on this delectable experience.
- Menorca has a turbulent history and nowhere is that more apparent than Ciutadella – learn about the events and stories that shaped the island in this tour.
- Castell de Sant Nicolau is an important historic attraction right on the coast. It even comes with a moat and drawbridge!
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Menorca
Menorca is a charming little island in the east of the Balearics. With most visitors coming over from Ibiza on day-trips, the lower tourism numbers make the island a great spot to stay and learn about local culture.
The Balearics have always had a balance of Spanish and Catalan culture, with a little extra Mediterranean flair added in. Menorca is a great example of this and it also exemplifies the historic importance of the islands.
For us, Maó is the best place to stay. This is the only city on the island, so you’ll never run out of things to do. It’s also the best-connected destination – which, on an island this small, gives you plenty of opportunities to explore what else is on offer. You really can’t go wrong!
That being said, the best place for you really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. Ciutadella is like a calmer version of Máo, whilst Es Mercadal is an excellent choice for budget travellers and those wanting to veer even further off the beaten path.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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