A treasure with a great story to tell
Ciudadela is rich in history as it was under the control of different cultures such as the Roman or the Muslim for a long time. This domination is visible today and comes to life through the archaeological remains and the architecture displayed throughout the city.
This magical legacy makes of Ciudadela today the urb with the greatest number of residents on the island of Menorca and one of the most beautiful in Spain.
This inspiring place was the island capital many years ago and the emblematic buildings we can see today are an illustration of the intense activity at the time.
The wall that surrounds its centre enables the city to radiate a stately atmosphere that stimulates those walking through the streets. As a matter of fact, both the exciting narrow streets and the unrivalled harbour do not leave any visiting tourist indifferent. Discover all the secrets hidden in this perfect vacation spot.
How to get there
This city is easily reachable from Menorca Airport near Mahón. From there, we will take the road towards Ciutadella, passing by the outskirts of Es Mercadal and Ferrerías, arriving in about 40 minutes. If we come from the Port of Mahón, the journey will take about 45 minutes.
Port of Ciutadella welcomes ferries from Alcudia (Mallorca) and Barcelona.
What to see
The old town
What an amazing experience will be to walk its narrow stone-paved streets, almost all pedestrian, impacted by the presence of Arabs and the fascinating medieval times!
The city remained completely walled in until the end of the 19th century and today, two sections of this wall are still present.
We can find many of the most important buildings of the city within the old town area, such as the Cathedral, the City Council, the market or Torre-Saura Palace, a large manor house with small windows and many ornaments.
In addition, you will discover a great deal of incredible restaurants, bars and shops in this area; Plaza des Born is a good example. This square is a highly recommended place to make a stop, replenish your energy by having a snack and then continue to San Nicolás Castle and the harbour.
You may either hire a guided tour to go visit all the historic buildings and places of interest in Ciudadela or you can do it on your own.
It is known as Santa María de Ciutadella Cathedral. It is the most important gothic building on the island and lies on an old mosque.
To be found in the city centre.
Its height makes of this structure an impressive sight. Admission is free of charge.
Plaza del Borne
It is the square where to find City Council among other outstanding buildings.
An obelisk was built to commemorate the defence of the city against a Turkish attack in 1558.
The tourist office is located within the City Council building. Come and get a map to locate the main sites to visit.
Also, if you walk around City Council you will reach a viewpoint from where you can enjoy wonderful views of the city and the harbour. This is a must-see in town!
The lively atmosphere in this square is worthwhile noting, and makes this place a great spot to lay back on one of the terraces and have a soft drink or a cold beer while organizing the rest of the route ahead.
We will find beautiful shops as we go down the town square slope, as well as stalls full of handcrafts and other diverse interesting products.
Ses Voltes Street
Even though the formal name of this street is Carrer Josep Maria Quadrado, it is commonly known as Calle de Ses Voltes due to the arches we find along its route.
It starts in the cathedral square and is a very busy street.
Here you can find many restaurants, but you can also savour the scrumptious local ensaimadas, stuffed with either chocolate or cream, in one of the bakeries around.
You will be shocked by the wide variety and large number of shops here, where you can definitely get a pair of very comfortable Menorcan sandals called Abarcas at a good price. Needless to say that you will end up discovering more products!
San Nicolás Castle
It is a military watch tower made of marés stone, a calcareous rock typical of the Balearic Islands that is widely used in building. The castle is to be found at the end of the promenade, next to the entrance of the Ciudadela natural harbour. Its peculiar octagonal shape makes it stand out among the rest of the towers on the island and therefore, an amazing sight for all. It was used to defend the city in the past, but is today a jewel to be cherished. Visits only by appointment.
Port de Ciutadella
Port de Ciutadella is a mandatory stop for the many amazing shops and diverse gastronomic places you will find about, where you can relish many Menorcan specialties.
The lighting at night creates the ideal atmosphere for a stroll through the port, which will undoubtedly leave a pleasant memory in you for time to come.
Passengers using the marine lines from Mallorca (Iscomar) and Barcelona (Balearia) arrive here.
A particular meteorological phenomenon called rissaga happens at this port, when for a short period of time the sea level rises considerably and falls rapidly soon after. This phenomenon was the cause of significant boat destruction in 2006.
Plaza de la Esplanada
It is the square where public events are usually held.
Ciudadela Municipal Museum
This archaeology and history museum has a renowned collection of prehistoric items. Here you can learn about the diverse historical stages of the island of Menorca.
The museum is located in Plaça de Sa Font, within Bastió de Sa Font, a building that was part of the protective city wall.
Opening hours are from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm. Hours are extended from May to September, so you may also visit from 6 pm to 9 pm. Closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Naveta des Tudons
It is one of the most famous Talayotic remains, located on the road to Mahón from Ciutadella. This monument built with large embedded stones served as a collective burial site. It has a small entrance hole at the base but access is forbidden for safety reasons.
Expect during the month of November and days before Easter when entry is free of charge, there is an admission fee for those wishing to visit the exterior of the naveta during the rest of the year.
There is a legend surrounding the missing upper stone of the naveta: the legend tells the story of the struggle of two giants to win a maiden’s affection. One of the giants built the naveta while the other one dug a well in order to find water, what is today known as Pozo de sa Barrina. To avoid being defeated and before finishing the naveta, the former giant threw the upper stone into the well, crushing and killing the latter giant at the bottom of the hole, just now that water had just been found. However, such stone has never been recovered from the well.
What to do
Windsurfing, sport fishing, sailing or water skiing, are some of the activities you can do in the port.
Many rural roads or secondary roads give us the chance to go biking on our own or hire guided tours.
There are many routes around and nearby Ciudadela to enjoy the landscape while observing the local flora and fauna. A great example is the Camí de Cavalls route, which runs along the entire island coastline.
There are several riding clubs for riding or to go on a horseback riding tour in Ciutadella.
There are many spectacular beaches here in Ciutadella. Since they usually crowd up fast, especially at the weekend, we highly recommend that you get to the beach early in the morning, making it easier for you to find a parking space and enjoy your day.
The most popular beaches are Cala Turqueta, Cala Macarella and Cala Macarelleta.
Where to eat
Be sure to savour the unique and rich Mallorcan cuisine in one of the many restaurants around Ciutadella. The lobster stew and stuffed eggplants are outstanding local dishes.
Where to lodge
There are a great variety of hotels, hostels or apartment building where you can stay in Ciutadella.
However, if camping suits you better, there are site in Son Bou and on the road to Cala Galdana.
Summers are hot and winters are mild, with average temperatures of 15ºC. However, they can reach 35ºC on the hottest days of summer and can drop to 4ºC in winter. Rainfall is somewhat more abundant here than in the rest of the Balearic Islands.
San Juan festivities
It is the most popular festival in Menorca and it is held in Ciudadela around June 24th. These festivities attract a great amount of tourists in the city as emotions concentrate in the air and the streets become a place for families to enjoy carefree. Horses and riders are with no doubt the great protagonists in this unforgettable party.