Ciutadella, a beautiful little city of golden stone, sits on the western tip of the laid-back island of Menorca. It was the island capital right up until 1714, and its cobbled lanes are crammed with churches and palaces that hug a picture-postcard port. One of the loveliest little cities in all Spain, it’s perfect for a relaxing short break or a weekend city break. Get the lowdown on what to see and do in 48 hours in Ciutadella with our essential local guide!
Day one: morning
Get lost in Ciutadella’s charming historic quarter, known as ‘Es Born’, a maze of narrow streets that spread out from the port. The main square is the Plaça d’es Born, which has a handful of cafés and is overlooked by handsome Gothic palaces, including the city hall. Stroll along the cobbled streets to find the magnificent medieval cathedral and numerous aristocratic mansions and palaces, most of which are still in private hands. You could also duck into the pretty Modernista (Art Nouveau) market, to browse among the colourful stalls. There are lots of enticing shops and cafés hidden away on the side streets, plus a host of traditional restaurants where you can enjoy some of the delicious local cuisine.
Day one: afternoon
Amble around Ciutadella’s beautiful harbour, which is set on a long, slender inlet, and is full of yachts, fishing boats and excursion boats. The city’s history museum occupies a 17th-century bastion overlooking the harbour, and is full of fascinating ancient finds. You could also stroll along the Camí de Baix, a 2-kilometre-long waterfront promenade, which leads to the Sant Nicolau watchtower. It’s an idyllic spot for enjoying some breathtaking sunset views. For dinner, take your pick from the dozens of restaurants arranged around the port, and finish the night with a cocktail or two at one of the city’s stylish rooftop bars.
Day two: all day
It’s time to hit the beach! Santandria is the nearest beach to the centre of Ciutadella, a pretty curve of golden sand tucked into a turquoise bay. Although relatively small, it has plenty of facilities, including a handful of bars and restaurants. If you’ve got your own transport, you could seek out one of the island’s spectacularly unspoilt virgin beaches: one of the loveliest is the Cala Turqueta, about a 20-minute drive from Ciutadella. Just remember to pack a parasol and a picnic, as you won’t find any facilities.