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City-Guides

City-Guides (7)

Destination Guide: Budapest

Destination Guide: Budapest

Brilliant Budapest has all the grandeur and history that you would expect from a European capital. With magnificent basilicas, ornate palaces, and a famous river running through its center, it has much in common with some of the great cities of Western Europe. Yet this exhilarating destination has a bit more edge to it than the stately powerhouses of the west. There’s a spice to its food, an energy to its nightlife, and an earthiness to its people that gives the city real vigor. Plus, a trip here will cost you a few forints less than excursions to Berlin, Paris, or Vienna.

The city is split into two regions. Pest, on the eastern side of the Danube River, is densely packed with attractions. Stroll around its storied streets to see buildings from Budapest’s “Golden Age” of the late 19th century. The Hungarian State Opera House, the Palace of Art and the concert hall known as Pesti Vigadó are all the kind of buildings to make you stop and stare. To learn more about the history of the country, explore the Hungarian National Museum, housed in a purpose-built neoclassical building in the heart of Pest. Wander along the river to snap pictures or take a tour of the gigantic Parliament building, a turn-of-the-century wonder with an iconic dome.

Of course, if you get tired of sightseeing (and the list of sights is exhausting), it’s just as appealing to go on a shopping trip. Váci Utca is a popular pedestrianized street with boutique stores housed in gorgeous buildings. Relax after a day spent pounding Pest’s pavements with a trip to the city’s famous thermal baths, which have been attracting visitors to their healing waters for centuries.

 

On the other side of the river you’ll find Buda, with its steep hills climbing to spectacular viewpoints. This half of the city, too, is hardly short of attractions. The Citadella is a fortress overlooking Pest, built after Hungary became independent in the mid-19th century. The Royal Palace, meanwhile, is one of the city’s architectural highlights, a vast, sprawling château that hosts two museums and a library.

 

 

There’s never any cause to be hungry in Hungary. The most famous dish is goulash, a rich, spiced stew with beef and vegetables. Trying a serving of this is essential, and it’s easy to find in Budapest’s numerous acclaimed restaurants. There’s more to Hungarian cuisine than goulash, though, from deep-fried flatbread known as lángos to the popular dessert of somlói galuska, a layered cake.

 

 

Top Three Attractions in Budapest

Royal Palace

It’s impossible to miss the Royal Palace. This pastel-pink landmark sits overlooking the Danube, covering almost two square miles (five square kilometers) on the banks of the river. The palace’s story dates back to the 13th century, but in reality, the building you can see is much younger, as it has undergone numerous reconstructions since then. Today it’s not just an eye-catching monument – although you will definitely want to cross the river for photos taking in the entire building. Visit the palace to explore the two museums and library inside. The National Gallery and the Castle Museum can take up hours of exploring, with fine art masterworks and exhibits dedicated to the history of the Magyar people.

 

Thermal Baths

Soaking in the hot mineral waters of a thermal spa is one of the quintessential Budapest experiences. After all, people have been coming here for the springs since the Roman era. Choose from one of over a hundred spas across the city that harness the naturally occurring hot springs and ease away your aches in reinvigorating water. Some of the bathhouses here, such as the 16th-century Rudas Baths, date back hundreds of years. The Palatinus Baths are the best place to go if you’re visiting with children, as they feature family-friendly additions such as wave pools and flumes. Several baths are hosted privately by hotels, but you can pick from 15 public thermal baths for an enjoyably communal experience in these ever-warm waters.

 

Buda Hills

If you’re feeling energetic, stride out into the Buda Hills, the peaks on the western side of the river that are lined with hiking trails and quiet parks. Arguably the best place for views of the city is at Elizabeth Lookout, from the vantage point of János Hill, the highest point in the area. If you can’t face the climb, take the Children’s Railway that chugs through all of the popular spots in the Buda Hills. Seek out Pálvölgy Cave, a long cavern with stunning limestone formations. You can explore this as part of a guided tour that heads under the Buda Hills.

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Destination Guide: Menorca

 

Menorca isn’t your typical Balearic island. Yes, just like Ibiza, this destination offers nightlife galore; but the scene centers on stylish jazz venues and bars carved into cliffs rather than megaclubs with A-list DJs. Menorca also has beach resorts, like Mallorca; but here they’re smaller, more personal, and – according to some – more attractive. It’s also more laid-back than its island neighbors, enticing all of its visitors to enjoy the finer things in life. Here, the cheeses are hand-made, the gins potent, and the beaches sun-drenched. Visit Menorca and you’ll swiftly be wowed by its secluded coastline and gorgeous landscapes, and start wondering why this is less famous than the other Balearics.

Its two cities lie on opposite sides of the island and have similarly opposing characters, too. Ciutadella, in the west, is more Spanish in character, with pedestrianized streets and sleepy plazas to transport you to a different era of the island’s history. Nearby, you’ll find the mysterious megalithic tomb known as Naveta d’Es Tudons. This boat-shaped building predates even the ancient Talayotic culture of Menorca, making it one of the oldest sites in the Balearics.

 

 

Ciutadella was replaced as the Menorcan capital by Mahón, which still bears the marks of British occupation and features several elegant mansions overlooking its large natural harbor. Take time in Mahón to visit the Museum of Menorca and Ca n’Oliver to learn about the island’s history. In the evenings, enjoy a concert in the Teatro Principal or head to the harbor for cocktails and boat rides. Fit in a late dinner at a family-run taverna and feast on caldetera de llagosta, a lobster stew that’s a local specialty.

Hire a car or ride one of the local (and charmingly slow-moving) buses to one of the island’s countless beaches. Punta Prima is one of the more popular stretches of shoreline, with visitors drawn to its fine sand and calm waters. A little bit of exploring rewards the intrepid traveler. Es Grau and Cala Presili, located in the beautiful S’Abulfera des Grau Natural Park, are enticingly quiet beaches, while destinations on the southern coast, such as Cala en Turqueta and Calas Covas, feature some of the island’s most dramatic scenery.

Time your trip to coincide with one of the island’s numerous festivals. Each town has its own feast days for patron saints, but the Our Lady of Grace Festival is a particular highlight. You’ll get to witness horses dancing on their hind legs, live musical performances, and fireworks lighting up the night sky. The Menorcan gin will flow freely, the food will be plentiful, and the atmosphere will be electric.

 

 

 

Top Three Attractions in Menorca

Mahón Harbor

The natural bay area of central Mahón, Menorca’s capital, offers an enchanting look at the city’s architecture and character. Explore it by boat, drifting around the harbor on one of the numerous excursions that run every day, or wander around it on foot. There are numerous attractions worthy of attention lining the waterfront. The Museum of Menorca, hosted in a Franciscan monastery, traces the story of the island from its ancient Talayotic roots through to the present day. Learn about Menorca’s colorful past before heading to the Xoriguer Gin Distillery to sample the island’s most potent and popular export.

 

Parc Natural s’Abulfera d’Es Grau

T his natural park is one of the most scenic corners of Menorca, situated just a short drive from Mahón. Menorca is a UNESCO-protected biosphere, but you’ll find most of the island’s wildlife packed into this nature reserve on the northern coast. Follow the hiking trails and bring your binoculars to watch for eagles soaring above the lakes and tortoises sunbathing on exposed rocks. It’s an amazingly diverse landscape, with wetlands, agricultural fields, forests, and cliffs characterizing the scenery here. Everything in s’Albufera d’Es Grau remains blissfully undeveloped, so if you stumble across one of its beaches, such as Es Grau or Cala Presili, you can relax by the shores of the Mediterranean in total peace.

 

Ca n’Oliver

A converted mansion in the heart of Mahón hosts one of the island’s finest museums. The house itself is an attraction, a 19th-century stately home with elegant, open staircases, and impressive painted ceilings. Today it hosts a collection of artworks and historical displays, as well as spaces for temporary exhibitions. Visit to learn about the history of Mahón through multimedia exhibits on topics such as local families and the language of Menorquín. Once you’ve exhausted its engaging galleries, head to the top of the mansion for some of the best views of Mahón and the surrounding landscape.

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Destination Guide: Southwest Washington

The artsy, coffee-sipping cities of Portland and Seattle tend to draw in the most crowds to the Pacific Northwest. Situated humbly between these two popular city-break destinations is the less-visited region of Southwest Washington, an area rich with history and dramatic landscapes. It’s a place unaffected by the mad rush for housing and the extensive tourism developments that have shaped the more famous parts of the Northwest. Escape here to discover vast swaths of wilderness with dramatic, awe-inspiring scenery, and to relax in the charming cities hidden within these landscapes.

Start your exploration of Southwest Washington in Vancouver. Not the famous Canadian metropolis, of course, but the smaller conurbation on the border with Oregon. The Columbia River separates the city from Portland, but Vancouver has a different character to its southern neighbor. It’s quieter, but also (whisper it) less pretentious, with plenty to entertain its visitors. The Clark County Historical Museum charts the story of the region, while the Pearson Air Museum is a must for aviation enthusiasts. Fort Vancouver is one of the area’s sightseeing highlights, a recreated pioneer town with interactive exhibits for the whole family.

 

 

U se Vancouver as your base for exploring the wildernesses of Southwest Washington. It’s hard to miss the towering peak of Mount St. Helens, a volcano famed for its explosive eruption in 1980. See it by hiking through the surrounding park, flying over the peak, or trekking into its lava tubes. The Cascade Mountains run through this corner of the state, too, with Mount Rainier’s snowcapped peak standing watch over forests and lakes with gorgeous hiking trails. The ancient trees in Mount Rainier National Park are one of the big draws of the region, with some that are over a thousand years old.

 

End your trip in Centralia, a town about 90 minutes south of Seattle by car. Even within the town limits, you can relax in wide green spaces, such as Fort Borst Park. The downtown area here features a selection of historic murals and a main street with an enchanting old-world atmosphere. Linger in Centralia to visit charming theaters, family-run restaurants, and lively farmers’ markets.

 

 

 

 

Top Three Sights in Southwest Washington

 

Mount St. Helens

Make your way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory or to Norway Pass for the best views of Mount St. Helens, Southwest Washington’s most fearsome and awe-inspiring natural landmark. Marvel at the semicircular crater blasted out of the volcano, which last had a major eruption in 1980.

It’s an active volcano, so it’s monitored by geologists constantly. Don’t worry, though; you can still freely explore the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest, home to some of the best hiking trails in the state. The national park service maintains several biking trails and campgrounds in the park, too, making it a destination that could take up several days of exploring. For an unusual way to experience the volcano, head into the lava tubes that were formed by lava-buried trees that subsequently rotted. You can spot them by following marked trails through the park, while some have ladders that allow you to descend into these unusual formations.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Picture yourself as an international trader in the 19th century or as a powerful politician in Fort Vancouver. This popular family attraction was once a hub of culture, commerce and politics in the Pacific Northwest, from the early 1800s onward. Today it’s a reconstructed fort, where costumed guides shed light on what life was like here during its money-making heyday.

The exhibits in the museum cover a variety of topics. Learn about the Native Americans who first called Washington home and read about the Hudson’s Bay Company, which traded from this strategic location. The National Historic Site also encompasses the historic home of the fort’s founder, John McLoughlin, as well as Pearson Field, which features a museum dedicated to the history of aviation.

Columbia River Gorge

Lace up a pair of hiking boots and trek along the edges of the Columbia River Gorge, which forms the dramatic natural boundary to Washington State. Basalt cliffs tower above the wide, winding river, which cuts through the Cascade Mountains and flows out into the Pacific Ocean. Drive along the edge of the river on the Lewis and Clark Highway to appreciate the varied landscapes of the gorge. The National Scenic Area features several places to stop, on both the Washington and the Oregon sides, with hiking trails that head up into the hills. Small towns such as White Salmon and Carson make for scenic places to rest along the way.

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Destination Guide: Sydney

The name Sydney automatically conjures up a series of images in the minds of anyone hearing it: that iconic harbor, with its bridge and opera house; golden beaches populated by beautiful Aussies; and mouthwatering food served in some of the nation’s best restaurants. Sydney is one of those cities that lives up to its hype, with stunning architecture and dozens of all-ages attractions to keep you constantly entertained. It also has appeal far beyond the famous sights (although they’re as great as their reputation suggests), with plenty of trendy neighborhoods and elegant art galleries waiting to be discover.

This is a city that knows it’s a world-class travel destination, exuding a sense of civic pride. The smiles here seem brighter, the waves bigger, the parties louder. Bondi Beach epitomizes the spirit of the place. Here, gloriously tanned and disarmingly friendly locals congregate on the sun-kissed sand for volleyball, swimming, and surfing. This isn’t some deserted coastal getaway, but an energetic, lively beach where everyone is welcome. That same atmosphere extends to the other beaches that hug the edges of the city, from Manly Beach in the north to Maroubra in the south. 

 

 

Then there’s the iconic harbor, where numerous landmarks jostle for your attention. Clichéd as the photo may be, the Opera House’s famous shell structure demands at least one snap for your album. Meanwhile, the Harbor Bridge invites visitors to climb up its sides for the best views of the city. The Royal Botanic Gardens are only marginally less famous, but promise total relaxation beneath the shade of their evergreen trees. 

The first British colony in Australia was established here in Sydney, so remnants of the country’s colonial past can be found scattered throughout the city. Wander down George Street to marvel at 19th-century buildings such as the Town Hall and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.  The Rocks, a historic area in the harbor, is the site of the city’s oldest building, Cadman’s Cottage, as well as a selection of restaurants and galleries.

 

Sydney is also a modern, family-friendly destination, with a plethora of attractions to appeal to younger visitors to the Harbor City. Taronga Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney and the Australian National Maritime Museum all offer hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Sydney has plenty of cheap eats for larger families, with street food and mouthwatering barbecues ubiquitous throughout the city. Of course, the capital of New South Wales also features some of the best seafood in the country, with enough Michelin stars across its establishments to please even the most discerning gourmand.

 

 

 Top Three Attractions in Sydney 

The Sydney Opera House

Bleached white shells rise in arches like sails catching the wind at one of the most instantly recognizable entertainment venues in the world. The Sydney Opera House might be Australia’s most famous landmark, but it’s more than just a postcard picture. Take a guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site to see the inner workings of this incredible venue, then come back in the evening to experience it in use. The Opera House hosts an eclectic calendar of events, ranging from pop performances to experimental opera. Book a ticket for an orchestral concert to hear the acoustics of its main auditorium at their best. 

 

Bondi Beach 

You don’t have to travel far away from the city center to reach iconic, sunny Bondi Beach, one of the most popular coastal destinations in the wider Sydney area. A long, spacious crescent of sand wraps around a bay of rich, blue water, with grassy banks and a lively town community on its edges. Don’t come here expecting tranquility; visit, instead, for the year-round party atmosphere, warm water, and occasionally rough waves. Lifeguards do patrol the beach, but stay safe by keeping to the protected areas marked by flags.

 

  

Taronga Zoo

Take a boat from The Rocks and ride out over the harbor to Bradley’s Head, the home of this immensely entertainingattraction that will delight the whole family. You’ll get to meet some of Australia’s most famous animals, including kangaroos and koalas, as well as species from all around the planet. Asian elephants, lemurs, and seals are just a few of the creatures featured here. It’s an ecology-first zoo, prioritizing conservation and education. Time your trip well to watch animal feedings and zookeeper talks and find out about the natural habitats of these animals. There’s even the opportunity to stay overnight at Taronga, as part of the zoo’s “Roar and Snore” programs. 

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Destination Guide: Southwest Washington

Destination Guide: Southwest Washington 

The artsy, coffee-sipping cities of Portlandand Seattle tend to draw in the most crowds to the Pacific Northwest. Situated humbly between these two popular city-break destinations is the less-visited region of Southwest Washington, an area rich with history and dramatic landscapes. It’s a place unaffected by the mad rush for housing and the extensive tourism developments that have shaped the more famous parts of the Northwest. Escape here to discover vast swaths of wilderness with dramatic, awe-inspiring scenery, and to relax in the charming cities hidden within these landscapes. 

Start your exploration of Southwest Washington in Vancouver. Not the famous Canadian metropolis, of course, but the smaller conurbation on the border with Oregon. The Columbia River separates the city from Portland, but Vancouver has a different character to its southern neighbor. It’s quieter, but also (whisper it) less pretentious, with plenty to entertain its visitors. The Clark County Historical Museum charts the story of the region, while the Pearson Air Museum is a must for aviation enthusiasts. Fort Vancouver is one of the area’s sightseeing highlights, a recreated pioneer town with interactive exhibits for the whole family. 

Use Vancouver as your base for exploring the wildernesses of Southwest Washington. It’s hard to miss the towering peak of Mount St. Helens, a volcano famed for its explosive eruption in 1980. See it by hiking through the surrounding park, flying over the peak, or trekking into its lava tubes. The Cascade Mountains run through this corner of the state, too, with Mount Rainier’s snowcapped peak standing watch over forests and lakes with gorgeous hiking trails. The ancient trees in Mount Rainier National Park are one of the big draws of the region, with some that are over a thousand years old. 

End your trip in Centralia, a town about 90 minutes south of Seattle by car. Even within the town limits, you can relax in wide green spaces, such as Fort Borst Park. The downtown area here features a selection of historic murals and a main street with an enchanting old-world atmosphere. Linger in Centralia to visit charming theaters, family-run restaurants, and lively farmers’ markets.  

Top Three Sights in Southwest Washington 

Mount St. Helens

Make your way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory or to Norway Pass for the best views of Mount St. Helens, Southwest Washington’s most fearsome and awe-inspiring natural landmark. Marvel at the semicircular crater blasted out of the volcano, which last had a major eruption in 1980. 

It’s an active volcano, so it’s monitored by geologists constantly. Don’t worry, though; you can still freely explore the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest, home to some of the best hiking trails in the state. The national park service maintains several biking trails and campgrounds in the park, too, making it a destination that could take up several days of exploring. For an unusual way to experience the volcano, head into the lava tubes that were formed by lava-buried trees that subsequently rotted. You can spot them by following marked trails through the park, while some have ladders that allow you to descend into these unusual formations. 

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Picture yourself as an international trader in the 19th century or as a powerful politician in Fort Vancouver. This popular family attraction was once a hub of culture, commerce and politics in the Pacific Northwest, from the early 1800s onward. Today it’s a reconstructed fort, where costumed guides shed light on what life was like here during its money-making heyday. 

The exhibits in the museum cover a variety of topics. Learn about the Native Americans who first called Washington home and read about the Hudson’s Bay Company, which traded from this strategic location. The National Historic Site also encompasses the historic home of the fort’s founder, John McLoughlin, as well as Pearson Field, which features a museum dedicated to the history of aviation. 

Columbia River Gorge

Lace up a pair of hiking boots and trek along the edges of the Columbia River Gorge, which forms the dramatic natural boundary to Washington State. Basalt cliffs tower above the wide, winding river, which cuts through the Cascade Mountains and flows out into the Pacific Ocean. Drive along the edge of the river on the Lewis and Clark Highway to appreciate the varied landscapes of the gorge. The National Scenic Area features several places to stop, on both the Washington and the Oregon sides, with hiking trails that head up into the hills. Small towns such as White Salmon and Carson make for scenic places to rest along the way.

Read more...

Destination Guide: Budapest

Destination Guide: Budapest 

Brilliant Budapest has all the grandeur and history that you would expect from a European capital. With magnificent basilicas, ornate palaces, and a famous river running through its center, it has much in common with some of the great cities of Western Europe. Yet this exhilarating destination has a bit more edge to it than the stately powerhouses of the west. There’s a spice to its food, an energy to its nightlife, and an earthiness to its people that gives the city real vigor. Plus, a trip here will cost you a few forints less than excursions to Berlin, Paris, or Vienna.

The city is split into two regions. Pest, on the eastern side of the Danube River, is densely packed with attractions. Stroll around its storied streets to see buildings from Budapest’s “Golden Age” of the late 19th century. The Hungarian State Opera House, the Palace of Art and the concert hall known as PestiVigadó are all the kind of buildings to make you stop and stare. To learn more about the history of the country, explore the Hungarian National Museum, housed in a purpose-built neoclassical building in the heart of Pest. Wander along the river to snap pictures or take a tour of the gigantic Parliament building, a turn-of-the-century wonder with an iconic dome. 

Of course, if you get tired of sightseeing (and the list of sights is exhausting), it’s just as appealing to go on a shopping trip. VáciUtca is a popular pedestrianized street with boutique stores housed in gorgeous buildings. Relax after a day spent pounding Pest’s pavements with a trip to the city’s famous thermal baths, which have been attracting visitors to their healing waters for centuries. 

On the other side of the river you’ll find Buda, with its steep hills climbing to spectacular viewpoints. This half of the city, too, is hardly short of attractions. The Citadella is a fortress overlooking Pest, built after Hungary became independent in the mid-19th century. The Royal Palace, meanwhile, is one of the city’s architectural highlights, a vast, sprawlingchâteau that hosts two museums and a library. 

There’s never any cause to be hungry in Hungary. The most famous dish is goulash, a rich, spiced stew with beef and vegetables. Trying a serving of this is essential, and it’s easy to find in Budapest’s numerous acclaimed restaurants. There’s more to Hungarian cuisine than goulash, though, from deep-fried flatbread known as lángos to the popular dessert of somlóigaluska, a layered cake. 

Top Three Attractions in Budapest 

Royal Palace

It’s impossible to miss the Royal Palace. This pastel-pink landmark sits overlooking the Danube, covering almost two square miles (five square kilometers) on the banks of the river. The palace’s story dates back to the 13th century, but in reality, the building you can see is much younger, as it has undergone numerous reconstructions since then. Today it’s not just an eye-catching monument – although you will definitely want to cross the river for photos taking in the entire building. Visit the palace to explore the two museums and library inside. The National Gallery and the Castle Museum can take up hours of exploring, with fine art masterworks and exhibits dedicated to the history of the Magyar people.                                                                        

Thermal Baths

Soaking in the hot mineral waters of a thermal spa is one of the quintessential Budapest experiences. After all, people have been coming here for the springs since the Roman era. Choose from one of over a hundred spas across the city that harness the naturally occurring hot springs and ease away your aches in reinvigorating water. Some of the bathhouses here, such as the 16th-century Rudas Baths, date back hundreds of years. The Palatinus Baths are the best place to go if you’re visiting with children, as they feature family-friendly additions such as wave pools and flumes.Several baths are hosted privately by hotels, but you can pick from 15 public thermal baths for an enjoyably communal experience in these ever-warm waters. 

Buda Hills

If you’re feeling energetic, stride out into the Buda Hills, the peaks on the western side of the river that are lined with hiking trails and quiet parks. Arguably the best place for views of the city is at Elizabeth Lookout, from the vantage point of János Hill, the highest point in the area. If you can’t face the climb, take the Children’s Railway that chugs through all of the popular spots in the Buda Hills. Seek out Pálvölgy Cave, a long cavern with stunning limestone formations. You can explore this as part of a guided tour that heads under the Buda Hills.

Read more...

Destination Guide: Menorca

Destination Guide: Menorca

Menorca isn’t your typical Balearic island. Yes, just like Ibiza, this destination offers nightlife galore; but the scene centers on stylish jazz venues and bars carved into cliffs rather thanmegaclubs with A-list DJs. Menorca also has beach resorts, like Mallorca; but here they’re smaller, more personal, and – according to some – more attractive. It’s also more laid-back than its island neighbors, enticing all of its visitors to enjoy the finer things in life. Here, the cheeses are hand-made, the gins potent, and the beaches sun-drenched. Visit Menorca and you’ll swiftly be wowed by its secluded coastline and gorgeous landscapes, and start wondering why this is less famous than the other Balearics. 

Its two cities lie on opposite sides of the island and have similarly opposing characters, too. Ciutadella, in the west, is more Spanish in character, with pedestrianized streets and sleepy plazas to transport you to a different era of the island’s history. Nearby, you’ll find the mysterious megalithic tomb known as Navetad’EsTudons. This boat-shaped building predates even the ancient Talayotic culture of Menorca, making it one of the oldest sites in the Balearics. 

Ciutadella was replaced as the Menorcan capital by Mahón, which still bears the marks of British occupation and features several elegant mansions overlooking its large natural harbor. Take time in Mahón to visit the Museum of Menorca and Ca n’Oliver to learn about the island’s history. In the evenings, enjoy a concert in the Teatro Principal or head to the harbor for cocktails and boat rides. Fit in a late dinner at a family-run taverna and feast on caldetera de llagosta, a lobster stew that’s a local specialty.

 Hire a car or ride one of the local (and charmingly slow-moving) buses to one of the island’s countless beaches. Punta Prima is one of the more popular stretches of shoreline,with visitors drawn to its fine sand and calm waters. A little bit of exploring rewards the intrepid traveler. EsGrau and CalaPresili, located in the beautiful S’Abulfera des Grau Natural Park, are enticingly quiet beaches, while destinations on the southern coast, such as CalaenTurqueta and CalasCovas, feature some of the island’s most dramatic scenery. 

Time your trip to coincide with one of the island’s numerous festivals. Each town has its own feast days for patron saints, but the Our Lady of Grace Festival is a particular highlight. You’ll get to witness horses dancing on their hind legs, live musical performances, and fireworks lighting up the night sky. The Menorcan gin will flow freely, the food will be plentiful, and the atmosphere will be electric. 

Top Three Attractions in Menorca

Mahón Harbor

The natural bay area of central Mahón, Menorca’s capital, offers an enchanting look at the city’s architecture and character. Explore it by boat, drifting around the harbor on one of the numerous excursions that run every day, or wander around it on foot. There are numerous attractions worthy of attention lining the waterfront. The Museum of Menorca, hosted in a Franciscan monastery, traces the story of the island from its ancient Talayotic roots through to the present day. Learn about Menorca’s colorful past before heading to the Xoriguer Gin Distillery to sample the island’s most potent and popular export.

Parc Natural s’Abulferad’EsGrau

This natural park is one of the most scenic corners of Menorca, situated just a short drive from Mahón. Menorca is a UNESCO-protected biosphere, but you’ll find most of the island’s wildlife packed into this nature reserve on the northern coast. Follow the hiking trails and bring your binoculars to watch for eagles soaring above the lakes and tortoises sunbathing on exposed rocks. It’s an amazingly diverse landscape, with wetlands, agricultural fields, forests, and cliffs characterizing the scenery here. Everything in s’Albuferad’EsGrau remains blissfully undeveloped, so if you stumble across one of its beaches, such as EsGrau or CalaPresili, you can relax by the shores of the Mediterranean in total peace. 

Ca n’Oliver

A converted mansion in the heart of Mahón hosts one of the island’s finest museums. The house itself is an attraction, a 19th-century stately home with elegant, open staircases, and impressive painted ceilings. Today it hosts a collection of artworks and historical displays, as well as spaces for temporary exhibitions. Visit to learn about the history of Mahónthrough multimedia exhibits on topics such as local families and the language of Menorquín. Once you’ve exhausted its engaging galleries, head to the top of the mansion for some of the best views of Mahón and the surrounding landscape.

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