Locals say Menorca can be reduced to three words: water, fire and stone. Here’s a quick look at Menorca and its vibrant cities, Mahon and Ciutadella, at a time of year when you just might have them to yourself.
The ancient Phoenicians called it “Nura,” or the Island of Fire. Legend has it that passing sailors saw bonfires built along the southern cliffs, which the original inhabitants used to signal each other. The following millennia brought ever more visitors and invaders, including the Greeks, Moors, French and Catalans, but no outside culture has left a more lasting stamp than the British. They ruled the island intermittently during the 18th century and moved the capital to Mahon from Ciutadella, which had been founded before the Romans arrived but was destroyed in the 16th century by the Turks.