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Find information on Es Mercadal in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Es Mercadal lies in the centre of Menorca roughly half way between the former and the present capitals of the island, Ciudadella and Mahon. Its name derives from the Latin word for market. After being first decreed a centre of commerce in the early fourteenth century there has been a market in Es Mercadal for over seven hundred years and today’s open air attracts visitors from all over the island. The town sits in the shadow of Mount Toro, the highest elevation on the island and home to the sanctuary of Mare de Deu del Toro. Es Mercadal is a good base for walkers and those looking for a relaxing holiday away from the bustle of seaside resorts.
In Es Mercadal visitors can experience the true flavour of the island where local people live and work outside the tourist industry. There are many traditional bars and restaurants where you can spend your evenings mixing with the locals. Experience market day when visitors come flocking from all corners of the island searching for bargains and practising their bartering skills.
An Es Mercadal holiday attracts older couples and ramblers as it is in good walking country. Although a large number of holidaymakers visit Es Mercadal while in Menorca, it is not a good base for families as it is too far from the sea.
The holiday season in Es Mercadal begins in April and lasts until late October with temperatures ranging from the twenties to the mid thirties. Early and late season is popular with walkers when the temperatures are a little cooler.
Es Mercadal lies in the centre of Menorca beneath the island’s highest peak, Mount Toro, and has a transfer time from the airport of seventy-five minutes. Although not a large tourist centre, it is a town that attracts many visitors from around the island. There are two reasons why this is so. The first is the open air market with its large number of stalls and goods. The second is its proximity to Mount Toro which has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Even if you are not religious, the view from the top, on a clear day, is stunning as it is possible to see the whole of the island.
Surrounded by fertile countryside you are never more than a short drive to the nearest coastal resorts. Car hire is essential if you wish to indulge in a little beach life while on the island.
Ciudadella with its medieval charm is well worth a visit. Its narrow cobbled streets wind away from its tiny harbour opening into quaint squares where you will find wonderful old buildings and churches.
Es Mercadal nightlife is very low key with evenings spent in bars, pubs and restaurants enjoying a meal and a drink in the company of friends.
Although Es Mercadal was established as a commercial centre it does not have a wide range of shops. The outdoor market however makes up for the paucity of retailers. The town is noted for its sandals made from recycled tyres and also its almond biscuits. For a greater variety of goods you have a choice of directions. Go west for Ciudadella or east for Mahon where there are many fine boutiques and specialist shops.
Es Mercadal has a number of fine restaurants serving traditional island food as well as those serving international cuisine. Fish, locally caught, is a major part of the island’s cuisine. There is an abundance of prawns, mussels, red mullet and sea bass. Tapas bars are available to fill the gap between lunch and dinner which, in Menorca, can be fairly late. Local wines are pleasant and inexpensive.
Children, held in great affection by the Spanish, are always given a warm welcome and their tastes and portion sizes are usually accommodated.