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Minorca, Balearic island » City Info » Geography

Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands situated just off the east coast of mainland Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. It has an area of around 694 km² and a coastline of 216 km². It has the maximum distance of 47km between the furthest points - Ciutadella and Mahon.

The two major cities on the Island are Mahon on the east coast and Ciutadella on the west coast. There are several smaller towns located around the island, such as Es Castell, Sant Lluis, Alaior, Es Mercadal, Es Migjorn and Ferreries.

The island of Minorca is divided into two symmetric but very different parts. The northern part is a place for an uneven and rugged coastline with poor vegetation and plenty of small islands with dark or reddish sand, whilst the southern part which is made up of the calcareous rock has plain, wavy cliffs with coves of white sand surrounded by pines.

Monte Toro is the highest point and it is 358 m/1174 ft above sea level. The coast of Sant Lluis is situated in the eastern part of the island and it is the first location in Spain where the sun rises.


Geographical co-ordinates: 39°47' to 40°00'N, 3°52' to 4°24'E.

Climate

Minorca has a typical Mediterranean climate characterized by warm temperatures. The average annual temperature ranges between 16°C and 17°C. The average summer temperature is around 23°C to 26°C (73.4 - 78.8°C) and the winter average is around 11°C to 13°C. The island experiences the cool north winds, known as the 'tramuntana'. Rainfall rates are high in autumn and low in summer. The average rainfall of the island varies from one spot to another. The southeast region records 450mm of rainfall, while the interior and the northeastern end experiences 650mm of rainfall.

Culture, Religion & Language

The location of Minorca in the middle of the western Mediterranean was a staging point for the different cultures since prehistoric times. This Balearic Island has an attractive mixture of colonial and local architecture.

Minorca is especially well known for its traditional summer fiestas that intrigue many visitors. The international opera week and international organ festival in Mahon and, the summer music festival and Capella Davidica concerts in Ciutadella are the main events of the island.

Minorca’s cuisine is dominated by the Mediterranean diet which is known to be very healthy. Whilst many of the locals have adopted modern attitudes they still uphold certain old traditions like chivalry, courtesy and of course hospitality.

Most of the population on the island are Roman Catholic. There are two official languages spoken in Minorca, Castilian Spanish and Catalan. However, English and German are widely spoken throughout the island, especially within the tourism sector.

Population

Minorca has a total population of approximately 88,000 (2006), with the majority of its inhabitants known to be ‘Menorcans’ whom have evolved from different cultures throughout the history of the island. Most of the foreigners on the island are British, approximately 7,000, and more than half of them are considered to be retired. Many residents from the UK are attracted to an island like Minorca because of its warm Mediterranean climate and its peaceful relaxed lifestyle.

The two main cities in Minorca, Mahón and Ciutadella are each populated with an average of 25,000 inhabitants, with the rest scattered across the smaller towns.