In Ciudadela, buses depart from Plaça d'Artrutx for most coastal destinations, including the best beaches. Of these, Cala Santandria, 3km (2 miles) to the south, is known for its white sands. This is a sheltered beach near a creek; in its background are rock caves, which were inhabited in prehistoric times. The coves of En Forcat, Blanes, and Brut are near Ciudadela.
Cala de Santa Galdana, not reached by public transport, is the most stunning in the area, lying 23km (14 miles) south of Ciudadela. The bay here is tranquil and ringed with a beach of fine golden sand. Tall bare cliffs rise in the background, and the air is perfumed with the scent of pine trees. The road to this beach, unlike so many others on Minorca, is a good one.
The center of Ciudadela is Plaça d'es Born, site of tourist information. This was the center of life when the town was known to Jaume I. Back then Ciudadela was completely walled to protect itself from pirate incursions, which were a serious threat from the 13th century on. Much of the present look of this square, and of Ciudadela itself, is due to its demotion in 1722, when the capital was transferred to Mahón. For centuries, this checked urban development in Ciudadela, and many buildings now stand that might have been torn down to make way for progress.
Plaça d'es Born looks over the port from the north. Once it was known as Plaza Generalísimo, honoring the dictator Franco. The square was built around the obelisk that remembers the hopeless struggle of the town against the invading Turks who entered the city in 1558 and caused much destruction. On the west side of the square is the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).
To the southwest of the square stands Església de San Francisco. The 14th-century Gothic building has some excellent carved wood altars. The town once had a magnificent opera house, Casa Salort, but that cultural note sounds no more, as it's been turned into a somewhat seedy movie theater. Another once-splendid palace, Palacio de Torre-Saura, also opens onto the square. Still owner-occupied, it was constructed in the 1800s.
The cathedral, Plaça Pío XII, was ordered built by the conquering Alfonso III on the site of the former mosque. It is Gothic in style and fortresslike in appearance. The facade of the church, in the neoclassical style, was added in 1813. The church suffered heavy damage in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, but it has since been restored.
Ciudadela is at its liveliest at the port, where you'll find an array of little shops, bars, restaurants, and sailboats, along with some impressive yachts in summer. Carrer Quadrado is another street worth walking, as it is lined with shops and arcades.
The Moorish influence lingers in a block of whitewashed houses in the Voltes, off the Plaça s'Esplanada. In Ciudadela the local people still meet at Plaça d'Alfons III, the square honoring their long-ago liberator.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.