Mahon, Menorca, Spain

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Spain's Minorca is a small island with a big port. The natural deepwater harbor at the capital, Mahón (also called Maó), is the largest in the Mediterranean, and second largest in the world after Pearl Harbor. Over the millennia, that harbor has made Minorca an attractive base for seafaring powers—from the Romans 2,000 years ago, to the British 300 years ago. In fact the British moved Minorca’s capital from Ciutadella de Menorca to Mahón, precisely because of the latter's superior port. 

The British influence is still evident in Mahón today, and not just in the city’s colonial-style architecture—there's even a small-batch gin distillery. Travelers can explore the intriguing Museum of Minorca and La Mola Fortress, along with a handful of markets, shops and tapas bars. The entire island is easily toured from one end to the other. Take a day trip to Ciutadella de Menorca to see the historic capital, and drive to the top of Monte Toro for great views and a visit to the island’s patron saint. Archaeological sites like the Cala Morell Caves and Trepuco offer glimpses of the ancient civilizations that once thrived here.

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