The tower of Fornells is one of the largest defense towers and best preserved in Menorca.
A coastal defence tower built by the British in the early 19th century to guard the entrance to Fornells harbour, prevent the enemy coming ashore and protect the nearby Sant Antoni Castle, which has now been restored. Watchtowers controlled the local area and were usually occupied by a small garrison of men ready to repel a potential enemy invasion. The truncated cone-shaped tower is one of the largest of its kind on the island and was built from stone and mortar, while the outer walls are reinforced with blocks of sandstone. The original entrance door was on the first floor and was reached by a wooden ladder that could be pulled up in the event of an attack. The tower has a water tank, storage for weapons, ammunitions and food, a floor that housed the garrison and an artillery platform.
The tower itself was built during the last period of British rule and bears witness to one of the island’s numerous confrontations with the outside world. The exhibition is simple and thorough, placing visitors in an early 19th century context and describing everyday life in the tower as well as its architectural and defensive features.
Located overlooking the northern entrance to Fornells harbour and near the town of the same name, the tower is an ideal spot for contemplating the sunset with the peninsula and headland of Cavalleria, crowned by the lighthouse atop the impressive sea-cliffs, in the background.
How to get there
Fornells is on the north coast of Menorca, 9 km from Es Mercadal. Access from Maó, 30 km away, is along the road to Fornells that begins at the roundabout next to the quay of Maó harbour. Once in Fornells, avoid the main promenade and continue on through the town to the end of Carrer Tramuntana, where there is room to park at the foot of the main path up to the tower. You can also park at the port and walk to the tower from there. The main path to the tower is well maintained but quite steep in places.
There is buses from Maó and Es Mercadal to Fornells. Check out bus times and frequencies (that vary according to the season).
Prices and opening times
• General admission fee: 2,40 € (Mondays free)
• Reduced fee: Seniors over 65, young people (8 to 15 years old) and groups (min. 10 people): 1,45 € (Mondays free)
• Free entry: Children under 8 yers old, Mondays and tourist guides
More information: (34) 971 368 678
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The British presence in Menorca lasted for almost all of the eighteenth century in three consecutive periods lasting from 1708 to 1802, the year in which the island was returned to the Spanish crown. The British legacy remains in the Anglicisms found in the local language, the characteristic bow windows seen on many Menorcan houses, the typical British-style furniture, the taste for gin and, above all, the wonderful architectural legacy in the shape of defensive military structures that dot the whole of the island’s coastline.
The island, also known as The Bloody Island, is in the middle of the Maó harbour, between Maó and Es Castell villages, where we find the old military hospital built by the British during their domination.
Fortress carved out of the bare rock by the English between 1710 and 1726 to defend the castle of Sant Felip, stands on the southern side of the entrance to Maó harbour, in the cove Cala de Sant Esteve.
Sant Felip Castle stands on the southern side of the entrance to Maó harbour. Over the course of successive British occupations the castle was extended until the Spanish siege in 1782.