The corrosion mechanism of Mg alloys in Hank’s solution was elucidated by comparing the corrosion of typical Mg alloys (AZ91, ZE41 and Mg2Zn0.2Mn) and high purity Mg in Hank’s solution at room temperature and in 3% NaCl saturated with Mg(OH)2. Corrosion was characterised by the evolved hydrogen and the surfaces after the immersion tests. Corrosion in Hank’s solution was weakly influenced by microstructure in contrast to corrosion in the 3% NaCl solution, where second phases cause strong micro-galvanic acceleration. This is attributed to the formation of a more protective surface film in Hank’s solution, causing extra resistance between the alpha-Mg matrix and the second phase. The incubation period in Hank’s solution was alloy dependent.