Are you looking for an island getaway this summer?
Some people say Menorca’s beaches can easily compete with those in the Carribean or Thailand. The island definitely isn’t short of turquoise blue waters and white sandy bays – and it’s much more convenient to get to as it’s in Europe. Here is what to do in Menorca and how to make it the perfect island escape:
Choose the right beaches
With more than 80 beaches, from white sandy bays to rocky coves, everyone will find what they are looking for. The southern coast is sheltered from the north winds and offers fine white sand with some of the longest sandy beaches on the island. Don’t just go for the most popular ones like Macarella, Turqueta or Mitjana as they will be busy. A nice way to discover the island is to walk the coastal trail Camí de Cavalls, for example from Playa de Son Saura to Cala Macarella; or Playa de Binigaus to Cala Mitjana. Either can be done in 2h max (one way) and will give you plenty of time to stop for a swim in one of the many hard-to-reach little bays along the trail.
The north coast is home to the highest cliffs and smaller, more secluded beaches, with red sand. As they tend to be more difficult to access, you can find empty beaches even in summer. Playa de Cavalleria and Cala de Pilar are fairly easy to reach and can also be combined with beautiful coastal walks.
Explore the coastal path
The Camí de Cavalls or GR223 is a coastal path around the island. It’s best to break it into day trips and hike the most beautiful bits, as some areas don’t allow overnights stays or there’s not enough water supply along the way. In fact, most people hike out and walk the same route back to their car. Apart from the previously mentioned sections – Son Saura to Macarella and Binigaus to Mitjana – I recommend the sections from Es Grau to Cap de Favàritx. And of course, the northern coast anywhere between Cala Tirant and Cala d’Algaiarens, as you mostly walk through nature parks.
Culture and sight seeing
The capital Mahon or Maó in the east is home to the world’s second largest harbour (after Hawaii). Take a boat trip around Maó port and learn about its crazy history. Ciutadella is the islands next biggest town with a picturesque old city, and makes a great base for exploring the island’s most beautiful beaches. Fornells town also makes a nice day trip destination in the north.
The island also offers several prehistoric megalithic sites that can be visited.
Sailing and diving
… and many other outdoor sports like biking, kayaking, horse riding or just hanging by the beach will be easy to arrange. By the way, Menorca has its own black Spanish horse breed which you may see at a traditional fiesta.
Menorcan food is traditional and simple, and of course Mediterranean. It’s well known for its cheeses, fish & seafood dishes, and the Balearic Sobresada (pork sausage) and Ensaimada (pastry with pork lard).
Avoid high season
Let these numbers speak: Menorca’s population of about 95K people includes a lot of “seasonal” holiday home residents and falls to about 70K during the winter months. However numbers triple in the tourist season to up to 220K people on the island in August. Avoid July to September, and be aware that even June and October will still be busy at the beaches.
It’s best to hire a car as public transport is limited. I usually try to hire from local companies however I was misled to book with OK Rent a Car, which turned out to have a lot of hidden costs. Locals later confirmed the same, so be advised to hire with anyone BUT them.
The island has a history of shoe-making and is famous for the traditional Menorca sandals or Menorquinas. They make a nice souvenir and you can even hunt a great price in one of the outlet stores.
What are you looking to do on Menorca?