Of the three Balearic Islands, Menorca makes a strong case for being the most idyllic. Perhaps it’s because holidays in Menorca are always directed at their own pace. Even during the height of the summer season, there’s every chance you’ll discover a secluded beach with a whole slice of sand seemingly dedicated to you. Menorca’s most popular resorts still allow you to unwind, as the combination of bright sunshine, sleepy villages and deep forests of pine prove all too powerful persuasions to relax.
The much-loved Cala’n Bosch is an excellent example of this inclination to take it easy. Its light beaches lead to crystalline waters, all the while sheltered by dreamy greenery. Nights by its shimmering marina pick up where the lazy days left off – a quiet oasis of calm as you sip cool cocktails by the water’s edge.
And if you think the beaches in Cala’n Bosch sound secluded, you should see the shores of Cala’n Forcat. The coastline here clusters into a trio of coves, each hidden by deep, rocky headlands that keep the water continually calm. It’s what makes the resort great for children’s paddling, although the waterpark in the area is sure to have them smiling too.
If you prefer more space for your sunbathing, perhaps a real rival to the attractiveness of Cala’n Forcat is Cala Galdana. In a contrast to the many coves found on holidays in Menorca, this beach swings into a gentle arc of silky white sand, complemented by a pine-topped island in the centre of the bay. Enjoy caldereta, a rich lobster stew, amidst the cypress trees that overhang from the beach.
But all this beauty goes beyond Menorca’s gifts of nature. To the east, the capital Mahon rises step by step into the hills with perfectly square white buildings and palm-tree lined squares. While at the western edge of the island Ciutadella charms with narrow cobbled streets of pretty yellow townhouses and artisan shops. The forever-peaceful forests inland hold more surprises of their own, in the form of incredibly ancient megalithic monuments, which you can read about in our Must sees section for holidays in Menorca.
As Menorca has been blessed with white sands and deep coves that add up to give it the most beaches of the Balearic Islands, it seems right that some of its must sees should be based at the coastline. Some of the most beautiful beaches island-wide include Cala Cavalleria and Cala Macarelleta. Even if you’re having your holidays in Menorca on the opposite side to these shorelines, they’re certainly still worth visiting. In the far north of the island, Cala Cavalleria is a curving double crescent of gold lined with burnt orange earth said to be very good for your skin. In contrast to the expansive spread of Cala Cavalleria, Cala Macarelleta is nestled into a deep cove of radiant white cliffs that match the glistening white sand. The rocks are topped with twisting green juniper trees that only add to the allure of the region.
The natural wonders of holidays in Menorca continue at Monte Toro, the highest point in the Balearics at the heart of the island. Soaring over 1,000ft into the sky, there’s even a restaurant and a small church at the top. Glancing across the fields of pine and juniper, you should be able to see S’Albufera des Grau. This sprawling wetlands park has trails that take you deep into its marshy fields of wild grass, where it’s also likely you’ll spot several different birds including Herons, Grebes and Comorants.
Although the inland forestry of Majorca reveals just as many man-made treasures too. Torre d’en Galmes, up in the hillside from Son Bou, is an incredibly ancient site dating back to the mysterious Talaiotic civilisation of 1,400BC. Little is known about this culture that lived across both Menorca and Majorca in ancient times. However, visit the site and you can still see their cobbled stone watchtowers and tunnels, as well as taulas – T-shaped monuments that may have been used for rituals. Think of Stonehenge and as a similar scene!
In terms of cultural attractions on holidays in Menorca, the island has had two capitals at opposite coastlines over the course of its history. This means you have two fascinating cities to see during your time here. The original capital, Ciutadella, has 14th century streets reminiscent of Renaissance Italy’s countryside towns. Its Ciutadella Cathedral is a highly original structure, combining Roman columns and tiered rooftops in brilliantly bright sandstone. Amazingly, its foundations go back as far as 1287.
At the eastern end of Menorca, the island’s current capital Mahon has some remarkable buildings of its own. La Mola, a huge sprawling fort built with flat roofs and deep barracks to defend the city, sits at the edge of the coastline for sparkling views of the Mediterranean. It also overlooks the Mahon harbour, one of the deepest natural ports in the world that extends for over three miles. Now lined from end to end with glistening white yachts, it proved so attractive to the British they occupied the island from 1713 to 1755.
In fact, it was the British that introduced gin refinery to the island, which was made all the better by Menorca’s naturally abundant juniper trees. You still see how the local twist on the drink, pomada, is made at the Xoriguer Gin Distillery. A fusion of sweet gin and bitter lemon, it’s a refreshing alcoholic drink that seems made for sipping in the sunshine.