Menorca is a place that a lot of people assume is a family-orientated version of the Costa Del Sol. Or that it’s only a packaged-tour option, wrong. Menorca is known to be sleepy for a reason, it’s still slowly growing unlike its it’s Balearic bohemian sister, Ibiza, and family-friendly Mallorca which overshadow the island. Yet Menorca is happy about that. Due to the island having much larger sister islands, Menorca has been able to develop at its own pace – a more natural and gradual process. The island has greatly resisted the urge for intense developments meaning it has a more authentic, natural and genuine charm. For most, Menorca feels unfinished – without a doubt that is correct, yet what fun would it be if it was all completed at once?

menorca-beach

1. Beaches

Even though Menorca is smaller to its sister island, Mallorca, it actually has more beaches. If there is only one thing you absolutely cannot miss in Menorca its the beaches. With over 70 to choose from all having a unqiue and characteristic charm, there is a beach for everyone. The southern side of the island features some spectatuclar beaches between rock formations and Mediterranean cliffs. Crawling around to the southern side are also countless bays with crystal clear waters, you may even bag your own beach for the day.

Fancy a back to back beach? Cala Macarelleta is a small, white sandy beach with a stunning pine tree backdrop. Cala Macarelleta’s sister is Cala Macarella which is a small hike away. This is a bigger beach with access to the car-park, toilets and even a restaurant. For the ultimate beach day escape the tourism, ditch the car and arrive by boat, take a short walk over the cliffs to the more unspoiled stretch of sand. The views are incredible, and the smaller beach has a more tranquil, relaxing feel. Shallow waters and shaded turquoise waters make it an incredibly cosy beach perfect for families, snorkelling and a couples retreat.

2. Adventure

Menorca is renowned for being the mellow, relaxed and more low-key neighbour in the Balearic Islands. Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch with your more adventurous side. If you’re not into lying in the sun all day long, then you’ll be pleased to know that its not just all about sun, sea and sand on the island. Menorca is splendid for any adventure enthusiast paradise, great for both land and sea sports. The The Cami de Cavalls boasts a coastal path stretching 186km long which is popular for hiking, walking and horse riding. For the adrenaline junkies; cycling, Hiking, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking and scuba diving are all just a few options available.

3. Gastronomy

Who would have thought that such a small island could produce such a varaity of unique and tasty treats? The dishes on the island are simple, made mainly with vegetables, fish and meat. Yet Menorca also features a sweet tooth featuring some tasty pastries, puddings, cakes and biscuits. There is a tonne of seasfood options in Menorca, if there is one fishy dish you can’t miss, it’s the lobster stew. This is one of the islands most typical dishes. The menorcan lobster soup consists of fried onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppers and is served with stale bread. The lobster is typically shown live before being cooked, with usually your pick from the tank so it’s not for the faint heart. If you’re a Gin lover, you can find the distillery at Mahon’s port.

Fact: Mayonnaise is named after Mahón, created by a chef for French forces that were besieging the port in 1756. Discovering the island lacked cream, he made a similar substance with eggs and olive oil. The rest is gastronomic history.

Monte Toro Views, Menorca

Monte Toro Views, Menorca

4. Monte Toro

If you’re looking for the best viewpoint of the island, make sure you head out to Monte Toro. Measuring in at 358 meters, it’s no wonder why it’s the tallest hill on the entire island. Try and make your trip on a clear day where you can catch the breathtaking views of the entire island. You will also find a large Christ island and church, many believe that the Monte Toro pinpoints the spiritual centre of the island. Tip: It can be very windy so be sure to pack a jacket or hoody.

5. Prehistoric ruins

It’s not just the Greek islands that ooze a prehistorc past. Menorca has an incredible and one of the most interesting prehistoric pasts with settlements and megalithic monuments that can be traced back to the Bronze Age. Not to forget, the strcutures were made with 100% stone, which is truly quite impressive due to the size of them.

Cova d'en Xoroi Cave Bar, Menorca

Cova d’en Xoroi Cave Bar, Menorca

6. Cocktails in a cave

Think Ibiza is the only romantic Balearic sister? The Cova d’en Xoroi bar winds through a series of caves carved into the a single cliff-face. This spectacular bar specialises in sunset sessions with its perched terraces, yet any excuse will do to sip a cocktail in the sun here. During the main tourism peaks, the bar is open from 11:30am until almost sun rise the next morning. You can enjoy a family day out here throughout the day, however, the bar does become adult-focused towards the later evening for some disco fun, please check out the website above to read more about it, you’ll also find out more about the legend behind Cova d’en Xoroi.

7. Cap de cavalleria

Reaching the most northern part of the island, you can find an old Spanish lighthouse overlooking massive cliffs. If you’re after a picture perfect postcard snapshot and some true scenic area, jump into a rental car and make your way up there. There is a car park nearby yet you’ll have to get out and walk 10-15 minutes if you want to get to the lighthouse, pack a picnic and capture some great views of the coastal surroundings.

Ciutadella Town, Menorca

Ciutadella Town, Menorca

8. Ciutadella

Are you afraid of missing the big city? Don’t let that stop you from visiting Menorca. You can find two main citites – charming and original Ciutadella which is located on the west side & lively Mahon on the east coast. Ciutadella was the former capital of Menorca until the early 18th century. Ciutadella offers a city break with an upmarket difference. Cobbled streets intertwine around the proudly yacht-filled marina. The harbour front is the perfect treat for a candlelit supper or a water front dinner which are accompanied by upmarket wine bars. You can be sure to get your tastebuds going with tapas bars, al fresco cafes and trendy bars neighbouring each other. By day, be sure to head out on foot and take a camera as the city is crammed with awe-inspiring mansions and stately buildings which have been standing for years.

Leading away from the picturesque harbour is Ciutadella’s atmospheric old town, featuring the square of Placa Des Born. Heading away from the shaded outdoor cafes, are the narrow streets brimming with Medieval, Gothic and Moorish architecture. Ciutadella’s 13th-century cathedral is a must-see – built on the site of an old mosque, it has a Neo-Classic façade and a huge, marble altar. If you need a beach day, head on down to Cala des Degollador which is only a small beach, but it’s  popular with the locals and it’s only ten minutes from the centre. If you have a rental car, driving ten minutes on will get you to Cala’n Blanes. In my opinion, it’s prettier than Cala des Degollador because it has a nice sandy cove, clear and shallow waters and you can also grab a bite to eat at one of the beach cafes after you’ve worn yourself out from the water sports.

Mahon, Menorca.

Mahon, Menorca.

9. Mahon

If you’re looking for something a little more modern and industrial, head over to the Mahon, which is the current capital. Mahon is located on the east side of the island. The grand Gothic cathedral and churches are popular tourist hotspots in the day, yet come night time, Mahon is the place to be for nightlife. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to bars, shops and restaraunts. You can be sure to do plenty of both at two cities on the island.

Whilst Mahon is perfect for a sunny citybreak, it tickes all the boxes apart from beaches, but that is not the capitals fault. A rental car is neccessary to get to the beaches which are around ten minutes away. Mesquida is spoilt within itself and is by far a very genuine beach featuring nothing but sand and sea, bliss. Drive on for another five minutes and you will find yourself at Es Grau, more poplar with the tourists so you’ll find sunloungers, beach bars and watersports making it perfect for a day at the beach. Last but not least, you’ve got the beautiful Punta Prima which is a blue flag beach making it an excellent choice for the little ones and not so strong swimmers.

If you’re staying in Mahon and you fancy heading into Ciutadella, you can take the main route acreoss the island on the 45-minute drive. If you fancy a quick stop, make sure you look out for Alaoir where you can taste the famous cheese and sport yourself with some new shoes, quite the combinational treat there. You can also do plenty of shopping and dine by one of the many marina-side restaraunts.

10. Refreshing Pomada, Anyone?

Maybe the all inclusive bar has had you feeling worse for wear one morning, or, you’re heading out on a day trip and it’s a scorcher of a day and the thought of a beer is not getting you in the mood. Lucky for you, Menorca has a local speciality gin which is alarmingly refreshing. A combination of Mahon Gin packed with lemon and ice, grab yourself a straw, and you’ll be feeling tipsy and breezy all day long. This beverage has become quite the popular one throughout celebrations such as the Sant Joan festival in Ciutadella.

Essential Information

If you want to avoid the peak season being the hottest time of the month, plan a trip around to Menorca around August. Sunshine is not guaranteed and you may face some rainy days, yet this time is brilliant for adventure based holidays. Just bare in mind that a lot of places are closed for the winter on the island, from November to March. Peak season is when the kids are off school, mid-July to mid-September, in which you will find a big drop in prices on either dates.

Wherever you are on the island, if you’re intending to make a phone call, a prefix of 971 must be used at all times.

Even though Menorca is sleepy and laid back, please remember not to leave any valuables or belongings in your car before you park up and head to the beach or into any restaurant, bar, shops or day trips.

Flights from any of the UK airports will get you to sunny Menorca in just two and a half hours.

Menorca is only one hour ahead of the UK in time.

Local Laws and Etiquette

  • You must carry your passport at all times with you by law.
  • You often have to show your passport when paying for goods by either debit card or credit card.
  • Children under twelve years old are only allowed to travel in the front passenger seat with approved safety belts.
  • In resorts you can eat at any time you like, yet outside resorts, lunch usually happens from 2pm, dinner from 9pm at the earliest yet 10pm being the norm.
  • Most bars won’t usually mind if you just need the loo passing by, you don’t need to get your wallet out and down a drink in order to use their loos. Just don’t forget to ask nicely, it costs nothing to be polite.
  • Although the locals certainly like a drink, it’s rare to see them rolling around the kerbs, arguing with local business owners and being rowdy, let’s leave the British behaviour at home just for a week or two.
  • If you’re on a tighter budget, be sure to grab your tapas or drinks at the actual bar and remain seated there, as they usually charge 20 eurocents extra for you to drink outside.
  • Locals usually leave very small tips, and often nothing at all. A 10 per cent tip of a total meal cost is considered generous, whilst 5 per cent is more than the norm. If you’re dining out somewhere very upmarket, tips are a lot different and international rules come into place.