Basking in the Mediterranean Sea, Menorca is the second largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Most visitors will arrive at the island’s international airport which is just 5km from Mahon, the island’s capital, before beginning their onward journey. What will strike you very quickly is just how small the island is. On my first visit I picked up a rental vehicle at the airport and headed west for Ciudadella. Even allowing for a brief stop at the prehistoric ruins in Alaior we covered the 50km journey across the island in around an hour. The island is even narrower from north to south. Menorca enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate with average annual temperatures of 15-17°C and summer highs from 23-26°C. Rainfall is mainly in the autumn months so taking a spring or summer holiday you can expect lovely weather.
During the Spanish civil war neighbouring Mallorca very quickly became a Nationalist stronghold whilst Menorca resisted. As a ‘reward’ for the island’s support Franco later allowed mass tourist development in Mallorca but prevented such growth in Menorca which thankfully remains to this day a relatively low key destination with relatively limited developments scattered around its coastline. In general, the island has become a popular destination for family holidays with a great reputation for beautiful, sandy beaches and a fine selection of quality accommodation.
Where to Stay
The traditional way of life in Menorca hasn’t been destroyed by tourism and its great charm and character make it an ideal place to take a peaceful and relaxing holiday. Most of the major UK tour operators offer holidays in Menorca with many regional departures available. However, there are limited flights to the island outside the peak summer months so although Menorca enjoys a fairly mild year round climate it is exceptionally quiet during the winter.
The main resorts for typical package holidays are Cala n’Bosch and Cala n’Blanes on the west coast but these are nothing like the size of Magaluf over in Mallorca. Easy access to the island’s waterparks makes them popular choices with the kids. Most other resorts scattered around the island tend to be very small offering great opportunities for a laid back holiday. Cala Galdana and Cala n’Porter are a couple of personal favourites. If you really like to get off the beaten track and experience Balearic life, Menorcan style, then you can book traditional country farmhouses (‘llocs’) for your stay rather than looking for hotel accommodation. There are also plenty private villas for rent around the island.
What to Do
There are some fabulous beaches in Menorca, a fine selection of restaurants and bars together with interesting things to do around the island which should ensure that Menorca has something for everyone. A visit to the charming capital at Mahon is essential whilst Fornells is the place to go for an idyllic lunch in one of its excellent fish restaurants. A good time to visit is during the ‘Festes de Sant Joan’ in June when Ciutadella welcomes visitors to its summer festival. The fiestas at the end of July in Es Castell are also highly recommended.