When it comes to the Balearic Islands the big hitters of Majorca and Ibiza with their iconic destinations can somewhat overshadow the rest of the region.
Menorca is the perfect tonic to its livelier counterparts providing a much more relaxed affair. Boasting large areas of unspoilt scenery it is a perfect destination for a quiet holiday to recharge the batteries. The beaches are pristine and you can pretty much guarantee sunshine at all times of the year but which town do you choose to stay in?
Here are our guide to the resorts and towns of Menorca.
We start our tour of the island with the capital of Mahon. Menorca’s largest city is a world away from many people’s perception of this corner of the Balearics. While the region is famed for idyllic beach resorts, Mahon boasts a rich history and culture that can take many visitors by surprise.
The focal point of the capital is the harbour, the second largest natural deep water port in the world. During the 1700s it was at the heart of a tug of war between the British, French and Spanish who wanted to use it to protect their fleet. Today, it is a beautiful place to people watch as the various yachts come in to moor.
There are reminders of Menorca’s heritage across Mahon with La Mola Fortress highlighting it’s use as a Spanish military base from the 19th century while Fort Marlborough was built by the British between 1710 and 1726. One place that should definitely be on the ‘to-do’ list is Xoriguer Gin Distillery where Menorca’s favourite tipple has been made since the 18th century.
At the opposite end of the island to Mahon is the city of Ciutadella de Menorca. Situated on Menorca’s west coast it was the island’s original capital before being replaced by Mahon but like its counterpart to the east, it has a long and proud history.
While it may not be the capital anymore, it remains the religious heart of the island. The Cathedral of Menorca is located in the old quarter of the city and can trace its roots back to its formation in 1287. The city’s marina is a great place to relax on an evening with a collection of quaint restaurants providing the perfect complement to a scenic backdrop.
The city is ideal for a daytrip for anyone staying in the popular resorts of Son Bou or Cala Blanca.
Cala’n Bosch is the archetypal holiday resort popular with tourists from all over the world. Blessed with glorious sunshine and long stretches of white sands it caters for every type of holidaymaker. However, it is much quieter than equivalent destinations in Majorca and Ibiza.
Like many places in Menorca, Cala’n Bosch is centred around a small yachting marina which is lined with bars and restaurants. The beaches are always popular with couples and families with a host of activities such as water skiing and sailing going on every day. It is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a week or two.
Next we move on to Menorca’s southern coast and to the wonderful resort of Cala Galdana. Situated a short drive from the island’s main airport, Cala Galdana is the perfect mix of tranquillity and vibrancy. Located at the base of the Algendar Gorge it boasts a magnificent landscape with cliffs populated by beautiful villas.
The town itself has a number of bars and restaurants and arguably the best beach in all of Menorca. The golden sands and turquoise blue waters mean you can spend hours soaking up the sun and stick around for a bite to eat at the promenade restaurants. If you’re looking for something a little different, take a trip to the Menorca Cheese Museum in nearby Ferreries to sample some of the island’s legendary cheese.
The final stop on our tour of Menorca is the secluded oasis of Es Grau. Home to the protected nature reserve of S’albufera this is a true escape from the tourist resorts of the other parts of the island. Here you will find quiet beaches and homely restaurants serving up Menorcan cuisine.
Spend an evening walking around the lake while watching the sun go down and round it off with a drink it one of the quirky bars near to the village.
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