6 Things You Never Knew about Menorca

17 Jun 2015

It can't claim the notoriety of Ibiza, or the big-resort buzz of Mallorca, but that's all part of its charm. Here's a handful of things you might never have known about the little Balearic gem that is Menorca…

It has more beaches than Mallorca & Ibiza put together

With its gently shelving, shallow beaches, and a palette of colours that ranges from deep blues to bright turquoise, some of Menorca's coastline wouldn't look out of place attached to a remote cay in the Bahamas. Fortunately, this slice of island paradise is reachable within a more manageable 2.5-hour flying time, and despite being the smallest of the main Balearics, it has more beaches than the rest put together.

The beach at Son Bou, Menorca

We recommend the near-perfect circular cove of Arenal d'en Castell on the north of the island and the shallow, child-friendly waters of Son Bou in the south. For something a little more rugged, the dune-backed Cala Pregonda (west of Fornells on the north coast) is hard to beat.

There's a circular path around the entire island

The 116-mile Cami de Cavalls is an ancient coastal bridleway that encircles the island, taking in remote beaches, plunging cliffs, and secluded beauty spots along the way. Originally created to provide easy access between neighbouring watchtowers and safeguard the inhabitants against foreign invaders, the path was reopened in 2011 after a 400-year closure.

At 116 miles, the Cami de Cavalls encircles Menorca

Covering the entire length is obviously something of a commitment, but you can easily join the course wherever you like and take it in bite-sized chunks. Want to see it the traditional way? Get out there on horseback with Menorca a Cavall.

It's a botanist's paradise

Menorca is renowned for its beaches and rightly so, but don't overlook the interior. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993, the island has a reputation as a botanist's paradise, and in the spring months its rural meadows are carpeted with wild flowers. There are 1000 species of plant (60 of which are endemic), including wild orchids, foxgloves, and wild saffron, to name just a few. Higher up, the avian inhabitants of Menorca attract birdwatchers from far and wide. Notable residents include Egyptian vultures, ospreys, purple herons, and hoopoes.

Poppies carpet Menorca's hills in spring

It's named to reflect its size

The word "Menorca" is designed to emphasize the fact that the island is smaller than its larger neighbour, Mallorca — simple as that. The maximum distance between any two points is roughly 30 miles and it’s only about 10 miles wide on average. That means you can comfortably see most of the island's best bits in a week or two. Speaking of size, here's another fact to stun fellow holidaymakers with: the island's capital, Mahon, is home to Europe's second-largest natural harbour. The largest is in Poole, Dorset.

Mahon harbour

It's perfect for families

Aside from the multitude of shallow beaches, there are plenty of reasons Menorca has developed a reputation as a family-friendly destination. You could explore the countryside on horseback, take a trip around Mahon Harbour in a glass-bottom boat, or hit the slides at Aqua Center (near Ciutadella on the west of the island). To get a taste of Menorca's wilder side, adventure sports company Dia Complert can organise everything from trekking, mountain biking, and birdwatching to stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkelling — perfect for teenagers.

Menorca's calm waters make it a great place to snorkel

It's got a terrific spot for sundowners

Menorca might not be able to compete with its Balearic cousins when it comes to nightlife, but neither of its hedonistic neighbours have anything to rival Cova d'en Xoroi. This bar, set into caves high above the sea in Cala en Porter on the island's south coast, is the place to be for a drink at sunset. You have to pay to enter, but that includes a drink, access to truly spectacular views and live music. The fun doesn't end when the sun disappears either — this place turns into a nightclub after dark.

Cova d’en Xoroi: THE place for cocktails at sunset

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