The outermost of the sunny Balearic Islands, Menorca is the group’s most laid-back island and a true family destination that is wholly unlike nearby Mallorca and Ibiza. Famed for its nice beaches and cool capital of Mahon, the ‘little one’ also has a decent amount of history and a hilly interior that makes for interesting daytrips.
The beaches of the south coast of Menorca see 10 or 11 hours of sun per day in the summer. They are typically uncrowded and small, safe for children, and are not overrun by huge resorts. Among the main beaches are Cala en Porter, Cala Galdana, and Son Bou, while the main towns of Mahon and Ciutadella sit on either end of the island and boast cute harbor-side settings and many historic buildings.
Menorca is not as commercialized as Mallorca, featuring more in the way of small-scale accommodations which are typically self-contained. There are high-end hotels with established spas, although the norm in Menorca is three- and four-star properties sold as a vacation package. Rural accommodation is also popular and food is of a decent quality, with a mix of traditional Spanish (tapas and seafood) and a selection of European restaurants.
Shopping for locally-made items is a pastime, and although there’s a casino, the nightlife on Menorca is low-key. Locals are friendly people, especially when you attempt to engage them with them. Overall, the island offers a good value for the money, particularly if you visit outside of the high season which is June through September.
There’s good scope of daytrips and excursions, with ample chance to head around the coast on a boat trip or charter. The intriguing interior is topped off by the 1,174-foot high Monte Toro. Around this central region are ancient towns and villages containing Bronze Age sites, together with curious locals and some great restaurants. The hiking along the north coast or amid the wetlands of S’Albufera des Grau natural area is also popular.
Most visitors fly to Menorca or take the ferry from Barcelona or Valencia, but there are also regular ferries from Ibiza and Mallorca, making daytrips to these other islands a possibility. Public transport is not extensive, with buses and taxis the mainstays of paid transport, while car and motorcycle rental are both common.
- Sunbathe and enjoy water sports at Menorca’s southern beaches
- Take a walking tour of the capital city’s old town and stunning harbor area
- Sip coffee while people-watching in Placa Alfons III square, Ciutadella
- Go bird watching in S’Albufera des Grau nature reserve, near Mahon
- Check out the historic Xorigure Distillery in Mahon, where Xorigure gin is made
- Shop at the huge Ferreries Saturday market and haggle for a pair of Abarcas sandals
- Enjoy a sundowner at the stunning Cova d’en Xoroi caves of Cala en Porter
- Embark on a daytrip to nearby Mallorca or Ibiza to enjoy the busy beaches and exciting atmosphere