MENORCA is the island for those who like being spoilt for choice.
As we found out, a fortnight is barely enough time to see everything this great little gem has to offer. Its coastline towns and villages are exquisitely beautiful and it relatively low landscape means there are dozens of adventure trails and walking routes inland which won’t leave you breathless and don’t involve scaling steep mountain paths. And then there’s the beaches – some of the finest in the Med, fringed with little towns and communities which will make you feel you’re a million miles away from the hectic world back home. The islands are at their best from early spring when the almond blossom is out.
Travel to Menorca and experience an unhurried pace of life that you’ll never want to leave behind. It’s the perfect place to chill out.
TOP RESORTS IN MENORCA
Take your pick – they’ve all got something special to offer. There’s Arenal D’en Castell, with its expanse of sand and choice of watersports, the pine-fringed bay of Cala Galdana, deemed by many to be the most beautiful of the western Mediterranean, and the family-orientated resort of Cala’n Forcat, where the kids can splash around all day long at the fantastic aqua park.
When it comes to beaches, Menorca is pretty much the undisputed champion of the Med. It has more stretches of golden sand than Majorca and Ibiza together. To the south, Son Bou is the island’s longest. Cala Galdana and Cala’n Bosch lie in pretty coves specked with pedalos. Or how about Punta Prima? A ribbon of sand with rocks at one end, it’s great for tan-toppers, snorkellers and windsurfers. All around Binibeca, S’Algar and Cala’n Blanes, you’ll find coves perfect for sunbathing and swimming. On the west coast lies one of Menorca’s most popular resort – Cala’n Forcat, a great place for families. Children will love the bouncy castles, aqua park and trampolines, whilst couples are sure to enjoy stretching out on the bathing platforms by day and then hitting the bars by night.
NIGHTLIFE IN MENORCA
APART from the bigger resorts, the pace on Menorca is very relaxed. In most of the smaller seaside villages, evenings start with a ‘passeig’ – a gentle stroll along the waterfront, eyeing up restaurants on the way. But don’t worry. You’ll never get bored. There are always a few lively bars to help you pick up the tempo. In Es Castell and Cala’n Bosch for instance, you’ll find a fair few live music venues. The younger crowd head for Cala’n Forcat, Son Bou and Cala’n Porter. In all three, lively bars, theme pubs and nightclubs bang on late into the night. The Caves of Xoroi in Cala’n Porter are a clubbing experience you won’t want to miss. Set in a series of cliff caves, revellers dance the night away on terraces suspended over the sea. Mahon’s waterfront is alive with jazz cafés and great clubs.
EATING OUT IN MENORCA
Menorca’s signature dish is a lobster casserole called ‘caldereta de langosta’, slow-cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic and parsley. Even Spain’s King Juan Carlos is known to pop over to the harbour-town of Fornells for a plate. Another must is ‘arroz marinera’. It’s Menorca’s version of paella – seafood mixed into fluffy mounds of saffron-infused rice.
For meat lovers, stews like ‘tumbet’ – peppers, potato and tomatoes baked in earthenware pots fill you up. If you like your flavours more familiar though, you’ll find plenty of places serving fish and chips and full English breakfasts in Menorca’s family-oriented resorts like Cala’n Forcat and Cala’n Bosch.
SHOPPING IN MENORCA
Menorca is famous for its leather goods and everywhere you turn there are high-quality jackets, bags, shoes, sandals and belts crafted from the local butter-soft leather.
The best of the island’s street markets are Mahon’s Placa de S’Esplanada and Ciudadela’s Noveau, which both host bric-a-brac markets running from Monday to Saturday. In Mahon, head for the fruit and veg stalls inside the Claustre del Carme, while on Saturdays in Ciudadela, visit the farmer’s market beside the cathedral to cherry-pick from the sausage and cheese stalls. The capital is also home to famous high-street names which share the main shopping areas with one-off boutiques, dusty bookstores and touristy shops.