Tranquil little Menorca is less rowdy than its party-hard-or-go-home siblings Ibiza and Mallorca, with fewer crowds and an (ever so slightly) windy climate in the off-season. But what it lacks in hedonism, it makes up for with prehistoric monuments, natural beauty (it’s an official, UNESCO protected biosphere reserve) and its generous lashings of uncrowded, sandy shores. All in all, Menorca is an ideal luxury retreat in the Balearics. So leave the clubs and banana boats to the crowds, and carve out your own, bespoke experience on this island.
How to get there
Less than five kilometers from its capital city, Mahón, the south east of the island receives the international flights to Menorca. The best way to explore the vivid natural scenery is by hiring a car, which is easy enough to arrange on arrival, but can be booked in advance.
Where to stay
Menorca is scattered with boutique hotels, whether you’re looking for a country house or a sleek spa, you can find the perfect poolside. The best area of the island to crash is probably the bustling city of Mahón, built on scenic cliffs that overhang a dazzling natural harbor. Some of Menorca’s best restaurants and bars cluster this beautiful port, but its most attractive feature has to be the architecture, a jumble of 18th century, characterful Georgian buildings.
Embrace the beach life
Some of the most exciting experiences can be had in Menorca from just throwing on a pair of hiking boots and exploring. On an island renowned for the beauty of its beaches, the red sands of Cala Pregonda on the island’s north coast will reward visitors with rock formations and plenty of photo opportunities. Cala Macarelleta is similarly outstanding, a white sand cove washed by turquoise waters, and is most easily reached by boat or sea kayak.
Step back in time
Menorca’s old Ciutadella, its ‘other town’ replete with shambling, cobbled streets and harbor walls, feels little like a tourist haven. Explore its old, lumbering cathedral and traipse through Ses Arches, the town’s quaint shopping district (and splash out while you’re there!). Then, visit one of the historic sites for which the island is famous; Trepucó near Mahón forms the ruin of a prehistoric township, and fragments of its city walls remain as testament to its former civilization, as does its Taula, an ancient center of worship.
Menorca is ideal for anyone who needs a break from full-on, commercialized tourism. With a few, exclusive resorts, and several beaches, museums and palaces in which you may well be the only visitor in the off-season, you can expect to tumble head over heels for the most unassuming and beautiful of the Balearics.