Menorca is found in the Mediterranean and is one of the Balearic Islands which are located off the east coast of Spain. This sunny, popular island is a favourite for summer vacationers across Europe because Menorca boasts a beautifully rugged coastline and a multitude of white sand beaches.
Compared to the other Balearic Islands, Menorca is a quieter place to visit, and you’ll find that the clubs of Ibiza and the rowdy bars of Mallorca haven’t exactly made their way over here yet. Instead, you can enjoy a more authentic side of the Balearic Islands, and on Menorca, you can visit prehistoric standing stones, you can explore the historic streets of the capital, Mahon, and you can venture into the countryside in search of the island’s rural charms.
To inspire your Spanish getaway, here’s our ultimate travel guide to Menorca.
This ultimate travel guide to Menorca will show you all the most beautiful places in Menorca, what to expect when visiting, where to stay in Menorca and things to do in Menorca which will help you in planning a trip to Menorca.
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How to get to Menorca
Menorca has a small airport which is located a few kilometres away from the island’s capital city, Mahon. Menorca is very much a summer destination and the majority of flights to the island are only run seasonally, during the most popular months of the year. During summer, you can find budget flights from many European cities with airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet offering multiple routes, from countries such as the UK, France and Germany. Package holiday companies such as TUI and Thomas Cook also offer seasonal charter flights.
There are also domestic flights available from major Spanish cities, as well as the neighbouring islands of Ibiza and Mallorca, which are just a short hop away. The Spanish airlines Vueling and Iberia offer more consistent flights to Menorca through the year from Spain and are a good bet if you are travelling offseason.
You can also catch a ferry from Mallorca, which is just one hour away, or from Barcelona on the Spanish mainland, which is a journey of around 7 hours.
What to expect in Menorca
Compared to Mallorca and Ibiza, the other major islands in the Balearics, Menorca has a reputation for being a quieter getaway. This doesn’t mean it’s not a busy place in summer of course, but it does mean that it’s still possible to find secluded beaches, while you won’t have as much raucous nightlife in the towns.
Most Menorcans speak several languages, with the local dialect being a form of Catalan similar to that which you find in Barcelona. People will also be fluent in Castilian Spanish, while those working in the tourism industry will certainly speak English.
The main currency in use, as with the rest of Spain, is the Euro, and you can find ATMs and money changers at the airport and in Mahon, the capital.
How to get around Menorca
The main transport hub for the island is Mahon, where you find the airport and the ferry port. If you’re arriving by plane, then you can arrange transfers in advance with local taxi companies, or if you are staying in package accommodation, these may be included. If travelling independently, you can also catch a public bus outside the arrivals terminal, which can transfer you to the main bus station in Mahon.
From Mahon, you can use the public bus lines to get around much of the island, with most major towns and touristy areas linked to the capital. Bus schedules are fairly regular, however, for absolute freedom and flexibility, you will want to consider renting a car instead, especially if you want to discover more secluded and hidden spots across the island.
The best time to visit Menorca
Menorca is a very seasonal travel destination, however, given the warm Mediterranean climate, it can be a pleasant place to visit all through the year, even out of the summer high season.
The island is most popular between May and September, and the busiest periods are generally July and August when many countries in Europe have school holidays. This can be a busy time to visit, but given the island’s seasonality, it’s also when you can rest assured that you’ll find regular flights and ferries, and also when businesses are open across the island.
Things start to close down come October, and there are fewer flights to the island and fewer package deals. Outside of high season is a good time for independent travel, and while the temperatures won’t be as high, Menorca weather is always good, and there’s still lots of sunshine well into winter, and almost no other tourists around.
Things to do in Menorca
Mahon is the capital and largest city in Menorca, and even if you don’t stay here you’ll be transiting through to get on and off the island. Mahon though is well worth a stay, or at the very least a day trip if you are heading off to stay at a resort because this is a truly historic destination.
You can enjoy excellent restaurants and local taverns overlooking the sea, or the ramshackle streets, and Mahon is well known for its wonderful culinary scene. Explore the harbourfront, and admire the superb blend of architecture, which has influences from Spain, from France, and notably from the 18th century British occupation of Menorca.
Museum of Menorca
For history buffs, one of the Menorca things to do that you can’t miss is a visit to the Museum of Menorca. Located in the capital, Mahon, at the museum you can delve deep into the island’s past.
You’ll find archaeological finds on display in the galleries here, as you’re taken on a journey from prehistoric times, through to the Roman colonisation, the Moorish days and finally to the British and Spanish eras. There’s a lot to learn about Menorca, and this is the place to do it.
Taulas of Menorca
To see first hand just a small piece of Menorca’s long history, then head to the Taulas of Menorca.
Found in the centre of the island, the Taulas are prehistoric monoliths which were raised thousands of years ago by the local inhabitants of Menorca. The Taulas are ancient structures and are often seen as being Menorca’s Stonehenge.
On the opposite side of the island to Mahon, you can find the town of Ciutadella, which is the second-largest settlement on Menorca.
Ciutadella has a rich history and you can stroll through the pleasant streets admiring the different influences that are visible, from Arab and Moorish designs to Italian architecture. The harbour here is beautiful too, while you’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the local cuisine.
The highest point on Menorca is Monte Toro, but don’t expect too much, because it only rises to a height of 342 metres. Although it’s more of a hill than a mountain, Monte Toro is still high in comparison to the surrounding landscapes, and it rises dramatically on the skyline, close to the town of Es Mercadal.
You can hike to the top of Monte Toro, or there’s a four by four-track leading to the summit if you’re feeling lazy. The views from the top stretch across the island and far out into the Balearic Sea.
Beaches and Bays
History, culture, heritage and food aside, the best reason to visit the island is really for the outstanding Menorca beaches. The coastline is rugged in places, with the north being particularly renowned for its blustery weather and high winds, which together with the surf have carved the cliffs and beaches into a spectacular wilderness over time.
There are also more pristine, white sand beaches across the island too, and plenty of protected and calm turquoise bays glistening in the sun. In high season, the beaches closest to the towns will always be busy but head further afield and you can always find a quiet spot in Menorca.
Some of the best beaches to visit include Cala Macarelleta and Cala Macarella, both iconic destinations where you can find white sands and clear water. Calas Mitjana is a lovely, and beautiful cove to visit, but in peak season, it can be one of the busiest spots on the island.
What to eat in Menorca
Menorca has a great culinary scene, and you can find a wide range of restaurants and cuisines from around the world in the resorts and in the towns and cities.
There’s a rich culinary tradition in Menorca, and it’s even claimed that Mahon is the birthplace of Mayonnaise. The cuisine is very typical of the Mediterranean, with plenty of olives, fish and cheese to sample. Mahon Cheese is a local speciality, and you’ll recognise it by the distinctive orange peel.
You can find fresh seafood everywhere, but a particular local favourite is seafood meatballs. Lobster Stew, or Caldereta de Langosta, is another must-try dish when you are in Menorca, while you’ll find local cured meats for sale everywhere.
Where to stay in Menorca
Budget – Menorca isn’t a big backpacking destination and you won’t find so many hostels on the island. There are some in Mahon and Ciutadella, but budget travellers may find it’s easier to rent out local apartments or rooms on AirBnB.
Mid Range – If you’re wondering where to stay in Menorca, then there’s plenty of mid-range accommodation across the island, and you can find good value resorts complete with pools all along the coast, while you can score excellent deals if you book a package holiday.
Luxury – Menorca has some lavish luxury offerings, and some of the best on the island include the 16th-century rooms of the Hotel Can Faustino or the boutique, countryside climes of the Hotel Torralbenc.
Tours to do in Menorca
With a beautiful, long coastline to explore, one of the best ways to get around the best of Menorca’s natural sights is to join a boat tour. From Mahon and other harbours around the island, you can join a variety of boating excursions that take you to both popular beaches, and secluded bays. There are a variety of boats on offer too, from fast, sleek catamarans to rustic sailing vessels.
Try to join a tour that stays out until sunset, so you can enjoy a fiery end to your Menorcan day trip from the water of the Balearic Sea.
Another great way to explore the coastline is to hire a kayak or canoe for the day or to join an organised kayaking tour of Menorca.
It’s a fantastic way to get some exercise while you are on holiday, and it’s a beautiful way to experience the best of Menorca’s great outdoors at the same time. Many kayaking tours will take you to hidden spots along the coast, that are otherwise inaccessible, while you’ll also have plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and swimming too.
Menorca’s rugged interior is another great part of the island to explore, but much of it is off-limits unless you are driving an off-road vehicle.
Popular jeep safaris will whisk you away from your hotel and into the heart of Menorca’s most dramatic countryside, where the roads end and there’s little around you except wilderness and wildlife.
Day trips from Menorca
North Coast Marine Reserve
Off the north coast of Menorca, you can find a protected marine reserve that’s well regarded for its high level of biodiversity. Part of the wider Menorca Biosphere Reserve, which recognises and guards this high level of biodiversity, the North Coast Marine Reserve makes for a fantastic snorkelling or diving destination.
Take a day trip out into the Balearic Sea, and join a boat tour into the marine reserve, where you can find an abundance of underwater life.
You don’t necessarily need to pick between Menorca or Mallorca, because you can actually enjoy the best of both worlds. Stay on peaceful and relaxed Menorca, but take a day trip over to Mallorca to experience the busy beaches and rowdy bars, or to take in the history and architecture of Palma, the island’s largest city.
Mallorca just just a one hour ferry ride away Mahon, and you can easily make a day trip across from Menorca in the morning, and return late afternoon.
Recommended tours in Menorca
- Private Tour with SUP and Snorkel along the coast of Menorca
- Around the island of Menorca
- Jeep Safari
- Boat Trip
- Sail Boat Sunset Trip in Menorca
- Hiking Trail Menorca Transfers Stage 6 Son Bou to Cala Porter/ Es Canutells
- Jet Ski trip in the North of Menorca
- Visit and explore Ciutadella
- Guided Visit to Binnisues Natural Sciences Museum of Menorca with Live Entertainment and Food Tasting