Virgin sandy beaches, idyllic, turquoise water, rich marine life, safe cities … every tourist brochure cliché is actually true when we talk about Menorca. The island has been encouraging sustainable tourism for years, long before it became fashionable.
The Summer of 2018 has been crazy! We had the opportunity to visit some of the trendiest European summer destinations and resorts for less than two months and to take some of our best photos so far. However, real life doesn’t always look like a blog article. Sometimes when you visit your dream destination, inspired by all these lovely photos you’ve seen on Instagram, well… you might get disappointed. Usually expectations don’t meet reality. Yet this article is the proof that underrated places do exist and that sometimes reality exceeds expectations.
Let us show you around the island in 360°.
What you should know before you go:
Geography: Menorca is one of the four islands in the Balearic Sea and it belongs to Spain. The island has a total area of 702 square kilometres with 216 kilometres of coastline and highest point of 358m above sea level.
Climate: The average temperature throughout the year is about 17 degrees and in summer the maximum can rise into the mid thirties. Summers are dry with almost no rainfall from June until September, where as winters are cool and moist, with abundant rainfall and heavy dews.
Historical highlights: The first recorded visitors to the island were Phoenicians followed by Greek traders. Later it was occupied by the first Roman colonisation in 123 BC. In 10th century Menorca became part of the Caliphate of Cordoba, as during this period of Muslim domination, trade flourished and people of differing religious beliefs peacefully coexisted. With the Catalan invasion in the 13th century the peasant classes were oppressed by both the landowning aristocracy and the powerful church. In the 16th century the Turks attacked and therefore the population was massacred and dispersed. Later on, in 1708, the first British troops arrived on the island. In the British period the influence of the church was considerably reduced, schools and hospitals were built. Fifty years later, 20,000 French troops arrived, leaving the British little choice but to beat a hasty retreat. Again, for the next 50 years, ownership of the island alternated between the disputing superpowers of Europe. Finally in 1802 Menorca was returned to Spain.
Industry: Quality shoe production, textile spinning, silver purse manufacture, costume jewellery, dairy production
By sea: There are two main ports, Ciutadella and Mahon, which can be reached from Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.
By air: Mahon Airport
For more information about the Balearic Islands, please visit the Tourism Board’s official website.
Nature is what we’re good at!
Menorca is one of the most untouched spots in the Mediterranean and is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993 for its wide diversity of landscapes, high number of endemic species of flora and fauna. This small paradise is made of unspoiled coastline with pristine beaches and dune systems. Lovely scenery of the island, with its canyons and caves, seem to have barely changed for thousands of years.
A perfect less crowded sandy beach for nature lovers and secret landscape seekers is Cala de Trebalúger. Keep in mind that it is accessible either by boat or within walking distance of 30-40 minutes from the parking spot through a pine forest.
2. Cala’N Brut is an easily accessible horseshoe-shaped rocky bay with crystal clear blue waters. The place is one of the safest when it comes to cliff jumping and snorkeling. Here tourists and fish literally swim together. (Don’t worry – these are harmless!)
3. El Toro is the highest point of the island and famous route spot for tourists. Many believe that Monte Toro pinpoints the spiritual centre of Menorca, where there has been a shrine and place of pilgrimage since the 13th century. Legend has it that it takes its name from a bull (el toro) which led a group of monks to a statue of the Virgin Mary in the rock face.
4. Pont D’en Gill is another view point facing breathtaking landscapes that is worth the walk. The phenomenal natural arch is one of the the most western points on the island where in good weather conditions you can clearly see the “bigger sister” Mallorca. The place is known by the locals as the best spot to watch the sunset.
Not going to finish the article with a trivial sentence… however, we find it hard to put an ending point somewhere here. We are not these people who sweat they’ll visit back the places they’ve been to. No. We want to explore new horizons each time.
There are just two exceptions in this life – The Azores Islands and Menorca. That’s it.