Unlike its popular neighbours, Mallorca and Ibiza, the Balearic island of Menorca has remained an almost a well-kept secret that only a few savvy travellers know about.
Just two and a half hours away by ferry from Alcúdia (Mallorca) you may be pleasantly surprised by the tranqulity and peace in Menorca in contrast to the neighbouring islands.
Menorca’s 216 kilometres of coastline is home to some of the most outstanding beaches in the Mediterranean, while inland the dry stone walls and pretty white-washed villages looks as though times hasn’t moved on.
The island’s capital Mahón has the deepest natural harbour in the Mediterranean and looks very English due to the Georgian style houses that the British built during their occupation in the 18th century.
If you had to pick one word to describe Menorca today it would be ‘relaxed’ as Menorca is truly a place to unwind and let the stresses of everyday life fade into obscurity. If you are a fan of outdoor activities such as bike riding, sailing, kayaking or even just laying back on an un-crowded white sandy beach then Menorca just might be what you are looking for.
Quick Facts About Menorca
Here are a few interesting titbits of information about the island of Menorca.
Where is Menorca?
Located in the western Mediterranean, just over 200 kilometres from Barcelona, on a similar latitude to the very south of Italy, Menorca is the most easterly of the Balearic Islands and is the first place in Spain to see the sunrise.
History & Architecture in Menorca
Despite being a small island Menorca is rich in architecture thanks to its rich history of European powers waging military campaigns to control its large natural harbour. Menorca is littered with structures that date back to the Iron and Bronze Ages and was a trading post for the Phoenicians and Greeks before the Carthaginians arrived. The Romans drove out the Carthaginians in 123 BC, renaming the island Minorica. In 903AD the Moors arrived to settle in Medina el Jezira, what today we call Ciutadella. Unfortunately, much of the architecture of this period was destroyed 1558 when the Ottoman Turks laid waste to the city while taking the entire population into slavery. Menorca’s fortunes were given a new lease of life during the 18th century, when the British and French battled for control of its harbour. This lead to three periods of British occupation between 1708-1802, a period that is referred to as Menorca’s “Golden Age” with buildings around the present day capital Mahón more reminiscent of Brighton than anything in mainland Spain.
How to get to Menorca
Menorca’s airport is located 4.5 km (2.8 mi) southwest of the capital Mahón and is a short 2 hour 30 minute flight from the UK. From Mahon airport, you are only 15 minutes away from Mahon by taxi or alternatively 20 minutes by bus to the main bus station.
Ferry Acciona-Trasmediterránea operates a regular ferry service from Barcelona to Menorca with a journey time of around 9 hours. Baleària Eurolínies Marítimes – Baleària operates ferries to Menorca from Barcelona and also Alcudia in Mallorca. The ferry time from Mallorca is 3 hours and 45 minutes or only an hour during the summer by super-fast-ferry making Menorca a popular day trip for people holidaying in Mallorca.
When is the best time to visit Menorca?
With more beaches than either Mallorca or Ibiza put together, Menorca is the perfect summer holiday choice for people looking to soak up the sun away from the crowds. Boasting a typical Mediterranean climate of long hot summer days and mild winters, rain-free days are virtually guaranteed throughout June, July and August. Heavy rains arrive in October/November before settling down to a mild winter where the temperature averages 11 °C. In spring the rain returns for a few weeks before the days start to warm up reaching a high of around 30°C in late July and August.
Where to stay in Menorca
In Menorca, you will find a diverse range of accommodation that includes everything from family friendly hotels, luxury retreats to self-catering villas and apartments. To experience Menorca at its best, why not rent a private villa or apartment and throw away your mobile phone, and watch while you enjoy days at the beach and BBQ’s at night while enjoying a relaxing holiday away from it all.
Forget about what you may have heard about the amazing designer shopping in Palma or the crazy beach parties in Ibiza as Menorca is a more laid back island where nature and outdoor activities hold all the trump cards. Steeped in history, Menorca boats megalithic monuments, forts and museums for days when you want to be a culture vulture and glass bottom boat tours and visits to a gin distillery when you feel like doing something really touristy. The real joy to Menorca is being able to do simple things like ride a bicycle along a coastal path or swim on a beach where you are the only people there. For some Menorca may seem a little too quiet while for others it might just be the type of escape you have been searching for.