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Menorca, the gem of the Balearic Islands
The Balearic islands are made up of the four main islands of Mallorca (Majorca), Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca. Located in the Western Mediterranean sea, each with their own special charm. If you want to party then definitely head to Ibiza. Mallorca has it’s beautiful beaches and food culture. But Menorca, which literally means ‘Little island’ is a gem of the Balearic Islands, and here is why you should visit Menorca!
I visit Menorca at least once year, every year. My family has a house on the island, so it holds a special place in my heart. A real home from home. Find out more about my love for this island here: Why I love Menorca
This little island, home to just under 100,000 people is not your typical tourist destination. Of course it has it seasons, and for sure expect more shops and restaurants to be open in the summer season. However, this island still feels really Spanish and is packed full of charm. It’s landscape is rugged, unspoiled and wild; the towns have a very rustic feel to them, the beaches are varied and gorgeous and the restaurants serve predominately tapas. More on the food later!
It is absolutely an island you will want to keep returning too again and again, for the ultimate place to relax!
Why Visit Menorca
The local produce
For a small island, there are a lot of thriving industries. From food, clothes to fishing and drinks! There is a lot to discover and sample to support the local businesses.
Firstly, the gin! A big thing in Menorca, so it seems right to start with it! In nearly every restaurant you will find Pomada, which is gin mixed with cloudy lemonade. Often offered as an aperitif to finish a meal, it is definitely delicious! Continuing the gin theme, Menorca is also home to it’s own gin distillery. Gin Xoriguer, which is named after the local windmills, which were used to make the first gin.
Another classic Menorcan produce is the Menorcan sandals. These handmade in Menorca, using traditional technique. They were originally made as a peasant shoe designed to keep the foot cool and comfortable when working in the heat, and now sold the world over. MIBO is one of the most known brand and there is a factory that you can visit to see the shoes being made, along with a shop where you can buy just as they have been made, the choices are endless. Other brands to look for are Ria, Avarca Castell, Can Doblas, and Avarca Pons. There are shops all over the island and have all been making hand-crafted sandals for generations.
Other local produce includes Mao cheese, which is a hard and delicious cheese and wine from Binifadet. Also look out for Menorcan olive oil and mayonnaise!
The food and drink
Another reason as to why visit Menorca is the food and drink. There are so many incredible places to eat! With it being an island, there is plenty of delicious fish to be had. Lobster stew, cuttlefish, battered calamari, mussels… just to name a few. But there is also plenty to eat for the non fish eaters as well. A lot of the restaurants offer tapas style food, and the albondigas, tomato bread and sobresada are some real highlights.
Some great places to eat:
Vell Parrander, Es Castell – Serving Menorcan tapas, delicious steak and also good cheap Verdejo wine. Located at the end of the harbour, which means you get a lovely walk all the way along.
Club Nautico, Binibiquer – Located on the south of the island with amazing views of sunset over the rocks. Really really good food, especially the salads.
Restaurante Binimela – Head down the dirt track, bumping your way to the most delicious paella you will ever find. Not only is the food good, but the setting under the shade of trees in the gentle breeze overlooking Menorcan scenery is heaven.
For a showstopper of a place to drink, head to Cova d’en Xoroi. It’s a warren of caves set into the cliff-face. The perfect place to watch the sunset, which sipping a cocktail. It has an ultra-laid back, Ibiza vibe, and then turns into a nightclub as darkness falls.
Menorca is also home to some cute little towns, perfect for wandering around. They all have the traditional Spanish feel, which cobbled town squares to sit back and watch the world go by. Check out Ciutadella, Mahon and Es Castell. The latter two having ports, which make for a great place to eat dinner as well! They are all also great for a spot of shopping!
Menorca has such a wide variety of beaches for such a tiny island. From the wilder, red beaches on the north side of the island to the crystal clear blue waters and golden sand in the south there are over a 100 beaches to choose from! The beaches on the north tend to be a bit quieter as there are fewer resorts, especially in the peak summer months.
Often the smaller, local, beaches can be spotted by the gathering of cars parked at the edge of a road for what seems like no apparent reason. It usually means there is a beach or cove to discover.
Some of the best beaches on the north are: Cavalleria, Es Grau and Cala Pregonda
In the south: Cala Mitjaneta, Cala Trebalúger and Biniparrix
Discover the history
The island is also home to a rich history. Two of the key historical sites are the old fortress and the megalithic monuments.
You can head up to Fort Marlborough to take a look at the island’s old military fortress. It is located at the entrance to Mahon harbour and was built by the British between 1720 and 1726 to protect the entrance of the harbour.
If you are looking for something even older, then there are also loads of anicent dwellings dotted around the island. One of the largest to visit is megalithic monument La Naveta Des Tudons near Ciutadella, a collective grave dating back to around 1000 BC.
Walk the Cami de Cavells.
All around the outside of the island is the Cami de Cavalls. This ancient path spans 116 miles all around the island. A fascinating history; the path was developed in 1330 when King James II told all settlers they had to have an armed horse to prepare themselves for attack. Today it provides some of the most beautiful walks across the island.
It can be walked as one long hike. Or divided up into much more manageable bit sized chunks! Find out more about the sections here.
Scratching the surface of what Menorca has to offer! The island is the perfect getaway for a relaxing stay, those looking for some culture and also a perfect place to head with a family. Menorca really is the gem of the Balearic Islands and this is why you should visit Menorca!
This post is part of a paid campaign to promote the Balearic and Canary Islands, as part of their #SpanishIslands Campaign. Although all views and experiences are my own and I have not been instructed what to include.
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