Menorca is the lesser known and more low-key Balearic Island brother to Ibiza and Mallorca. With equally stunning beaches, rocky and dramatic coves and turquoise waters, combined with stunning architecture dating back to the 13th Century and eateries with the freshest seafood possible, it's no surprise holiday makers are wanting to keep this place to themselves.
Before you go booking your summer holiday this year, let us try and persuade you to make this island your first choice with our list of 12 things to do in Menorca. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the offerings this charming little island has to give you, and what's more, you´ll avoid the crowds usually associated with Spanish Balearic Islands.
A recently restored fourteenth century cross-island route, the Cami de Cavalls has recently been reopened for equestrian lovers to explore whilst in the saddle. The route is 185km long in total and via the horse tour is divided into 20 parts, making it an utterly manageable ride.
The full route can take up to a week to complete, but each stage is separated so that an eclectic mix of the islands beauty can be seen no matter how long you choose to ride for. From rugged coastline and wildflower meadows, to dunes and boggy wetland, this trek gives you the opportunity to explore the entire island and its environments.
Cala Galdana is a peaceful resort area of Menorca, far enough away from the main hustle and bustle to avoid the crowds, whilst still close enough to the Mahon – the main city – to not feel isolated. The resort is situated within the Algendar Gorge, which creates a stunning backdrop and foundation to the buildings in the area.
The Algendar river runs through the resort, and out into the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a picturesque river where many locals moor their motor and sailboats, giving it a Riviera feel.
The large shell-shaped beach here is also considered one of the most beautiful on the island (high praise indeed). Activities at the beach include kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
Cala Mitjana is a relatively small cove on the southern coast of Menorca. Almost entirely encircled by dramatic cliffs, the cove is well hidden by palms and other trees, offering a relaxing spot for reflexion.
The turquoise waters are clear as day and your snorkel set should be firmly attached to your face the entire time you are swimming to catch a glimpse at the critters which call the underwater their home.
The beach gets busy over the summer months, but visiting in the shoulder months will provide you with perfect tranquillity.
El Toro is the highest point on Menorca island, standing at 358 metres above sea level, which on an island almost entirely at sea level offers vistas of just about the entire plot of land. The trek is a casual one, which greets you with the Sanctuary of the Verge del Toro as well as a stunning statue of Christ looking out over the island, once summited and views of the diverse landscapes that Menorca hosts.
For those who’ve worked up somewhat of an appetite during the hike, there is also a restaurant perched atop the mount, where diners are can enjoy equally amazing views over the whole of Menorca.
The Naveta d’Es Tudons is an emblematic monument from pre-Talaiotic times, its use dating back between 1200 and 750 BC. Its name Naveta derives from Catalan to mean ‘Little Boat’, due to its upside down resemblance to such a vessel. The building was used for funerals, and was a significant monument back in its hay day.
Today it is merely a perfectly preserved relic of the past, where visitors can get a sense of how those over 3500 years ago used the island’s resources to construct buildings.
Favaritx Lighthouse is an active lighthouse located on the eastern coast of the island. Due to Menorca’s location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, there are still many lighthouses in use to ward off ships from crashing into its rocky shores.
This particular choice is a rather stunning lighthouse, isolated but strong out in the wilderness of Menorca. Its striped tower and classic light room is a real gem of 20th Century design.
A stunning example of 13th Century architecture is the Ciutadella de Menorca Cathedral. Ordered for construction by King Alfonso III of Aragon, who conquered the island and wanted to place a Roman Catholic place of worship in the spot of the previously occupied Mosque on the island.
The Ottoman Empire ordered the destruction of the cathedral in the fifteen-hundreds, but by the end of the next century the building had been fully restored as closely to the original as possible.
Nowadays it is a beautiful religious building of sandstone construction, with a grand interior to match where thousands of visitors experience its spiritual power annually.
One of the biggest beaches on the northern coast of Menorca, Playa de Cavalleria is a stunning stretch of sand surrounded by vegetation and rolling hills. Another excellent part of the island for snorkelling, the rocky outcrops provide shelter for a number of fish and other marine-life.
There is a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the bay on the eastern edge of the beach, with picnic benches for those who prefer not to mix sand with their sandwiches.
The surrounding coast also provides plenty for exploring, as it’s part of the Cami de Cavalls horse trekking route, and there’s a local lighthouse to check out.
Due to the strategic military importance of Menorca and its capital Mahon, in particular over the centuries, the island needed a strong fort to hold off potential invaders.
Fortaleza de Isabell II was designed to be such a fort. Today, the fort is less of a stronghold and more of a beautiful historical monument pointing back towards Spain’s naval dominance in previous centuries. Exceptionally designed and built to withstand a barrage from the likes of the British Navy, the fortress stands strong even today, in near perfect glory.
Torre d’en Galmes is one of the largest Talaiotic sites in the entirety of the Balearic Islands. Its position atop a raised plot gives it a stunning vantage point across the majority of the southern half of Menorca. The site consists of dwellings and a communal space, giving an insight into the structure of society on the island over two millennia in the past.
Possibly the most stunning cove in all of Menorca, Cala en Brut’s white sand and stone sea floor enhances the turquoise colours of the Mediterranean Sea. This, contrasted with the sand coloured stone of the rocky platforms surrounding the waters offers the most delightful feast for the eyes.
Cala en Brut is so designed that the rocky edges raise in platforms, making it perfect for those who thrill off of jumping or diving from cliffs of varying size into the refreshing waters below.
Smoix is a pretty eatery with contemporary aesthetics set within a traditional courtyard, a mere stone’s throw from Menorca’s cathedral. With reasonable prices, such as a 3-course fixed menu at 17 Euros, it’s a must visit for all island visitors. The food is very much surrounding inspired, with the likes of seaweed salad to start, and cod loin main.
Meals are succulent and flavoursome and the a la carte list is limited, which is a positive as each dish has been perfected.
Countless other activities and adventures can be sought on the island of Menorca. With a mix to suit every member of the family’s tastes and interests, it has proven itself as the perfect holiday destination for this summer, and should be top of your shortlist to visit before everyone else realizes its charms.
If you have any other suggestions for things to do on Menorca, why not drop us a comment below and let us know about them?