Weekend getaway in Menorca
Menorca is the small sister of world famous Majorca, part of the Balearic Islands complex that includes Ibiza and Formentera. For some reason it has been under the radar for years and surprisingly enough, although it’s a mere 2 hours from London, I had never thought of going there. Being loyal to the Greek islands as my fist summer holiday choice, I was always hesitant to explore the rest of the Mediterranean. To be frank, I am put off by mass tourism and the thought that I could end up in a crowded place is enough to make me change holiday plans. Menorca seems to have escaped the over-development of other destinations so this quaint little island looked like an ideal choice for a long weekend in July.
My personal take without having been there in August, is that it can become very crowded so I would recommend it as an early summer destination.
Menorca is a quiet island with an abundance of absurdly amazing beaches, raggedy cliffs and two interesting medieval cities with a distance of 1 hour between them. You can easily spend 3 days exploring and relaxing in a way that is not tiresome or overwhelming.
I stayed in Mahon, rented a car from hassle free Poppy Cars (highly recommended!), checked in at a lovely cottage and got into holiday mood within hours from landing. Mahon port is very close to the airport and the bars and restaurants stay open until late which comes handy if your flight is one of the late night ones. Ciutadela on the other hand, is a bit further away but still a very manageable drive as the roads are very safe and well signalled. The small marina in Ciutadela has a few cute seaside restaurant options but the interesting part is within the cobbled streets of the town where you will find laid back tapas bars as tapas bars should be.
Where to sleep
There are lots of very good options for sleeping in Menorca, ranging from the all-inclusive mega hotels (thankfully not many of them) to cottage style bed and breakfast guesthouses (thankfully quite a lot of them).
My first option was Gesuino and Silvia’s cottage which can be booked through Airbnb. I highly recommend this option due to its close proximity to Mahon and the airport, but also because it is a very authentic place, lovably restored. Our room came with a balcony with red tiles overlooking a huge olive tree garden and the pool in which I was looking forward to return after a day full of activities
Another very interesting option is boutique hotel Casa Telmo. It’s a historical building right in the centre of Mahon that has been renovated to a high standard but still retaining a boho feel. One could say that it’s a very Instagramable little guesthouse. The rooms are inspired by a world traveller with the fictional name Telmo. The architecture and interior design studio Quintana Partners have tastefully decorated each room with this story in mind utilising objects from around the world, from African memorabilia to British colonial artefacts. On a higher price point but worth it.
Further out of the main cities and if rural tourism is your thing then Agroturismo Ses Talaies is also worth a try. A very relaxing stone built main building lays within open fields and grass. Absolute tranquillity is guaranteed.
Where to eat and drink
Well, I take it you are here in Menorca for the tapas and the fresh fish. I know I was! A few of my favourite places had the yummiest fish I have tasted this year and the added bonus of being in lovely locations by the sea. Try Cap Roig in Sa Mesquida beach after a day by the sea, the small fried shrimps and local baby squid were to die for and eating them while gazing the endless blue was an experience that will stay with me for a while.
Another one I love was Asorbos in the port of Mahon – My favourite places in Spain are the tapas bars where you can nibble and drink without the formal seating of restaurant dining and Asorbos is exactly this. They serve lovely cocktails, beers and sangrias which can be accompanied by crunchy tostadas with imaginative toppings.
Paput is one of these young, colourful, kind of boho bars that remind me of Mexico and are always my favourite. This is the place where you can have a fun night out, mingling with the locals, listening to summery tunes. It is quite mellow and easy going and they serve a good selection of burgers if you get hungry in the meantime
Pindapoi in Es Castel was the last place I went before driving back to the airport to catch my flight and boy did it leave a sweet taste in my mouth. Situated on the far end of Es Castel old marina, Pindapoi is literally one step from the sea with no obstructions and no noise from cars or boats. It is, as Paput, a bar with relaxed atmosphere where locals sip their cocktails while people watching. Everything is made fresh with local ingredients and the food is as good as the drinks
Lastly how could I not mention the bar featured in every Menorca travel guide? Cova d’en Xoroi is so famous that I have a hunch it might be the reason people go to Menorca.
Where to swim
Although you will be spoilt for choice, here is a little warning with regards to Menorcan beaches. The ones that are on the southern part are quieter and a good option when the wind blows from the north, they can however, become extremely busy. Start very early or do not bother altogether if you are there high season. I was not able to reach Cala Turqueta or any of the adjustment little coves because the parking lot was full. Ended up in Cala Galdana which was very pretty but too packed for my taste. The beaches on the North are generally less crowded but can involve some walking. I found Cala Pregonda on the North side of the island to be the prettiest of all
I also loved Sa Mesquita, I could easily end up going there every day but due to its North East orientation it can get wavy when the wind is a bit strong
Don’t forget to save my Menorca Google Map where I have mapped almost every beach in the island along with information on how to reach it. I have also included all my favourite bars and hotels so hopefully it will come handy.