Of the four Balearic Islands floating in the emerald-tinted Mediterranean, Menorca is the most tranquil and the least overrun by tourists. Whatever you choose to do here, from exploring natural wonders to tasting locally-distilled spirits, this particular island is a perfect reminder that anything that takes time to create is well worth the wait. Since sunbathing on a remote sandy beach is already at the top of any visitor’s to-do list, here are some other insider tips from Monarch’s Head of Retail and Online and island connoisseur, Ian Chambers.
Find your way to a secluded harbour
Nothing says “calm and relaxation” better than a small coastal fishing village. Fornells, on the north of the island, has superb seafood restaurants, and the Spanish royal family is known to frequent the area from time to time. It’s not surprising either: with rows of white-washed, terracotta-roofed houses overlooking a boat-lined harbour, Fornells feels both private and welcoming.
Enjoy a cliffside aperitif
A visit to Cova D’en Xoroi, a café, bar, and club built into the cliffside overlooking Cala En Porter, is a must. With white futons and floating fabrics outside, cavernous expanses and neon lighting inside, it’s an amazing place for lounging with an drink in the afternoon, taking in the sunset, or dancing to cool vibes at night. Smart casual attire is appropriate.
Visit a local distillery
The local Xoriguer gin is well worth a try, and a trip to a distillery should be on the agenda too.
Gin has a long tradition in Menorca, dating back more than 200 years to when the island was an important British port. British soldiers and sailors wanted one fashionable liquor in particular, gin, which remains popular across the island still today.
Discover natural wonders
Menorca was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993, as a result of its diverse Mediterranean landscape and its indigenous animals and wildlife, much of which can only be found on Menorca. The biosphere’s epicentre is natural park S’Albufera d’es Grau, located at the north-east end of the island. The park has several trails through lush olive tree forest, beautiful lagoons and wetlands, and lunar landscapes of black and grey rock. Sturdy hiking shoes and a day pack are a must, but trails are available for all levels. Keep an eye out for rare water birds, tree frogs, and even the occasional hedgehog!
Admire a bit of the Baroque
The Museu de Menorca is located in a 17th century Franciscan monastery in Mahón. It is home to a wealth of artwork and history about the island, starting from the Roman and Byzantine periods and running through the Moorish era to the modern day.
Only time will tell whether Menorca remains tucked away off the tourist track, but for now, it is certainly one of the most unspoilt destinations of the Mediterranean—a small, quiet island with sunsets that will stay with you long after your holiday ends. Monarch has lots of holiday and flights deals to Menorca, so make sure you check them out here.