Menorca Holidays

A charming Balearic island escape

While Majorca and Ibiza get the lion’s share of the limelight, Menorca holidays offer perhaps the most rustic and blissfully unspoilt of the three Balearic Island destinations. The most easterly of the island group, the Menorcan landscape is a picturesque patchwork of lush rolling hills, virgin pine forests and rural farmland peppered with ancient stone walls that zigzag for miles. Sleepy whitewashed villages are dotted around the interior, which spring to life on market days and during colourful local fiestas.

That’s before even mentioning the main reason why most choose holidays to Menorca – its downright exceptional beaches. From long strips of powdery sand that slope gently into turquoise shallows to countless secluded coves where limestone cliffs meet shimmering crystal-clear waters, Menorcan beaches are some of the finest in the world. While a handful of coastal resorts have been developed for tourism, the whole island was designated a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1993, meaning it retains its untouched feel.

There are plentiful sightseeing opportunities on a Menorca holiday, too. The capital Mahon is a fascinating cultural collage where medieval forts and British colonial mansions hark back to its various occupations. At the opposite tip of the island, Ciutadella has a labyrinthine old town, and hundreds of pre-historic sites are scattered around the island. Menorca’s laid-back vibe makes it a popular choice with families, but its unfettered natural beauty catches the eye of couples in search of romantic breaks, and adventurous travellers too.

Three tips for a top trip

Explore on a scooter
A great way to discover the island, appreciate its natural beauty and get to some of its harder-to-reach remote beaches is by renting a scooter.
Walk the coastline
Skirting the entire edge of the island is the Cami de Cavalls, or horse path. Follow this ancient defensive trail for plenty of jaw-dropping coastal views.
Hire a boat
Many of the finest and often most deserted coves are only accessible by sea, so hiring a boat is the best way to find your personal piece of paradise.

Best attractions to see in Menorca

Monte Toro

El Toro is the highest mountain on Menorca, and offers sweeping panoramas of practically the whole island. It is also topped by a 13th-century monastery.

Torre d’en Galmes

Hilltop Torre d’en Galmes is Menorca’s largest Talaiotic site, dating from the Iron Age. At this hilltop archaeological site you’ll find fascinating prehistoric monuments including watchtowers and houses.

Santa Maria Cathedral

While you’re wandering the enchanting maze of Ciutadella’s old town, be sure to make a stop at the cathedral to admire its splendid stained-glass windows.

Your Menorca questions, answered

Menorca has some of the best traditional cooking in the Balearics, and many dishes – such as local lobster stew ‘caldereta de langosta’ – are made with appetizing, locally caught seafood.

The island is a real crowd-pleaser of a destination, attracting everyone from families and couples on seaside breaks to outdoor enthusiasts such as ramblers and cyclists.

Menorca is very much a year-round destination. Yes, it’ll be busier in the summer months when tourists come for hot sun and sandy beaches. But there’s so much more to this island than can be seen from a sun lounger. It’s cooler in the winter, which means you can explore more comfortably on foot, and you’re more likely to find corners that are just yours and don’t need sharing with hundreds of others. The hot summer days are fanned by a steady, pleasant breeze – and there’s always the sea for more serious cooling off.

While not exactly known as a destination for clubbers, Menorca does have some tricks up its sleeve. There are plenty of bars surrounding the island’s cute harbours and, in the summer, these are very much outdoor venues. You’ll also find places with roof terraces for some lazy stargazing. But perhaps most dramatic is a club 25 metres above the sea, visited by DJs from around the world. Party under the light of the moon and keep going as the sun comes up.

For the summer and a month or so either side you can expect gorgeous sunshine and balmy temperatures, often with a pleasant breeze. Outside of this time, it’s cooler and more changeable.

Mahon is a great base if you want easy access to bars, shops and beaches. It’s pretty, lively, and you can take a water taxi tour around the harbour. Punta Prima is all about the beach – with special areas designated for kids and toddlers. Binibeca also has a gorgeous beach and is less developed than other areas. And Cala en Porter is one of the liveliest places on the island, with a powder-white beach and parties at night. The resorts of Cala Galdana were built for tourists, surrounding a family-friendly beach with calm, shallow waters.

Absolutely. Menorca has beaches with areas set aside for children and toddlers, and entire resorts dedicated to providing safe family-friendly fun. If you’re looking for something more lively than gently floating in the warm sea, then head to Splash Sur. It’s the biggest waterpark on Menorca and has everything from a lazy river to a slide called the Kamikaze. Cala Alcaufur, lined with fishermen’s cottages and beautiful villas, is a firm family favourite. But Menorca is just as popular with couples looking for a romantic escape, and outdoor lovers wanting to cycle and hike their way around the island.

While it would be easy to stay put in some of the resorts – they really have thought of everything you might need – hiring a car here means you get to properly explore the island. A car means you’ll be able to take your pick of the white sand beaches and head off to find the ancient ruins and towns. For a small island, Menorca has a surprisingly diverse landscape, and it’s worth remembering that a holiday on Menorca doesn’t have to be all about the beach.

True islanders speak Menorcan which is a dialect of Catalan. It’s similar to the dialects spoken on Mallorca and Ibiza. But everyone on Menorca speaks Spanish, and you’re unlikely to come across many people in the tourist areas who don’t speak English.