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Those who have visited Menorca know how beautiful the sunsets viewed from the rocky shore of the island can be when the sky looks as if someone has spilled orange and pink paint on it. But stunning sunsets are just one of the highlights that await visitors to Menorca.
At roughly 47 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, Menorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands and it is one of the most peaceful destinations for a pleasant and relaxing holiday.
Menorca is the smaller sister island of Mallorca and part of Spain’s Balearic Islands – archipelago which is one of the most popular in the world. Furthermore, the number of tourists visiting the islands is still growing. The little island of Menorca has seen an increase in visitors from 1.4 million in 2019 to 1.6 million in 2022.
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Despite the increase in visitors, Menorca is still more laid back and relaxed than Mallorca or Ibiza, which see 10 and 3 million visitors annually. That number means Menorca is perfect for those who love to explore nature and architecture without queues and crowded streets (especially out of season).
In addition to relaxing on the beautiful beaches, watching the sunset and exploring the interesting landscape, you should also try the local cheese, enjoy a gin tasting in a cave and learn why Menorca is the motherland of mayonnaise.
How to Get to Menorca
There are two ways to reach Menorca: by air or by water. Flights come into Mahon, the capital city of Menorca with the only airport on the island, from many European destinations.
The second way to get to Menorca is to book a ferry from Barcelona. This journey takes around 8 hours. So, if you are afraid of flying, you can treat yourself to an extra experience on the open sea. You can also fly to Mallorca and take a 1.5-hour ferry from there.
Top 10 Attractions in Menorca
There are plenty of tourist attractions and things to do in Menorca. The island is famous for its local food but besides the cuisine, it also offers beautiful views, magical cities and opportunities to just relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Visit Menorcan Cities: Ciutadella and Mahon
Ciutadella is the oldest and most beautiful city on the west coast of the Island. The old capital of Menorca is filled with atmospheric, medieval architecture and tiny, narrow streets. There is also a harbor to enjoy the ships coming and going.
Its historic origins have left an important archaeological heritage in the area in the form of megaliths. These include the “taulas”, the Talaiot and the navetas. The architecture in Ciutadella shows both European and Arab influences providing a unique atmosphere and charm to the city. The city has about 30,000 residents.
Mahon is the second biggest city in Menorca and the conventional capital of the island with a great harbor view. The city’s population is about 26,000 and it is located on the east coast of the island.
In Mahon, you’ll also find picturesque views of the harbor, narrow, atmospheric streets and lovely churches. A highlight is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, next to which, in the monastery buildings, you can also find Menorca’s museum.
Taste Fresh Seafood and Local Gin
Other must-see spots in Mahon are the seafood market and a local gin distillery. Menorca has its own gin distillery in Mahon called Xoriguer. At the distillery, there is also a shop selling many different types of gin and local liquors as well as other merchandise including perfume. You can also take part in the gin distillery experience with a tour and tasting.
If you like fresh seafood then a visit to the Mercado de Pescados (fish market) is a must. Due to the island’s climate and proximity to the sea, it is a veritable paradise for lovers of sea delicacies. In the markets, mostly located in Mahon or Ciutadella, you can find fresh fish, squid, octopus or shrimp, which are prepared on-site and served ready to eat. It’s better than the best restaurants.
Menorcan Famous Cheese
Menorca is also famous for its cheese. On the island, you can find many types of local cheese being sold everywhere including souvenir shops and supermarkets. But the best cheese experience is found at the local markets and cheese farms where you can purchase directly from local producers.
Cheese farms can be found in many parts of the island and there are tours and tastings offered. You can even try making your own cheese.
Lighthouses of Menorca
There are 7 lighthouses in Menorca, and each one of them is unique. Favaritx Lighthouse is one of the most visited on the island and is also the first concrete lighthouse on the Balearic Islands. It’s a 28-meter-high white tower with a black spiral band. The lighthouse is situated on steep rocks against which waves break.
This area is also located in the Es Grau Natural Parc. Within the park, you will find hiking trails with typical island vegetation and rocky terrain as well as two nice beaches.
Menorca has no shortage of lovely beaches. Two of the most beautiful are Tortuga and Presili. They are near the Favaritx lighthouse, about a 2-kilometer walk through the park. Both are typical paradise island beaches with small bays, surrounded on three sides by rocks. Another popular spot is Cavalleria Beach situated on the same part of the island, but about 30 kilometers away.
The Highest Hill on Menorca
El Toro is the highest peak of Menorca. From the top, when the weather is good, you can see a panorama of the entire island. In the summit area are the remains of the ruins of an Augustinian pilgrimage monastery from the 17th century. There is also a monumental statue of Christ, a neoclassical church, the shrine of Mare de Déu del Toro and the military post.
Caves and Clubs
Cova d’en Xoroi is a club and restaurant within a cave on the southern coast of the Island. Unfortunately, the entrance is limited and you have to buy tickets. The prices are around 20 euros in the evening but less in the morning and the ticket price includes a drink.
Aside from enjoying some food and drink you can also listen to live music in the evenings. The restaurant has a balcony and view of the sea making it a perfect spot for watching the sunset.
If you want to see caves but don’t want to pay to enter the club you can also walk the Cami de Cavallas tourist trail on the south-west part of the island. The trail is full of rocky bays and caves, some of which you can access from land.
In ancient times, the caves were also used for rituals. The island is full of caves not only on the coastline but also in the middle of the land. The most popular is Cova des Coloms. Another one, situated over the water, is Cova des Pardals.
Binibeca is a town located on the southern coast of Menorca. This distinctive fishing village, characterized by white houses cascading along the island’s shore, is one of the most interesting tourist attractions on the island. It was built in the 1960s and designed by the Barcelonese architect F.J. Barba Corsini.
Enjoy the Sunset
The west side of the island is known for its caves and rocky coastline. From there, when the weather is good, you can also see the Mallorca mountains. The view at sunset is stunning so an evening trip to the rocky west coast is another must-do in Menorca.
Menorca Fun Fact
According to legend, the name “mayonnaise” was taken from the name of the town Mahon (pronounced Maon). The story goes that when French troops won a victory over the British here in 1756, they found a dish made from eggs and olives on the tables of the defending British. This was the only thing available on the beleaguered French island. They liked this sauce so much that they decided to bring it to France and named it after the town.
Author Bio: Jacek Słowik is a Polish journalist, traveler and culture manager. He has worked for Polish editions of Playboy and Esquire and also Polish portals and newspapers. Jacek loves traveling during which he takes pictures and writes down his observations.
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