Menorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands and the least developed. The two main cities – Mahón and Ciutadella – are at opposite ends of the island, with a sprinkling of rural villages tucked into the folds of rolling hills in between. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993, it’s protected from the ravages of tourism and, today, remains an unspoiled Mediterranean haven with only a few seaside resorts. These reasons and more are why we have a unique collection of villas in Menorca. Here are some of our favourite Menorca towns and villages.
In the shade of El Toro, Es Mercadal is a sleepy village in the heart of Menorca – and an emerging gourmet destination. You’ll discover a cluster of pastry shops and coffee bars; be sure to try the almond macaroons. There’s a number of excellent restaurants rustling up the finest Menorca food; the family-run Ca N’Olga serves wonderfully simple dishes on a garden terrace. Visit on the third weekend of July for the festival of San Martín, when Es Mercadal goes big on celebrations – dancing horses are a highlight.
The former capital of Menorca, Ciutadella, is another city with a beautiful old town. Cobbled streets are lined with sandstone mansions and elegant palaces. There’s a striking Gothic cathedral and the grand Placa d’es Born, along with a little harbour. Try authentic Menorca food at the cavern-like La Guitarra or Cas Ferrer de sa Font.
Fornells is a traditional fishing village in the northeast, with some of the best seafood restaurants around. This is the leading place to try Menorca’s signature dish: caldereta de langosta (lobster stew). Pick one of the quaint waterside eateries for dinner with a view; if you want to splash out, the renowned Es Cranc serves a version for a whopping €60. It’s also a good spot for water-sports enthusiasts, with several PADI diving centres. The Bay of Fornells is one of the top beaches in Menorca for learning how to sail and windsurf; Wind Fornells offers lessons.
While the capital is technically a city, its enchanting old town is worth a mention. Spread across a clifftop, Mahón overlooks the harbour. We think getting lost in the streets is one of the most interesting things to do in Menorca. In the historic core, small plazas are lined with 18th-century buildings, and lofty miradors (viewpoints) offer panoramic views. Don’t miss the Museum of Menorca, housed in the monastery of San Frances. Ask any foodie what to do in Mahón and they’ll suggest visiting the local market in the cloisters of the Carme church.
One of the quaintest Menorca towns, this glorious huddle of sun-bleached buildings hugs the southern tip of the island. Beyond its charming architecture lies an untouched coastline, where craggy cliffs plunge to flour-fine beaches. A trio of coves – Binissafúller, Biniancolla, and Binibeca – are edged by whitewashed fishermen’s houses.
Sitting pretty on the east coast, Alcaufar is a tiny fishing village where the pace slows. Local fishing boats bob in the shallows, just offshore from a slender beach with powder-soft sand. You’re a 15-minute drive from Trepucó, a well-preserved Talayotic village dotted with megalithic monuments – once a centre of power in eastern Menorca. Splash Sur, the island’s largest waterpark, is 10-minutes away by car – and one of the best things to do with kids in Menorca.
Es Grau is a tourist resort that feels like a traditional village, and one of the most popular Menorca towns. Of the cluster of whitewashed buildings, only a handful are occupied by bars and restaurants. S’Albufera des Grau nature reserve brims with wildlife and is a great birdwatching spot; look out for booted eagles, Egyptian vultures, and osprey. You can kayak or paddleboard across the calm bay or go snorkelling in the shallows. From the beach, follow the ancient Camí de Cavalls bridleway northwards to stumble across to a necklace of secret coves; the most stunning of which are Cala des Tamarells and Cala de sa Torreta.
Cala en Porter
Clinging to the sheer cliff face, this seaside town overlooks a picturesque cove lapped by sparkling waters. A handful of bars and restaurants create a buzz in the summer months. Anyone you ask what to do in Menorca is bound to say have a sundowner at Cova d’en Xoroi, a cliffside bar with terraces cut into the rock – the best spot to catch a sunset (book ahead to reserve a spot).
Cala Galdana is probably the most well-known resort, unfurling from the south coast of Menorca. Despite its popularity, it retains the quiet vibe of classic Menorca towns. The scent of pine drifts in from the forested cliffs to a coastline peppered with calas. The finest beach is Cala Macarelleta, just west of the town, with virgin sand and crystal-clear water. There are several restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels, with a few family-friendly activities – crazy golf, water slides, and a park.
Whitewashed facades punctuated with shuttered windows; narrow streets clinging to a steep hillside; tapas bars humming with chatter – welcome to the pretty town of Alaior. The third largest of the Menorca towns, it’s located inland, 12 kilometres from Mahón. You can buy classic avarcas leather sandals from artisan cobblers and savour hand-made ice cream from tiny parlours. The surrounding countryside is a hiking and cycling hotspot, with trails winding through the bucolic landscapes.
Some of our handpicked villas in Menorca are located close by to these villages, so you don’t need to travel far to have an explore. If you fancy checking out our collection, head to our website now. And if you’d like to make your stay extra special, we’ve got a concierge team, who can help you sort out any added extras (like local in-house chefs.)