The mellow island of Menorca drums to a slower beat than siblings Mallorca and Ibiza, and therefore perfect if you’re looking for a holiday of rest and relaxation. The easternmost Balearic Island is lined by some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean: long swathes of powder-fine sand give way to rocky calas (bays) lapped by pale blue waters. Its capital overlooks a boat-speckled harbour while, inland, whitewashed villages are tucked into the folds of rolling hills. Elsewhere, Bronze Age sites dot the landscape. Our Menorca travel guide is here to give you the low-down.
Best time to visit Menorca
The sun-drenched Balearics are balmy year-round, but spring is the best time to visit Menorca before the crowds hit the beaches.
How to get there
A number of airlines, including British Airways, EasyJet, Monarch and Ryanair, run direct flights between the UK and Menorca.
Several festivals throughout the year celebrate everything from arts and culture to jazz music. If you can only see one, make it Nuestra Señora de Gràcia (Our Lady of Grace) on the first weekend of September, when prancing horses’ parade through the streets of Mahón in time with live music.
Food and drink
Think fresh seafood – and lots of it. Caldereta de llagosta, or lobster stew, is Menorca’s signature dish; try it in the traditional fishing village of Fornells. Tapas is also popular: sample local favourite sobrassada (paprika-seasoned cured sausage on toast) at the harbour-side Can Vermut in Mahón. Gin has been a Menorcan classic since British occupation, and the waterfront Xoriguer distillery is a great spot to try the spirit. Look out for island speciality pomada (gin and cloudy lemonade) in local bars.
Menorca beaches are some of the finest in the Mediterranean. A beautiful coastline wraps around the kidney-shaped island, with long sandy stretches and rocky bays. The south of the island is lined with some of the best beaches in Menorca – all white sand and turquoise waters. Further north, the coastline is more rugged, dotted with red-tinged coves. Our top pick is the remote Cala del Pilar.
Fauna and flora
From rolling dunes to dense forest and wetlands, the varied habitat of Menorca is home to over 220 species of bird and 1,000 varieties of plant. UNESCO bestowed Biosphere Reserve status on the island in 1993 to protect its natural beauty and wildlife. S’Albufera des Grau is a prime bird-watching spot; you may see booted eagles, red kites or Egyptian vultures.
Menorca is something of a Bronze Age mystery. The island’s early inhabitants from the Talayotic era (around 1500 to 123 BC) are behind the prehistoric monuments peppering the landscape. From conical talayot rock mounds to intriguing T-shaped taula stone structures, these are evidence of a sophisticated culture. Learn more at Museu de Menorca, which traces the island’s history from ancient beginnings to modern-day industries.
- Of all the Menorca beaches, Cala Escorxada is the best-kept secret: a white-sand cove surrounded by topaz waters. It’s not easy to get to, but worth the effort. Tackle the hour-long walk from Santo Tomas along Camí de Cavalls to discover this secluded spot.
- Most people hotfoot it to the mirador (viewpoint) by St Francis church for sweeping harbour views, but there’s a lesser-known perch with equally alluring vistas. To find it, walk east from St Francis’s church on Calle Isabel II and look out for a gate marked 2000.
- Menorca is famed for its shoe industry. While you can pick up some classic avarcas leather sandals at shops across the island, the new Homers store is one of the most stylish in Mahón.
- It may look unassuming from the outside, but Cas Ferrer de sa Font is an excellent restaurant in Ciutadella for authentic Menorca food. The farm-to-fork menu champions locally sourced, organic ingredients; don’t miss the octopus carpaccio.
What to do in Menorca
Visit the pretty capital of Mahón (Maó)
To the east of the island, the capital is perched on a rocky ridge overlooking the harbour – the biggest natural port in the Mediterranean. Georgian mansions lining the streets nod to the period under British rule. Take the long flight of stairs down to the waterfront to discover restaurants, bars and boutiques. From here, you can take a boat trip to Isla del Rey, home to the old British Military Hospital.
Get lost in the cobbled old town of Ciutadella
Over to the west, Ciutadella is an alluring mix of Spanish and Moorish architecture. The old town is a web of cobbled lanes and pink-tinted sandstone houses. A 14th- to 16th-century cathedral mixes Gothic and Neoclassical architecture, and there’s a picturesque harbour. Furthermore, if you’re all about exploring local towns, we’ve got a list of the 10 best Menorca towns… so, give it a read!
Hike among natural beauty on the Camí de Cavalls
Cami de Cavalls, or “Way of the Horses”, is an old bridleway that circles the entire coastline. Walk, cycle or horse ride along the ancient path to see wild flora and fauna, as well as some beautiful Menorca beaches. Dating back to the 1300s, the 185km-long trail is punctuated with watchtowers and fortresses – a nod to its days as a defensive circuit.
Discover mysterious prehistoric monuments
Archaeological sites across the island give clues to Talayotic culture, believed to have ended when the Romans arrived in 123 BC. While the best-known site is perhaps Torre d’en Galmés, our favourite talayot is Cornia Nou, a beehive-shaped structure on the edge of Mahón. Nearby, the Talatí de Dalt site has some of the most well-preserved taula, curious T-shaped stone structures with no obvious function, while Naveta dels Tudons outside Cuitadella is also well worth a visit.
We’ve put together a list of the top 12 things to do in Menorca, outside of these 4 activities. From water-sports to paragliding.
We love the tranquility, warmth, and charm of Menorca, which is why we’ve got an extensive collection of villas in Menorca. Handpicked by experts, you can find a place in the beautiful countryside or near the coast… whatever floats your boat! We’ve also got a concierge team on-hand to help you make your stay extra special.