Menorca is such a special Island. So much so that we will be introducing a regular article each month with some hidden treasures that you may not otherwise find. There are things to do with the family, things to do as a couple. Read them through, and take some time out from relaxing by the pool, and go on an adventure!
We have chosen a first “Top Ten” from many to share with you, and hope that it enhances your visit here, and so entices you to return in the future.
1. The Cami de Cavalls
A circular footpath that hugs the perimeter of the Island. In total it is 220km long, but can be enjoyed in shorter stretches. It follows the coastline, and introduces the walker to the unique character of the Island. It crosses through the traditional rural landscape, and helps you discover hidden beaches and coves that you will often have all to yourselves.
The route was started in the 14th century, and was first published as a joined up route in the 17th century. It was constructed by the government authority of the day as a way of controlling and keeping an eye on the entire coastline. As such therefore you will come across 20 defence towers around the whole route, many are very well preserved. It will provide some understanding of the old feudal estates, with the characteristic stone walls bordering the land.
The path has been upgraded recently and is very well signposted. Make sure you wear decent shoes, take some liquids – and of course your swimming gear! More information is available from www.menorca.es
Coastal Walk Extraordinaire
A record of a walk taken by one of our readers along the Cala Galdana to Santo Thomas section of The Cami de Cavalls.
The sheer joy of this walk quickly begins to reveal. The glimmers and shimmers of the azure/turquoise cove of Cala Mitjana is glimpsed through the branches and gaps of the trees ahead of you. Over the course of the next 10 kilometres this is something out of a ‘fair-weather ramblers’ dreamland. Pick a sunny day if you can because the blue hues of the upcoming coves are so much more tantalising when reflecting the clear skies.
During July and August it would be best for either an 8am or 5pm kick off. Also a rucksack with cold drinks and simple picnic is a must – as are the beach towel and bathers!
To reach the next stage, take a right fork – away from the Cami de Cavalles and along the coastal pass – all the way to Santo Tomás. In places it can be quite tricky under foot, both rocky and tree-rooty. There’s nothing too demanding, more Glen Dennis than Ben Nevis. But the Calas of Trebalúger, Fustam and Escorxada offer a couple of hours of absolute gorgeousness.
Keep on rambling along this amazing route by following the marker posts – there’s usually one visible at the times you’re thinking ‘which way now’? Very easy trekking and then there’s the lovely finale along the cliff tops and trail above the wonderful open sea and hidden coves – before the sand dunes of Platja de Binigaus lead you along your way to Santo Tomás. And there awaiting you is one of the great beachside cafes on the Island. A place to look south again on what you’ve just conquered. Less California more Cala Fauna!
Possibly a top 3 walk of your lifetime! A Xoriguer&Tonic I’m right! Afterwards enjoy lunch at the beachside Es Bruc in Santa Tomas.
Best to book a table in advance – 971 37 04 88 – This place is big, understated and authentic – the fresh fish and fries are all you really want here and there’s some excellent salads on the menu too. It can get pretty breezy down there, so pack a hoody for the warm-down. The fabby view is all the way to Majorca on a clear day.
Allow 3 hours for walking time, 1/2 hour for photo-taking and whatever you fancy for beach time – but, most of all, don’t forget to ‘smell the roses’!
This is a marvellous way to while away a couple of hours of a weekend evening! Trotting has been on the Island for over 200 years, and each event presents a series of races where the “jockey” sits on a cart being pulled by a horse. The skill is to prevent the horse from galloping, while only maintaining a trot! Otherwise they are disqualified!!
It’s exciting, and you can get right up close to see them whizzing around the track.
Have a flutter with the tote, they have an interesting choice of bets.
Held in the summer on the outskirts of Mahon (near Sant Lluis) on a Saturday (starts at 6.00pm) and in Cala’n Blanes on Sunday (starts at 6.00pm), it really is a fun time for all the family.
3. Watch the perfect Sunset
It is hard to imagine a more perfect way to watch the sunset than at the Cova d’en Xoroi, near Cala’n Porter (quite close to the airport).
Perched 25 metres above the sea, the view is spectacular. Sundowners are served between 18.30 and 21.00, when the whole place is transformed into a very lively nightclub. Visit the website to find out sunset times when you are planning your visit. Check before going for opening times as they may vary.
4. Horse Riding
Horses are part of the DNA in Menorca.
For the visitor, there are many places where you can go horse riding, and all standard riders are catered for. Check out the routes that you will be taken on, as some will visit deserted beaches where you can let the horse go!!
It really is a great way to discover the natural beauty of Menorca.
For more information www.menorca.es
5. Wine tasting at a Menorcan vineyard
Driving around the Island, you will notice that there is quite an abundance of vines. Grapes have been grown here for centuries, and many of the vines avoided the dreadful wine blight of the 19th century that devastated many French vineyards. The Island has some very special wines, and none more so than at Bodega Binifadet, just outside Sant Lluis. They have two outdoor terraces to enjoy a tasting with food that compliments the wine.
6. The Lithica Labyrinths
Menorca is well known for its amazing collection of archaeological surprises and history. Perhaps the most dramatic is the Lithica Labyrinths on the outskirts of Ciutadella. You will need to schedule 1 – 2 hours to fully explore this most unusual place. The quarry dates back 250 years, with the stone used exclusively to build the houses on the Island that helps give Menorca such character.
The Labyrinth was re-constructed in November 2014, and the whole quarry is now open to the public to visit and set in a natural environment.
7. Harbour Tours
The harbours of Mahon and Ciutadella are quite remarkable, and best explored on the sea. They both have breath-taking scenery and have remarkable histories that relay the important part they played in the 18th century.
Both have good glass bottomed boat experiences, and it is a relaxed but fascinating way to see the land from the water. Suitable for all the family, it is a great way to also add-on a trip into the city centres, which are full of character. But remember that many of the shops close at lunchtime to late afternoon.
8. Monte Toro
Standing tall in the middle of the Island, it can be seen from many points whilst you are travelling about. Take a detour and ride up to the top to discover outstanding views from the highest point on the Island. You can see coast to coast and many of the villages across the Island.
Standing at 350 metres, the history dates back to the 13th century, and later as a 17th century monastery dedicated to the Virgin of El Toro. It has a rich history as it was an important military look-out point, but today it houses a convent that is still active and habited. A small café is located at the top which capitizes on the panoramic view all the way to Mahon and La Mola.
9. Cales Fonts at Es Castell
A charming harbour, full of character, with local fishing boats bobbing against the quayside. This is a great place to treat the family for an evening out. There are many restaurants to choose from, Menorcan style to international, and it is generally good value. You will discover, the town has a rich history, being first sighted by the British and known as Georgetown.
Plenty to keep the younger diners happy, street entertainment that usually includes braiding, henna painting, and bead bracelets. They sit alongside some small and attractive boutique shops, many selling locally produced fashion items.
Located close to Mahon, it will be a treat for all!
10. Fort Marlborough
This is a remarkable place, that remains almost as it was when it was built in the 18th Century. It does not look much at the entrance, but inside it is a tardis of tunnels and hidden alleys making it a very interesting visit.
And kids love it as wandering around is such an adventure.
It has an amazing history, as it strategically stood at the head of the harbour in Mahon. It changed hands between the English and the French, and boasts stories of armies being surrounded for months with ensuing starvation, bloody battles won and lost. Very interesting! It is quite hard to find and you definitely need a car. It is on the road out of Mahon, past Es Castell and then you will find it in Cala de Sant Esteve.
If you have some suggestions as to things that you think will interest others, then please let us know. Send a message with your own experiences, and we can share them in future editions with our readers. Email: www.roquetamgazine.net/contact