The high season of July and August is the time for the largest influx of families. Some travel with no direct contacts or knowledge of Menorca, whilst others visit family or friends, or arrive in larger groups of 10 or 12 people, staying in a villa.
If you are looking beyond the pool for a more adventurous time, listed below are a few suggestions for activities all can enjoy, and which may perhaps sap a little bit of energy from the younger members of your group.
Always a firm favourite and Menorca has four of note: Splash near Sant Lluís, Aqua Center in Cala’n Blanes, Aquarock in Cala’n Bosch and a mini one in Son Bou. They all have merits, scary flumes as well as gentle ones, and cafes serving ‘family’ food, that is pizza and burgers. The cost is about 20 euros for an adult and half for a child.
Son Bou is the longest sandy beach on the island. They offer all sorts of water sports including banana rides, kayaking, water skiing and boat trips. They also have a jungle gym located on the sea. Must be fun from all the whooping that emanates from it. The beach has a number of good value cafes located on it, a large car park (gets busy in high season) and is reachable via the island’s bus services.
Beaches for toddlers
A number of beaches have very gradual slopes and shallow sea levels. Some you have to walk 250 metres to get the water up to your knees. These are, however, ideal for toddlers who want to splash about and get the hang of having fun in the water. Es Grau, near Mahón, is a great example. A long sandy beach, shallow water, no waves and a number of beach cafes make it a top choice. For the older ones, Es Grau has paddle boards and kayaks for hire, so a good place to have a go. They also do a boat trip to an island off the coast. You are taken and then dropped for a couple of hours, a real adventure as you are marooned for a time. OK parking in season and accessible by bus.
The horse show Somni takes place at Son Martorellet twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30pm on the road between Cala Galdana and Ferreries. It is very much a family show and tells the story of a young girl who dreams of owning a horse. Menorca is known for its beautiful horses and this production shows them at their best. VIP tickets are available that enable you to go back-stage and see the horses in the stables. The show lasts 90 minutes with a 15-minute interval. Tickets start at 27.50 euros for adults and 14.50 euros for children and are available on-line at www.sonmartollet.com.
Menorca is rich in history from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. British invasions, Lord Nelson and a lot more. A good place to get the picture of that time is Fort Marlborough, located in the tiny village of Cala Sant Esteve, near Es Castell. It is signposted, but you will need a car. The fort has been very well restored and gives a good overview of the issues of the day. What was it like to be under siege there? Listen to the audio-guide. Small entrance fee, and lovely and cool on a hot day, as much of it is underground.
Menorca has many diving schools. The one we have tried is at S’Algar Diving. Located just outside Sant Lluís, it is a very professional PADI school catering for the first-timers and experienced. If you have never been before they offer a Try-Dive option. Some basic classroom schooling followed by the first plunge with all the equipment in the swimming pool and then the final period in the sea. All tightly controlled by experienced and qualified instructors. Age 10 plus, but for the 8 and 9-year olds, they offer a Bubblemaker Programme. If diving sounds too much, ask about the snorkelling trips. They will take you by boat to the best places, kit you out with the gear and off you go. www.salgardiving.com.
Getting about by bus
If you are a little nervous about driving on the wrong side of the road, or if a car doesn’t feature in your holiday budget, take the bus. The service is a top class on Menorca. Plenty of routes, clean and air-conditioned buses and frequent and reliable service. You may have to take two buses to get to your chosen destination. And a very good value. With space restriction in the magazine, it is impossible to list the full timetable here, but the map displayed shows where you can get to. For the exact times, look out for a bus stop in your resort that will list timings. Alternatively consult the following websites of the operators: www.tmsa.es, www.bus.e-torres.net and www.autosfornells.com. They all list their services in English.
Harbour boat trips
It is always good to get on the water and see land from a different perspective. There are different length trips available in glass-bottomed boats in Mahón and Ciutadella harbours, which also give a commentary on what you are looking at. Some offer the chance to swim at the half-way point or break your trip with an add on to visit a historical site.
If you are staying around Mahón, a water taxi is a fun way to go out for the evening. It runs from Mahón Harbour (by the floating restaurant Minerva) and goes around the harbour to Cales Fonts on a regular basis and takes about 20 minutes. It costs around 15 euros return per person and normally outbound in daylight and return in the dark. Makes you feel like a movie star arriving by boat. Evening service has to be pre-booked. www.watertaximenorca.com
All the family are having a great time. But are you ready for some me-time? A quiet dinner for two, knowing your children are being well looked after back at the villa. The Nanny Menorca service is relatively new to the island but offers a service where all the babysitters are well researched, speak English, fulfil all legal requirements and have experience. So, you can relax for the evening. www.nannymenorca.com