In the April / May ROQUETA, we introduced a new feature called: Looking for Adventure? We picked out the first “Top 10” places that you, as a visitor, may not know about. The article is intended to broaden the appeal of the whole Island, and to provide suggestions when some of your party are wanting to do more than just relax by the pool and enjoy the sunshine. We hope it will enhance your stay here, and encourage you to return.
So this is the second “Top 10”. If you missed the first group in the April/May edition, don’t worry. The article can be found on our website here.
1. Es Grau
A lovely bay, with a pretty village looking over it, this is a great option for families with small children. The shallow water stretches out for at least 50 metres, and so the sea is usually a little warmer than on other playas. Other attractions include the hire of kayaks in the bay, or to take a boat trip out to Isla d’en Colom where you are then marooned on a beach for a couple of hours, with only your picnic and snorkelling kit!
Plenty of other activities – the Nature Reserve to the back of the beach is beautiful and easily accessible via a series of boardwalks. Or for a bit more of a challenge, walk to the end of the beach, clamber up the footpath and you will discover some lovely little coves.
The village has plenty of choice for lunch or for a sun-downer.
2. Ciutadella Fish Market
This is quite delightful. Every city in Europe should have one! The fish market stands in a glassed square building within a square, and was built in 1895 in a Modernista style with beautifully tiled walls. I wouldn’t have thought things have changed much since then.
You can buy fish you know and recognise, or be adventurous and choose from an array of beautiful and ugly fish! If you are unsure what to select, then ask – they will even cook your selection for you to take-away.
The market is located in the heart of the charming old town in the Placa de la Llibertat, and located outside is a wonderful parade of shops selling a range of local artisan products including hams and cheeses. Plenty of neat cafes and small restaurants nearby will welcome you with a glass of wine and a plate of gambas. A foodies heaven!
Visit in the morning, they finish at lunchtime, and Sunday and Monday is closed (the fishermen have Sunday off!).
3. San Philip Castle, Port of Mahón
On the south side of the entrance to Mahon Harbour, the original castle was finished in the mid-18th Century, and was built in the shape of a four pointed star. The British first occupied the original castle in 1708, and the town of Es Castell developed alongside. This in turn allowed the French to use the town to mount batteries, and in 1765 they took over the castle.
You can go and visit the remains. The actual castle was raised to the ground by the French, but discover three levels of tunnels and ravines underground. It makes for a very interesting visit and a real insight into the significance of Menorca and Mahon during this period.
Visiting times: During the summer months – Thursday and Saturday. Only guided tours which strictly start at 10.00am. Fee 5 euros.
www.Museomilitarmenorca.com/en/, that also lists some of the other forts and castles on the island.
4. Scuba Diving
Menorca offers a unique and spectacular diving experience, perhaps the best in this area of the Mediterranean. The water is clean and clear, with up to 50 metres of visibility, and offers every level of diver swim through, caverns and caves to enjoy and photograph.
There are a number of dive schools on the Island, but ROQUETA has teamed up with S’Algar Diving, in S’Algar, which is located outside of Sant Lluis.
They are offering a “Try Dive” for all ROQUETA readers at a 10% discounted rate. This is a two-hour session, PADI certified, and after tuition and a trial in the pool, you will be taken into the sheltered bay by the Centre. They also offer a kids’ session “Bubblemaker” which is also PADI certified.
Please bring a copy of ROQUETA with you to qualify for the Reader Offer.
For more information and to book, contact:
email@example.com or +34 971 15 06 01.
5. Anglican Church
Located on Calle Stuart near the harbour in Es Castell, the original usage for the building was as a Carmelite Convent, and owned by the Roman Catholic Church. The building ran as a school, living quarters for the nuns, and a small chapel.
In 1985, the building was no longer needed for its original purposes and was loaned to the Anglican Church, and over time the number of services and the establishment of a full time Reverend, meant the church provided a permanent home for those of the Anglican faith.
The present Chaplain, the Revd Paul Strudwick was instituted in June 2013.
Services are held every Sunday at 9.00am and 11am, and on Wednesday and Friday at 11am.
For more information: www.anglicanchurchmenorca.com
6. Aqua Parks
This may not be a Hidden Treasure when compared to some of the other gems, but we feel it still lives up to the billing of “Looking for Adventure”! Plenty of family fun, and nice and cool in the summer as you are normally submerged in water.
There are a number of water parks on the Island, at Punta Prima on the east, Son Bou on the south coast and in Calas Blanes on the west coast.
For more details: Aqua Centre: www.aquacenter-menorca.com. 971 38 87 05. PLUS ANGIES WATERPARK.
7. Torralba d’en Salord
On the road between Cala en Porter and Alaior, this is one of the largest prehistoric sites in the Balearics. It is also one of a number of archaeological gems on the Island, and dates back to 2,000 BC. It gives an insight into how people lived at that time, with houses, caves for storage and taulas where they worshipped.
There is a short circular walk around the site, with good commentary, and helps build a picture of the village and life at that time.
Open in season, 10.00 – 20.00. 5 euro fee. Sunday closed.
Tel: 971 76 06 46 www.fundacioilebalears.org
8. Fish Market, Mahon – on a Saturday
The fish market in Mahon, located at the top of the Spanish Steps, has recently evolved. The fish stalls are still laden with the fresh catch of the day, but half the space has now been given over to smaller food and drinks stalls.
On a Saturday they have a live band playing, which has a great atmosphere. Find a good table, listen to the band, and keep popping back and forth into the market to buy some tapas and a glass of wine. Oh! And don’t forget to try our favourite bottled beer – Graeme Pearce – bottled here on the Island in Sant Climent.
9. Favaritx Lighthouse
Find this stunning lighthouse off the Mahon/Fornells road – it is well signposted. Driving through the Parc Natural de S’Albufura des Grau, the approach to the lighthouse soon develops into a moonscape.
The lighthouse was built between 1917 – 1922, and was commissioned following a number of shipwrecks in the early 1900’s. It stands 47 metres above sea level and then an additional 21 metres, and has a range of 16 nautical miles. It is the first lighthouse in Menorca to be built completely out of concrete and is an impressive beacon, painted black and white, and set in striking surroundings.
It isn’t manned anymore, and you can’t go in, but it is still worth a visit. After your visit, walk along the Cami de Cavalls that crosses here. Stroll east for about 30 minutes and you will discover some hidden beaches that only the locals know about!
10. Cami d’en Kane
A bit of a quirky hidden treasure, but still well worth a mention. Driving around in your car is generally a pleasure on the Island. Not much traffic and some really great views of the countryside. One of our favourites is the back jigger that heads south from the Mahon/Fornells main road up to Alaior. About 10 minutes outside of Mahon.
We call the road The Mayor of Casterbridge, as it has the look and feel of the backdrop to the Thomas Hardy classic novel. Gorgeous rolling green fields and stone walls that could have come straight from the Wessex countryside. The road itself is a part of the original which remains from the one built in the early 18th century by British Governor Richard Kane to connect Ciutadella to Mahon. It provided access for farmers produce to reach the markets of the two main cities. Carry on to Alaior and have an adventure. It has an incredibly charming town centre – just like Casterbridge!