Destination spotlight - Menorca
Menorca (or Minorca) is a tranquil island that makes up one part of the Balearic Islands. Slap bang in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, Menorca is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear oceans. Though the name Menorca comes from it being smaller than nearby Majorca, there is still plenty to do and see during a holiday on the island.
Being in the centre of the Mediterranean has given Menorca a rich history and culture, made from equal parts local and colonial influences. This is almost immediately apparent from a glimpse at the island, which includes ancient stone structures, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and locally sourced gin, which British travellers brought over in the 18th Century.
Menorca hosts vibrant and exciting fiestas throughout the summer, most notably the Ciutadella's fiesta in honour of Sant Joan (St John) towards the end of June. Visiting this event is a great chance to blend with the locals and marvel at the locally bred horses, who are the stars of the show. Covered in ribbons and rosettes, the riders, or caxiers, ride through the streets and show off their skills, jumping and dancing to local music.
Menorca may be a relatively small island but there are plenty of exciting ways to traverse it. Explorers can travel around the island by almost any transport imaginable, from jet ski to horse back. Though Menorca is less of a party paradise than Ibiza, and less touristy than Majorca, it offers an oasis to people looking to escape and enjoy quiet unspoilt beaches, vibrant culture and a beautiful island paradise to explore.
When to Go
In order to get the most out of your trip to Menorca, visiting during the summer months allows you to take full advantage of the hot weather - as well as joining the locals in celebrating one of the many summer fiestas. The usual tourist season starts in May and lasts until October. Weather remains hot during most of the year, but travellers should expect occasional rain during the winter months. Temperatures in January average at around 14°C, and reach temperatures of around 25°C during July and August.
Not to be Missed
- Visit the Talaiots (Talayots) and Taulas - Keep an eye out for some of these early prehistoric structures. Talayots are larger, believed to be lookouts, whilst Taulas are rock monoliths, similar to Stonehenge, which are theorised to have been built for astronomical purposes. Whatever their ancient purposes, they now make for a very mysterious and distinctive sight.
- Go horseback riding - Horses make up a large part of the culture in Menorca. They used to be used commonly in patrolling and farming the island and now take a large role in the summer festivals. When going to Menorca there are plenty of opportunities for you to be a part of this, and many stables offer riding lessons or scenic trails to explore.
- Go paragliding off Monte Toro - It may not be the biggest mountain in the world, but Mount Toro, standing at 358 ft above sea level, gives adrenalin seekers the chance to see the island from a very different point of view. It may not be for everyone, but paragliding over this beautiful Mediterranean island is something that won’t soon be forgotten.
- Go to a Menorcan fiesta - The months between June and September offer many fantastic opportunities to take part in the spectacle that is Menorca’s fiestas. The bright, exciting festivals involve jousting and parades by Menorca’s aforementioned staples, their horses. Comba amb Xocolati, a traditionally baked cake and Pomada, a combination of gin and lemon juice, also make a common appearance. It’s a great way to party, let your hair down and enjoy the culture.
- Enjoy the beach - Menorca may offer much to the causal explorer, but the main reason a lot of people travel to the island is it’s fantastic unspoilt beaches. The Mediterranean island is surrounded from side to side by crystal blue waters and sandy beaches. Relax in the sun, go diving and explore the rocky coves, or take part in the many watersports the island provides.
Getting to Menorca: Flights from the UK take a little over 2 hours.
Visa requirements: EU citizens with a valid passport do not require a visa to enter the country.
Time zone: Menorca is one hour ahead of GMT.
Language: The most popular languages are Catalan and Spanish.