Holiday Places of Interest in Menorca

Menorca offers a wide variety of places to visit should you wish to venture away from your pool. Nothing is very far away. Beaches play a large part in these choices and you will always be able to find a small un-crowded beach if you look hard enough. The old cities of Mahon and Ciutadella not only offer a little bit of history, but are also good for shopping and have an abundance of harbourside restaurants. Around the island there are a few sites of historical importance and are well worth a visit to get a feel of how easy the past life has been in Menorca.

Caves of Xoroi, Calan Porter The Caves of Xoroi in Calan Porter are not to be missed and boast a fantastic panoramic view out to sea! By day, the caves are a popular tourist attraction with a cafe and gift shop. By night the caves transform into a lively disco with a bar and occassionally live music, where you can enjoy an evening cocktail as you watch the sun set over the sea.

Playa de Fornells Located on the Northern coast of the island, Playas de Fornells has a relatively small community of villas and a couple of hotels perched on the hillside affording fabulous views over Cala Tirant bay.

The area has a handful of shops and restaurants to choose from and Cala Tirant beach can be accessed on foot by the wooden walkway, or by car towards the far end of the bay.

Playas de Fornells is around 4km or a 10 minute drive from the larger, more established resort of Fornells to the East, and the neighbouring resorts of Son Parc and Arenal den Castell are also easily accessible by car.

Sa Caleta Sa Caleta is a small family resort on Menorca's West coast, which has a small selection of shops and bars plus a couple of good restaurants and a good beach within the resort. Sa Caleta is a small family resort on Menorca's West coast with a selection of shops, cafes and a good beach. But with Ciutadella being next door you'll never go short of finding somewhere to enjoy a bit of retail therapy!

Sa Caleta has a small but very pleasant white sandy beach and clear shallow water - popular with families - and a short walk round the cliffs takes you to the cove of Cala Santandria. Cala Blanca and Calan Bosch are a little further South, easily accessible by car.

San Clemente Situated 5km south west of Mahón, just past the airport, is the quiet, white washed and delightful village of Sant Clemente. An intriguing combination of old world tradition and modern, well stocked shops including a chemist and banks. The small selection of bars and restaurants are a great favourite both with the locals and the island's many visitors. Ideally situated and within easy reach of several of the south coast beaches and just a short drive from the capital, Mahon.

Arenal Den Castell Arenal den Castell is a low-key, purpose-built holiday resort in a magnificent setting on the rugged northern coast of Menorca. It has been created around a lovely horseshoe-shaped bay, beneath rugged cliffs. The gorgeous sandy crescent of beach is a magnet for families and young couples, and keeps them coming back for more. The beach has Blue Flag status and is safe for young children, with lifeguards on standby during the summer months. If golf is your thing, you are in easy striking distance of an 18-hole championship quality course at Son Parc.~

This is a holiday resort where families come first. There is a mini-train to help you get around with all the paraphernalia you need with small children, and there is a buggy-friendly boardwalk around the bay. The beach is well equipped with sunbeds and parasols, kayaks and pedaloes, cafes and beach bars. The soft sand and tranquil waters of Arenal den Castell beach make it a safe and delightful place for tots to paddle and potter, or get to work with a bucket and spade.

Mahon and Harbour If you like shopping on holiday it’s well worth navigating the maze of narrow streets in the historic centre of Mahon lined with stylish boutiques and designer stores as well as interesting independent shops selling leather and pottery. If you love markets, don’t miss the Mercat Claustre del Carme, just off Plaça d'Espanya. The cloisters of a former convent have been imaginatively converted into a market and shopping centre where the locals shop for fruit and vegetables, clothes for the whole family, meat and ceramics, flowers and lingerie, sheet music and chocolate - you name it! The Fish Market also in Plaça Espanya is fascinating and can be challenging if you are planning a fish supper at the villa! When you are all shopped out cakes and ice cream at one of the many pavement cafes are highly recommended.

Es Canutells To get to the beach at Es Canutells you have to negotiate some steep stone steps but the soft, pristine, golden sand shelving gently into the clean, bright crystal clear sea more than justifies the effort. The sea shore is a great place for children to paddle and play and will keep them absorbed for hours. This is not a commercialised place - no sunloungers or parasols are available but there is a beach bar to keep you topped up with beer and ice cream. Or you can enjoy a decent lunch whilst gazing out to sea. If you fancy a night out, take a taxi from your villa to the neighbouring resort of Calan Porter for a greater choice of bars and restaurants.

Sant Luis The traditional village of Sant Luis sits amid the Spanish countryside, around 3½ miles from Mahon, the island’s capital. The pace of life here is slow and relaxed, and is well-suited

to anyone wanting an authentic atmosphere. The village is dominated by the church and the folklore museum

built inside the newly restored windmill and the streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, bakeries

and ice cream shops. There’s also a children’s playground!

Sol Del Este Overlooking the mouth of Mahon harbour, a 15 minute drive from the airport, Sol Del Este - meaning Eastern Sun - is the most easterly point in Spain and the first place to see the early morning sun. The area has a selection of holiday villas and apartments and one small hotel as well as a couple of supermarkets and restaurants and a small, sandy bay at the harbours edge.

The town of Mahon and the village of San Luis are within a few minutes drive with the neighbouring town of Es Castell within walking distance, with its pretty bay, Calas Fonts, where you can dine at one of the waterfront restaurants, many in what were the original fishermans caves or browse in the selection of shops. Boats trips leave from here which tour Mahon's magnificent harbour.

S'Algar S'Algar is located on the South East corner of Menorca, a 20 minute drive from Mahon airport.

An attractive, well established holiday centre on the rocky coast between Mahon harbour and the lovely fishing village of Cala Alcaufar, S'Algar is a great favourite with British holiday makers.

There is no beach as such, just a small stretch of sand but most people prefer to sunbathe on the many rocky platforms that adorn the coast, most with steps leading into the water. A little further along the coast from here is the resort centre of Punta Prima with several shops , a supermarket and a variety of bars and restaurants lining the paved walkways.

S'Algar is also a great favourite for watersport enthusiasts as the waters are clear and enticing, particularly good for scuba diving and snorkeling. The diving centre is PADI and RYA approved and will care for both the initiated and beginners providing equipment hire with tuition also available.

Cala Alcaufar Punta Prima is great place for families and people of all ages enjoy a relaxing happy place in the sun. All the clichés apply - something for everyone and best of all worlds - but in this case all true! The gorgeous beach, backed by sand dunes and surrounded by fertile countryside, gently slopes into calm, shallow turquoise water. The shore of this Blue Flag beach is a safe and absorbing place for children to paddle and play while adults lie back on their sunloungers and forget the stresses of everyday life. There are beachside bars ready to slake your thirst while you gaze across the water towards Illa de l’Aire, a little offshore island. If you want something more stimulating, Mahon, the island’s capital, is nearby with great shopping, sightseeing and dining.

Son Bou and San Jaime The beach is the centre of the action here. You can just relax on a sunlounger with a long cool drink, or wade right in! Try your hand at kayaking or snorkelling, or stay above the waves on a banana boat or pedalo. The on-road mini-train that circulates during the day in high season is a huge bonus and makes it so easy to explore – and kids love it! There are plenty of good restaurants as well as bars and cafes, and some nightlife, but not much beyond midnight.

Santo Tomas Although this small, low-key holiday resort gets very busy in the height of summer, less than a hundred people live here all year round, so an out- of-season visit is a very different experience – you will almost have the place to yourself! It is a family-oriented holiday resort, and the shallow, crystal-clear water is ideal for splashing and paddling as well as snorkelling. A bucket and spade and the huge expanse of clean white sand will keep young children happy while you doze in the sun. There are cafes and bars to keep you refreshed and hydrated. On the main drag are the usual gift shops and supermarkets.

Binibeca The coastline between Binibeca and the next town along, Punta Prima offers lots of little coves to explore - great for snorkelling. The beach at Binibeca is well equipped with sunbeds and parasols, kayaks and pedalos, and also has a great beach bar on the water’s edge. If you‘ve had enough sun, head for the shady picnic area behind the beach. Across the road there is a children’s playground and you can also hire a bike here by the beach. Cala Torret, a pedestrianised development of low rise apartments is about 500 metres from the beach at Binibeca. It’s a lively holiday resort with a small supermarket if you need a few essentials for your villa, restaurants and some great little bars as well as a diving centre. Up the hill behind Cala Torret, you will find Binibeca Nou, where there are - somewhat unexpectedly - some public tennis courts hidden amongst the privately owned villas.

Calan Porter Calan Porter is one of the oldest, best established holiday resorts on the island, occupying an enviable spot perched high up on limestone cliffs looking down on to a beautiful beach. The amazing cliff-top setting means fabulous views all over the bay, so keep your camera fully charged! The focal point of the town is the beach, a real beauty at the centre of a crescent-shaped bay sheltered by cliffs on three sides. This is a great place for families, and if you need a break from the pleasures of the beach or your pool, there is so much else to do! There are several children’s play areas, tennis courts and a play park in the resort centre 'boti boti' with bouncy castles, trampolines and a bar.~ The beach is where the action is. You can just relax on a sunlounger with a long cool drink and be mesmerised by the little boats gently bobbing in the vivid blue sea. Or wade right in! You could try your hand at kayaking, water-skiing or snorkelling, or stay above the waves on a pedalo. The most direct way to get from the town to the beach is a flight of steps - 181 of them in fact, only recommended for the super-fit. For the rest of us there is a road. Once you get there you can recover at one of the beach-levels bars, cafes and restaurants. If you fancy a great day out, the capital, Mahon, is just 20 minutes away.

Cala Galdana Cala Galdana is a small, family-friendly holiday resort on the south coast of the island, with plenty to keep children entertained. The most obvious is the fabulous Blue Flag beach where sands slope gently into the calm water. It’s a safe and carefree place for small people to paddle and play, or get to work with a bucket and spade. If they tire of the beach, there are two shallow water slides, a playground, boat trips, mini golf and a children’s open air disco. Most restaurants have children’s menus and go out of their way to attract families. Meanwhile you can just lie back and soak up the rays, or get active - snorkel, sail, kayak, dive or simply swim!

Son Parc The clean well-kept Son Parc beach is very natural and unspoilt, which is all the more remarkable as it is one of the best beaches on the island in a stunning setting of atmospheric sand dunes and the dramatic, rugged coastline. However you can still hire sunloungers and parasols, pedaloes and canoes as well as find refreshments at the beach bar. This area is protected as a Marine reserve so the underwater world is well stocked with all kinds of creatures, and ideal for snorkelling as the water is exceptionally clear. If you need a change from the beach, try the nearby 18-hole golf course which is open to everyone and has a good restaurant and bar. There are also tennis courts if you prefer a racquet to a club!

Ciutadella and Harbour The old capital city of Ciutadella has an aura of beauty and charm. The nobility and the Church stayed behind when the capital was moved to Mahon, leaving this stylish city with a maze of narrow streets fanning out from the islands' only Cathedral, adorned with Gothic palaces and old, elegant archways. A visit to this very special city is a must, to wander through the centre or to relax in Plaza D'Es Born - known as the finest square in the Balearics. The square is dominated by the Town Hall, peppered with palm trees and home to a variety of chic boutiques. The "gypsy" market fills the square twice a week, adding a touch of colour and revery. Small but intriguing shops are plentiful but time should be allowed to admire the architecture, the aged stone buildings and cobbled, arched streets. From the Plaza D'Es Born one can stroll down the winding street to the port - a narrow inlet, packed with attractive waterfront cafes and restaurants. Small, colourful stalls abound, selling their wares - souvenirs, scarves, jewellery - are always bustling. Sit and watch the endless movement of the port with the private yachts, tiny sailing boats and larger passenger ferries, to-ing and fro-ing between Menorca and Mallorca.

Calan Bosch The marina is a fascinating place to watch the world go by, or wander along the walkways admiring the yachts. It is ideal for a leisurely lunch in one of the many open air restaurants, most of which offer super-fresh seafood as you would expect. In the evening a craft market magically appears, with stalls springing up like mushrooms! The interesting mix of artists and traders will keep you entertained before you settle down for your evening meal.

Calan Blanes and Calan Forcat The neighbouring resorts of Calan Forcat and Calan Blanes have expanded and grown into each other over time, forming one of the largest, livliest resorts on the island. The central point of the resort is in Calan Forcat, which has 1 long street lined with various shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as the popular Aqua Center Waterpark. The area also has 2 small sandy beaches - Calan Blanes and Cala Picas - as well as a rocky bathing pletform with various levels to sunbathe, rock pools to explore and ladders into the beach for swimming. The larger beach of Calan Blanes has a few small beachside snack bars, whereas Calan Forcat Cove and Cala Picas Beach have no amenities, but are still great for a picnic!

Cala Blanca Cala Blanca has all you need for a lazy day of the beach. It is clean, well-kept and very safe for children as the soft golden sand shelves gently into clear, clean, calm waters, ideal for paddling. It is well supplied with sun loungers, parasols, pedalos, gift shops and several beach bars serving hot and cold food and drinks. A 15 minute walk from your villa takes you to the former fishing village of Cala Santandria, also turned into a modern holiday resort in the nineties, with a lovely beach. The rocks that separate these two beaches are ideal for snorkelling. There is also a smaller, less developed beach at Sa Caleta, a quiet, peaceful place popular with the locals.

Monte Toro El Toro, at 360 metres above sea level, is the highest peak on Menorca. In the centre of the island it towers above the small town of Es Mercadal. Take the time to drive up the steep 3.2km climb to the summit and see the whole of the island spread out beneath you. There are sea views on all four sides and, on a clear day, the view stretches to the north coast of Mallorca. The mountain is crowned by a convent which has become an important centre of pilgrimage and the neat vegetable and herb gardens beneath the terraces are still tended to by the community of nuns who live there. Visit the tiny chapel or have lunch in the rustic café and browse around the shop, packed with souvenirs and local produce.

Fornells The bay of Fornells is a natural inlet of 5kms - similar to that of Mahon but shallower. A perfect refuge for the sailing and windsurfing schools at its waters edge. Sails of all proportions can be seen bobbing about the largely unspoilt bay and the waters are a paradise for deep sea diving enthusiasts. The village, with its palm-lined promenade and dazzling white houses is well-known for its spiny lobsters, the essential ingredient for the lobster stew which is frequently enjoyed by King Juan Carlos who sails over regularly from Mallorca to enjoy this somewhat expensive dish. The quayside offers an abundance of restaurants with one in particular sitting at the water´s edge Tourism is greatly important nowadays but there is still a fishing industry in Fornells and the fish in the restaurants is genuinely local and fresh. Most people visit to enjoy their favourite watersports in the bay or to stroll through the village, enjoying its simple beauty.

Es Grau and S'Albufera Lake Es Grau, on the north-east coast, is a tiny, unspoilt fishing village. There are cafes and restaurants on the quayside or one can enjoy a variety of "tapas" and fresh fish in the local bar on the village street. The large, curving beach is perfect for children as the sea is shallow and gently shelving. Mum and Dad can relax in the beach bar whilst keeping a watchful eye on the children at the waters edge searching for shells and starfish. In high season a boat trip can be taken to Illa d'en Colom, some 400 metres from the village, with its still virgin beaches and lagoon-like waters - perfect for scuba diving or water skiing. Just behind Es Grau, separated from the village by dunes and pine woods, lies S'Albufera, a freshwater lake. This is a peaceful place to stroll but its main appeal is to bird-watchers. The lake is rich in bird life. In winter there are migrant colonies of osprey and booted eagles and in spring and autumn the lake attracts numerous waders and wildfowl. Species regularly seen here include cormorants, herons, spoonbills and terns.

Torre D'en Gaumes Whilst travelling around the island your attention will be drawn to the amazing prehistoric stone monuments dotted around the countryside. There are three distinct types. TAULAS - meaning "table" in the local language, thess are unique to Menorca. They are formed by a rectangular slab of stone standing vertically, some 16 feet high with a second stone slab, generally around 12 feet long and 6 feet wide placed horizontally on the top. Their purpose is not clear but they are thought to be for a religious ritual - possibly sacrificial. TALAYOTS - derived from the Moors, meaning "watch-tower" these cone-shaped structures are built without mortar or cement and stand between 8 and 15 feet high. They can be found on all the islands and in other Mediterranean countries and there are some 200 on Menorca. NAVETAS - resembling an up-turned boat, these usually have a long, narrow entrance and, inside, a large lintel with a chimney area. It is said that they were used as mass burial chambers. These are unique to Menorca and the "Naveta D'Es Tudons" on the main road close to Ciudadela, is by far the most visited. To find fine examples of both Taulas and Talayots visit the atmospheric, abandoned village of "Torre D'En Gaumes" which is clearly signposted on the left of the road leading from Alayor to the resort of Son Bou.

Es Migjorn Gran Es Migjorn Gran is positioned slightly inland form the Southern coast of the island on the way to Santo Tomas. The town is typically Menorcan and makes for a good day out! Es Migjorn Gran is surrounded by beautiful and expansive countryside, with many paths and single track roads to explore amongst the woodland and valleys. Directly South from the town is perhaps one of the most attractive virgin beaches on the island at Binigaus. Es Migjorn has a few tapas bars, a couple of cafes and some charmimg restaurants for an evening meal.

Calan Bosch Marina Calan Bosch Marina is one of Menorca's most fashionable areas and life here mainly revolves around the modern, yachting marina, which plays host to a variety ofrestaurantsand snack bars. It offers an array of Spanish and international dishes. Small boats can enter from the sea through a narrow channel and pleasure cruises sail out from here to the remotebeachesof the south coast of Menorca.

Lithica, Ciutadella Lithica Pedreres de s'Hostal is a sandstone quarry with beautiful gardens and a huge, ancient stone labyrinth. Lithica is only 10 minutes' drive from Ciutadella, on the far West Coast, and is a popular tourist attraction (for a small fee) as well as a live music venue in the summer. The gardens are on different levels, plus beautiful sculptues can also be found dotted around the maze. In the height of season, the labyrinth does get very hot, but stays open into the evening, which is the perfect time to visit as the sunset views are wonderful, plus it's much cooler!

Cova des Coloms Cova des Coloms (often referred to as Cave of the Pigeons or the Cathedral Cave) is around 40 minutes' walk from Santo Tomas. The cave is 100m deep and around 24m high. The entrances to the smaller surrounding caves can be steep and it might be a good idea to take a torch if you're going to go inside. A great activity for keen walkers, especially at the beginning and end of the holiday season when the temperatures are cooler.

Fortaleza de la Mola, Mahon The beautiful Fort of La Mola sits by the entrance to Mahon Harbour and can be reached either by car or water taxi from the port and Calas Fonts. The fort takes at least a few hours to explore and you can also hire buggies to drive round if you prefer, especially in the height of summer. There are various underground tunnels and galleries to walk through, and the views from the top are stunning. A great day out for the whole family!

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