* Prices may differ from that shown
I have now been to Menorca 5 times in the past and have booked to go again this summer. Menorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands behind Majorca and followed by Ibiza. I was really surprised by finding this out because Menorca is only 27 miles long (the Island), which makes Ibiza and Formentara even smaller! There is one main road through the centre of the Island from Mahon (the capital) all the way to Cuitadella (the old capital).
Every time I have visited Menorca, I have stayed in the resort of Cala 'N' Blanes in Los Delfines which is nearby Cuitadella. We stay in a villa behind the Cala 'N' Blanes hotel, and hire a car so we can visit many other places and beaches around the island. I would really recommend to hire a car if you are visiting Menorca.
In Cala 'N' Blanes, there are many bars, shops, restaurants and entertainment to go around. As all of the entertainment is nearby a local estate, entertainment is not allowed after midnight, but every bar I have been in has took the entertainment into the back room rather than outside after 12 so that they can continue!
My favourite beach is Santo Tomas. This beach is very quite with just one beach bar, and a few hotels nearby. The sand is golden with clear blue sea. Loads of waves at Santo Tomas so great for surfing. If you swim over to the rocks which are easily seen, it is great for snorkeling as there are tons of different fish!
I also love Cala Galdana beach. They have loads of shops and beach bars. A river runs close to the beach, which I have seen some people canoeing on. They have water slides which are seperate from the beach, which looks like it has a giant red floating in the air tap above it. It looks like it is floating in the air because the tube that it is held up by is transparent. The beach is great also with clear blue waters. You can hire out pedal boats or speed boats at an hourly rate.
El Toro is definately worth a visit. The views are amazing, as you can see nearly the whole of Menorca from here. El Toro is on the highest point on the island. To get there it is a pretty steep and windy road. Also loacated at the top is a cafe and gift shop.
In Cuitadella there are some amazing and unique shops that I love to look around. Cuitadella is pretty easy to get to from Cala 'N' Blanes. On Fridays they have a loads of market stalls which are great to have a look around and spend some money! The Cuitadella harbour is also amazing, and some days they do boat trips that stop off at several different beaches throughout the day. The beaches that it visits are ones that are not accessable by car or foot.
There is only one airport on the whole island which is only needed really as the island is so small. It is called Mahon and I have written a review purely about the airport itself!
The people that work in the bars in Menorca are very friendly and welcoming, we have made new friends with some of them and keep in contact.
Over the 5 times that I have visited Menorca it has only ever rained once. I have heard of tornados towards the start of the year but never actually seen one so I cannot be sure whether this is true. If you visit after October it is most likely that everything will be closed as this is out of season. The only places you will find open are the biggest cities like Mahon and Cuitadella.
Menorca (or Minorca) will always have a special place in my heart as we took my little boy here on his first holiday abroad and had a fantastic time. I've actually been about 4 or 5 times though and will definitely go back at some point in the future.
Menorca is actually the second largest of the Balearics behind Majorca and followed by Ibiza, then Formentara which is the smallest. This is quite surprising as Menorca seems like such a small island. There is one main road across the centre of the islandand it takes an hour tops to get from Ciutadella (the old town) on the east and the busier capital of Mahon on the west. There are lots of smaller roads leading off the main route which lead you to a host a fabulous little resorts and beaches.
I'd advise hiring a car to make the most of your trip to Menorca. We hired one quite cheaply from Avis on our last holiday.
RESORTS / PLACES OF INTEREST
My favourite resort on the island is Cala'n Bosch. The resort is set around a pretty harbour with a wealth of shops and restaurants. I have clear memories of sat in a fab little chinese restaurant watching the boats as the sun set. We stayed on the edge of the resort at Club Princesa Playa, almost in a resort of it's own called Son Xoriguer. The beaches here are beautifully clean with white sand and blue seas.
I've also visited Santo Tomas which is much quieter but has a huge, fantastic beach that will take your breath away. Worth taking a trip just to see this. So vast and beautiful.
Another favourite is Cala Galdana which appears quite upmarket. Lots of big, impressive hotels and lovely little places to eat. My son loved it here as there was a river running close to one of the restaurants and we fed the ducks!
I loved Ciutadella for the shopping. We took the bus very cheaply from Cala'n Bosch and it took us about 10 minutes to arrive at the centre. It's a very picturesque town with lots of history. The shops are set in beautiful old buildings with little cafes dotted here and there. There was a fabulous toy shop in Ciutadella that stocked traditional wooden toys. Not cheap but certainly special and we treat my little boy to some wooden animal jigsaws that he still treasures 2 years on.
Mahon is where the airport is situated and also where the cruise ships dock. I've been to Mahon twice whilst enjoying a cruising holiday and have enjoyed the stop each time. Great shops including some recognisable brands such as Zara, Mango and Benetton as well as traditional restaurants and bars. Definitely worth a trip here.
El Toro is worth a visit. From here you can you see pretty much the whole of Menorca as it's the highest point of the island. The views are breathtaking and there's a little gift shop and monastry.
Our most recent holiday was taken at the beginning of season (we arrived 2nd May.) As my son was only 12 months, I wasn't hoping for blazing sunshine although I must say, it was hotter than I imagined, 25-30 degress most days. We had a couple of days of rain during the fortnight and this is when the hire car came into it's own. I've never been to Menorca in peak season so I can't comment on the heat then but we have been out of season in April and the weather was pleasant. Sunny with a breeze. Certainly not bikini weather but shorts and T-shirts were fine.
The Menorcan people made us feel very welcome, both in the hotel and out and about in restuarants and bars. They love children and we couldn't escape anywhere without a lollipop for my son! (Thankfully he was too young to know what they were at that age, no such luck 2 years on!) In my experience, the tourists were mainly Brits, although we did meet a few Italian people in our hotel.
I found eating out in Menorca more expensive than I anticpated. A basic chicken and chips x 2 with a couple of drinks and something for my son worked out at about 50Euro so we ended up upgrading to half board at the hotel on the second week which was very reasonable.
We found the bus service to be efficient, regular and good value.
There are plenty of Internet cafes dotted around the resorts as well as regular card phones if you need to keep in contact with home.
In my experience, Menorca is great for families so we will be back as I feel that there is still so much to see and experience. I'd also like to take my little boy to the Aqua Rock water park which has good reviews. If you've never been, I'd urge you to consider it and I'm positive you won't be disappointed.
Menorca (or Minorca) is an island in the Balaerics and is a contender for me for the nicest place on Earth.
The Balaerics are a group of islands which are in the mediterranean and are closer to Barcelona than Madrid, there are 3 famous ones, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza. Majorca and Ibiza are more commercial whereas Menorca has managed to keep its more pre-holiday feel.
Menorca is a small island about 40 miles from tip to tip and is largely volcanic in origin meaning that the soil is rocky and thin, this leads to the culture being based on fishing on the coast and keeping sheep in the islands centre. The capital of the island is Mahon (or Mahou) which is in the south east of the island. It features the worlds deepest harbour and is the home to some of the biggest and more expensive yachts in the world, it is very much a millionaire play ground. The other major town is th ancient capital in the north west of the island Cuitidella (pronounced Cwi d dey a).
The island doesn't have the advantages of the huge sandy beaches found in Ibiza or majorca and only in West coast are beaches big enough to be considered proper tourist beaches. The island is characterised by its rocky volcanic coasts, incredibly clear and deep water and the eating of Menorca lobsters (considered the best in the Med).
So what are the attractions of Menorca?
Well its not built up there are very few buildings over 3 stories high, that includes the hotels in the more commercial part of the island around Cala Forcat. The island is beautiful, all green, perfectly clean water and locals seem to be friendler than mainline Spain.
We stayed at Cala Forcat for 2 weeks and had a great time, the resort is family aimed so each hotel has big swimming pools, small two level apart blocks and loads to do for the kids (even though we didn't have any at the time).
The food is menorca is based on three things, seafood, lamb and cheese, the food is simple tending to be paella's, tapas, salads, lamb, fish, lobster and a plethora of fab desserts. This is in island which seems to love serving its lamb, the lamb provided here is truly lovely, served with light sauces and salads rather than a heavy potato dish.
Menorca is the centre for the leather industry in Spain, and the islands inner has lots of little towns whose only purpose is to sell its shoes, hand bags, coats etc.
There is also a sense of history in the island, its been an island where lots of influences are felt, Spanish, moorish, english (ancient and modern), a hint of moroccan in some of the dishes, italian, greek and even a bit of Dutch present in some of the very Dutch style cheeses.
This is an island which is great to drive around, we hired a car for a week and would take the morning sat around the pool soaking up the 30'C temperatures (in may), swimming before saying "its too hot" and driving up into the mountains to get to some small Menorcan village where the heat was lower and the food could be exceptional. We went to Mt. Toro where there is an amazing monastry, shrine and observation platform (we could clearly see Majorca).
We also drove the the Northern part of the island to a village called Forcells in which I had the best seafood I've ever eaten, if I ever become rich I'd consider retiring to a quiet peaceful seaside village called Forcells.
We overall had a wonderful time and to finish it off we were lucky to be in Menorca for the festival of the horses in Cuitidella, this is a festival where horsemen ride through the city on jet black stallions through packe streets. The day is amazing, lots of noise, excitement, sexy and very very drunken. We had a day I'll never forget and came home battered, bruised, drunk, full, but filled with a feeling of elation I've seldom encountered anywhere else. I also some sights I'll never forget and some sights I suspect some of the Menorcan girls might wish I'd never seen as well.
Menorca is a pleasure when its in season, its a small architecturally beautiful islands filled with restaurants, quiet bays, bars, walks, caves, wetlands, not to commercial, and a sense of being Menorcan rather than just a place to take your money and then resent you being here. Its defintely one place I aim to return to and explore further.
n.b. there are nudist beaches in the west of the island, we went a couple of times and there are signs in that one way usually signed by a blue flag and one by a red. I'd suggest you don't take the red one, unless you like seeing naked overweight mainly German men in their fifties, unfortunatley its the fact that the people you'd like to see naked go to the blue beaches and those you wouldn't go to the red beaches.
Menorca is about a 3 hour flight into Mahon, then its about 30 minutes to the hotels in the west part of the island. Food is relatively cheap and the beer/wine is about half the price of the UK.
Menorca is a small Island, a designated Biosphere protection area which is dwarfed by its sister Balearic Majorca. However, there is plenty here to keep you happy. There are two main towns, Mahon the capital, and Cuitadella, the former capital. Both are lovely but to see the "real" Menorca, experience the small towns and deserted beaches.
While there are package holidays here and therefore the unfortunate high-rise hotel complexes, none of the towns are particularly over developed. However I would stay clear of Son Bou unless your idea of a holiday is never to leave the beach and its adjoining hotel...there's really nothing else there!
We've stayed in both Binibeca and Calan Bosch, both quieter resorts aimed at couples and older people. Most of the resorts on the Island would not be suitable for teenagers needing lots of stimulation. In fact the only town we came across where there seemed to be any hint of the usual British-drink-your-own-body-weight resort feel to it was Punta Prima-avoid it at all costs as the beach is also noisy and dirty!
I have stayed in only two different towns in Menorca but due to the size of the Island we have travelled the full length and breadth by car. We hired a car from a small independent hire firm for a week and wished we had taken it for longer.
Driving in Menorca is infinitely easier than in the UK and nothing like the crazy experience of European city driving where you fear for your life at every bend in the road! Not only is Menorca small so there are fewer cars on the road, but its speed limits are very low and the general pace of Island life means everyone is pretty chilled out. There is one main road running across the width of the Island, roughly from Mahon to Cuitadella. From there small arterial roads fan out to the coast and take you everywhere.
The place I would recommend most is Fornells. A beautiful fishing village with amazing rock formations, buildings and 360 degree views, it is well worth a trip. Not somewhere I would stay though as there is nothing else to do.
The best parts of Menorca as those relatively untouched by travel companies so get around and explore. I can recommend Calan Bosch as a good base for this and there is plenty to do there if you want to stay put in.
Menorcan traditional fare such as their Gin and cheese are definitely worth a try. We found plenty of decent restaurants to eat out in and please everyone. The Marina in Calan Bosch is ideal; a five-minute walk round gives you choice of at least 20 restaurants.
One of the best things you could do in Menorca is to take a walk. Get a decent guide to the island which focuses on its amazing ecology and you will have many a good trek. Stick to the wonderfully rocky and rugged coastline for an unguided walk which will no doubt give many surprises (we once found a tortoise randomly walking down our street and lizards are ten a penny).
With cheap flights to Mahon Airport-we used Jet2 which I would definitely recommend-there's really no reason not to go.
Menorca is a fabulous option if what you are looking for is a laid-back and tranquil environment in which to enjoy some sun and relax. As long as you are aware of this before you go, you will have a brilliant time - however you do still see people arriving at Mahon airport who have surely picked the wrong island, probably based on the fact that it is generally cheaper to visit than the more 'lively' Balearic islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. We have stayed in a number of places around the island, but our favourite is Santo Tomas, where we always stay at the Llebeig and Mestral apartments. Lovely pool, beautiful safe beach two minutes away, but it is literally just one street of apartments, hotels, a few small shops and restaurants running adjacent to the sea, and again I have seen people emerging from buses, no doubt having had their accommodation allocated on arrival, and looking horrified at what they have let themselves in for. Research is definitely the key!
The island is very small and one of my main recommendations would be to think twice about hiring a car for all your time there, and certainly do not sign up for the overpriced day trips to the main towns of Ciutadella and Mahon. There is an excellent bus service from nearly all parts of the island to them, and once you are there, it is very easy to find your way about - neither is what you might call a spawling metropolis! I guess the biggest advantage about having your own wheels is the ability to visit one of the bigger supermarkets, as if you are operating on a budget, you can often pay well over the odds in small Spar style supermarkets dotted around the main resorts. However I am still not convinced that you need one for more than a couple of days, in which time you can easily visit every town on the island and still have time left over for that one big food shop for the week!
So in short, don't go there if you want to party all night or like to see lots of different historic sights, but do give it a go if you just love taking it easy and basking in the joy of not having to do anything which involves putting down your book and leaving your poolside sun lounger!
Menorca is one of the Balearic islands off the spanish coast, relatively easy to get to for us brits it is a small island with great sun and beaches.
We stayed at Arenal D'en Castell and it was lovely, the hotel itself wasn't that nice but the bay ws a lovely horsesshoe with a lovely beach and stunning crystal blue waters.
One of the best things about this holiday was hiring a car, we had never driven abroad before and if it is your first time, Menorca is a great place to start, there is literally only one road all the way around the island so it is impossible to get lost, the roads are very quiet and it costs you nothing to park anywhere so it is very easy to get off the beaten track to some lovely secluded areas away from the crowds.
A great family holiday and a beautiful island
Lasr september we stayed in the resort Punto prima in menorca, this is on the south east coast of the island and is a nice small quiet place that isnt too overly populated with tourists.
It took us just 15 minutes to drive there from the airport which was one of the reasons i chose this place as after being on a flight for a few hours with two young children the last thing i wanted was to be stuck on a coach for ages.
As this is a newly developed resort it still has a lot of its natural beauty and open spaces, it has a good selection of bars and resturants along the sea front and all are family friendly.
There are two very good supermarkets that stocked everything we could possibly need as we were self catering and had a money exchange facility in each.
There are a few nice little gift shops on the sea front that sell suvineers.
The beach is beautiful, it is white sand and is very flat apart fron on the one end where there are lots of rocks, they provide sun beds and have lots of water sports, the sea does have restricted areas because of strong currents but as long as you keep a good eye on the children there are safe places to play in the water
There is accomodation for every price range, they have hostels for the cheaper stay right upto 5 star luxury hotels. we stayed at the Playa apartments which have 33 apartments on one site, a nice big pool for the adults and a small pool for the children, a club, hair dresers, money exchange and a childrens games room and out door adventure area. The apartment are clean and spacious with air conditioning, we payed £400 for the 4 of us for a week self catering so are pritty good on price aswell.
There is a lovely little sweet shop in the resort called can dulce where my children used to drive me mad to go, they have lot of traditional sweets from menorca aswell as all the other usual sweets.
Thiere is a good bus service so that you can travel to other places and a few trips available although we never did as a week in the resort was ok without running out of things to do.
menorca is a beautiful place that has a lot of its old features and beauties still intact and hasnt been ruined by tourists yet, the place isnt too overly populated so you will be able to enjoy your holiday.
Menorca, it has to be said: it's one of the most beautiful places on earth. The mixture of lush mountains and the beautiful crystal clear water and golden beaches that line the coasts make it a popular destination for many visitors. But, thankfully, it's not so famous that it has become overcrowded and commercialised.
The resort's i have stayed in over the years have been Binibeca and Cal n Bosch.
Binibeca is pleasant enough. The resort is very small and has only villas as residential options, so if you want a cheap holiday, look elsewhere. The overall environment is very well kept and traditional compared with other, louder resorts to the north of the island. There is a beautiful cove beach with golden sand and shallow crystal clear water. The rocks around the edge are ideal for snorkeling and the gusts over the sea are ideal for a vast array of water sports.
In terms of local facilities, there are very few. There is a small supermarket that provides the essentials for any holiday. There are only 4 restaurants in the whole area and only two are worth recommendation. However, the names of both fell out of my head years ago. If a very quiet; relaxing holiday is what you want then this is great. However, only for less than a week, go for any longer and you will be doing the same things over and over again.
Cal n Bosch, however, is very different. The resort is much larger and has far more in terms of activities for the family. You have the option of staying in one of several hotels or, do what i did, and stay in a villa just a stones throw from the town and beach. The residential area is very clean and well kept and has a wide choice of villas to cater for various numbers of visitors.
The choice of restaurants is far wider than Binibeca. There are about 30 restaurants situated around the harbor. It's a fantastic experience sitting eating a lovely meal while looking out over the harbor and the night sky. Most of the restaurants server exquisite food and nearly all at a reasonable price.
Outside the resorts there is a lot of old towns and cities such as Mahon and Ciutadella which are great for shopping and entertainment as well as exploration. If you have an interest in history or architecture these are well worth a visit.
Overall: try visiting one year, you will love it!
This summer, although my job was hard work, it wasn’t all that mentally stimulating. When I got the odd hour off, I would try to get my brain going again by one doing any of a number of things – reading a German magazine, practicing my Spanish or writing. While A-Z ops might well be a bit last season :p they can take a while as you need to find something for each letter but without missing anything important out, so at least they keep you occupied. I wrote this on a lunch break lying on a sun lounger in 34 degree weather by one of 3 pools in the complex where I was living – it’s a tough life – and thought it would be a shame to waste it, so here goes. A is for AIRPORT There is only one airport on Menorca, and it’s near Mahon. It’s a one terminal affair although there are two parts to it – domestic (mainland Spain, Mallorca and Ibiza, and the Canaries) and international. Compared to the other airports I’ve travelled from this year, the facilities are better than Blackpool but no where near as good as Manchester. It’s overly air-conditioned at times which isn’t really a problem until you find yourself sitting on the floor playing games for 4 hours in an evening, when you end up with a pretty cold bum and a pretty bad mood since you’ve already worked a 14 hour day. The airport shuts between midnight and 7am (on-time flights permitting) which means that you generally arrive and leave at reasonable hours, unlike, say, Tenerife, where 4am flights are the norm. Even with delays, I rarely left after 1am, and we had to stay 30 mins after the last arrival, so it’s not all that bad. B is for BEACHES Menorca has 216 km of coastline, and 123 beaches. One of the most famous of these is Cala Galdana – the setting for the 1999 Bounty advert and the place where Grace Kelley had her honeymoon. It’s a glorious place on the south of the island, although it
’s becoming more commercialised each year. Other playas worth visiting include Arenal d’en Castell and Son Parc in the north and Son Bou and Turqueta in the south. Son Bou is the largest, longest beach on the island, and the rest are split into small-ish stretches or tiny coves (cala or cala’n in the place name implies a cove rather than a typical golden mile style beach). The water is generally incredibly clear, making it perfect for snorkelling. Nudist sunbathing is illegal on the island, but that doesn’t stop people. Then there’s those who like to get frisky in the sea. Fine in the evening, or in the middle of the night, but not so good when we have 20 little ones on the beach asking “why is that man’s bottom is going up and down like that?”. “Because he’s German” we replied (because we knew the guests, and they were) but still not an acceptable answer for our 12 year olds. Let’s just say that their stories and drawings developed a certain, ahem, theme for the rest of their stay. C is for CIUTADELLA The capital of Menorca until the British occupation when we changed it to Mahon, Ciutadella is one of the few places on the island which feels truly Spanish. There are narrow streets and white washed buildings, and for once it’s possible to escape from the tourists if you head down to the harbour, or away from the main squares. There are a few museums and a cathedral, plus a rather over-hyped town hall and police station. Prettier and calmer than Mahon, it’s a nice place for a day trip, no matter where on the island you’re staying. D is for DOCTORS While all I suffered during the summer was a sprained ankle, a lot of the other reps, and some of the customers weren’t as lucky. Handily, though, there’s an abundance of doctors on Menorca. All the big hotels have daily visits from a GP, and the smaller ones will call one out for you if
you ask (although both these require an immediate payment of the call out fee which may, or may not, be reimbursed by your insurance company in the UK later). The Salus medical centres are the most prominent on the island and have branches in both cities and in certain smaller resorts. They even have free pens and diaries to give to reps – muy bien. E is for EUROS Since January this year I’ve been on 3 trips abroad, and each has required Euros which is ever so handy. Being Spanish, Euros are the official currency of the island. There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and €1 and 2 coins, and €5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes. At the moment 1 Euro is about 60p but this changes daily. F is for FIESTAS The Spanish like their fiestas, and Menorca is no exception. The fiesta “season” begins around the 24th June with Ciutadella’s Sant Juan celebration, and ends the first week of September with Mahon’s bash. In between are numerous smaller ones – almost every weekend during late July and August. Depending on the size, there may or may not be processions and horses, but there is always dancing in the streets and lots of Pomada (see below). G is for GASTRONOMY On Menorca you can find just about every type of cuisine if you know where to look. Most restaurants offer wide ranging menus – including pizza, pasta, meat and fish dishes. They are especially proud of their lobster dishes and other sea food specialities due to the number of harbours and length of coastline. Drinks-wise, Pomada (gin and fanta lemon) is widely available, as are imported wines and various beers. Although you can drink the tap water (and I did for my entire stay), mineral water is cheap and won’t upset delicate stomachs – sin gas is still, and con gas sparkling. H is for HOTEL TAX Along with the other Balearic islands, holiday makers to Menorca have to pay an Ecotax for
their stay. This varies depending on the rating of your hotel, ranging from 50c per person per day for 1 Key apartments, to €2 per person per day for 5* hotels and children under 12 don’t have to pay. The tax is collected in resort, usually when you check in to your hotel or apartment, and the rates can change without notice (which probably means they’ll go up at least once a year from now on). I is for ICE CREAM Hot countries = ice cream in my book, and Menorca certainly has a good choice. Try Pivot Softy – pre-packed whippy cornets with various toppings – or any of the Menorquina ice creams. These originated in Alaior (one of the inland towns) but are now available throughout Spain. J is for JEWELLERY The Menorcans love their jewellery, and you can buy pieces of varying level of glamour from supermarkets, markets and jewellery shops. The jewellers in the cities offer very good prices I’m told by one of the reps who had to get his girlfriend an engagement ring over the summer, but for more typical local pieces, you’ll usually be able to find something nice in one of the less-tacky tourist shops. Shop around though, because prices can vary, and there’s no point paying more for an identical item when it’s cheaper two doors down. K is for KAYAKING Just one of the water-based sports available on the island, and great fun. We spent 4 hours paddling around the bay of Fornells one Wednesday afternoon, and I’ve never laughed so much. Other options are windsurfing, snorkelling and scuba-diving, all of which are available from each of the larger resorts. For land-based sports, there’s a golf course in Son Parc, horse-riding inland and tennis courts at all the larger hotels. There’s one decent gym on the island – in Mahon – but lots of hotels have weight rooms too. L is for LANGUAGE First there was Spanish, then Catalan.
Now I’m speaking Menorqui, a local dialect derived from the latter. All 3 are understood on the island though, so don’t worry if you come out with Adiós and not Adéu, or Mahon and not Mao. English and German are widely spoken but not to a very high degree, and the locals do appreciate it if you at least try and talk to them in their language. M is for MONTE TORO The highest point on the island, Monte Toro isn’t even all that tall at 358 m high. Because the rest of the island is so flat, though, it offers some lovely panoramic views. On a clear day you can see all the 123 beaches on the island, plus Mallorca, the biggest Balearic island. At the top is a chapel with a sacred virgin Mary statue to which many locals make a pilgrimage every year or couple of years. It’s free to get in to the church and there’s also a café and a couple of shops up there. No public transport travels to the summit though, so you need to hire a car or go on an organised excursion. N is for NEWSPAPERS Both British newspapers and English language Menorcan newspapers are widely available throughout the island on the day of publication. This meant that, for example, we were all up to date on the Holly and Jessica story even though we were all away from well before the day it started to the day it, in a way, stopped. The Menorcan newspapers are great for finding out local information, for example the fiesta timetables, as well as what’s going on on the island. Although it’s small, when you end up tucked away in one little corner it’s easy to forget that there are so many other resorts around. O is for OPENING HOURS Shops generally open from 9.00 – 13.30 and 16.30 – 21.00 except in the large resorts where they won’t close for a siesta. In Mahon most shops won’t open on a Sunday except, again, the tourist ones. In Fornells and Arenal, the two resorts I worked in, everything
was open all day every day. Banks open Monday to Friday 8.15 – 14.00 if you need to use one for any reason, although you shouldn’t since receptions can cash travellers’ cheques, and ATMs are everywhere, not just at banks. P is for PAYING If you don’t want to use cash, almost all hotels, shops and car hire companies will accept credit cards, although Visa and MasterCard are more widely welcomed than Amex. In some shops in resorts you can pay with Stirling, and in all the airport shops, foreign currencies are taken. If you go to an ATM and it says there’s a machine failure or other fault, it usually just means that it’s run out of money, so feel free to go back a day or so later without fear it will still be broken or will swallow your card etc. Prices are generally low in both the supermarkets and the restaurants but they can be artificially inflated in some of the over-developed tourist areas. If in doubt, ask you reps for recommendations because they get paid so little they know all the cheap places to go….. Q is for QUIET Menorca is quiet, there’s no two ways about it. It is peaceful and tranquil (brochure talk) or boring and dead at times (local rep talk). It’s a lovely island to visit for a week or two, but I don’t think I’d want to spend months on end there again. R is for RESORTS Menorca is a mish-mash of coastal tourist resorts and inland towns such as Ferreries and Es Mercadel. The resorts can be split into 3 areas – the north, the south and the west, with not all that many developments in the East. In the north there’s Fornells, Son Parc and Arenal, in the South, Son Bou and Cala'n Porter and in the West, Cala’n Bosch and Cala’n Forcat. These two are by far the most commercialised, boasting water parks, children’s adventure areas, restaurants and bars, and even the odd night club. Bosch has a pre
tty harbour area, and Forcat has 3 gorgeous little coves. They are very much family resorts and Forcat has now even earned the title “Blackpool of Menorca”. Says it all, really. The southern resorts are quieter and more laid back, with not as much for the little ones, and the north is a mixture between the two. In all cases though, it’s your hotel that’s most important, so find one you like and then see if you think the resort would be ok. Strange but true. S is for SIZE Menorca is the second largest Balearic island, but still isn’t all that big. It measures about 56km by 15km and takes less than an hour and a half to drive from end to end. There is one main road – jokingly called the M1 – which links Mahon and Ciutadella, passing through Alaior and Ferreries on the way. Interesting but useless fact about Ferreries – it has the highest birth rate on the island, due, supposedly, to the old fashioned pharmacist and the lack of TV reception until recent years. See, I got full marks for island knowledge in my mid-season appraisal for a reason :p T is for TRANSPORTATION Getting around on the island is only complicated if you let it be. Drivers over the age of 21 can hire cars from a number of companies including Betacar, Hertz and Avis, my favourite because I won a cool light-up pen from the Avis rep on our training course. If you can’t drive, or don’t want to, buses run between Mahon and Ciutadella (about 6 a day) and from these to the individual resorts. Prices are reasonable – with a 30 min trip costing about 60p. In the west each trip costs €1 no matter where you get off. These are generally reliable, but only one bus will serve each trip, so get there early on, for example, market days, to make sure you get a seat. In Forcat and Arenal there are also Wally-trolleys – mini-trains that go either round the resort or to a nearby one. These are a fun way to
see the place, especially for children. They usually run from 10am until about 2pm, staring again at 6pm until 11 or midnight. U is for UMBRELLAS These are available on all the main beaches, along with sunloungers, and are well recommended since it is often hard to find shady areas otherwise. Go early in the morning because once you’ve paid it’s yours for the day. V is for VILLAS If you aren’t a hotel / apartment person, or are travelling in a large group, a villa might be the best option. The majority of these come with private pools, and can accommodate anything from 6 to 10 people. They can be found all over the island, but it’s often easiest to go through a British tour operator such as Style or Villa Holidays and book a villa package – flight, car hire and the villa itself. W is for WEATHER Beautiful. Most of the time. This summer I had 3 rainy spells, each lasting for 3 days, but the rest of the time it was glorious and sunny. Although you can get clouds, these usually only stay for half a day before shifting on. Temperatures top 35 C in mid July and August, so May / June and September / October are better bets if you can’t tolerate roasting days. If you have the opportunity, try heading to the other side of the island on cloudy days because the weather is often better there. Again, strange that 30 mins in the car can get you a brighter day, but true. X is for XOROI Cova d’en Xoroi is a natural cave high up in a cliff face near Cala’n Porter. By day it’s a bar and by night, a club. There are stunning views over the sea, and it’s the type of place you have to go just to say you’ve been. I’m not really a bar or club person, but I had fun every time we went. In summer they often fly in foreign DJs (and for some reason, the nights the British ones play are the cheapest) and they have planners for the whole summer all over
the island. It’s quite expensive – about £10 to get in, no drinks included but it is popular. I’m not sure whether I’d pay that much to be honest (reps get in free ;-) so I never had to think about it ) but it is a funky place. Y is for YACHT There are a number of ports and harbours on the island, all of which boast everything from little tug boats to the grandest yachts. The King of Spain has a passion for the lobster dish at Es Pla, a restaurant about 20 mins walk from where I was staying and as a result his yacht is often found moored in the bay of Fornells (although not as often as the locals might have you believe). Mahon harbour is one of the deepest man-made ones in the world (second only to Pearl Harbour) and it also a favourite with visiting dignitaries and other rich people – Richard Branson for example has a waterfront house there with a glass floor. Z is for ZOË’S VERDICT Muy bien (my new favourite phrase). Menorca’s nice. It’s pretty. It’s easy to get to. It has good weather and nice ice creams. It’s relaxing and it was a fun place to work for the summer. As I said, muy bien. Extra stuff I couldn’t fit in my alphabet……….. Stamps for post cards to the UK cost 50c. If you’re paying more than 35c for a postcard, then you’re being ripped off, believe it or not. Prices start at 10c but usually hover around the 25 or 30c mark. Phone calls are cheapest on Sundays, and after 10pm. If you’re phoning abroad and have the choice, go for blue pay phones over orange ones as the latter cost more for international calls, being aimed at local ones. The code for the UK is the standard 00 44 (-0) normal number. Tourist info offices can be found at Mahon and Ciutadella, and although there’s a desk at the airport, it’s not very good. All the major tour operators travel t
o Menorca – JMC, First Choice, Airtours, Thomson, Panorama, Style, Skytours. The majority of flights are chartered, but you can usually get a seat on one of these without booking a whole package.
We've just returned from spending a week here (10-17/5/02) so I though I'd give you my opinion as the reviews are few and far between. We stayed in a villa hired through James Villas (http://www.jamesvillas.com/) which was very reasonably priced compared to others as they don't charge for under occupancy. The villa was brand new with all mod cons and a private swimming pool which, with no heating, was a little too cold for the youngster to use. The villas was in Cala Blanes which has a nice, but small, beach. Five minutes walk up the main strip gets you to Cala En Forcat/Los Delfines (I never was able to work out what the difference was). This seemed to comprise a main street packed with bar/restruants and supermarket/gift shops, surrounded by a couple of hotels and apartments blocks. Unlike another reviewer I wasn't offended by this - I was going to a resort in the med - what else should I expect. Even though it was early in the season (and not school holidays), the place was packed with kids, but having a pram ourselves we joined the battle for footpath space. Because of the mass of kids I wouldn't recommend this place to singles or couples without children. We never actually found the beach at Cala En Forcat, but we had hired a car and spent a few days touring round the various beaches of Menorca - some of which are hard to find due to being down dirt tracks, etc. All the beaches we visited were really nice but, the week before there had been bad weather and it had killed a lot of jellyfish that were coming ashore on the south coast (a rare occurence I'm told). On the main beaches this was okay because they were clearing them up, but the smaller beaches tended to suffer. On the days the jellyfish came in we just switched to the north coast - I particularly liked the beach at Arenel d'en Castell. From Cala Blanes it was an easy 45 minute walk into Ciutadella which is a lovely little town an
d well worth a visit. This was my first time driving in a left hand drive manual car on the continent, but I have to say that it was easy - probably because the roads were so good, clearly marked, and the traffic was light. Some of the roads did tend to fade into dirt tracks though - such as the roads to Cala Morrell on the north coast (nich harbour but pebbly beach). See http://www.menorca-net.co.uk/menorca/ for good tips. We followed one and tried the Las Brasas restaurant in Cala En Forcat - very good, the locals eat there, and the portions were on the large side. Would we go again? Definitely, but probably not at high season as I can image it gets very busy.
Me and my family have just returned from the island of menorca and we are both gob smacked by it's beauty. The airport in mahon (the capital) is only a short drive away from most resorts as it is a tiny island. It is a full of luxury mansions and yachts which dominate most of the shores of the the island. ARENAL DEL CASTELL: We had a three bedroom apartment in the white sands beach club over looking the arenal bay. It had amazing views over the calm blue waters and the magnificent pool. The resort itself had a mixture of bars, restaurants and a few small shops. On the whole was very quite. The best part of the place is the children's play area containing bouncy castles, bikes and trampolines. They stay open until midnight so if the children are still up when you are sitting in the bar there is somewhere for them to play. SON BOU: This was the best resort we found. The pure white sands stretch for over a mile and the water is so clear you can see the fish swimming around your ankles. The shops and restaurants are very up market and again has lots of activities for the children. FORNELLS: If you like fish then it is a must to eat in this little fishing village, although it is a bit pricey. Beware though, do not eat paella in a restaurant that advertises more then one type. They are not fresh, they are cooked from the freezer. No beach here, but is a pretty place to visit at night. CIUTADELLA; This was the old capital of menorca and is the best place to go for shopping. Mango is the shop to head for as it is a lot cheaper then England. There is a water park here which is really great fun. Cost 2000pts to get in, which is about 7/8 pounds for the whole day. This includes unlimited goes on all the slides and doughnuts. Outside you can play on the trampolines, soft plat area and motorbikes. There are safty deposit boxes, changing rooms, sunbeds (extra costs) and a bar. It is a really good day out
for all ages. EL TORO: This is the highest point of the island where a monestry is situated. Is very intresting to walk around and a real treat to eat in the restaurant watching the sun set. Not much else there, but can see some spectacular views of the whole island. MAHON: Is a huge place where most of the action takes place. It over looks the second largest habour in the world and is busy day and night. One of the places that must be visited is the gin factory. You can go in and sample all the many flavours. They range from chocolate to the local herbal liquour. Also a great experience is the glass bottom boat ride. It costs around 200pst and takes you around all the little bays surrounding Mahon. You stop in deep part of the habour and watch all the fish swimming around the boat. CALA EN PORTER: If you are a clubber you must visit the cava caves nightclub built into the mountain. It is about 3000pst to get in and closes at 5am. It is an amazing place on three levels and has two dance floors and three bars. It over looks the sea and has a unique design. The floor is lit up with changing strip lights that change colour and the rest of the place is lit with changinging colour rope lights. The theme nights are fun. On a wednesday it is underwear night and the foam party is on a thursday. There is a lovely beach here also. There are so many more places to be explored and I could go one for ever. The best advice I can give is to hire a car, visit the leather factories and hire a boat to visit the secluded bays. The locals absolutly adour children and every resort has plenty for the little ones so stock up on the 100pst coins for the fair rides. The most disapointing part of the holiday is the food. All meals are served with chips. If you find a nice place stick with it as it can cost you a lot of heart ache to spend money on food that you cannot eat.
This was the first holiday my Wife and I have had without our children. We wanted to relax and getaway from the miserable weather we'd been having in England. We are in our Mid thirties, enjoy food,drink,sightseeing and swimming. And we went in May. If you are after a Family-Fun holiday with Kid's Clubs, then this article is not for you. We chose Menorca simply because of the price, £99.50 each for 1 week's selfcatering at a resort of Airtours choice. Now we've travelled with Airtours before and hated it so we were a little apprehensive of what we would get for our £99.50! Before you go I recommend you 1) Buy a Good guidebook, I found a 4 year old "Rough Guide" in the library and took that. It was invaluable. 2) Read site's like this, where you get the Wart's And All stories. 3) Hire a car via the internet....it will be much cheaper. So we flew out and landed in a rainy island and thought bloody typical. But it turned out to be the only bad day we would get. It was always sunny and in the mid-70's. Found the rep, who told us where we would be staying...She told us the Hotel name and which coach would take us there, but didn't know where it was (she looked about 14 year's old!). Got on the coach and sat and watched as families with snotty-nosed kids boarded the same coach. We don't hate kids....We have 2 of our own, but we just wanted a ralaxing holiday. Finally the rep boarded and off we set, all the while the rep giving us hints and tips about the Island. These included, where the british Pubs were, How flat Menorca is (she obviously had not actually looked out of the window) and How cheap leather goods were (and We will be running coach trips throughout your stay, tickets available from your Site rep!) We ended up at Sa Caletta, just 2km south of Cuitadella on the west coast of the island, at the resort Son Blanc. As it turned out, it was actually a fairly large Apartmen
t, very clean and away from the pool. But in the height of summer, with Kids Clubs and Discos it would have been murder. There was a Supermarket,Restaraunt & Bar in the complex and they were all very cheap, but it was cheaper still if you left the complex and went to other places. We hired a small car from Cuitadella for £84 for 6 days. At the resort the same car would have cost over £100, but had I booked via the internet I could have got it for between £60-£70. Buses are cheap and reliable but for real independance you do need a car. You will not really need A/C as no journey will be longet than 30-40 minutes. Places to visit....hmmm Cuitadella is a lovely town with narrow streets and lots of shops. Bargains are Tobacco & Perfume, buy them before you get to the Airport were they are overpriced. It has some great restaraunts down by the Harbour. I recommend El Bribon, great food and fantastic value, and avoid La Palaysa (if my spelling it correct). One warning when ordering, the Spanish seem to be obsessed with tinned veg, so don't expect Chips and salad unless you ask for it specifically. The out of town factory shops were very disappointing and sold overpriced pap that you would not buy unless you are on holiday. The best beach was La Tarquet,Santa Galdana was also nice. I found the others were either tiny, dirty, or full of tacky souvineer shops and 'British Pubs'. Don't expect to go swimming or snorkelling in May...although it was really hot the sea was freezzzzzing. Places like Mao (the capital), Furnells and El Mercado were not worth the drive. We drove to the top on El Torro (the highest point on the island) and had a great view of the whole island. Phonecards, there are 2 types, the Chipped ones which work on public phones and the scratch ones (buy from the tobacconist) which don't! They will work in payphones in bars however. The Son Blanc was full of families e
njoying the facilities and we managed to avoid the avoid the talent shows where people were singing along to Viva Espania. etc. Luckily we avoided it and had a great relaxing time. Would we return to the island? At £99.50 YES, but there was nothing about the island that would make me choose it again at the full brochure price.
We (family of 2 Adults and 2 kids aged 2 & 6) had been to Menorca the previous year and had done a quick tour of the island in a hire car, and had found Arenal to be an ideal spot to try next time. We booked with First Choice and went in May 2000. We stayed at the hotel AguaMarina which is right in the beach of Arenal. We stayed half board, and so the rooms were bordering on very basic, clean but a bit tatty. The meals were more than adequate for adults, but my 2 very picky kids were a bit limited as there was no specific kids provision. Having said that the kids both enjoyed the buffet style way of eating! Prices at the bar & supermarket ajoining were very reasonable if not cheaper than the UK - and were very well stocked with everything you could want. The big plus points were the kids & evening entertainment, swimming pools & the beach. The entertainment kept the kids happy in the evening, the numerous swimming pools kept them happy in the day! The hotel is situated on the beach but you do have to go down numerous steps - I did manage it with a pushchair but it wasn't ideal - however the beach is worth it. Clean sand, turquoise sea, very gently shelving with hardly any waves as it is in a bay - heaven for smaller kids who like to paddle. The resort of Arenal hasn't got an awful lot of attractions itself, but having said that it is very conveniently situated if you have the use of a hire car, as it is only minutes away from the one main road in Menorca. Overall, if you have young kids, want a cheapish, relaxing holiday sitting on a beach or by the pool, with the opportunity to explore a beautiful island if you want, then this would be an ideal base for you.
A cosmopolitan island with something for everyone. Menorca is a small island, with just one main road. It takes just under an hour to travel across the island from Cuitadella (the old capital) to Mahon, (or Mao), which is now the capital. Branching off this main road, are roads leading to resorts and beaches. Hire car is an absolute must if you go here. (It's usually very good value, we hired a Renault Clio with A/C for 3 days, for just £60).There is so much to see on the island. If you're into history, and archeaology, you will be spoilt for choice, there are lots of sites of interest. Menorca is literally steeped in history, a fact that most people miss when they just come here for a week and stay in their resort. *Resorts* There are numerous resorts on Menorca, the most popular and lively one being Cala'n Forcat, which has merged into Cala'n Blanes. Here there is plenty to do, especially for the kids. An aqua park, more suited to children of between 3 and 9 years has recently been built. We didn't visit, but the price of 495pts for children seemed reasonable to get them out of your hair for a day. In this resort there are also plenty of restaurants to choose from. The beaches here are more like small coves, so this isn't the place to come if you're a real beach lover! Neither is is the place to stay if you're after a really quiet break, unless you stay in Cala'n Blanes, which is quite a way out from Cala'n Forcat. You have the advantage of being only a 10 minute walk from the numerous restaurants and bars, but without the noise! The view from Cala'n Forcat is nice however, you can see Majorca, and the sunset is well worth watching. Another resort we visited was Cala'n Bosch. Situated on the south coast, this was a small purpose built resort, with a man made marina. Here, we went on a boat trip that took us along the south coast all the way to Santa Galdena
and back. On the way back the boat stopped at a secluded beach (you cannot reach it by car) and we had a 1.5hour break where we could swim from the boat. This was great, and I would recommend you take a snorkel as there were some great fish. The boat trip was very good value, approx £20 for 2 adults and one child. Son Bou is another resort, which claims to be the best on Menorca. It's beach is very long, and sandy with great swimming, and a lifeguard and flag system in operation. Unfortunatly a huge hotel seems to dominate the beach slightly. It is that kind of hotel I really don't like, and thankfully isn't too many of them in Menorca. Luckily most hotels and apartments are low rise, 3 storeys maximum, which is nice. I personally thought the nicest place was Santa Galdena, a lovely beach, and resort in general with plenty of places to eat. *Places to go* If you have a car, you must definitely go to El Toro. This is the highest point on the island, and from the top you can see approximately 90% of Menorca. It's a fabulous view. Here there is a monastory and a gift shop/cafe which is run by the nuns. The gift shop is very well priced. Fornells - This is a lovely fishing village at the north of the island. More a traditional town than a resort, you can be sure that the fish in the restaurants here is as fresh as can be. Cuitadella - The old capital. This should definitely be on your top ten of places to go. I fell in love with this city, with its small winding streets, so narrow that in place the roofs of the buildings either side would touch in the middle. Market day is Friday and Saturday, well worth a visit just to sample the atmosphere. Make sure you visit the harbour, where there are some great places to eat. Mahon - The capital, also known as Mao is worth a visit too. Go on markey day (saturday) and you will pick up some bargains. Parking here is easy, there is a l
arge underground car park underneath the main plaza. Just follow the 'P' signs as you drive into Mao. *Historical stuff* There's far too much for me to go on about here, so I suggest you get a guide book. The one we had was AA Essential Guide to Menorca. It really was excellent. However, look out for the purple/pink signs as you drive about as that usually indicates a site of historical interest. *Other stuff* - The buses on Menorca are very good. We didn't have a car for the whole time, and so used the buses a fair amount. The times are stated clearly on the bus stop, and they were always on time. Children under 4 don't pay, but the fares were good value anyway. The only down side to the buses was that they got extremely crowded. - There's an internet cafe in Cuitadella (Just by where the buses stop) if you need your DooYoo fix :o) So, we had a great time, and so did our two year old son. We didn't worry about him playing up, as the Menorcan's love kids, and there's no problem with kids eating in restaurants in the evening. We definitely plan on going again sometime, because we really felt, despite touring most of the island, that we didn't see everything that Menorca had to offer.
never having been to menorca before i really didnt know what to expect.so many people had said, its too quiet,its only small,i really was hoping that there was enough to do to keep my two children busy. The resort of Santo Thomas is so small you can walk from one end to the other in about 10 minutes...but what a walk! the streets are lined with flower laden trees, each of the 4 or five hotels are stood in imacculate gardens,the streets are spotless, the shops small and welcoming and the few bars are unobtrussive. each of the hotels back on to the most beautiful beach, safe clean and not too crowded. from the apartment i stayed in it was a 60 secong walk to the bakers aech morning for fresh rolls,then a morning on the beach or by the pool,maybe a trip out in the afternoon,but the evenings were something special.. there was virtually no traffic,i did not see one drunken person in the whole two weeks which made me happy to give the children who were 10 and 15 a little more freedom than i would have done anywhere else. i have holidayed abroad for the lat 25 years and been to many places, some good some bad,but menorca has been the best yet.
"Minorca (Menorca both in Catalan and Spanish and increasingly in British usage; from Latin Balearis Minor, later Minorica "minor island") is one of the Balearic Islands (Illes Balears Catalan official name, Islas Baleares in Spanish) located in the Mediterranean Sea and belongs to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than nearby island of Majorca. Minorca has a population of approximately 82,000. It is located around 39°47' to 40°00'N, 3°52' to 4°24'E. Its highest point, called Monte Toro, is 358 m/1174 ft above sea level."