Newest Review: ... Blanes, there are many bars, shops, restaurants and entertainment to go around. As all of the entertainment is nearby a local estate, enter... more
The most beautiful island in the Balaerics
Member Name: darren55
Advantages: the peace, the water, the lobsters
Disadvantages: None its really nice
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.
Summary: A beautiful island to visit
More reviews in the field of Destination International
- Amazing Florence
- Favourite Italian city!
- Sharm El Sheikh, my experience in June 2008
- Mountains, Rivers, Temples and Temptations
- Holidays In Hammamet - Do you want to stay in Hammamet or Yasmine Hammamet
- Not as dangerous as you might think - an updated, alternative review guide
- The Cape of Good Hope