Guide to Menorca
Capital city: Maó or Mahon
Other principle cities: Ciutadella, Fornells, Cala Galdana-Ferreries
Main airport/s: Mahon
Principle airline: Several national and budget airlines have regular flights from throughout the UK and rest of Europe, including Easyjet, Thomas Cook, Monarch and even British Airways.
Visa requirements: As part of Spain, which is a member of the European Union, visas are not required for EU citizens.
Language: Menorquí is the local dialect of Catalan, spoken on the island, along with the official languages taught in schools, Catalan and Spanish. Many can also speak conversational English.
Weather: Changeable throughout the year, in all but the height of summer when it can become hot and humid. Heavy showers and breezy conditions can persist well into late spring. Temperatures in winter seldom drop below 10°
Cash: There are plenty of ATMs available in the principle towns.
Bus: Regular public buses run around the island, relatively cheap, but tend to stop at every village along the route, so can prove time consuming.
Car: Several major rental companies and a number of smaller ones operate from the airports and resorts. IN peak season they can still be popular, narrow roads and parking can become an issue too.
Motorcycles or scooters are often a more suitable option at these times for those comfortable using them.
Hotel: Hotel Audax, a friendly, adult only hotel in Cala Galdana-Ferreries, with two restaurants and a spa.
Budget: Booking.com offers a number of good value hotels, villas and apartments on the island.
- S’amarador – excellent, specialist restaurant on the harbour of Ciutadella.
- Binifadet – a small winery and popular restaurant at Cami De Ses Barraques.
- The fish markets in Mahon or Ciutadella offer the freshest shellfish served with wine and a selection of beers in a lively atmosphere.
Nightlife: Menorca is the quietest of the Balearics, with only one real nightclub, Cova d’en Xoroi, which serves cocktails, including Pomada the gin specialty of the island.
Along with the many beaches, Menorca offers steep cliffed coves, with lighthouses perched on top, pretty fishing villages and harbours, prehistoric monuments and fortresses.
- Cala Pregondais often considered the most beautiful beach on the north coast.
- Macarellaand Macarelleta are popular beaches within easy reach from Ferreries.
- Son Bouis around 2.5km long and the longest beach on the island.
- Naveta d’es Tudonsis a prehistoric tomb dating back as far as 1000BC
- Torralba d’en Salordhouses the most significant “Taula” (T shaped stone formation) in the island, standing 4.3 metres high.
- Favàritx is a popular lighthouse located in the NE of Menorca.
- Monte Toro, taking its name from the Spanish for bull,
the highest point of the island, offers panoramic views and the statue of the Virgin Mary.
- S’Albufera d’es Grau, a natural wetland park located close to Favàritxin the north-east, the heart of the biosphere reserve.
There are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Menorca, on foot, bike, horseback or in a kayak. Boat tours are also a popular excursion choice, glass bottomed boats run regular trips around the harbour.
Son Bou Scuba, Professional PADI divers supervise novice and experienced divers through underwater caverns, wrecks and visiting the protected Marine Reserve. Prices start from € 35.
There were once five gin distilleries on the island, there is now just one. However, visits to the shop in Mahon harbour for an explanation of the process, the history and of course tasting sessions is very popular, especially with tour operators and cruise ship passengers.
Tour Operators: Thomas Cook arrange package tours to the island with plenty of excursion options. Saga cater for the more mature visitors, seeking a tranquil location for a break.
Cruise ships also stop off regularly in Mahon providing day excursions for passengers.
Designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993, it is an island of unspoilt beauty, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the tranquillity and natural attractions. Horse riding, sea kayaking, hiking, cycling and sailing are just a few ways to coastline and interior beauty can be enjoyed.
Menorca is an island of harbours, coves, watch towers, fortresses, prehistoric monuments and lighthouses and it’s possible to combine several in a single day on the small isle. Never far from the sea, there are plenty of restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes to sustain would be explorers and adventurers of any age.
Good to know:
The summer season starts around June and runs through to September, and many of the hotels, cafes and restaurants are closed during the winter months. Most attractions also close, while some open for weekends only in low season.
As a biosphere reserve wild camping is prohibited throughout the island.
Menorca is a low key destination compared to the other Balearic Islands, the emphasis is on family, activity and nature holidays, nightlife is not especially lively.
The Menorquin Horse or Cavall Menorquí is horse breed indigenous to Menorca. Believed to have links to Arabian horses, they may only be black; other colour are not permitted, though limited white markings are permitted.
Top Tip: The weather in May can be changeable and warm, waterproof clothing can be necessary, but it is also the best time to avoid the crowds of summer.
Further Information: The Menorca Tourism website is a great resource, providing useful tips for holidaying on the island.