Flatter and quieter than its Balearic brothers Mallorca and Ibiza, Menorca offers picturesque coves and untroubled beaches, fresh-as-it-comes seafood and a wonderful array of hiking and cycling trails.
The thriving hub of Mahon, full of character and tradition, is the best place to start. Menorca’s capital is renowned for its elegant architecture that harks back to Georgian England. We especially recommend a stroll around the harbour, the largest natural port in the Mediterranean.
There are many festivals that happen in and around Mahon, but none grander than Fiesta de la Mare de Deu de Gracia. During the first weekend of September, the usually leisurely city is transformed into a spectacular street party. Dancing in the streets, horse parades and live music await. The festival reaches a crescendo with a fantastic fireworks display over the harbour, best enjoyed with a pomada in hand – a local cocktail of ice-cold gin mixed with cloudy lemonade served with ice and a slice.
While favourable winds make the north of the island popular with sailors, the south coast offers an enticing string of undeveloped, untouched bays and beaches. Cala Turqueta is especially beautiful. A natural white-sand beach lapped – as the name suggests – by turquoise water and backed by scented pine trees, the beach is protected by Menorcan authorities and remains pristine as a result. For something a little livelier, try Calan Bosch in the far south-west of the island, which offers family facilities, water sports aplenty and some fabulous local restaurants.
When to go
Like it’s older siblings, the best time to visit Menorca is the summer months – or September, if you’re keen to sample festival life.