Menorca is perhaps the most attractive of the Balearic Islands being less developed than its neighbours, Mallorca and Ibiza. Large areas are completely unspoilt and one can easily escape the 21st century in many parts of the island. The natural beauty and peace of both the countryside and the beaches is a rare treat, especially when combined with a wealth of historic and prehistoric sites. Few islands in the Mediterranean can compete with this exceptional mix.
We get a huge amount of pleasure walking the many footpaths and "getting away from it" in the midst of some stunning scenery. Scroll down for some information about walking and some of the photographs we have taken.
Below are some of our favourite things to do and places to visit on the island.
There are two well-stocked mini-markets within walking distance of Villa Feliz. For a more major shop there are excellent specialist food shops in Sant Lluis, ‘Big Red’ Eroski supermarket just north of Sant Lluis or, our favourite, Sa Botiga at Suestra, just south of Sant Lluis. Of course Maó (Mahon) has a full range of shops (both for food and everything else.) El Palador is a wonderful delicatessen and the Fish Market in the centre of Maó (Mahon) is a must-visit.
Shopping in Menorca has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Traditional Menorcan products you can enjoy are leather and foot ware, jewellery, cheese, Mahonaisse, pastries, salami and gin. You can buy pretty well anything, local or international, in the shops of Maó (Mahon) or Cuitadella.
The capital, Maó, is well worth a visit. Its natural harbour is one of the best and safest in the Mediterranean and one can see why it was so favoured by Admiral Nelson. The old part of the city is a pleasure to walk around, browsing in shops, looking around churches or shopping for local cheeses, sausages etc in the market - the fish market is particularly good.
Cuitadella was the island’s capital before Maó. The main road of the island links the two cities and there are innumerable places to stop off at on the way. Perhaps a visit to a shoe factory, a vineyard, a trip to a beach (there are over 120 to choose from), a coastal walk or a day’s shopping. Monte Toro, the highest point on the island, is well worth a visit and is not far off the main road.
The other main towns of Menorca are Es Castell, Sant Lluis, Es Mercadal, Es Migjorn, Fornells, Ferreries and Alaior. Each has its own charm and can provide a pleasant morning strolling round. Sant Lluis is the closest to the villa and has a good selection of local shops.
You can swim in the cove just in front of the villa, but if you fancy a day on the beach there are plenty to choose from. Binibequer beach is easily reached on foot and one of our favourites is Cala Turqueta – but there are many more beautiful beaches within an easy drive.
Cycling is popular in Menorca and there are a number of well-signed routes. Bikes can be hired from Bike Menorca.
Horses have played and continue to play an important part in the life, work and culture of the island. Horse riding is available at a few places and we have found Can Pouny Horse Riding Centre the best. 5km north of Maó (Mahon).
A short stroll or a long hike: both are hugely enjoyable. Menorca has some of the best-conserved natural scenery in the Mediterranean and was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to enjoy the wonderful scenery, some of which we can share with you on our walking page.
Trotting races have been popular in the Balearics for over 200 years. Races are held on Saturday evenings at the Hipodromo de Maó between Maó and Sant Lluis. The jockey must prevent the horse from breaking into a gallop, hence the name "trotting". Great to watch but even better if you place the winning bet!
Beaches and coves inaccessible by land make idyllic places to laze away a day on a boat. Hire your own kayak, canoe, sail or motor yacht from Maó (Mahon) harbour. We have tried Nautic Fun who gave a good service at a reasonable price. There are also glass-bottomed and boat excursions, ranging from one-hour to full-day tours.
Our guests have found diving in the crystal clear turquoise waters around the island to be something special. Reefs, caverns, caves and coral. Visibility up to 50 metres. PADI courses are available from Binibeca Diving at Cala Torret and S’Algar Diving
The Binifadet Winery is Menorca’s main vineyard and is very close to our villa at Ses Barraques, St Lluis. It is generally open Monday to Saturday 10.00am to 2.00pm and 4.00pm to 8.00pm. The island is noted for its cheeses and there are a number of cheese makers you can visit including Subaida, Cami de Binifabini, 07740, Es Mercadel.
There are simply too many restaurants to single them out. You can enjoy a meal overlooking the harbour in Maó or Es Castell (the quality varies considerably so inspect the menus before going in). Or there are some truly excellent restaurants in the countryside. You’ll be spoilt for choice! In the villa you will find some up-to-date suggestions.
The theatre in Maó is a beautiful setting for a wide variety of performances. Check the Teatro Mao web site to see what is on during your stay.
Some churches, such as the cathedral in Maó have organ recitals and other concerts.
With plenty of beautiful and historic buildings to visit in Menorca including military installations, museums and town houses. Of special note are the Museum of Menorca, Fort Marlborough, La Mola Fortress, the old Naval Hospital and the Franciscan Convent. Guide books from Tourist Information Centres have all the details.
Menorca has over a thousand listed megalithic monuments dating back to 3,000BC. There are many Tuala, a huge upright stone with another placed across its top. Maybe they were sacrificial altars, maybe they were related to sun worship. No one knows, but they are mighty impressive.
Porous sandstone has been used for building in Menorca since time immemorial. Some stone quarries are open to the public. Our favourite is Ses Pedreres de S’Hostal near Cuitadella.
Fiestas play a major part in the life of the island during the summer months. Each town has its own fiesta which usually lasts three days. Horse parades are followed by a Mass at the church to mark the start of the fiesta. There is plenty of music, folk-dancing, costumes, carnival figures and drinking of the local gin and lemon mix, ‘pomada’.
Menorca Zoo near Alaior is open every day from 10.00am to 8.00pm. A wide range of species native to the island and exotic animals from all over the world in a park setting.
The Menorca Cricket Club (MCC), near S’uestra five minutes drive from our villa, has matches throughout the season on a beautiful ground. There’s also an excellent bar for a relaxing day. Follow signs for Biniparrell.