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 here...
There is so much more to Menorca than sun, sea and sand. It is also an excellent destination for walking. The topography is a little flatter than Mallorca, which suits us, and the unspoilt nature of much of the island’s interior is a real treat.
There are many lovely walks within easy reach of our villa. You can walk straight out of the villa door perhaps along the coast or perhaps towards Sant Lluis taking in the MCC (Menorca Cricket Club). However a car obviously opens up endless possibilities to enjoy walks in all parts of the island.
Everywhere there is evidence of the island’s rich history: from the archaeological sites dating from the Talayotic period (1400 BC) – Menorca has the greatest concentration of prehistoric sites anywhere in Western Europe – through to the fortifications of the various powers that have occupied the island over the centuries.
The watchtowers of previous conquerors may be ruined, but the paths that soldiers used to ride between them, the Camis de Cavalls, are not. Today they still provide the link between idyllic sandy beaches, hidden coves and deep blue bays.
This path, which is approx 220kms long, forms a coastal route round the whole island. Dating from the 14th century this bridleway fell into disrepair but has now been cleared and renovated with new signs and gates. The route is split into sections, each with its own map which can be purchased from the Tourist Information Centre on the quayside in Mahon.
It is well worth investigating and takes you through many off-the-beaten-track parts of the island. Visit the Tourist Information Centre at Mahon Port where they have great maps and a Cami de Cavalls Guidebook which we thoroughly recommend.
We have found that the best months for walking in Menorca are generally April, May, June, September and October, when it will be warm enough for most people but not too hot - as can be the case in July and August.
Menorca is a peaceful island making it an ideal place for a relaxed spring or autumn getaway.
Despite its size Menorca boasts a surprisingly good range of habitats, with rocky coasts, delightful coves with small beaches, offshore islets, traditional pastureland, woods, dunes, freshwater marshes and those delightful thyme-and-lavender scented Mediterranean hillsides, cut with steep-sided gorges, or 'barrancos'. The landscape is of green rolling hills and farmland, much of which is given over to grass and cattle, with small fields. Everywhere you will find any number of dry stone walls and the characteristic Menorquin wooden gates made from bent olive wood.
The island boasts a superb array of flowers and holds a good selection of typical Mediterranean birds, from gaudy Woodchat Shrikes and Hoopoes to subtler Short-toed Larks and Tawny Pipits. It also makes an excellent place in which to catch the full magic of a Mediterranean spring. With the island only around thirty miles long, you can reach every part of it quite easily, and yet we have not yet run out of places to explore.
The Balearic Islands are important staging posts for migrant birds crossing the Mediterranean. Late April is an ideal time to visit, combining one of the best times for migrants with displaying resident birds, and with many flowers still in bloom. Migrants are hard to predict, but in April you should be looking for Wryneck, Bee-eater, and Red-Rumped Swallow amongst others. The few small wetlands can be very productive and, at this time, can host Purple Heron, with Black-winged Stilt and Kentish Plover amongst a good selection of waders.
Recommended places for bird watching are: Son Bou, Son Parc, Santa Galdana (Algender Gorge) La Albufera, Cap de Cavalleria and El Torro.
Flowers can be quite stunning, with fields completely covered in deep-pink wild gladioli, yellow Crown Daisies, purple Galactites thistles, white Asphodels, red poppies and others. Species can include a fine variety of orchids, including Bertoloni's, Sawfly, Mirror and Small-flowered Tongue Orchids, and Violet Limodore, while Menorcan endemics include the delightful purple daisy-like Senecio rodriguesii.
If you're planning to walk whilst in Menorca useful books and maps are available from Sunflower Books (ISBN 1-85691-244-2), Walk Menorca (ISBN 1-904946-02-X) and Menorca Tour & Trail (ISBN 1-904946-03-8).