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Escape to Menorca

Published: Wed 15 Aug 2012 at 13:54

Updated: Wed 15 Aug 2012 at 13:59

At half-term, escape to the delightful Balearic island of Menorca – just over two and a half hours away with from Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford or Newcastle. With’s pre-booked car hire you can drive straight off and explore.

Something for Everyone

Menorca is a treat not only for sea and sand seekers but also for nature lovers, hikers and history buffs – in fact for anyone and everyone. While it is the smallest of the Balearic islands – just 29 miles long and 6–12 miles wide – Menorca claims the most accessible coves and beaches that are generally sandy, so great for children.

The bigger resorts include Cala ‘n Porter in the south and Arenal d’en Castel on the north coast, which lies not far from Fornells, a small town at the mouth of a deep inlet. 

It used to be a simple fishing village and retains this atmosphere with its white-washed houses with their green shutters. This is the place to try the traditional crayfish stew, Caldereta de langosta. From Fornells, drive around and up to Cap de Cavallería, a steep headland to the far north of the island from which there are spectacular views.

Ciutadella, the ancient capital to the west of the island, is an enchanting old city of narrow, winding streets that retains many traces of its Moorish occupation. Maó or Mahón, the walled capital to the east, with its deep natural harbour, is a bustling town and busy port. Both cities host regular trotting races, the riders sitting in carts. Another equine spectacle to watch out for involves a distinctive style of dressage.

Maó’s colonial history means it has a distinctly British feel with much elegant Georgian architecture, lovely bow windows and castiron balustrades. It also retains a taste for gin, a souvenir of its British naval heritage... Visit the old Xoriguer Distillery to try the Menorcan variety or one of the island’s gin-based liqueurs. Another claim to fame is that the city gave its name to mayonnaise!

The cooler autumn and spring months are ideal for hiking and visiting some of the island’s historic and prehistoric remains. These include massive and mysterious stone tables or taulas dating from the Megalithic Age, and Bronze Age troglodyte dwellings. The island’s natural environment is a delight. In spring and summer a palate of natural colours brings the landscape alive and you’ll find lavender and orchids, wild marigolds and scarlet poppies...

A marshy area, S’Albufera, halfway between Maó and Arenal d’en Castel, attracts a host of rare birds and Menorca is the Balearics’ only breeding place for the Egyptian vulture.

There really is something for everyone.

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