One of the much-loved Balearic Islands, Menorca is a place of great natural beauty. Its coastline is dotted by gorgeous ‘calas’ or coves, baked golden by the Spanish sun and lapped by turquoise waters. If it sounds idyllic, that’s because – quite simply – it is. Its beaches are undoubtedly its pride and joy, but Menorca is brimming with all the attractions a family could wish for on holiday.
Despite catering for every whim of its holiday devotees, Menorca has retained a low-key and easy going ambience. Entertainment here is effortless and ageless so whatever your party make up, you’re sure to find things to do with the family.
Things to do
Explore the coast by boat
There are plenty of options when it comes to taking a boat trip around the island. A family favourite, the glass-bottomed boat never fails to entertain, with the kids always on the look out for colourful fish and undersea sights. Some great tours are also available from Mao harbour in Mahon, which is also a good place to go if you’re looking to rent a catamaran. Alternatively, boat trips departing from the fishing village of Fornells on Menorca’s north coast will take you to breathtaking hidden coves, giving you a spectacular view of the island, as well as opportunities for swimming and snorkelling.
Horses are an integral part of Menorca’s culture. Historically horse riders rode the iconic black horse when protecting the island from invaders. They’re still much revered animals here, so look out for the many equestrian events, cart and trotting races and celebrations throughout the year. If you can’t make an event during your holiday, you can still experience Menorca on one of these majestic creatures. What could be more relaxing than a horseback ride along one of the many trails and routes, taking in the island’s unspoilt beauty? There are plenty of operators which offer horse riding tours for all experience levels, so whether you’re a family of equestrians or you’re new to the saddle, see Menorca on horseback for a special holiday memory together.
While you can spot wildlife along Menorca’s coastline and in nature reserves, head to Menorca zoo – Lloc de Menorca – for a fun yet educational experience. With a focus on learning and conservation, the zoo has a small collection of farm animals, such as goats and ponies, while also focusing on animals which are native to Menorca. Kids will love making friends with lemurs and snakes, and you’ll even see porcupines and birds of prey. You can easily spend a whole afternoon here, and there’s a play area if the kids need wearing out before mum and dad can have a relaxing evening back at the villa.
As a family-friendly destination, Menorca boasts some fantastic waterparks and adventure parks. Spend a day at one of these and you wont be short of things to do. Try near the popular spots of Cala en Bosch and Cala Blanes if you want to splash out and cool off from the sun. There’s rides and attractions for all ages and thrill-seeker standards. Giant slides and ‘Black Holes’ might attract adrenaline junkies, but you’ll be more likely to see me floating down a lazy river, or in a Jacuzzi, so it doesn’t all have to be white water thrills.
With over 100 beaches across the island, lovers of sun, sea and sand will be in seventh heaven. Many of Menorca’s beaches are very family-friendly, with shallow, warm and calm water perfect for paddling, swimming and snorkelling.
Arenal d’en Castell
The small town of Arenal d’en Castell boasts a great family-friendly beach. Surrounded by wooded areas and overlooked by the town, the beach is a haven with sand dunes, a snack bar, restaurants and a children’s park nearby. There’s also a car park close by if you’re driving to the beach from your villa, so you can prepare for a whole day spent by the water.
Cala Galdana is a well-loved beach on the south coast of Menorca, located in a breathtaking bay. Its horseshoe shape, tree-lined sands and a wealth of activities make it extremely popular with families. There’s mini golf nearby, as well as some great cycling routes and the obvious water sports to take advantage of.
Where to stay
With a gently-sloping beach, the resort of Binibeca is ideal for a relaxing family stay. You can enjoy soft sands, a beach bar, sunbeds to lounge on and a beach restaurant serving up local delicacies. Check out the nearby bay of Binisafau for some superb snorkelling opportunities, or head into nearby Punta Prima via the mini train that runs several times a day during the summer months. There’s even a new waterpark nearby.
Cala en Bosch
Right by the coast, Cala en Bosch has everything you need for a perfect day in the sun. If – like me – you love trying out local restaurants on holiday, it won’t disappoint. The marina has a lovely collection of restaurants and bars, so you can enjoy fresh seafood and tapas while enjoying views of the pretty boats and yachts in the harbour.
Villas in Menorca
Villas really lend themselves to family holidays, with your own private pool, a sociable layout and enough space for everyone to have their own when they need it. Stock up on snacks, drinks and ice creams, then decide for yourself if you want to eat in or dine out when it suits you. Menorca villas in particular can be a good choice for families. You might want to look out for those set on one level, and there are lots of options for those who don’t want to hire a car on holiday.
One such villa is Malvasia. Set in Binibeca within walking distance of the beach as well as several shops, bars and restaurants, it’s a great choice for families. It has a large lawned area and of course the private pool for fun and games, as well as a covered terrace and your choice of sun or shade. Cots and highchairs are free of charge, and with free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, the practicalities are all taken care of.