This understated Balearic beauty is bountiful with hidden treasures that are bound to leave you breathless. Packing a surprisingly diverse landscape between its fairly compact shores, it's no wonder it's been dubbed the 'island of green and blue'. Startling turquoise seas and gently rolling hills seem to extend forever in every direction. An ideal getaway for families and couples alike – Menorca's Mediterranean climate makes it a winning holiday destination even in the winter. Whether you're a thrill seeker or dedicated beach bum, there's plenty here that's sure to spark your wanderlust. Here's our handy guide on where to stay in Menorca.
Choose between craggy northern countryside or sandy southern shores, every part of Menorca is a mellow masterpiece of Mediterranean magic. Culture, unspoilt coastlines and laid-back living are all part and parcel of this idyllic island.
Practically perfect in every way is the natural beauty of Arenal d'en Castell, found on Menorca's northern coast. A picturesque and peaceful landscape packed with verdant forests and pine trees that carpet the coast – if you're seeking a little seclusion, you've found it. Beach lazing and sandcastle building on the sweeping horseshoe shaped bay is always a lovely way to spend the day. Shallow, warm waters make for unbeatably blissful bathing.
Outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home with S'Albufera des Grau Nature Reserve just a stone's throw away. A 20 minute drive and you'll arrive at the visitor's centre, where you can pick up a map for nature trails and heavenly hikes. Every kind of imaginable terrain can be found here, from forests, marshlands, dunes and cliffs to marine areas – including five rocky islets. Wonderful wild flowers blanket the ground and wildlife well and truly rules the roost.
Best for: Couples, Families
Set against a backdrop of natural sand dunes, beach holiday bliss awaits in the southern gem of Son Bou. Here you'll find the biggest beach of the bunch, with golden sands stretching out over two kilometres. It may have the hustle and bustle of a busy seaside resort, but even during peak seasons you can find a quieter spot to escape and set up camp. It's family first all the way, with facilities and activities that'll make the little ones feel at home. Restaurants have familiar chidlren's menus and playgrounds are a plenty! In fact there's so much to see and do at Son Bou that if you don't want to leave all holiday, you don't need to.
Watersports are kind of a big deal on the southern shores, so if you've raised a brood of water babies be sure to jump in to the action! Whether you're after a gentle splash or a skin-drenched soaking, Son Bou is bountiful with wet and wild antics. Kids love the inflatable aqua assault course that floats just off the shore, as well as the adrenaline-pumping banana boat ride! Hold tight to each other as you speed full throttle across the beautiful blue waters! If you're after a more chilled out experience, hire a kayak or pedalo and glide through the water as leisurely as you like. Stand up paddle boarding offers guaranteed family-fun too (because who doesn't love a giggle at mum and dad's expense?) Here's your chance to make splash-tastic memories that'll live on long after you've left magical Menorca.
Son Bou's south-central set-up makes it an ideal base for adventurers, and you'll easily be able to visit the aforementioned Ciutadella and Mahon too. Couples can enjoy romantic walks in the surrounding countryside, or steal some quality time on sunset beach strolls. The tiered wooded hillside is covered in luscious gardens and offers gorgeous views across the coastline. Whether you're enjoying the vistas from the privacy of your villa or a local Spanish bar, the shimmering Mediterranean Sea is sure to sooth the soul. Son Bou is every bit the enchanting, easy-going escape.
Best for: Families
Beautiful Binibeca is renowned for its white-washed houses and restful atmosphere. A quiet and peaceful resort on the south-east of the island, here you'll be able to unwind undisturbed. Bars, shops and restaurants are in no short supply, with a mix of traditional and international cuisine to choose from. There's countless strings to Binibeca's bow, but a firm favourite is the famous fishing village of Binibeca Vell. Wander through the narrow passageways and wind up at the picturesque harbour. Before long you'll feel like one of the locals, tucking in at one of the many tapas bars and daydreaming of afternoon siestas! It's safe to say, Binibeca wrote the rule book for relaxation.
Blessed with a bona fide Blue Flag beauty of soft golden sands, Binibeca's beach gently shelves into calm shallow seas. Ideal for little legs and parents' peace of mind, this is holiday heaven for families with small children. Ten minutes away at Cap d'en Font lies some of Menorca's most famous underwater caves. Peppering the southern coast with extensive cavern systems, a huge amount of them are still unexplored! Swim through spectacular stalagmites and stalactites in one of the stunning six caves found at Cap d'en Font. For the less experienced, why not try your hand at snorkelling? The bay is kind to first timers with crystal clear waters calmed by the inlet.
A must-see is Menorca's capital, Mahon. Just a 20 minute journey away, this small but charming city makes for a delightful day trip. A lovely, laid-back town – here's your front row ticket to life the Menorcan way! Small enough to comfortably cover on foot, mooch around the mellow old buildings, treat yourself to tapas with a glass of wine and wander through the winding old town streets. For beautiful views take to the seas and set sail on a boat tour around the historic harbour. Afterwards, enjoy a tipple or three at the 'try before you buy' local gin distillery. Before leaving, be sure to soak up the smells and sounds of one of the many local markets. Mostly selling Menorcan products and specialities – you're bound to find an envious holiday keepsake!
Best for: Families with small children, Couples
PS – In high season a holiday train travels the area between Binibeca Vell, Binibeca Noi, Binibeca Torret and Punta Prima.
This little slice of heaven situated on the south-west coast offers up stunning shorelines and something to suit every taste. Families can enjoy a wide range of beachfront facilities and fun-filled activities to keep the kids entertained. From jet skis and wet and wild waterparks to glass-bottomed boat trips and sea kayaking – there's plenty of ways to appreciate the pristine turquoise waters. If that sounds like too much hard work, snooze on a sunlounger and enjoy the sun-baked sands instead.
Cala en Bosch's picture perfect palm lined promenade is the place to be, especially as the sun begins to sink in to the horizon. Soak up the evening atmosphere at balmy open-air bars and rustic restaurants. Eat paella with the locals, or if there's a fussy eater or two in the family, frequent one of the eateries with a few home comforts on the menu. It doesn't get much better than chilled out drinks overlooking the marina once you've tasted the local delicacies, or a romantic stroll along the seafront listening to the water gently lapping against the side.
You'll find you're in the perfect base to explore the western side of the island. With awesome attractions on your doorstep, head to Ciutadella – the islands second largest city. Just a miniscule five miles away, spend a lazy day wandering the old quarter and marvellous medieval streets. Watch life go by at the wonderful waterside, where hypnotic boats are gently bobbing in the marina and the smells from the nearby restaurants waft out to meet you. Too tempting to resist, be sure to treat your tastebuds to a delicious dish or local catch of the day. Fun for the whole family, but undeniably romantic for a couple looking for a laid-back day of sightseeing. Further afield, visit Cap d'Artrutx Lighthouse and enjoy a spectacular sunset over the sea and out to neighbouring Mallorca.
Best for: Couples, Families
Menorca has a lot to offer its visitors beyond beautiful Blue Flag beaches. Wild, exotic and teeming with lesser known secrets as well as bustling tourist hotspots. You can write the holiday rule book when it comes to choosing between thrills and spills or rejuvenation and relaxation. Explore rugged cliffs, rolling hills, low-key and characterful towns, white-washed villages, national parks brimming with natural beauty and tranquil turquoise waters.
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