I’ve traveled a fair bit (33 countries and counting) and generally love almost everywhere I go. But after visiting Menorca this summer, I have a new favourite to put at the top of my list.
Menorca (sometimes also spelled Minorca) is one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, belonging to Spain. It’s right next to the more popular and famous sisters, Ibiza and Mallorca. When we were checking in at the airport, the agent actually asked why we were going there. “Because I’ve seen pictures and read about it and always wanted to go,” I answered. He explained that the island is most popular with Spaniards and other Europeans, but that very few North Americans visit. He immediately upgraded us to the roomier emergency row.
The island isn’t too big, just under 700 sq. km, and takes a little over an hour to drive from one end to the other. (I definitely recommend renting a car.) The big draw is the beaches. 70 of them! From small inlets to wide sandy expanses to secluded coves, there is something for every sun-seeking enthusiast. A few of our favourites were Calla Turqueta, Calla Galdana and Calla Mitjana, but in our four-day visit, we were only able to scratch the surface.
We stayed at the small Hotel Sodium in the town of Ciutadella on the western end of the island. The hotel is minimal and modern, but rooms are well-appointed. Ours came with a rooftop deck that became our pre-dinner haunt every evening.
The town itself is adorable. Beautiful candy-floss painted houses, clean streets, quaint restaurants and coffee stops, and adorable boutiques on every corner. I wanted to buy about 10 pairs of shoes but restrained myself to only 3, including a pair of Avarcas, traditional Menorcan sandals that are available pretty much everywhere.
Walk to the water and you’ll come to a long fjord-like harbour lined with boats and yachts. Plenty of predominantly seafood restaurants can be found along the pedestrian walkway. The paella is a must.
The area near the lighthouse at the point is sprinkled with stunning summer homes. Be sure to take a walk at sunset and savour the beautiful light.
Menorca, I most certainly hope to be back!