The Spanish island of Menorca is located in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Balearic Islands alongside the popular islands of Mallorca and Ibiza. Menorca is a lot less known than its neighbors, making it a nice and less touristy alternative. It’s a perfect destination for a relaxing vacation. A typical vacation on Menorca is mainly about relaxing on the many beaches and exploring nature and charming streets in the cities.
The island is characterized by a hilly and rocky landscape, with numerous cliffs and beautiful beaches with turquoise sea water. It’s highly recommended to bring your snorkeling gear, as the water there is incredibly clear. Especially at the rocky beaches you can do fantastic snorkeling, where the water is not turbid by the sand.
Getting around on Menorca
Menorca is a relatively small island. It’s slightly larger than Ibiza and smaller than Majorca. In Menorca, it’s common to rent a car to explore the island. There are numerous rental agencies in different places on the island. A convenient option is to rent the car at Mahón airport and return it there when you travel back.
Beforehand, I wondered if it was necessary to rent a car in Menorca, as I’m not very keen on driving, especially in another country. Fortunately, scooters can be rented in several locations with most rental companies being in Mahón and Ciutadella. Scooters cost on average €20 – 40 per day and negotiating the price is sometimes possible. The best places to rent a scooter in Ciutadella are Top Scooters and Autos Ciutadella.
If you prefer not to drive yourself or don’t have a license, there are alternative transportation options. You can explore the island by cab, although this is obviously a lot pricier. Another option is to use the bus, especially if you are staying in Ciutadella or Mahón. I was struck by how well organized the bus transportation is on Menorca.
I can really recommend renting a car or scooter as it gives you the most freedom and allows you to visit all the beautiful places on the island.
Fun things to do in Menorca
Do some SUP-ing
One of the most fun activities on the coast is renting a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). There are several rental companies where you can rent a SUP for a few hours to paddle around by yourself.
Even more fun is booking a tour, where you go out to sea with a guide, especially if you’ve never tried this before. In Ciutadella, I joined Paddle Tour Menorca one morning. The choice of location at sea depends on the weather conditions.
Watch the sunset from the cliffs
The west coast of Menorca is the perfect place for watching the sunset. One of the most beautiful locations is overlooking the distinctive rock Pont d’en Gil with impressive arch. The cliff is located north of Ciutadella and Cala en Blanes. Not only at night is this location breathtaking; it’s also worth a visit during the day. Do put on sturdy shoes, because to enjoy the view, you will have to walk a bit over the pointy rocks.
Other beautiful locations for sunset are Cala Blanca and Cap d’Artrutx with impressive lighthouse with restaurant by the way.
Stroll through the cities
Ciutadella de Menorca and the capital Mahón are the island’s biggest towns and are fun to explore on foot. They’re also the best cities for shopping. In the old town you will find beautiful historic buildings. However, many stores are closed at noon due to the siesta, the afternoon nap that many Spaniards do. Blend in with the locals and take an afternoon nap!
Visit the most beautiful beaches
Menorca has many beautiful beaches where it’s great to spend the day, and each beach has its own charm. In the south there are many white sand beaches with clear blue waters where you can swim and snorkel. The beaches in the south are the most popular and can be quite crowded during summer. Especially on the smaller beaches you sometimes find yourself sitting crammed in, but the atmosphere is nevertheless nice.
The beaches in the north are characterized by a rougher landscape with a red color of sand. The sea can also generally be more wild there, making it not always safe to swim. I found the beaches on the north coast most impressive because of their rugged landscape and because they are a lot quieter than the beaches in the south.
The parking lots to the beaches often fill up quickly and then the road to the beach is closed. A handy tip: get there early (before 10:00 a.m.) or take the scooter which always gives you a parking spot.
The best beaches in the south of Menorca
Along the south coast of Menorca, the elongated Son Saura Beach stands out among the rocks. It has a parking lot and is therefore easy to reach. This also means that you will be far from alone.
From Son Saura you can walk on to Platja de Bellavista. This beach is known for its beautiful white sand and crystal clear waters. The beach is long and quite narrow, which can make it difficult to find a spot if you arrive a little later.
Another 10-minute walk further along the wooden walkway and a bit over the cliff towards the east you will find Playa des Talaier, a small beach between the cliffs.
To the next beach, Cala en Turqueta, it is a good half-hour hike from Playa des Talaier. Because it is located in a bay, the water is very calm and clear, which makes for good snorkeling. It is still quite crowded despite the hike, as many tourists visit this beach by boat. Be sure to wear good shoes, as the route from Son Saura is partly through the forest and over rocks.
Lastly, you can also hike 3 km further to the beautiful Cala Macarella, but that is quite a distance. If you prefer to pass, then it’s also possible to reach Cala Macarella by car, scooter or bus. From the parking lot it’s about a 20-minute walk to the bay.
There are many more beautiful coves and beaches on the south coast including Cala Mitjaneta, Cala de Trebalúger, Cala Escorxada, Caló Blanc and more.
The best beaches in the north of Menorca
On the north coast you will find Cala Algaiarens. This beach actually consists of two small coves, Platja des Bot and Platja es Tancat, each with its own unique charm. It’s surrounded by pine forests and rugged cliffs, but it’s a very nice beach to spend a day.
Cala del Pilar is a hidden gem and was my favorite beach in Menorca. After a hike of about 30-40 minutes, your effort is rewarded with an insane view of the bay. Along the way, you may even encounter curious mountain goats! There are no facilities on the beach, so it’s wise to bring your own food and drinks.
Further east you will find Cala Pregonda. This beach is characterized by its red sand surrounded by rocky cliffs and azure waters. The small islands off the coast add an extra touch of charm. Although this beach also has no facilities, it has a peaceful atmosphere and is perfect for those looking for a secluded stretch of coast.
Try the Paella and sangria
Paella is a popular dish in Spain. Depending on the region, it is made of rice with seafood, pieces of chicken and saffron. This iconic Spanish dish has a special, local twist in Menorca. A signature variation is the black paella, with squid ink.
While enjoying the salty aromas of the black paella, a glass of Sangria can’t be missed, obviously. The fruity sweet wine is delicious on a hot summer day on one of the city’s terraces or on the beach.
Best time to travel to Menorca
The best time to travel for a sun vacation in Menorca is approximately from May to October. Menorca has warm summers and mild winters. Around April, temperatures rise to around 20 °C and continue to rise in the following months to temperatures in excess of 30 °C. Around October, the temperature drops again. During the winter months, Menorca is very quiet and many restaurants are closed so there’s not much to do.
Despite the many hours of sunshine and little rainfall, the island is very green and many different species of plants and trees grow there. In 1993, Menorca was even declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.