Menorca travel guide
Less developed and more tranquil than the other Balearic Islands, Menorca appeals to those in search of relaxed sunny days far from the hustle and bustle. Hazy beach life is well and truly at the fore of the island’s draw, with an abundance of sandy strips perfect for lazing in the heat.
Across the island its Bronze Age past is still evident with Talayots sites, like the impressive ruins at Talato de Dalt. But it is the British influence (a result of the island’s capture in 1708) that has left a more lasting impression.
In the capital, Mahon, Georgian architecture remains a fixture among the old city walls, cliff top churches and tiny squares. It was here, under the influence of 18th century British sailors, that the island’s renowned gin production began.
Steep streets are a feature of the small capital, with all roads (seemingly) leading down to the turquoise sea. Portside visitors bob around an abundance of cafes, bars and restaurants, all well-served by the views of yachts and large liners making their way out to the Mediterranean Sea.
Menorca’s most attractive town is Ciutadella, just 32km (20 miles) from Mahon. Centred around Plaça des Born, its architecture is markedly Spanish, and a walk through the narrow cobbled streets of its Old Town reveal baroque churches and gothic touches that seem unmarked by modernity.
Island-wide, small-scale holiday developments have remained largely self-contained, leaving most of Menorca uncommercialised and bucolic.
Early introductions of conservation areas proved a shrewd move, protecting not only the island’s natural beauty, but also bringing Menorca sustainable tourism and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status.
As a result, the island's most striking features remain its beaches – a glorious girdle of golden white coves and aquamarine waters, particularly in the south – which attract young and not-so-young families year after year.
694 sq km (268 sq miles).
133.1 per sq km.
Parliamentary monarchy since 1978.
King Felipe VI since 2014.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy since 2011.