About Son Bou Beach
Son Bou is famous for its beach, certainly the biggest and arguably the best on the island. The resort is relatively new and purpose-built comprising mostly villas, some of which are luxury class, though it lacks local character or distinguishing features. Two large high-rise hotels dominate the beach at the eastern end but otherwise dunes and reed beds separate the sands from the resort giving sunbathers a feeling of seclusion. At the western end of the resort, Son Bou merges with the more residential resort of St Jaume Mediterrani. Historical traces include the scant remains of a paleo-Christian church, believed to date from the fifth century. Behind this are caves, some of which are now used for basic holiday homes.
By contrast with the cosy ‘cala’ cove beaches to be found elsewhere on Menorca, Son Bou Beach is long and straight, the main part of which stretches for around 2.5km (1.5 miles). The pale golden sands are also relatively wide coming back some 40m (44 yards) inland from the water’s edge. Nonetheless, the beach still becomes crowded in summer and at weekends, particularly at the east end. The less commercialised west end, beyond Sant Jaume, going towards Santo Tomas, is unofficially recognised as a nudist beach. Behind the beach are dunes and freshwater reed beds that attract migrating birds, butterflies and insects: if exploring, beware mosquitoes. Beware too that the beach is exposed – though popular for windsurfing and swimming, conditions can be dangerous. Warning flags are flown and must be heeded. Pedalos, inflatable rides, canoes, water-skiing and jet-skiing are also available.
Beyond the beach:
Just off the Alaior-Son Bou road is the prehistoric talayotic village of Torre d’en Gaumes. This is one of the largest examples of its kind on Menorca.
Around the resort are children’s play areas and water chutes. The main attraction is The Maze Theme Park (Club San Jaime). Within the confines of a wooden maze, visitors are asked to collect items and get a card stamped, with a surprise or two en route. Meanwhile magicians and clowns, witches and fairies help or hinder. The maze is also open at night when the actors take on a scarier aspect.
Menorca is a small island and with a car you can see it all in a few days. The two ‘capitals’ of Mahón (21km/13 miles east) and Ciudadela (30km/18 miles west) are well worth a visit. Both offer good shopping and a choice of attractive restaurants, cafes and bars. In Mahón highlights include a harbour tour and the Museu de Menorca. Ciudadela has more historical interest, some fine Spanish architecture, and a characterful Old Town. Any island tour should take in the highest point of Monte Toro with its hilltop church. It may only be 350m (1,150ft) above sea level, but it has excellent views. Another must-see is Binibeca Vell, a very photogenic, whitewashed ‘old’ fishing village. In fact it is a fake, a modern re-creation, but no less pretty for that and a nice place for a coffee or a meal as long as you avoid the times when coach tours call here.
Take a taxi to the centre of Alaior, 8km (5 miles) north, where The Cobblers Restaurant (www.thecobblers.es) serves island specialities in a charming courtyard garden.