Menorca, Spain

Menorca, Spain

I once overheard someone discussing Thai and Caribbean beaches. One girl said that beaches at Menorca weren't worse than Caribbean and it was not necessary to fly there.
Menorca (or Minorca) is one of three Balearic Islands - Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. It has its name because it is smaller than Mallorca (mallor - bigger, menor - smaller). At that moment we had planed only one week ahead and were going to Barcelona. There is a regular flight from Barcelona to Menorca from RyanAir and tickets cost around 20 EUR, so we decided to check whether the beaches at Menorca are really that good :) Besides RyanAir you can get to Menorca with Vueling and Air Europe. It is also possible to take a ferry from Barcelona, but flying is cheaper and faster.
During the landing the plane is flying across almost the whole island and if the weather is good you can see the most of the island from above.
We settled in the western part of the island in the small town called Blanes, near to Ciutadella. We started our first day from visiting the Faro de Artrutx lighthouse. It turned out to be a usual lighthouse, nobody around and everything was closed.
After the lighthouse we visited our first beach - Cala Blanca. The sand part of the beach is pretty small, but the bay is straight and long. There is a small parking next to the beach, but during the high season it may be difficult to find a spot there.
Next on our list was Cala Turqueta beach. It's about half an hour drive from Ciutadella. There is a free parking from which you have to walk 10-15 minutes to the beach itself.
There are few picnic tables in the shades, but no WC or changing rooms. The beach is small and surrounded by rocks. The water, same as everywhere on the island, is clear and transparent. The dark spots you see in the pictures are some kind of leaves from the trees around, nothing dangerous :) Also we noticed a lot of tiny jellyfish (2-3cm in diameter) in the water here.
There is a hiking trail between almost every beach and every bay on Menorca. For example, from Turqueta beach you can hike to Cala des Tlaier beach or to Cala Macarella. Trails are marked well and there are route signs everywhere, it would be hard to get lost. We decided to hike to Macarella & Macarelleta beaches. The trail here goes partially in the pine woods and partially in the open field, it may be hot in the summer.
These two beaches, Cala Macarella and Cala Macarelleta, are amongst the best beaches on the island. If you check the images on Google Maps - it looks like it is very crowded in the summer. But in April it was almost empty.
Macarelleta is a tiny beach with fenced dunes. From here you can get to the neighboring beach, Macarella, by the trail in the rocks. This trail goes up to the peak of the rock and there are stunning views of the beach and the sea.
Right in the center of the island, not far away from the small town called Es Mercadal, there is the highest mountain on the island. From the top of this mountain you can see the whole island. Up there there is a church called Mare de Déu del Toro Santuario. There is also a big free parking lot and a few picnic tables with a nice view.
One more beach on our list was Cala Tirant. It's located on the north near to the town called Fornells. Not far away from the beach is a small parking lot, but we just left our car on the street as it was empty. In the high season it may be more difficult to find a parking spot.
Actually, there are two beaches: the small one is right next to the road and second, bigger beach can be reached via the stairs on the left side. The dunes on the bigger beach are surrounded by the fence and it is not allowed to go there. The beach is big, pretty and clean, but it has no WC, showers or changing rooms as almost everywhere else on Menorca, so you need to be prepared :)
Playas de Cavalleria is a must to visit place. It's not far from Cala Tirant, there is a big parking lot and it's only 5-10 minutes walk from there to the beach. The interesting thing about these beaches is red soil in the surrounding rocks, and even the sand on the beach is a little red. The landscapes here are almost martian.
Not far from Cavalleria beaches there is a Faro de Cavalleria lighthouse - the most northern point of the island. On the way to the lighthouse you could stop to walk around. There are a lot of ruins and old military constructions. Menorca was a military base in the past.
The western part of the island is a great place to spot the sunset. Not far from our house there is a street called Avinguda des Pont d'en Gil - you can see Mallorca from there and it has stunning sunset views.
Also there were a few beaches near to our house. Cala Blanes is a small sandy beach next to the big hotel and children playground. Cala N'Brut is an interesting place, not really a beach. It is a bay in the rocks with flat patios. There are stairs to the water from the patios. It must be fun to jump into the water from there, but we didn't try it :)
Later we visited another beach - Arenal d'en Castell located on the north of the island in the town with the same name. It is quite a big beach, there is a wooden walking promenade and some restaurants on the shore. From here you can hike to another beach called Arenal de Son Saura, it's a 30-40 minutes hike. At Son Saura we met some wild goats walking in the dunes.
Visited one more lighthouse called Faro de Favaritx. The landscapes here were a bit more scenic than on previous ones. This lighthouse stands on the rocks, and the waves crashing the rocks, create an interesting view.
After the lighthouse we drove to Albufera des Grau Natural Park. There is a big lake in this park where a lot of birds are living. During the migration season there are a lot of birds visiting Menorca and a lot of wildlife enthusiasts are coming here to watch them. There are special wooden hiding huts from where you can watch the birds. Unfortunately in April there were only ducks and seagulls in the park.
From the park there is a hiking trail to the next town (Es Grau). The trail goes through the pine tree wood and ends at the beach.
On our last day we stopped by at Cala en Porter beach. We just checked it from the top and didn't go down there since we didn't have much time. Also we walked a bit around Mahon city and found a carrot cake :)
We spent a great week at Menorca, the beaches here are really nice and it's not very crowded in April. Definitely, recommended location!