Menorca (sometimes spelled Minorca) is the second largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Despite its size, it is not as crowded with tourists as neighboring Mallorca or Ibiza. In fact, many tourists consider this the most natural and peaceful of all the Balearics. This atmosphere makes Menorca ideal for people traveling with families, nature-lovers, and those seeking a quiet getaway. Here are some ideas that can help tourists get the most out of their Menorca holidays.

Climb El Toro

El Toro

Photo: the_tahoe_guy / Flickr

This mountain is the highest point on the island and is the best place to take in the stunning panoramas and really appreciate the natural beauty of Menorca. At less than 400 meters, it is easy to hike to the summit. The walk is an exciting activity in and of itself, even without the views. The climb can be accomplished in a few hours without any type of technical climbing knowledge.

Hit the beach

Macarelleta Beach, Menorca

Photo: Paul Stephenson / Flickr

Menorca’s beaches are attractive for the same reason as the island’s other attractions: they are delightfully uncrowded. Places like Son Bou and Es Grau are large and have plenty of spots to relax on the sand or even take a dip in the surf. There are a number of other options around the coast as well, so people with more than a couple of days can really explore the beach scene in depth and find the perfect isolated stretch of sand.

Play in the water

SCUBA diving

Photo: tatrebil / Flickr

Menorca is also a great place for water-sports. SCUBA diving is possible at a number of ship-wrecks and reefs around the island. Certification courses are available for inexperienced divers who want to get certified and enjoy a great vacation at the same time. Other water-sports such as kayaking and sailing are also possible on Menorca.

Take in some history

The Diocesan Museum

Photo: Daquella manera / Flickr

Like the other Balearics, Menorca has a strong sense of history. People can get in touch with this past at places like the Museum of Menorca. This exhibit space houses some interesting exhibits and impressive artifacts. It traces the history of the island back to Roman times, also touching on the Byzantine and Moorish eras. There are even painting from more-modern history. The building itself is impressive: it was built in the 1400s and was first used as a monastery.

Enjoy the ambiance and relaxed pace of life

Port Maó

Photo: ssantastic / Flickr

Many people who choose Menorca for a holiday are most impressed by its laid-back ambiance and the relaxing atmosphere. The capital city of Maó is a great place to get a taste of town life on Menorca, while a number of small fishing villages are good choices for people who want to have a more authentic, quieter experience. Anywhere you go, seafood – fresh and skillfully prepared – is on the menu and will undoubtedly be a highlight for people who love fish and other saltwater edibles. You might also want to stop by the Xoriguer Distillery, where Menorca’s very unique gin is made. This drink is served all over the island and is a staple in many bars and cafes where it is drunk without mixings or put into simple cocktails.

Have you been to this charming Spanish island? Tell us about your ideas for getting the most out of a trip to Menorca.

Josh Lew
Josh Lew
Josh Lew has traveled widely in Asia and the Americas. He has contributed to popular travel sites like Gadling and Brave New Traveler and currently writes a weekly travel column for MNN. His work has also appeared on the websites of CNN and Forbes Magazine.

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