Menorca

Menorca as one of the beautiful Spanish Balearic island is a popular tourist destination, but unlike many other resorts the planners understood about sustainability and the need to maintain the very things that makes the island so idyllic.

The result is a mainly unspoilt island with a peaceful calm so often lacking in popular resorts.Beautiful sandy beaches lead to clear azure waters that are fringed by resorts that subtly blend into the background, Menorca is tranquil and even the hills gently roll across the landscape, no sharp inclines mar the gentle beauty of this island that protects all that it holds dear.

There is modern accommodation in Menorca but even in the most popular of its resorts they are simply not allowed to encroach on the natural beauty of the region, very little new development takes place with almost all the coastal regions protected from any adverse architecture. Rooms are limited and hotels do become busy, if travelling independently accommodation may need to be booked well in advance.

Hotel Torralbenc may only be 10 minutes from the airport but it feels like it is in the middle of nowhere with all the rural charm that only a traditional converted farmhouse can have, surrounded by green fields and vineyards this hotel is a real treat, the contemporary interior styling keeps the rustic feel under control and gives a sense of luxury amongst the solid buildings. As holiday retreats go this hotel achieves every one of its goals and creates an enviable holiday haven.

Menorca is the king of all things seafood and their most popular dish is seen by many to be a luxurious affair Caldereta de Langosta (lobster stew) is served at many restaurants but unfortunately no longer has a rustic price tag. Seafood restaurants are very popular and are often found alongside Grill restaurants, the food is generally plentiful and bold in flavour with the Spanish influences perfectly incorporated. The drink most famed on the island surprisingly is Gin although when you take into consideration the British occupation of the island perhaps it isn’t that surprising after all, served with lemon the famed gin is often drunk at the many summer fiestas that are found across the island.

Café Balear in Ciutadella is the place to go for the best lobster stew in beautiful but informal surroundings, there is something quite special about eating such a decadent dish knowing that the  best of the ingredients was sourced from the very waters that you are sat beside.

The capital of Mahon is well worth a visit, the mix of Moorish and Colonial  style architecture is apparent across the island but in Mahon is works perfectly, grand Spanish dwellings sit alongside Georgian town houses and look great; the old town still has walls in evidence and there are some beautiful churches making this a perfect place to just stroll around and soak up the culture.

Whilst in Mahon most people take a boat trip around the harbour to see the beautiful town from a different perspective – though whichever way you look at it old town Mahon is just picture perfect. The restored bridle path ‘Cami de Cavalls’ is 125kms long and takes in a route around some of the most beautiful and isolated coves and beaches on the island, originally created during Medieval times this is the perfect way to explore the coast of the island, either on foot, on bicycle or even on horseback.

The summer months enjoy a hot Mediterranean climate that is tempered by the cooling sea breezes, spring and autumn have the advantage of natural beauty but the weather can be considerably cooler; the season all but ends during October and very little in the way of tourism is apparent again until early May.

Each town across Menorca celebrates with a local fiesta, beginning in May these fiestas roll around the island until the finale in the capital Mahon which takes place towards the end of the summer – of these festivals the most famous is the fiesta of San Juan in Ciutadella which employs the odd practice of touching a horses stomach whilst it is rearing up – they may sensibly not participate but this fiesta draws crowds from all over Spain.

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