The best things to see and do on Menorca, Spain
If you're looking for the perfect summer escape, look no further than Menorca, one of Spain's blissful Balearic islands. Here's our guide to the very best things to do in Menorca, from sparkling beaches to the gourmet scene, active adventures to lazy wanders through rustic towns. Enjoy!
“That’s the best thing about Menorca”, our guide Luis leans forward earnestly, like he's sharing a secret with us.
“It hasn't been developed like the rest of Spain. Here, experiences are real. Authentic. We live comfortably, making sure we enjoy the good things in life”.
Though we've only spent a few days on the island, we can already tell he's right; our current long and lazy seafood lunch under the warm glow of the midday sun is just further testament to his point.
Menorca, one of Spain’s infamous Balearic Islands, is the type of rare laidback summer destination that's hard to find Europe these days. Quiet, authentic, and outrageously beautiful, with timeworn old towns and sparkling white sand beaches, it feels a long way from the boat hordes of tourists that swarm the rest of the Med during the warm months.
We spent a week exploring the island and even thoroughly contemplated moving back for the rest of the summer, such was the allure of this Mediterranean paradise. From the historic streets of Ciutadella to the turquoise waters of Cala Mitjana, the islands green centre of Es Grau Nature Reserve, to the exceptional and abundant seafood, Menorca is the perfect place to spend your summer holidays, without the feeling that you're stuck in a zoo.
The best things to do in Menorca, spain
Beach time, and lots of it
Menorca is home to 99 beaches, making it a brilliant destination for those wanting to soak up all the vitamin D which, let's be honest, is everyone.
There are many famous beaches to chose from, including Cala Galdana and Cala Pregonda, however our pick is the gorgeous Cala Macarelleta. Bright wide sands, turquoise water, and surrounding pine trees make it feel as if you’re somewhere slightly more exotic, like New Caledonia or the Caribbean. It’s slightly off the beaten track and therefore relatively devoid of tourists, meaning you’ll have your own slice of sand to enjoy all day long.
Although most beaches, especially in the shoulder seasons, are far quieter than their mainland rivals (looking at you, Greece), in the height of summer you’ll need to head to the beaches early to secure yourself prime position on the sands.
Pro tip: Most beaches in Menorca are a long way from convenience stores, so pack yourself a beach picnic, a lot of water, and sunscreen before you go. Also remember to take your rubbish with you - this island is pristine for a reason.
DAY TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
FULL DAY SAILING TRIP
Discover Menorca's best beaches and hidden coves that are only accessible by sea on this full-day sailing trip around the island. This tour never takes the same route twice, preferring to move with the flow of the sea and nature's elements instead - so you can get an insight to the forces that shape this stunning island. Find out prices and further information here.
CALA GALDANA VISIT
Sometimes, you just want to flop down on your beach towel and hear the waves lapping at the beach without the hassle of working out how to get there. This tour to Cala Galdana will get you there and away easily, with 5 hours of free time in between. Book your tour here.
CHECK THIS MAP OF MENORCA'S BEST BEACHES
Kayak along the coast
With 216km of sparkling Mediterranean coastline, Menorca is a brilliant place to enjoy a day of lazy (or tough!) paddling. In fact, kayaking through the turquoise waters along Menorca’s south-west coast was one of our favourite experiences on the island.
This guided tour commences at the waterfront in Cala Galdana, heading south-east and stopping at various points of interest along the way, including the infamous Cuevas del Drach (Dragons Cave), named after the loud rumbling noise from waves crashing against the cave walls deep inside. It's dark and cramped, but well worth the claustrophobia.
The tour also includes an opportunity to snorkel in a stunning cove, where you can admire the underwater world and ridiculously clear Mediterranean waters.
Location | Cala Galdana
Cost | €40 pp
Pro tip: Although waterproof containers are provided, it’s a good idea to bring a waterproof bag for any electronics. Remember to cover yourself in sunscreen and bring a good pair of sunglasses to protect yourself from the UV rays.
OTHER SEA-BASED TOUR OPTIONS
SNORKELLING VIA SEA SCOOTER
If a day of kayaking isn't really your thing, why not opt for a day of snorkelling via sea scooter? For those who had no idea what a 'sea scooter' was until reading that line (like Mim), it's basically a motorised underwater propeller that you hold onto, taking all the leg work (literally) out of your snorkelling experience. You'll enjoy the best of these pristine waters, without feeling exhausted 10 minutes in. 1-hour guided tours can be booked here.
JET SKI ADVENTURE TO HIDDEN LOCATIONS
We get it. Sometimes you just want a little bit of adrenaline mixed in with your sightseeing, and who are we to deny you that?! Hit the waves on this jet ski tour, and explore the hidden beaches (aka paradise) of south Menorca. All with a little adrenaline and adventure mixed in! Book your jet ski tour here.
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Walk the old town of Ciutadella
One of the best things to do in Menorca is to explore the old town of Ciutadella. Ruled by the Moors, Byzantines, British and Spanish, the city’s stunning limestone architecture, complete with palaces, cathedrals, arches, and little squares have been shaped by the towns past.
It's the perfect town to get lost in - we spent hours wandering the colourful laneways off Plaça la Catedral, and stumbled upon the cutest little restaurant below Hotel Tres Sants, which served fresh salads and juice; the perfect escape from the midday sun.
Within the town, we highly recommend visiting:
Plaça Nova is a delightful little square in the north of the city, and is the place to go when you want to be surround by trendy cafes, Tapas bars, and boutique shops.
Location | Plaça Nova
CATEDRAL DE SANTA MARIA DE CIUTADELLA
Completed in 1382, the Catedral de Santa Maria de Ciutadella has a chequered past, being destroyed, then rebuilt, multiple times. It came into its current neoclassical style after being rebuilt in the early 1800's and is definitely worth a visit.
Location | Carrer de Cal Bisbe, Ciutadella
Opening hours | 10:30am - 13:30pm, 16:00pm - 19:00pm, Monday - Saturday
Reviews | See Tripadvisor reviews of the Cathedral here
THE COLOURFUL STREETS OF CARRER DE SANT CRISTOFOL
The streets off the old town of Ciutadella, in particular, the colourful streets of Carrer de Sant Cristofol, are definitely worth a leisurely stroll, especially in the late afternoon glow.
PLACA DES BORN
On the edge of the old town lies Ciutadella's main square of Plaça Des Born, perfectly framed by the neoclassical Palau Torre Saura, and the town hall. Be sure to check out the obelisk in the centre of the square, placed in commemoration of those lost fighting the Turks in 1558. For the best views of the harbour, head up Bastió d'Es Governador, a 14th century defence bastion which still stands today.
Location of Plaça des born | Plaça des Born
Location of Bastió d'Es Governador | Bastió d'Es Governador
Love seafood? Head to the port area and feast on Mediterranean deliciousness. Here, elegant Art Nouveau buildings tower over the harbour, and once you've enjoyed your meal, take the white stairs up to the top to the various viewpoints over the port. You can also catch a ferry to Mallorca from here too.
Location | Port de Maó
Ses Voltes, the archways leading into Placa la Catedral have been converted into a charming market selling a range of local souvenirs.
Location | Carrer de Santa Clara, Ciutadella de Menorca
Opening hours | 7:30am - 9:00pm Monday - Saturday,
8:00am - 7:00pm Sunday
GUIDED TOURS OF CIUTADELLA
FOOD WALKING TOUR AND COOKING CLASS WITH A LOCAL
We've always said that the best way to get to know a city and its culture, is by sampling its food - and never was that truer than in Ciutadella. Spain is known for its delicious gourmet scene, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, particularly if you're seeking an insight into the traditional fare of the specific area you're in. That's where a guided tour comes in super handy. This food walking tour and cooking class with a local Menorcan takes you through hidden streets in Ciutadella, to a local market where you'll find the freshest produce, and finally back to your guide's house, where you'll learn to cook traditional Menorcan food under their watchful eye. What more could you want?! Book the tour here
Sunset drinks at Cova den X'oroi
It could have been lifted straight from a Bond movie. Built into the caves of the south-coastal resort of Cala en Porte, Cova den X'oroi is one of the most incredible sundowner locations we’ve ever visited.
As the sun goes down over the cliffs, the walls of the surrounding cliffs glow and champagne glasses glitter with golden light as they clink. It’s from this magical viewpoint that you can watch the most vivid sunset, and contemplate the beauty and simplicity of nature.
Make sure you have a Pomada, a local gin mixed with cloudy lemonade - it's basically heaven.
What | Cova den Xoroi
Location | Cala en Porte
Cost | €10 pp entry, includes a soft drink
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Food and Wine at Bodega Binifadet
You could do worse than spend an afternoon and evening enjoying the wines and local cheese at Bodega Binifadet, Menorca's main winery.
Set amongst the vineyards, the rustic winery and restaurant serve wines paired with local tapas, including Binafadet's speciality, goat's cheese marinated in red wine. We can safely say this was one of the best cheese's we've ever tasted.
If you're that way inclined, you can also book a guided tour of the vineyard (free), which will take you through the sustainable production methods employed by the winery.
WhaT | Bodega Binifadet
Location | Sant Lluis
Cost | ££
Reviews | Check out Tripadvisor reviews of Bodega Binifadet now
Mahón Port cruise
Menorca has a surprising history, with Mahón and it's port of strategic importance during the British rule of the 18th and 19th century. The Mahón Port Cruise, which leaves from Moll de Ponent in Mahón’s main port area, provides a great overview of the port (it's one of the largest natural harbours in the world), it's historical importance, as well as the surrounding forts, coves, villas and ports.
We recommend sitting atop the boat, where you'll be able to enjoy glorious sunshine and best views. You'll also get the opportunity to explore underwater in the glass-bottomed catamaran, which gives you an insight into the underwater world of Menorca's coast.
Who | Yellow Catamaran
Location | Tours depart from Moll de Ponent, Mahón harbour
Price | €12.50 pp if purchased online
Discover the gruesome history of Quarantine Island, Lazareto de Mahon
Sitting just off the city of Mahon sits Quarantine Island, or el Llatzaret, a sanatorium built in the 18th century where patients could be quarantined during the constant outbreaks of Bubonic plague.
Thick walls surround the island, used to stop patients from escaping, while remains of the prison-like cells where patients were housed and treated still exist. Take a guided tour to hear the intricate and slightly eerie tales of the conditions former patients were subjected to.
The grounds are wonderfully preserved, and while the island might not everyone's cup of tea, a visit here will help you understand the varied history of Menorca.
What | Lazareto de Mahon
Location | Llatzeret
Price | €18 pp (June - September)
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Hiking or biking through Es Grau National Park
Being a UNESCO biosphere reserve is kind of a big deal, and Menorca is one of them. Fortunately, it has meant the environment is prioritised over socioeconomic development, which has led to the preservation of many areas of the island, including s'Albufera des Grau nature reserve.
Located near the village of Es Grau in the northeast of the island, and covering more the 5,000 hectares of land, water and islands, the nature reserve is home to a huge range of the Island's flora and fauna, and is the perfect place to get out and about. If you're like us and are into your natural activities, you can hike or cycle on the park's many pathways, or explore the park with an arranged guided tour.
For those avid hikers, the famous Cami de Cavalls hike circles the island, and at 180 km in length, isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Location | s'Albufera des Grau nature reserve
Try the delicious Queso de Mahon at Subaida
That got your attention, didn't it?!
Menorca is famous for its cheese (Queso de Mahon), with a history in the cheese making process dating back over 1000 years. Subaida is perhaps the best on the Island; a family run affair (it's been run by the same family for over six generations), and is now one of the largest small-scale producers of Queso de Mahon on Menorca.
Subaida produces Mahón-Menorca D.O.P artisan cheese by natural procedures and respecting the environment, and have four types: tiero, a soft cheese aged for five weeks, semi curado, slightly firmer and aged for three months, curado, even firmer and aged for six months, and añejo, a hard cheese similar to parmesan, which is cave-aged for 18 months.
Each is a taste sensation and can be tried on the guided tour of the estate, which we highly recommend. Guided tours are offered Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Who | Subaida
Price | €7 pp - reservation required
Reviews | Discover whether other travellers loved Subaida cheese on Tripadvisor here
Enjoy 360 views from Monte Toro
Standing 354m above sea level is El Toro (Monte Toro), Menorca's highest point. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, and worth the effort. You'll also be able to see how diverse the landscape of the island really is. At the peak is a 13th century church and statue of Jesus, as well as a cafe to sneak an ice-cream/beer.
There are a few ways to get to the summit; a hike to the summit takes around two hours from Es Mercadal but can be tiring if hiking in the heat. You can also cycle, which is increasingly popular, or do it the lazy way (like us) and drive.
Who | El Toro
Location | Near Es Mercadel, Menorca
Price | Free
Ice cream and insta moments in Binibeca
As if lifted straight from the island of Santorini, the whitewashed houses and cobbled lanes of Binibeca Vell (Binibequer in Spanish) are a dream to wander, ice cream in hand and camera at the ready.
The village may look from ancient times, but Binibeca was built in the 70's by Spanish architect Antonio Sintes Mercadal with the aim of recreating a traditional fishing village. He certainly succeeded.
So visit Binibeca, grab yourself an ice-cream from La Golosa Gelataria and stroll the picturesque laneways - you won't be disappointed.
What | Binibeca Vell / Binibequer Vell
Location | Binibequer Vell town
Sample Menorca's best seafood
With its position in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, it's little wonder the seafood on Menorca is so good.
There are literally hundreds of great restaurants on the Island, but our favourite meal was from La Minerva, located on a platform in the port of Mahon. Here, we enjoyed a ridiculously good cheese platter, delicious vegetarian paella, too many mussels, and a mouthwatering dessert concoction of berries and chocolate.
Another seafood restaurant worth visiting is Cap Roig, perched high on a clifftop overlooking Cala Sa Mesquida. Make sure you grab a seat on the alfresco terrace and watch the sunset as you tuck into their famous lobster stew or calamari.
A few other restaurants we recommend include:
- Es Forn de Torre Soli Nou | located in Torre Soli Nou
- Trebol | located just outside of Mahon in Cala Corb
- S'Espigo | Located in Mahon
What | La Minerva
Opening hours | 10:00am - 12:00am every day
Cost | ££ - £££
Reviews | Check reviews of La Minerva on Tripadvisor now
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ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING MENORCA
HOW TO GET TO MENORCA
If you're coming from Europe, getting to Menorca during peak seasons is rather easy, with daily flights from London via EasyJet. Out of season, flights are irregular and will need to be booked in advance. Check out SkyScanner now for the best deals!
WHERE TO STAY IN MENORCA
When in Menorca we stayed at the all-inclusive PortBlue S'Algar San Lluis, in the resort town of s'Algar, south of Mahon.
The resort itself is comfortable, with large rooms, delicious food and a large pool perfect for lazy days. If you're like us and wish to explore more on your holidays, you may choose to stay more centrally, in either Mahon or Ciutadella. We recommend Ciutadella, as it's a stunning little town close to the Island's most beautiful beaches.
If you're keen to stay in a resort or hotel, there are plenty of accommodation options in Menorca to suit all budgets and needs. Search HotelsCombined to find the perfect place to lay your head.
Menorca has some incredible AirBnB properties depending on your needs. You can grab a one bedroom apartment in Ciutadella for around £50 per night, or if you're keen for a more upmarket stay, a villa with pool will cost around £100 - £150 per night. If you're visiting Menorca, remember to use our booking code for up to £28 off your trip!
HOW TO GET AROUND MENORCA
PUBLIC TRANSPORT (BUS)
Public transport in the form of buses run all over the island. We travelled on the local bus many times and found them to be easy to use, clean, and most importantly, air-conditioned. Transportes Menorca runs buses all over the island, however, if you're looking to go from the north to the south, or east to west, you'll need to change buses, potentially multiple times.
Who | Transportes Menorca
Price | €1 - €5+ depending on ticket/route. Remember to carry change to purchase tickets
* If you're after more public transport information, visit the My Menorca bus info page here
Sometimes, the best way to get around a little island is with the wind in your hair and two wheels under your legs. You can hire a scooter for anywhere between 24 hours and 7 days. All you have to do then is strap on your helmet (included), plot out your adventure, and explore the best that Menorca has to offer. Find out more about Menorca Scooter Rental here.
HIring a car on Menorca is a great way to explore the island, and provide you with the freedom to visit wherever, whenever you'd like. We hired a car for a day and explored the north of Menorca, which was heaps of fun and wonderfully air conditioned.
Fortunately, car hire on the Menorca is quite affordable, starting from €10 per day, with many local operators offering competitive prices, as well as the standard car hire companies. Car hire can be booked for pick up from the airport, or from your hotel.
To check prices and availability, check Rental Cars here
Menorca is serviced by a reliable and regulated taxi service, which certainly helps if you've decided to head into town and need a late night ride back to your accommodation.
Fare prices are based on distance, but it's always best to check prices before commencing your journey. Taxi's are generally based at taxi stands known as Paradas de Taxi, so if you can't find one, ask a local who should be able to help.
Have you visited Menorca? What were your favourite things to do on Menorca? Let us know in the comments!