Menorca, classified by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, seduces with its nature and Talayot history dating back to the Bronze Age that shaped its landscape. The smallest of the Balearic Islands, as well as the wildest, has always been dominated by the tramontana that lashes its coasts from north to south. The less touristy and also less urbanized north of the island invites you to venture off the beaten path to red sand beaches and quirky cultural spots. A magnificent region to explore in 5 unusual ways on foot, horseback or kayak…
Mao: Cultural Stop on Isla del Rey
From the top of the gazebo Ses Monges (next to Ses Culleres restaurant) Ray Islandnamed after Alfonso III of Spain, easily recognizable in the center of the port Mao (Mahon), the small capital of the island. At 18and the British built a huge U-shaped military hospital, classified as a historical monument in 1979. The island has since undergone a real facelift with the arrival of Swiss gallery Hauser & Wirth in 2021.
This is an opportunity to take a boat from the port of Mahon to discover the current exhibition in less than 15 minutes. On this island 4 km21500 m2 dedicated to eight galleries, a shop and a restaurant. The cultural program, in partnership with local charities, offers exhibitions by internationally recognized contemporary artists and an extensive educational program. Each visitor, subject to registration, can take part in shows, conferences and master classes.
Outside, a small sculpture path, laid out in a landscaped garden designed by Piet Oudolf, is a haven of tranquility, especially in the off-season. On the island, a short walk is necessary to discover beautiful viewpoints, a hospital and the remains of an early Christian church dating from the 6th century.and with.
Pros of routar.com:
Don’t forget to book a table at La Cantina restaurant. La Cantina, with its decorative atmosphere and large green garden, is the ideal place to discover Menorcan slow food dishes.
Info: Intersection with www.yellowcatamarans.com
The gallery and restaurant are open from April to October 31, 2022. Tel. : 0034 871010020. Admission is free.
Discovery of Es Grau bay by sea kayak
To admire Menorca from the sea, head to the villageEs Grau8 km from Mao, for a kayak trip to the beach in front of the Tamarindos restaurant. A quick technical assessment to understand how to paddle and steer a kayak and off you go! The passage of the bay allows you to make the last adjustments, and already the first waves are pushing us to wave our hands a little more.
Before us is the point of Fra Bernata in Marine Natural Park s’Albufera d’Es Grau which stretches from Cala Benillauti to the village of Addaya on the north coast of the island. This compartment allows you to increase the number of stops on almost deserted beaches.
Access to the first bay in the north of the island is possible after 30 minutes of kayaking. Well protected, it is ideal for swimming. Hiking is out of the question here, because Kolom Island is private. The water is deep blue and the sea urchins, wisely lined up, reveal their glittering quills. A little further, clinging to the rocks, sea anemones flutter in the water.
This marine protected area is dotted with Posidonia, an algae with many health benefits! A bulwark against beach erosion, it maintains the quality of the water and promotes the development of the marine ecosystem… and you can see it all the way to Cala Vidrier, with its white house standing with its feet in the water. Good place for swimming.
Pros of routar.com:
By renting an unaccompanied kayak, you have the opportunity to swim as much as you want and wherever you want! Don’t forget your masks. On the way back, stop at the Grau bar for a drink while standing in the water.
Information. Menorca experience. Kayak rental 30 €/half day. Open from April to October. Carrer Tramuntana 9, Es Grau, tel. : 0034 669 09 79 77.
Walk through the old Addaya saltworks.
On route 3 Camino de Cavals old Salts of Addailocated 13 km north of Mahon on the outskirts of the river. Marine Natural Park s’Albufera d’Es Grau, are little known. The walk begins along a red dirt road rich in sediment. A handsome eagle and a vulture soar above the surrounding rocks. This authentic setting of the American West soon turns into a nature reserve.
The presence of hodgepodge speaks of the first solonchaks on the left. They produced 73 tons of salt in 1947 before being abandoned in 1990. There are some abandoned low walls, and the path is painted with shells left by the sea so close by. On the right, in the salt lake, you can see the first herons and some pink flamingos. After passing the boathouse, we leave this ornithological paradise to climb the wooden steps to the Menorcan countryside and its olive groves.
From this belvedere we see the whole landscape: on the right, wild streams mongofr and from S’Arenalet and on the left are the first white buildings of the portAddaya. Civilization is only 2 km away, continuing along the stone walls that delimit the cultivated areas. A light sea breeze rises, carrying the scent of fig trees and yucca flowers.
Pros of routar.com:
Lunch at La Cantina in the port of Addaya. Fish restaurant right on the water.
How to get there ? 4 km before the Favaritx lighthouse, turn left onto the dirt road towards camino de Cavalls 3. Drive to the end of the road for 2.5 km and park in a small parking lot (arrive early to find a spot).
Northwest Menorca: Ride the Cami de Cavals 8
Approximately ten kilometers from Citadel, a citadel surrounded by ramparts, the northern coast opens wild with the first kalas with clear waters. And riding on it is a pleasure …
The ride on the Menorcan horse, a small, agile black-coated horse, starts in a pine forest. Tony gets off his horse to open one of those olive wood doors that line the road. Barely harvested, it resembles the vegetation in this corner of the Val d’Algayarens, halfway between the streams and the Cala Morel necropolis.
The smell of pine trees fills the air, the horses make their way along narrower and narrower paths and begin to trot over the sandy ground to the first rocks. Cala d’Algaiarens. Wooden sign points the way 8 Cami de Cavals. The wind whips the manes, and the horses spontaneously move to the right, towards a pile of stones, skirting the stone walls on one side, and the jagged coast with its red tones on the other. Mediterranean vegetation, dotted in places with strawberry trees, contrasts with this windswept trail. The passage becomes more and more steep, and the horses take a sharp step between the stones.
outlines Cala de ses Fontanelles looming in the distance. A magnificent bay, framed by gently sloping embankments. Arrival is rewarded with a stop to enjoy the sea between two photo shoots. Horses, even if they are accustomed, however, remain on their guard when their feet are whipped by the onslaught of waves. The return trip leaves path 8 to go deeper into the forest to the equestrian center.
Pros of routar.com:
Get out early in the morning to enjoy the desert coves.
Information: www.cavallsonangel.com, Cami Algaiarens 1 (45 euros / 2 hours).
Walk through the Litika, an unusual quarry, between a garden and a work of art.
Another amazing place near Citadel. Operated until 1994, Litika, an impressive quarry with veined walls, over time has become a labyrinth, an amphitheater, a space of freedom for artists and a work of art in itself. Its gardens, located in the heart of the rock, are very amazing. Simple signs, a red eye for viewpoints, a red hand for danger, and blue arrows direct our steps.
Just beyond the medieval garden with its rose-framed fountain and fragrant herb beds, a labyrinth of orchards interspersed with rocks and invasive vegetation emerges. A landscape reminiscent of a romantic engraving of the 18th century.and century…
As soon as the stone mining was completed at the end of the last century, the bottom of the quarry turned into fertile gardens. There are a few scraps left, even if it’s time to destroy this place. The stone took on subtle hues, and vegetation eventually took over. What a show!
In one of the spaces, under a section of red rock carved in the shape of a sail, there is a stone bench. Opposite is an olive tree in the middle of a vegetable garden. Decor around… on these walls, dug by the hand of man, on these stairs, which once descended to the ground. Continuing to move through its bowels, we reach a stone labyrinth laid dry and created by the artist Laetitia Lara. A beautiful tribute to knowledge, reminiscent of our QR codes… and more artistic!
Pros of routar.com:
Attend a dance and music festival from June to September. The acoustics are incredible (the program is on the site).
Information on the Lithica website: cami Vell de Mao 1 km, 4 km from the Citadel. Such. : 0034 971 481 578, from March to October from 09:30 to 14:30 and from 16:30 to sunset (except Sundays). The rest of the year from 9:30 to 14:30 Price: 6 euros.
Find all practical information, tips and addresses at the Routard Baléares bookstore.
To prepare for your stay, check out our online guides for Menorca and the Balearic Islands.
Tourist Board of Menorca
How to get and get around?
– By plane. In summer there are direct flights from Paris to Menorca (1:50). During the low season, a stopover in Barcelona is required (3 hours 45 minutes).
– On site rental cars or bikes for more sport.
Find your plane ticket
When to go?
The tourist season in Menorca lasts 6 months, from 1uh May to October 31st. In order to make the most of the island and open it in a “slow” mode, it is best to avoid the period from the Saint-Jean celebration until the end of August.
Agritourism has been developing in Menorca for about ten years, many farms located in the interior of the country have been turned into charming hotels. Most focus on the upper end of the range, and high season prices sometimes border on unreasonable. Another reason to go to Menorca outside of peak periods.
Find your hotel in Menorca
Text : Barbara Divry