Travel guide Menorca: best beaches, charming country houses

cala macarella menorca
I was inspired to write this article after reading this piece in the New York Times entitled Minorca: Off the Coast of Spain a Tranquil Biosphere Reserve which accurately points out that unlike many of Spain’s coastal areas, which have been destroyed by the mass tourist industry, Menorca remains a protected beautiful island free of the usual Spanish seashore blight of hideous concrete hotels. I like Menorca for that reason, even though its scenery is less spectacular than that of Mallorca (the largest of the Balearic islands, blessed with a tall, ragged mountain ranges that make the island perfect for hiking and cycling). Neither does Menorca attract the chic urban crowd that hangs out in Ibiza’s clubs and multi-million dollar designer villas.

Menorca is less popular than Ibiza and Mallorca and that’s just fine for Menorca’s residents and its frequent visitors. It boasts dozens of quiet little beaches (“calas”) that can be reached only on foot. This means you’ll find yourself a secluded spot where you can swim, snorkel, or lie in the sun without the tourist hordes that plague many Spanish beaches on the mainland and on Mallorca. On Sundays, you might come across another hardy soul who, like you, braved the long hot walk down to the beach, but you’ll find him squeezing himself under the shadow of a little tree, squinting into the Sunday edition of the Spanish newspaper, El Pais.

Precisely because you need to walk (sometimes only 20 minutes) to reach these beaches, you won’t find there any of the typical Spanish beach infrastructure consisting of rented beds and umbrellas, or the “chiringuito” selling cold drinks and sandwiches. Therefore you must bring your own (lightweight) beach umbrella which you can buy at most Menorcan shops. A portable beach umbrella is a must in these secluded beaches because many of them do not have enough trees or sometimes, any trees at all!

Where to stay in Menorca? If you are planning a holiday on the island for more than a week, opt for a house or villa rental. This is even more convenient if you are coming with your family. The island is very family friendly in part because of the nature of its beaches — mostly sandy, gently sloping, with gentle waves. Perfect for children and people who enjoy swimming and snorkeling.

This being a “family” island, the nightlife is non-existent compared to Ibiza. If clubbing is your thing, Menorca isn’t for you. On the other hand, prices for accommodations and restaurant meals are lower than in Mallorca or Ibiza.

When to go: spring (April-June) or fall (September-October)

Which part of the island to stay in: it’s a small island so you can stay either near Mahon (the capital) or near Ciutadella (on the other side). I prefer staying near Mahon as there is more to do and see.

What to do: snorkeling, swimming, hiking (to secluded beaches), sailing.

A guide to hiking in Menorca, many of the hiking paths leads to lovely beaches: Walks in Menorca

Here are a few photos from my Menorca collection:

(1) Views of Cala Macarella

Quiet spot in Menorca

Cala Macarella

Although it is one of the more crowded beaches on the island, this is about as crowded as it gets (see above photo). There is a little cove you can swim to on the other side of the rocks (swimming time around 10 minutes) which is fairly deserted.

(2) A photo of me enjoying fresh coconuts

Coconut refreshments on the beach in Menorca

(3) Views of the rented house in Binidali, Menorca

Binidali house Menorca

View of Binidali house

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.


  1. Hai! Where did you rent the beautiful house in Binidali, Menorca? thanks, joze

  2. Joze,

    We rented the house in Binidali many years ago (2000) from an American woman who had been living on the island for many years. I don’t know if she is still renting it out or if she still lives there. I don’t have her contact details. The house was under the flight path (to Mahon airport). At that time, there were few flights so it did not bother us, however, today, I am not so sure. If you are thinking of renting in Binidali or Binisafua, make sure you ask the owner about the noise from incoming flights.