Overview of Menorca
The Jewel in the Med
The second largest of the Balearics group with its own unique charm, Menorca is one of the most unspoiled islands in the Mediterranean. From its fine white sandy beaches, crystal turquoise waters and temperate climate to its beautiful, tranquil countryside and laid back atmosphere, through to its rich historic heritage, colourful local fiestas and love of cultural arts – not forgetting its traditional gastronomic delights packed full of flavour, Menorca cannot fail to please as the perfect holiday destination for those looking to replenish mind, body and soul.
With all these qualities, it’s no wonder Menorca is so popular with families, couples, individuals and groups. The island is very family-friendly and the resorts and restaurants cater for families with small children. However, it also is a great place to be active, proving the ideal setting for a variety of sporting activities such as walking, cycling, wind surfing, kayaking, horse riding and scuba diving.
Between the capital city of Mahon with its Georgian architecture and the former Moorish capital of Ciutadella, lies a wonderful countryside landscape of fields divided by dry stone walls, white rustic villages, winding lanes, woodlands, farms and traditional market towns. The most popular holiday resorts are located on the south coast while the north with its rockier coastline offers quaint fishing ports and spectacular, sometimes isolated, beaches to discover.
Known by the locals as ‘Isla de Azul y Verde’ (Island of Blue & Green) due to its stunning sea views and rolling green hills, Menorca really does have something for everyone – but without all the hustle and bustle of larger holiday destinations.
Location and Size of Menorca
Menorca (Insula Minor, later Minorica, ‘minor island’) takes its name from being small than the nearby island of Mallorca (just 25 miles away). It lies the furthest to the east and north of the Balearic archipelago, and is the second largest of the Balearic Islands after Mallorca, with following vital statistics:
Land area: 702 sq km. Coastline: 216 km. Length: approx 47 km. Width: approx 20 km at widest point
Geographically the island is divided into two halves: the North with its rugged coastline, sparse vegetation and dark red sandy beaches and the South, which has smooth cliffs and coves of white sand surrounded by pines - both of which can boast some of the most spectacular, natural beaches in the Mediterranean.
The highest point is Mont Toro at 358 metres above sea level offering spectacular panoramic views of the island and its coastline and on a clear day even the coast of Mallorca. Here stands a 17th century monastery, parts of which are still in use today by a community of Franciscan nuns, and a pretty little chapel which houses a statue of the Black Madonna, known as the Verge del Toro and considered to be the patroness of Menorca. There is also a large statue of 'Jesus of the Sacred Heart', dedicated to Menorcan's who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the early 20th century,
Menorca lies 225km off the coast of Barcelona and can only be reached by sea or air. The most quickest and most convenient way to get there is to fly.
The island’s international airport is Mahon (MAH), situated 5km from the capital, Maó. The flight time is less than an hour from major Spanish cities, around two hours from main European cities and approximately 2 hours 25 minutes from most UK airports.
Getting to Menorca from the UK is very easy as the island is well served with frequent chartered and scheduled flights from most UK airports throughout the summer season. Airlines include EasyJet, Monarch, Jet2, Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook.
All year round flights are currently only offered by Monarch Airlines from Gatwick Airport (new for 2011). Otherwise it is necessary to travel to Barcelona and then take an onward flight to the UK. (See our Travel Update section for the latest flight information). Once in Menorca, there are frequent daily flights to Barcelona and Palma as well as regular flights to Madrid and Valencia and three times a week to Ibiza.