Minorca

Hotels in Menorca, Spain

Menorca is one of the four Balearic Islands in the west Mediterranean Sea autonomously governed by a local government devolved from the Spanish monarchy. Also written as Minorca or "minor island" in contrast to the bigger Majorca to the southwest, Menorca is an equally minor player in the Balearic Islands' tourism industry if compared to the wildly popular Ibiza, but the 695-square-kilometre island offers visitors with hundreds of hotels in Menorca, Spain to suit all imaginable budgets and preferences, and figures largely in conservation circles and off-the-beaten-path travellers in search of footprint-free beaches, tranquil sunsets and nature at its most unassuming.

Where to Stay in Menorca

Permanent residents of Menorca do not number more than 100,000 as of 2010, but come summer, from the last days of June until the first days of September, at least two million tourists, mostly from mainland Europe, compete for hotel rooms, apartments and villas to rent in Menorca. If you are looking for where to stay in Menorca, sun-seeking and history-loving visitors flock to naturally deep Mao's Harbour which is the island's capital and second-largest in the world after the more famous Pearl Harbor of Hawaii. Should you wish to embark on a cruise, the port regularly receives ships plying the Mediterranean.

If you arrive by ferry from mainland Spain and Majorca, you will be greeted with a very Georgian red-and-white 18th century Son Granot, now beautifully restored and one of the higher end accommodation in Menorca together with dozens of other hotels on the south coast.

Despite the lack of hype, Menorca has more (white sand) beaches than Majorca and Ibiza combined. With lighter tourist traffic than the latter, you have better chance of finding a beach all to yourself even in summer. Cala Pregonda, facing the Balearic Sea to the north and rather remote, is the most inviting of them all, while the most developed beach resorts in Menorca are in 2.5 kilometre long Son Bou 25 minutes west of the capital. The majority of beach-view villas in Menorca are in the west coast immediately south of the former capital, Ciudadela.

Things to do in Menorca

The entire island was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a European Biological Reserve in the 1990s, with more than 75% of its 695 square kilometres set aside as natural habitat for the Mediterranean's endemic turtles, birds and insects. S'Albufera d'es Grau on the northeast coast is the center of this sanctuary. Lace up your hiking boots and bring to focus the resident booted eagles and red kites.

Or join a hiking expedition around Menorca through the ancient 186-kilometre Cami de Cavalls to get to the remotest beaches and ruins left by the Moors, Romans, Spanish, French and British who battled for possession of the island at one point or another.

Include in your Menorca villa holidays an unhurried look around the 15th century monastery turned Museu de Minorca to unearth the island's Roman and Byzantine past, and glimpse distant lives of the island’s resident Jews and Muslims. You can even venture way back in pre-history in Naveta d'es Tudons, a megalithic chamber tomb dating back to as early as 1300 BC.

An inspiring panoramic view of the island awaits the committed hiker at Monte Toro, Menorca's highest mountain and lookout point less than 30 kilometres north of the capital. For the most spiritually moving sunsets – and legendary Minorcan gin – the natural cave of Cova d'en Xoroi comes alive with night owls after hours.