Menorca | Minora The Laid Back Hidden Gem of Spain’s Balearic Islands
Menorca Spain AKA Minorca is a great place for families but since it was just my husband and I that went, here’s our Menorca travel guide from a couples perspective. We went to Menorca in July as it was for a friends wedding so one of the hottest and busiest months to visit. Here’s our top tips many of which we learned from the bride and groom who go every year. Including the best areas to stay, Menorca best hotels for couples, best beaches, what to see and do, where to eat, weather and more. If you’re wondering if there are mosquitoes in Menorca, then the answer is definitely yes but I’ll get to that.
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Menorca, Minorca or Majorca
When you fly over Menorca Spain or Minorca (depending on where you’re from, Menorca is Spanish and Minorca English) the first thing you’ll notice is how green and undeveloped it is. It’s completely different to the other Balearic Islands and also attracts a lot of British Ex-pats and tourists.
People kept correcting us when we said we were going to Menorca
Oh you mean Majorca…No, we mean Menorca.
Menorca is less known that it’s bigger sister island and we loved that it was quieter. It’s part of the Balearic Islands, along with Majorca (Mallorca), Cabrera, Ibiza (Eivissa) and Formentera. We definitely appreciated how laid back it was after bouncing around Italy and how busy Venice and Lake Garda was.
Menorca travel guide
Menorca Weather & The Hottest Months
We went to Menorca in July which happens to be one of the 2 hottest months along with August with an average of 25°C. The island really doesn’t have trade winds like the Caribbean in the Summer (mainly in the Winter) so wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated. Complete Menorca weather guide.
Are there mosquitoes in Menorca?
Yes! Especially around the beach. We went to Menorca in July when there were lots of them so definitely pack and wear Mosquito repellant. The mosquitoes they loved us girls and had a feast the first night before we got wise to them and sprayed liberally.
Why visit Menorca
Is Menorca worth visiting? It depends on your likes and needs but if you’re looking for a quieter Mediterranean islands where going to the beach is the main activity then yes.
We went to Menorca as my roommate from Swimsuit USA International, when we were shooting in Mexico, was getting married there. How could we say no to a destination wedding invite with these lovely peeps? Which by they way was magical. The ceremony was in a beautiful, authentic, old, ornate church in Mahon and the reception up on a cliff with sweeping views of the Arenal D’en Castell bay.
We danced (Ella: Camelphat & Elderbrook ‘Cola’ will always remind me of your wedding and all of us dancing in dresses and flip-flops) and drank all afternoon and night, and her dress was beyond fabulous (pic below). Every last detail had been thought of including fans for the guests as it was a hot one!
But there are so many reasons to go to Menorca…
Where to Stay in Menorca | Menorca Best Hotels For Couples and Areas to Stay
We stayed in Arenal D’En Castell as that’s where everyone from the wedding party was staying at various hotels and rentals. It’s one of the larger, more developed bays and with calm waters and wide, clean, sandy beaches. The restaurants are geared towards the tourists but have fabulous views over the bay and definitely have a vacation vibe.
There’s a wooden boardwalk that runs along most of the beach making it easy to get from end to end. At the eastern (Punta Grossa) end of beach there’s a beach bar & restaurant which is a few minute walk to several other restaurants serving including a cocktail bar and restaurant with bay views, a pub which serves British food with a Mediterranean twist, an Irish bar and a pizzeria.
At the western end there are a few bars and restaurants on the beach and the others are just behind beach area, up the hill. The restaurants are all very basic, beachy, and a little dated but they serve good food especially the Paella and have great views. Plus, they’re perfect to pop into from the beach without needing to get dressed up.
Best Restaurants in Menorca Spain
A lot of Menorca travel guides mention the bar restaurant at White Sands which had tribute bands playing most of the nights we were there. It’s pretty basic but has great views.
We also had a fantastic Indian meal at Curry House/India Spice at the top of the hill (wear flats). I’m English and we are fussy when it comes to our Indian food. With absolutely brilliant service from an incredible polite waiter, food, and sunset views. Order the Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala, you can thank me later!
Just inland of Arenal D’En Castell is Coves Noves which is a lively commercial area with bars that stay open late, a couple of restaurants and a larger supermarket.
Some bars have evening entertainment but there are no nightclubs, so if you’re looking for a buzzing night scene you’ve come to the wrong place. We must be getting old as we were grateful for the peace. There’s a time to party and a time to chill and we were so ready to just chill.
This is the Menorca hotel where we stayed and isn’t so much of a hotel but time share apartments. The facilities and amenities are basic and a little dated but it’s clean, has a great location with an infinity pool overlooking the beach and it’s a 1 minute walk down to the beach. It’s definitely a family resort rather than for couples.
Menorca Travel guide couples only tip
Menorca best hotels for couples with less kids go to Arenal den Son Saura at nearby Son Parc, east to Es Grau, Virgin Beaches at Playa Cavalleria or Binimel/Binibeca to the west.
Binibeca, Menorca Spain
Binibeca has a more upscale residential vibe and is probably a better choice to find a Menorca hotel, apartment or Air BNB for couples looking for a romantic relaxing spot. Located on the north-eastern coast of Menorca in an area of natural beauty. Think private white washed villas and apartments.
Binibeca Vell has a small commercial centre with a selection of restaurants, bars, supermarkets and souvenir shops. We went for dinner at Bambu on our last night which is in Binibequer Vell and overlooks the ocean. It’s a classy, instagram worthy spot with Asian Fusian tapas style dining and sunset views.
While the ambience is great the food was underwhelming and the steak was really fatty. Plus, everything came out so fast, we felt rushed rather than it being the leisurely dining experience we’re used to in Europe. Go for the sunset cocktails and bounce somewhere else for dinner.
Sorry, no pics of this restaurant as I started to get super sick on this evening. I ended up bed ridden for a week, in hospital and out of action for 2 weeks from some mysterious bug I picked up somewhere along the way.
How to Get Around Menorca | Minorca
We found it easy and safe to drive around the island but my husband is used to traveling a lot and driving different hire cars on either side of the road. Your best bet is to get a hire car but if you’re going to be drinking check out the bus timetable or order a taxi. Uber wasn’t on the island when we there.
Best Things to Do In Menorca
Visit The Capital of Menorca | Mahon
Mahon the capital of Menorca/Maó, is about 20 minutes away from Arenal either by car, bus or there is a taxi rank close by and has a Mediterranean charm.
It’s kind of a town of 2 parts; one being the harbor below and 2 being the centre at the top of the hill. There’s lots of busy pavement Cafes and Bars in both areas. The old town is a maze of narrow streets with architecture that’s a reminder of its Georgian past. Since we were in Menorca in July we appreciated all the shaded cafes and streets.
If you eat along the harbor (Moll de Llevant) watch out for tourist traps. We ordered lobster paella and there was the tiniest amount of lobster you can imagine (1 bite each) but they still charged an extortionate price and we left hungry.
When is the best time to visit Mahon
If you can it’s best to go to Mahon from Monday-Saturday as the shops are closed on Sundays as well as from 1-4 pm everyday for siestas. Even for a town, Mahon is super quiet (unless you come on a day when the cruise ship is in) with very few people. However for some reason, parking still isn’t the easiest to find and make sure you pay and display to avoid fines.
How long do you need in Mahon?
You only need an hour or 2 here to walk around the town & port unless you’re stopping to eat or do a tour. You can also take a glass bottom boat ride around the harbor for views of Mahon Port. If you’re into gin, check out Xoriguer Gin Factory which is close to the Mahon cruise port terminal.
We drove down to Fort Marlborough to explore before going to Mahon for lunch since it was so close, to get our culture and history fix and take a break from eating and drinking. I’d recommend doing the guided audio tour for 6 Euro so you know what you’re looking at which is also fun if you have kids with you. It took us about 40 minutes to get around which included listening to the whole audio tour. A lot of the Fort is tunnels so it’s a good option on a hot day to escape the heat.
Puerto de Ciutadella Menorca
We didn’t make it to Puerto de Ciutadella as Lewis (Mr. Dawes) was getting too hot, hungry (after our disastrous lunch) and ready to just chill on the beach. Puerto de Ciutadella is another scenic harbor with medieval streets, hidden paths, restaurants, seafront bars, artisan shops, a cathedral, great views. It’s also supposed to be a good spot for a fun night out with a little market at night on the street but we ran out of time.
TIP: Instagram photo opp: Take a photo from Born Square looking down on the river and the wide steps. Looking at all of the photos, I think another trip to Menorca Spain to go here and also out of a boat is in order!
Just South of here is the top rated cove: Cala Macarelleta
Cala en Porter, Menorca Spain
You can take a rent little private boats from here for 90E for 2 hours (you need to book in advance). We missed this too as it was getting towards the end of the 3 weeks going from place to place. By this point we just wanted to spend time with the newly weds, relax on the beach and by the pool for the first time since Tuscany at the start of the trip.
Best Beaches in Menorca
Three of Menorca’s most famous beaches are close together along the southwestern coast: Cala Macarella, Playa Arenal Son Saura, and Cala en Turqueta which research says are must-gos but we ran out of time. Next time!
The reason Arenal’s used a lot in beach names in Menorca is because it means ‘sandy area’.
For more things to do in Menorca check out Trip Advisors list of activities to do in Menorca. Any questions feel free to ask in the comments below or on Instagram.
Travel in comfort | My favorite loungewear sets
If you’re looking for something ultra comfy and affordable to travel in and don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed, these are some of my favorite everyday or travel loungewear sets. I feel more put together in these than in leggings and a tee or most other sweats.
Other European Country and City Travel Guides | Know before you go
If you’re planning on jumping around Europe on your vacation check out these other European locations which we visited In 2019:
Best of Tuscany in 5 Days The best things to see and do in 5 days in Tuscany and how to get the most out of your vacation.
Venice Luxury Guide Everything You Need to Know from Luxury hotels and dining to the more authentic side.
How to See The Best of Florence In 1 Day Everything you need to know to fall in love with this romantic and historic city.
Lake Garda Italy Travel Planning Guide A romantic, adventurous, foodies, couples travel guide.
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