If Menorca has enough of something, then these are stones. Someone said "we are growing stones here", pointing on a field full of stones. That is also the reason why you here find so many stone walls between the fields – they simply used what is already there. The walls are dry stone walls, built without cement or mortar, and sometimes some plants grow over them so that it looks like a hedge instead.
Dry stone walls were also used for burial chambers and other monuments that were built before Christ. There are many places with old stone monuments on Menorca, the oldest one may be 3500 years old. There are Taulas (=tables), which are up to 4m high stone tables with two slabs arranged in a T Formation; Talaiots, which are large Megaliths; and Navetas, which look like are stone ship upside down and probably was a tomb. Unfortunately it's hard to reach these sites by bus and as we didn't rent a car we've missed to visit a such place. At least we passed some by bus...
The Cova d'en Xoroi is an artificial cave in the cliffs, about 25m above the sea. You walk about 100 steps down, and then you are there - at the cave, where you find a disco, with two bars. It's already spectacular in the afternoon, how then must it be at sunset or later! Admission was pretty expensive, but this included a drink (soft drink or beer). In the evening admission is higher. It's only open in the late afternoon until sunset and then again after 23:00 for the disco.
Binibèquer Vell is a picturesque village at the south-east coast, with white houses and narrow streets. The village belongs to the community St Lluís but actually is a holiday village. It was designed after a fisher village and even has a church steeps but no church! The village is a popular sight - we were brought there with a tour bus, for a short stop only. There are several shops and restaurants and below is a little harbour and a swimming platform at the rocks, but a bit further away also is a sandy beach. It was nice to stroll around there and I could imagine that snorkelling there also would be nice. I only wonder how is the aircraft noise as the airport is so close; while we were there we could see and hear a plane but it didn't appear too loud.
The Camí de Cavalls is a historical bridal path which was used by soldiers to ride between the watch towers. The path goes all along the island, close to the coast, and is almost 220km long. It's divided into 20 stages and there are maps for each stage. But you don't need a map, the path is well signposted, with red signs and wood columns!
We walked parts of the path from Cala Galdana in both directions and the path was sometimes small, sometimes wide, usually pretty rough, only a bit up and down except for some more inclines to the beaches. We mainly saw people on their way to the next beach, also some bikers (must be pretty strenuous on that rough path!), but no riders although I read that this is popular also. Once even a car drove there, but I guess it was a ranger!
The part that we walked was not directly at the coast, but had several branches to viewpoints which offered great views on the coast and bays. It was a nice walk and we even saw some goats in the bushes, at least I guess these were goats!
Cala Galdana is a tourist resort at the south coast. We stayed there for one week and the reason why I selected this town was that it had a lovely beach surrounded by rocks and two more nice beaches closeby that you easily can walk to. It was really the perfect place for us as we love snorkelling and those coves with the rocks and the crystal clear water were great!
It's a touristy place with lots of shops, restaurants and bars, and also some little supermarkets. You quickly can get away from all the people by walking along the coast path, into the Algendar gorge or simply to some of the viewpoints which offer fantastic views. And if you want to do some excursions you can take the bus to Maó, Ciutadella or Ferreries, or rent a car.
For more information please visit my Cala Galdana page.
Ciutadella is the former capital of Menorca and located in the west of Menorca. It much more feels like a Mediterranean town than Maó, with more Moorish than British influence. You here find a lovely old town with small streets, nice old houses and many shops. I loved strolling around there, it really had a special atmosphere! Also, the cathedral and the Diocesan Museum in the old town are absolutely worth a visit, and you shouldn't forget to have a look at the charming little harbour.
It's a great town and you miss something if you don't visit it while being on Menorca!
For more information please visit my Ciutadella page.
Maó (in Spanish Mahón) is the capital of Menorca since 1722 and is located in the east of Menorca. It has a nice old town, with winding streets and some little plazas. There are several churches, the main one being he Iglesia de Santa Maria. Unfortunately it was closed because of the preparations for a festival, the "Festes de la Mare de Déu de Gràcia". Many riders pass through the narrow streets then, and for this they had put sand everywhere. Another interesting place is the indoor market which is found in the cloister of the former Carmelite Convent.
One of the major sighs however is the harbour, which is 5 km long and is said to be 2nd largest natural harbour of the world. Boat trips with multilingual commentaries are offered which are interesting, and it's nice to pass the islands like the Isla del Llatzeret and all the other sites, and hear about the history of the places.
For more information please visit my Maó page.
Archeology is a great interest of mine, ive just returned from 4 days in Minorca,looking at some of what the island has to offer.
The following pictures are of sites around the island.
PIC1 is RAFAL RUBI Burial chamber resembles an upturned boat .only found on Minorca.
PIC2 TORRES D EN GAUMES dates from 1500BC.talayotic settlement.
PIC3 CALA MORELL NECROPOLIS LATE Bronze age.
PIC4 TALATI DE DALT This bronze age settlement has columned halls which are roofed.
PIC5 The SON BOU BASILICA Only discovered in the 1950s it dates from the 5c ad
Ciutadella is the second biggest town of Menorca. We went there as daytrip from Mao, including dinner at the old town, but we could not explore it as much as we would like due to time pressure. Well, we have a excuse to return!
The old town is surrounded by the "Contramurada": street where originally stood the walls of the old city. It is a maze of narrow streets (Arabic and medieval origins). It has a main pedestrian area: the street which runs between the "Plaza del Borne" and the "Plaza de Alfonso III" (the old Mahón entrance). Here you'll find the arcades, popularly known as "Ses Voltes", starting at the Plaza de la Catedral (commercial center of the old city). The harbour area, even quit touristy is very nice and plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs.
A Naveta is a type of burial monument that is only found in Minorca.It was built with the cyclopean technique,that is,with medium sized stones fitted together without the help of mortar.
In the naveta,collective burials were carried out.indeed during excavations,bodies were found in a disorderly manner,though still accompanied by their most personal effects:jewelery,bone buttons,certain weapons etc.Also found were small pots,ceramic urns and decorated bone top.
The shape,that reminds one of an upturned ship,is what gave the name naveta (meaning small ship)to the monument.The entrance takes us into a small corridor that leads to the upper chamber and the second door leads to the lower chamber.The intermediate floor and and the upper deck are built of large flagstones that act as beams.
For safety reasons it is prohibited to enter or climb onto the naveta.
There are two Glass bottom boats that go out of Cala'n Bosc marina,I chose Amigos purely for the fact it had an upper deck,the other boat is Don Pancho,they both go to the same places so either will be good half day out.
They will show the unspoiled beaches around the area and stop off on one for 1hr 30mins,the waters are clear and the sand is a very fine white sand.
first trip mornings is: 10-13:30
second trip aftern is: 14-17:30
At the time we went prices were €18each
We had a good time and I would recommend it for those people who like to see the unspoiled beaches.
WORD OF WARNING The beach you stop off at may have nudist on.
The Boat Trip Video
Not a lot of detail (sorry!) but have a day in Ciutadella and watch the locals live their lives ... wonderful. Find the local fish market and meat market (great photo shoot), choose a bar / cafe and watch the world go by. It could be 30 years ago. Sorry I can't add any more as (1) it was a quiet time of year we were there and (2) were 'all inclusive' so tended to stay put!! But the day in Ciutadella was wonderful.
Maò (Catalan) or Mahón (Castillian-Spanish) is the capital town of Menorca. It is a pleasant small historic port town. It was a strategic base for centuries, and it's interesting history is rflectd on its architecture, for instance the typical windows of British colonial architecture. The large number of influences result in a old town of eclectic architecture, plenty of interesting corners to discover, with numerous small squares, cobbled narrow streets and of course it's natural harbour.
There are quite a few important historic buildings in Maò, i.e. the church of Santa Maria (second half of the 18th century). Just next door is the Ajuntament (town hall) built in 1789. Interesting as well is Can Mercadal, a large mansion built in 1761, now it is the town library (Plaça de sa Conquesta). Pont de Sant Roc (1359) is the only remaining Medieval gateway to the city.
You should stroll down C/Isabel II, elegant street crammed with 18th century mansions. Many of these have "bow windows" introduced during the British colonial period. Wandering around, you'll see many stairs and alleyways which will take you back down to the port.
Take your swimming shorts if you're off to Ciutadella - there's a lovely little beach about ten minutes walk south from the centre.
The sand isn't as great as some of the other beaches, but the water's lovely.
One of the perks - and lets be honest, there aren't that many - about staying in western Menorca is that you're pretty much guaranteed an excellent sunset every night. Furthermore, the beaches and coast path seem deserted from late afternoon to early evening - so it's easy to find a quiet spot.