Menorca is one of my favourite places for a chilled beach holiday. I’ve been to Menorca lots of times and we went again this summer for the first time with the kids and had our favourite family summer holiday yet.
On the surface, Menorca may seem like the smaller and less popular option to its Balearic sea brothers, Ibiza and Mallorca. But it’s the fact that Menorca is smaller and quieter that attracts me to this gorgeous island. Think white sand beaches with calm seas, chilled beach bars, historic towns, pretty white buildings and decadent local cuisine. Oh, and the weather is pretty great, too.
I highly recommend hiring a car in Menorca and it’s an easy place to drive and it’s small enough that you can get around and see a lot. It only takes 45-minutes to drive from Mahón, Menorca’s capital city on the east coast, to Ciutadella Old Town on the west coast, meaning it’s totally doable to seek out more things to do in Menorca beyond the beaches. These are some of the top activities and attractions in Menorca for a memorable, relaxing break.
1. Check out the port and sites in Mahón, Menorca’s capital city
Menorca is already well-known for its beaches and outdoor activities but one of the things to do in Menorca that you shouldn’t miss is its capital city, Mahón. Port Harbour is the second largest natural port in the world and the city has been occupied by many different countries so the architecture is a beautiful mix of different styles.
One of the most fun and popular things to do in Mahón is a Yellow Catamarans tour of the port. Some boats even have glass bottoms so you can see the sea life on clear days.
2. Hike or bike through S’Albufera des Grau Nature Reserve
Nature lovers simply cannot miss the S’Albufera des Grau Nature Reserve on the north coast of Menorca. It’s a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve and includes a freshwater lagoon surrounded by plants, woodland and a huge variety of bird species.
You could spend days hiking through the nature reserve’s many trails so if you want to see more of this wild region, hiring bikes is ideal. One of the nearest places to hire a bike is from Bike Menorca in Mahón.
3. Wander through the historic city of Ciutadella Old Town
I know, you booked your relaxing break to Menorca to read on beaches and swim in the sea, not traipse around towns and cities all day! But I think you’ll change your mind once you step into Ciutadella Old Town.
Ciutadella was the capital of Menorca during Roman and Moorish times (yep, Menorca has had a few different rulers) and is home to many of the best cultural and historical things to do in Menorca. Just a few places to visit are Plaça Nova, Plaça des Born (two of the main squares) and Ciutadella de Menorca Cathedral.
4. Chill out on one of Menorca’s many amazing beaches
Let’s face it, Menorca could have the prettiest towns and villages in the world (and they are very, very pretty) but the best things to do in Menorca all involve sand, sea and sun. Our favourite was Binibeca Beach but Cala Macarelleta, Cala Pregonda and Cala Turqueta are widely regarded as being the best beaches in Menorca. And as gorgeous as they are with their rugged white sand and turquoise water (such show-offs) you might find your favourite Menorcan beach to be a small cove closest to your villa, free from crowds.
5. Climb Monte Toro for panoramic views of Menorca
If you love being active outdoors, this is probably one of the best things to do in Menorca if you’re prepared to sweat in exchange for some epic views. Monte Toro is the highest peak in Menorca so there’s nowhere better to fully appreciate the beauty of the island. And if you aren’t feeling so active you can also drive up there!
And if the views weren’t enough (which they definitely will be), there is even a church at the top called Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro and a Christ the Redeemer statue. Locals still make the pilgrimage up the mountain every Sunday for mass!
6. Take the kids to Splash Sur Menorca Water Park
If you have children, there is absolutely no way you can visit Menorca without hitting up a water park. It’s the perfect place to really make the most of Menorca’s warm climate and let your kids burn off all that summer holiday excitement energy.
The biggest waterpark in Menorca is Splash Sur Menorca and they cater for young kiddies as well as older children. And there’s even a lazy river if you find some time to relax!
Our boys loved it here but I would advise only going when it’s hot. We went on a fairly cool day in early June and we were all too cold and didn’t last long!
7. Kayak, snorkel, sail or jet ski your way around Menorca
^Kayaking from Cala en Porter Beach was one of my favourite things to do in Menorca. I took a kayaking tour similar to this one and I highly recommend it!
Beaches, boat tours, water parks… All the best things to do in Menorca involve water and taking advantage of this beautiful, modestly-sized island in the middle of the Balearic sea.
Menorca has so many water activities that you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can kayak in caves in Cala en Porter, snorkel on the north coast, hire jet skis and so much more.
8. Visit Binibeca Vell, a ‘traditional’ Menorcan fishing village
Binibeca Vell is a small fishing village which looks postcard perfect. It boasts 165 pristine, bright white traditional style Mediterranean villas that almost look too good to be true. And that is actually the case! Binibeca Vell was built in the late 1960s/early 1970s to represent the storybook version of a classic Spanish fishing village.
Despite it’s manufactured beginnings, you simply can’t miss visiting this quaint and beautiful little town when you’re in Menorca. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream and the nearby beach is pretty beautiful, too.
9. Eat all the seafood, fruit and definitely all the cheese
One of the hardest decisions you’ll need to make in Menorca is what to eat first. Like everywhere else in Spain, the food is delicious and even an island as small as Menorca has local delicacies. One of the most popular is Mahón cheese which is cow’s milk cheese that tastes a little salty due to the sea salt on the grass that the cows eat.
Top tip: Mahón cheese should have creases from the cloth it’s wrapped in while it’s aged. No creases mean it’s processed and isn’t proper Mahón cheese.
The fruit grown in Menorca is also incredible. Look out for cheap peaches, oranges and strawberries that are grown locally and come in odd shapes and sizes.
And finally, the seafood! Fish meatballs and lobster stew are traditional local dishes but of seafood paella and mussels are generally good options on Menorca too. If you’re a diehard foodie, head to Es Port or the fish markets in Mahón or Ciutadella. If you are staying in your own villa, you can cook your own delicious meals with local seafood.
10. And don’t forget to sample local wine and gin
You’re going to need a beautiful local wine to pair with all that incredible seafood! There are eight local wineries on Menorca and the biggest is Bodegas Binifadet which has its own restaurant.
Would you believe me if I told you that Menorca was home to an amazing gin distillery? Well, along with the Romans and the Moors, the British also occupied Menorca during the 18th century and you know how us Brits love our gin. If you visit the Xoriguer Gin Distillery in Mahón, you can sample a few gins for free and watch the gin get made.
If you’re visiting Menorca with your significant other, then you have to visit Cova d’en Xoroi, one of the most romantic things to do in Menorca. It’s a bar built into the side of a cliff overlooking the Balearic sea. Definitely get here early to find a good spot to watch the sunset.
11. Stroll along one of the Camí de Cavalls footpaths
This ancient footpath around the coast of Menorca has been split up into 20 different trails so you can enjoy an incredible, scenic walk wherever you are on the island. Camí de Cavalls was first developed in 1330 when King James II demanded all citizens must defend the island and keep watch in case of intruders.
It’s had many other uses over the years, and now it’s just a fantastic way of keeping active on holiday while soaking in all of Menorca’s gorgeous coastline.
12. Discover Menorca’s Talaiotic past
This is a must-do activity in Menorca for archaeology and pre-history enthusiasts. Talaiotic is the name given to the society that existed on the Balearic Islands during the Iron Age over 3,000 years ago.
The best ancient site on Menorca is Torre d’en Galmés which is an ancient town, but Torralba d’en Salord Talaiotic Village and Poblado de Son Catlar are also notable Talaiotic sites.
13. Explore the gardens and maze at Pedreres de s’Hostal
Pedreres de s’Hostal is one of the more obscure things to do in Menorca, but it’s consistently one of the highest rated activities on the island. It’s a 200-year-old former Quarry turned park, botanical gardens, maze (yes, maze) and events space.
It’s really got to be seen to be understood but it’s a stunning attraction and the maze is a great activity to occupy your older children.
14. Look out over the Balearic Sea from Cap de Cavalleria
Situated at the northernmost point in Menorca, Cap de Cavalleria is a 150-year-old lighthouse on top of the tallest cliff in Menorca. Naturally, it’s well placed to provide beautiful sunrises and sunsets across the sea.
If climbing up Monte Toro wasn’t enough hiking for you, Cap de Cavalleria should be the next thing to do in Menorca on your list!
15. Uncover Menorca’s Military history at Fort Marlborough
There really is something for everyone in Menorca. I know more than a few people who are mad for military memorabilia and stories and Fort Marlborough is where I’d send them in Menorca.
This military museum is housed inside a former fort and educates visitors on Menorca’s military past. Vintage artillery and local uniforms are also on display as well as yet another cracking view over the water.
These are 15 of the best things to do in Menorca! Would you add anything else to the list from your experience?
Our holiday lowdown
For our latest trip to Menorca we booked it through Villa Plus. This wasn’t a press trip and I didn’t get any kind of media discount or anything but we got such a great deal I had to share it. We paid £1,119 for the four of us including flights, luggage and accommodation for us all. We went for 7 days and had a large, 4 bed villa with a large garden and private pool near Mahon.
We hired a car for the full week for £171.51 (I think we had a Vauxhaull Mokka or something similar). I booked the car through Holiday Autos which booked it through a local company called OK Rent a Car, who were exactly that – just OK. Our experience with them was OK but another family we met had a terrible experience and lots of people had to wait hours to get their cars so I wouldn’t recommend them.
We mostly cooked at ate at our villa because it had an enormous BBQ area and was just so lovely, so our overall expenses for the whole holiday were really low. I think our biggest expense after the car was going to the waterpark for the day!
As you can see, there really are so many things to do in Menorca and it’s such a great place for a family holiday.
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