The South of Minorca at a Leisurely Pace
01 June, 2015
Minorca is one of the most fascinating islands in the Mediterranean. Its peculiar geological structure makes it an exceptional enclave. It also supports numerous endemic species; that is, species exclusive to the island, or else shared only by neighbouring islands such as Majorca, Corsica or Sardinia. The blend of both common and differentiating traits endows this land with an especially attractive natural heritage, which saw intense human development as far back as 4,000 years ago. Indeed, it was the first of the Balearic islands to be inhabited. Its earliest settlers came not from the Iberian peninsula but from other parts of the Mediterranean, including Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians and, later, Turks.
When it comes to slow tourism, three distinct parts of the island can be identified – the east, west and south. As the possibilities are endless, we are going to focus on the south and, in particular, the south-west of the island, centred around Cala Galdana as the main hub.
Beaches to Levitate on
Cala Galdana is also known as Cala Santa Galdana or Cala Santagaldana. It lies seven kilometres from Ferreries, between Morro de Ponent and Penyal Vermell, and alongside the development of the same name, flanked by the vantage points of des Riu and sa Punta which afford excellent panoramas. The place-name derives from the Arabic Guad al-Ana. This beach is one of the best known and most popular destinations in Minorca, as well as one of the most beautiful. It constitutes an isolated tourist resort surrounded by large swathes of practically virgin natural terrain. It is sited at a point on the coastline where two streams, the Algendar and the Algendaret, meet the sea where the latter forms an inlet, giving rise to a wetland, fitted with a jetty, featuring a wealth of animal and birdlife, notably peregrine falcons, frogs, toads, shrews and bats.
Cala Galdana offers countless options for relaxing, geared to all types of visitors. Minorca is well-known for being an ideal destination for vacationing families, as well as for those seeking solitude on a tranquil island, and children do not always fit the ambience of peace and quiet. Hence the existence of “adult hotels”, like the Hotel Audax. We tried it out and were treated to an experience of total relaxation, spa and library included. The hotel also offers wholesome food in its restaurants: Oliva, a gastronomic space with live cooking, a fusion of the best of Italian pasta dishes with Minorcan cuisine, and Galdana – slow cooking. In addition, there they manage all kinds of activities for you through Sports & Nature. Mateo, who is in charge of these services, is an enthusiast of nature activities and knows the island like the back of his hand.
If we opt to do the western beaches, just a half-an-hour’s walk from there takes us to Cala Macarelleta. It is advisable to go there off season, which peaks from 15 June to 15 September, as it can be jam-packed during the high season. Spring is the best time to enjoy it. It breathes a special atmosphere, especially when fairly deserted. The route to this cove runs along the Camí de Cavalls, which skirts the whole island perimeter and is 184 km long. In bygone times, its function was to connect the island’s various defence towers. The Macarelleta cove is accessed via a timber staircase with 216 steps, spanning a drop of 150 metres. The walk is well worth doing as this is certainly the island’s most widely photographed cove. Its waters combine shades of blue, green and turquoise, while on land the chromatic scale ranges from greens to browns. If you head about two and a half kilometres further afield you come to Cala en Turqueta, a cove set in a stunning landscape. And, if you want to continue enjoying this pleasant walk along the Camí de Cavalls, you will reach Cala des Talaier (some 7 km from Cala Galdana) and Son Saura (at the 10-km mark). In addition to this coastal path, there are also trails winding their way inland along the island’s various gullies. Minorca has three rivers and their gulleys stay green all year around. If you can, it is worth going on a hike to d’Algendar to visit its caves.
Sea and Tranquility
Another way of finding peace and quiet is to enjoy the toing-and-froing of the waves on a boat. You can hire one, which is a good way of interacting with the island’s inhabitants, or take a ride on a pleasure boat. One of the best experiences, however, is to go kayaking, which you can do alone or with a guide. We recommend the latter option, as it has the advantage that you also get descriptions and recommendations. One of the most popular pursuits here is to witness the sun setting in the open sea. This is always best done in summer, although in winter it is also feasible, as long as you don a wetsuit.
Minorca offers a good variety of options for enjoying a holiday at a slow pace. Check out our flights here.
Text and images by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
01 June, 2015