So much more than beaches: culture and cuisine in Menorca
There’s so much more to Menorca than just idyllic beaches, fishing villages and charming paths by the sea. The island offers amazing food and a busy cultural programme throughout the year.more info
The 7 lighthouses of Menorca
Menorca's lighthouses are part of the island's environment and its rugged coastline. That is why they are located in some of the most beautiful and wild areas, turning your route into an encounter with Menorca's nature and its diverse landscapes. Beyond the first function to point the way to the boats, they form a unique postcard in the already beautiful coast of Menorca.
All lighthouses are managed by the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands and on their website you can find the technical specifications of each.
Its location in the natural setting of the Natural Park of s’Albufera des Grau, the wettest part of Menorca, about 20 miles north of Mahon, makes it one of the most visited.
Key Point of the Island’s Biosphere’s Reserve, here we find a variety of waterfowl and raptors such as the osprey, the kite or the booted eagle
About 14 kilometers from Es Mercadal, at the southernmost tip of the island, this impressive lighthouse stands on a cliff over 80 meters and with fantastic views over the sea.
If you visit the lighthouse of Cavalleria you will observe a curiosity: a few piles of stones facing the sea will surprised you. They are build by the tourists who come to the lighthouse because, according to tradition, who creates these forms and expresses the desire to return to Menorca to the Lighthouse, will see their wish come true.
Punta Nati Lighthouse
Opened in 1913, its creation comes from a tragic accident. And it is because in this area of strong winds and ocean currents the modern French Général Chanzy steam was wrecked by a big storm three years before.
Days with strong wind from the north you can enjoy a natural spectacle when the crack near the lighthouse ejects water with great force, in a sort of bufador lambasting the headlight, which sometimes has been damaged by the pressure.
Illa de l'Aire Lightouse
On Mahon’s south, in the town of Sant Lluis, there is the touristic Platja de Punta Prima. From here you can observe perfectly Illa de l'Aire and its lighthouse’s silhouette surrounded by turquoise waters and rich marine life.
One feature of the island is to house an endemic species of Menorca and Mallorca: black lizard. But not only the small reptile inhabits the island, it also houses numerous birds on their migratory path.
With carachteristic thick black and white stripes, the lighthouse Artrutx is 7 kilometers from Ciutadella. It was built in the mid nineteenth century, in 1858, and at first, it worked with oil until 1930 that electricity came to the lighthouse. Now the Artrutx Lighthouse it is part of the historical heritage of Menorca.
Near the lighthouse there are the coves den Bosch and Son Xoriguer, one that has the greater waves and therefore enables windsurfing.
It is located on the seafront of Sa Farola so you can get there calmly strolling about 30 minutes from the center of Ciutadella. During the trip you can enjoy the beautiful scenery or a swim in the Caleta es Frares with its platforms for the bathers located halfway.
Sant Carles or Mahon Lighthouse
Considered to be the first lighthouse on the island, it was built in 1852 on the ruins of Castell de Sant Felip, on the tip of Sant Carles. After some discussion about its location, it was replaced by a metal tower of black and white stripes.
Near the lighthouse there is Fort Marlborough, a unique hexagonal shape building surrounded by a trench dug in the ground and built by the British between 1710 and 1716, with galleries that you can visit.
Pictures by www.portsdebalears.com
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Diving Menorca. A World of Surprises
With the arrival of summer, many are those who dare to practice scuba diving. Nothing compares to the pleasant feeling of calm that produces snorkeling in crystal waters and between unique species as you discover all the wonders that the seabed hides.
This exciting experience is available to everyone. Making diving a passion and the more you know, the more addicted you become.
If you are already an accomplished expert, in Menorca you will discover a wide variety of possibilities. If you start now, in the diving centers scattered through the island, they will teach you the techniques and procedures for a progressive development, putting at your disposal the best material.
The descent to the wonderful water depths of Menorca is a unique experience. Its warm, clear waters and colorful environments, have nothing to envy to the Caribbean beaches.
In the north of the island of Menorca, in the stretch between Cap Gros and Sa Punta des Morters in the Mola des Fornells, there is the Marine Reserve, a zone located very close to the coast that does not exceed the 30 meters depth. A dramatic landscape with unique marine species, natural caves, galleries and wrecks.
In this Marine Reserve we find special interest areas for underwater diving, such as S'Illa des Porros (or illa de Sanitja), with a coastline without buildings and a seabed with abounding wildlife, such as large groupers, barrucadas, dentones and false pollocks. There are also remains of boats that have succumbed to their waters. Accessible to all levels because of the shallower side doesn’t reach the 8 meters and the deepest reaches 30.
In Cala en Morts there is the so-called Swiss Cheese Cave, which gets its name from the many galleries that form it and that communicate with each other. A nice dive with the penetrating rays of light that create a beautiful set of lights and backlighting.
Es Pont d'en Gil is the name of a natural bridge that hangs on the cliffs in the middle of the sea. It is close to Ciutadella and you can dive in its waters to reach Sa Cigonya, a beautiful cave, about 200 meters, full of stalactites and stalagmites. If you go through you can access a vault with a fine sandy beach.
South of the port of Maon there is a diving paradise. These are the surrounding funds of Illa de l'Aire with their rock arches and abundant wildlife. About 20 meters under the islet of Cagaires we discovered a whole system of natural galleries with walls covered with coral, anemones, and sponges where groupers, moray and eels hide. The waters of the Illa de l'Aire collected the remainings of centuries of navigation disasters. In the sand and rocks there can still be seen some objects as anchors, cannonballs and other pieces of artillery.
If you want to know more about the possibilities that Menorca offers for scuba diving with excursions for all tastes and levels, take a look at this guide.
Why not take a trip to Menorca? Have a look at our flights here!
Pictures bt buenaventuramenorca.commore info
Menorca Aside From Its Beaches
Tufts of cloud fill the sky over Maó. As if acting on a customised script, the weather is adhering to the purpose of this article – to show that Menorca is a lot more than crowded beaches with crystal-clear water, beach bars for nourishing one’s tan and idyllic bike rides with one’s shirt open or wearing a vaporous skirt. When quite the opposite condition sets in, it is every bit as pleasurable – cuisine, culture and scenery. It’s starting to rain in Maó.
The raindrops, the size of five-cent coins, batter against the formidable vessels moored in the port of Maó. The island thrives precisely because of that huge reservoir of water connected to the Mediterranean. It is one of the largest natural harbours in the world – no less than five kilometres long! – surpassed only by Pearl Harbour and New York. It is not the best of days to admire the harbour views so, how about having breakfast until the storm abates? Centrally located, ensconced in one of the Menorcan capital’s legendary cream-coloured streets, lies Es Llonguet, the perfect café for reading away the time and, needless to say, savouring the establishment’s sweets and savouries – the rubiol de carn (meat turnover) or the llonguet de camot (sausage roll) will restore your strength to continue on your way.
A stone’s throw from Es Llonguet, in an area known as the “Fossar dels Anglesos”, lies the Ca n’Oliver art centre. Located in this erstwhile private home dating from the late-18th century, an old house now open to the public, is the Centre d’Art i d’Història Hernàndez Sanz, a reminder of the island’s British legacy. There, you can go up to the rooftop with its views over the city – just as well it’s only drizzling now. Once back in the street, we realise that the rain has stopped; the cobbles gleam as if freshly varnished by the puddles of water. Time to visit the recently remodelled Mercat des Peix Antic, the ideal spot for enjoying an aperitif or having lunch. And, come to think of it, before heading for Ciutadella, drop in at the magnificent patio in the Hotel Jardí de ses Bruixes. Then off to another point on the island.
A 45-minute drive from Maó, Ciutadella, Menorca’s “cultural capital”, is famous for its Fiestas de Sant Joan and its magnificent urban beaches. It is not easy to find accommodation in winter, but Sa Vinyeta is always a good option. After dropping off your bags, take a stroll along the promenade of ses voltes (stone arches on either side of the street) as far as the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Ciutadella, a 13th-century Balearic Gothic construction. From there, go and warm yourself up at the legendary Bar Imperi, on the corner of the Plaça dels Pins. And, before hitting the sack – tomorrow you’re off on an excursion – call in at the Jazzbah, located next to the tiny old fishing harbour, celebrated for its rissaga (tidal range of up to two metres). Open all year around, this wine bar is one of the city’s cultural hubs, boasting a regular concert schedule and karaoke sessions once a month.
Dawn brings a warm day, despite yesterday’s rains. Winter in Menorca holds some surprises, in this instance a good one. Before setting out for Cala Pilar, an area of pebble coves on the north of the island, get some provisions for the bereneta (mid-morning snack). The Pastisseria Moll, one of the oldest pastry shops on the island, is your best bet. Once in Cala Pilar, after rounding part of El Camí de Cavalls, a 100-kilometre GR footpath ringing the entire Menorcan coastline, it’s up to each individual whether or not to take the plunge in the Menorcan sea in mid-March.
After completing this leg of the route and before getting back to the grind, the best thing is to refuel at the Hogar del Pollo, in the centre of Ciutadella. This tavern run by Matías, an Argentinian resident in Menorca, breathes aromas from the world over – with genuine Argentine beef, the best Galician delicacies, scallop and shoulder of pork as the major temptations, and at affordable prices. If after this winter tour of Menorca you are still thirsting for typical local produce, swap the Hogar del Pollo for a visit to Cas Merino, located just behind the old fish market in the Plaça la Llibertat. Be sure to buy some ensaimadas to take home with you – whether in summer or winter, you can’t leave Menorca without one.
Text by Yeray S. Iborra for Los viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Images by Commons Wikipedia