Not the most popular, but the most beautiful of the Baleares – that’s Menorca for me.
Even though I can say that I have explored some beautiful turquoise waters on this planet, I have to admit that my favourite beach is one that I have encountered on this little island called Menorca, only a 50 minutes flight away from my home town Barcelona. If you haven’t heard about Menorca yet, I’ll give you a short resume: cute little island in the Mediterranean, humbly located between bigger (and more known) Balearic islands like Ibiza and Mallorca, amazing turquoise water and tasty food. And it’s exactly the fact of being less popular and touristic than the surrounding islands that has has kept Menorca’s authenticity and charm intact.
Menorca is this place where you don’t need to go far to find this idyllic, paradisiac feeling and turquoise beaches – basically, almost every place on this island is as described above. Turquoise beaches all around, authentic white painted houses in cosy villages, Mediterranean weather, …
And trust me, I have been on a couple of paradisiac islands in Greece, Spain, Asia – but never have I encountered something so small and cosy, almost directly feeling like mine.
So here it is, my little treasure, which I almost don’t even want to share – but yet, I do – in the hope that one day, you will have the chance to experience its magic with your own senses.
There are two big cities on the island: Ciudadella in the west, which is the capital, and Mahon on the east side, which is the city closest to the airport.
The island has many villages, but one of the cutest little ones of the entire island is Binibequer , constructed in 1972 in the typical fishermen village style, and filled with many delicious fish restaurants that are serving the fresh catch of the day. Come here for a delicious lunch and then spend the afternoon at the Cala de Benibequer, the nearby village beach.
The village is easily reachable by public bus from Mahon – there is a bus every hour.
I’m not so much of a city person, but I must say that the cuteness of Mahon stole my heart, taking me up and down its winding streets filled with shops with island souvenirs, ice cream – and the most important Menorca attribute: the Menorquinas! These are typical shoes that found their origin on Menorca, and if you have ever been in Spain anytime between spring and autumn, you have probably spotted these shoes on every second local in the streets. Their popularity in Menorca in the summer months though can’t be exceeded, and I made a holy promise that the next best time that I would come back to this beautiful island (which hopefully won’t take me too long…), I must buy myself a pair of this hippie-like Menorquinas.
Wild camping is not allowed in Spain, but if you you use your common sense, you can bivouac overnight without getting in trouble or waking up to the police. First of all, bivouacking envolves a couple of very simple rules: set up your tent when the darkness is falling, take your tent back down once the sun rises, don’t make too much noise or light – and find a good spot to put up your tent. And we discovered this one…
Actually, Macarelleta beach is very busy in the day – obviously, who does NOT want to bathe in this crystal turquoise water? This beach is obviously not the only one where you could pitch your camp in Menorca: a few beaches on the north coast are also suitable, or you could evenfigure out a route of a couple of days, sleeping on different beaches along the coast. Though Macarelleta is being considered one of the most famous beaches of Menorca figuring on every second postcard of the island, I think it was a good choice – especially because it’s not so easily reachable at night, and kind of far away from civilisation – so the chances of the police passing by in the night are below zero. It is small, and… biggest surprise ever, sometimes in the early autumn its waters are crowded by bioluminescent phytoplankton. I don’t have words how amazing that night was, when me and two of my best friends spent half a night mermaiding around, with every single movement or splash lighting up as in a fairytale.
As I already mentioned, Macarelleta is crowded in the day, but when the sun starts to set, people slowly start to disappear, until they fade away at all. In the summer, it is possible that you will have the company of some locals that come to camp there as well, but they usually just put up some hammocks in the woods behind the beach, and the only thing they do that could bother you is playing guitar – which is totally awesome.
So, basically, the beach is entirely yours to find a good place for your tent 🙂 The most tactical one is at the side of the rocks, so you are less visible and have less wind.
The only thing you need to “worry” about is making your tent disappear by sunrise, as I said – we haven’t encountered any problems, but the police does come sometimes to take a look in the early morning, and you wouldn’t want to end up with a fine. In summer it is warm enough to keep on sleeping on the beach anyway, so your morning snooze can continue.
This is probably the most incredible place that I have woken up to in my life. So if you consider a visit to this wonderful island, I would definetely recommend you to pitch a tent for a night or two in one of its beautiful beaches.
If you decide to head up north, to the other side of the island, Fornells is one of the villages that are worth a visit. It has some cheap accomodation options, a couple of beaches and cliffs to take a stroll, and you can rent a bike and take a trip to the lighthouse, while taking in the surroundings.
Enjoy your trip!