Most of Menorca’s visitors have previously become acquainted with Mallorca. These two largest of the Balearic Islands are merely related to one another by their names:

Mallorca – the larger
Menorca – the smaller

For those who are now expecting a miniature edition of Mallorca there may be at first a certain disappointment, but then again, there may be an agreeable surprise at the sight of the varied, unspoiled and picturesque countryside of Menorca.

The extraordinary thing about the Baleares is that each island is a world unto itself with quite particular characteristics of its own.

Menorca is somewhat more than just a »little« Mallorca, so that visitors to this island will find that it unveils itself with demure shyness, and seems to open up its mysteries only grudgingly. In fact, one has to take the trouble to start off on the quest and approach it quietly and with sharpened senses, so that loud noises and heavy feet shall not scare off the subtle magic that still hovers over the island.
It isn’t a brash, pushing sort of place, and at first hardly anything comes across as especially gripping.

Cala Mitjana

Fortunately tourism hasn’t yet completely overpowered the island and it is still possible to experience traditional customs and find authentic elements.
The island’s most valuable possession is its still mostly unspoiled natural environment which, we all hope, is going to remain well looked after and protected in the future. The Balearic Regional Council took on its share of the job in January 1991, when almost half of the island’s surface (46%) was placed under the protection laws concerning the natural and scenic areas of particular value. Thus removed from the dangerous path of speculation and the building boom, it would seem to be assured that in the foreseeable future there will still be a great many beaches and coves in Menorca without a single hotel, untouched by overcrowding.
Cala Mesquida Menorca

The coming into effect of these laws means that some of the beaches cannot be reached on well-paved roads, or even driven to at all.

Cala des Talaier Menorca

But once again, that is exactly what the special charm of this island is all about; for explorers and inquisitive souls Menorca has quiet sandy beaches and shady pine groves or forests of evergreen oaks on all its coasts, so that even in the driest periods of high summer the island is covered in green.

Bosque Cala Rafalet

Humedal Son Bou con senderista

The mountainous landscape of the north stands in contrast to the south, though broken up by numerous valleys and ravines, is mainly flat. Here the existing wildlife and vegetation find a sheltered environment as did the first settlers, who found protected living space within the plentiful natural caves, some 7000 years ago.

In the Bronze Age these first inhabitants built timeless monuments to themselves in the form of mysterious megalithic constructions. Navetas, Talaiots and Taulas will draw today’s visitors into the spell with their riddles and secrets from a time in which their builders were feared as fierce sling-warriors.

Torre d'en Galmes Menorca megalítica

Down the ages many different visitors have come to the island and for over two thousand years it has been torn to and fro between many opposed powers and different influences. On the borderline between east and west, Menorca has kept a little of both.

The Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines and even the Normans left their mark. Then the Arabs held the island for several centuries. The Catalans brought Christianity back in 1287. In the XVI century the fleets of the Ottoman empire attacked and laid waste the two main harbour towns, and in the XVIII century the island was to become one of the dice in the power game of European politics. The British dominated Menorca during three periods in less than one hundred years, with brief interruptions of French and Spanish rule, once again altering the island’s traditions and way of life. The after effects are still traceable today.
Although the island has been Spanish since 1802, the indelible imprint of colonial Britain cannot be overlooked: of all the Balearic Islands Menorca is the one that comes across as least »Spanish«.
Besides the sun, the beaches and holiday fun, the island has more to show for itself.

The wonders of Menorca are hidden and you will only make them yours bit by bit, a step at a time, a poc a poc.

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