Menorca, often called Minorca by many English-language speakers, does not get the same volume of tourists as Ibiza and Mallorca, and this is a shame because there is a lot to see and do in Menorca.
When most people think about the Balearic Islands, their thoughts will immediately turn to Ibiza and Mallorca, thus leaving out two major isles in this archipelago: Formentera and Menorca.
Some travelers who have visited Ibiza and have ventured beyond the various nightlife districts are aware of Formentera because it is just a short ferry ride away, but that leaves out Menorca the island to the northeast of Mallorca.
If you are the type of traveler who appreciates genuine experiences, Menorca is definitely for you. The many things you can see in Menorca are different than what you can expect to find in Palma, Magaluf, Ibiza, and all those other spots that have been overrun with massive tourism for decades.
The best thing you can do in Menorca is discover the island for what it is: A charming center of Balearic culture.
Before we discuss some of the many things you can see and do in Menorca, there are some things you should know about this part of the world. First of all, the name of the island comes from the Latin name “Insula Minor,” which designates it as being smaller than Mallorca.
While Menorca is the second largest Balearic island, it is about the same size as Ibiza; nonetheless, many visitors report that Menorca feels more expansive.
Archaeological and anthropological evidence indicates that Menorca has been settled since prehistoric times, perhaps not continuously, but the record shows that the Greek, Roman, and Carthaginian empires controlled the island at various times.
Later, Menorca was a major Jewish settlement, and at one point was part of the Caliphate of Cordoba, the Crown of Aragon, the British Empire, the Spanish Crown, and ultimately the Spanish government.
You can sail to Menorca from various ports in Spain and the nearby Mallorca; during the summer months, several airlines will land at the local airport, which runs very efficiently despite its small profile.
You will find many ground transportation options at the Mahon seaport or airport, and you will get as much from your travel dollars or euros as you would in Ibiza or Mallorca; however, some of the trendier spots are frequently visited by the jet-set crowd, and they are priced accordingly.
25 Best things to do in Menorca
Without further ado, here are 25 things you can do in Menorca during your visit. Even though this island is not as large as its bigger sister to the southwest, there are many sights to see in Menorca, and you will only get to experience all of them if you have enough budget and vacation days.
1. Rent a Car
Menorca differs from Ibiza and Mallorca in the sense that driving around is actually a pleasure here.
If your stay is longer than a couple of days, you will find that renting a car is a smart activity because the various scenic routes are reminiscent of getting around Sicily, except that Menorca is a lot safer and more organized, which makes driving far more enjoyable.
2. The Seven Lighthouses of Menorca
This adventure is a must see in Menorca, and it is easier if you rent a car because you can complete it in a couple of days.
Each lighthouse has an interesting story to tell, and if you cannot visit all seven, make it a point to see the ones at Point Nati on the northwest, Cavalry Lighthouse on the north, and Favaritx within the pristine s’Albufera d’es Grau preserve.
3. Visit the Binibeca (Binibèquer) Vell Fishing Village
This ancient-looking town actually dates back to the 1970s, but it was developed with the specific purpose of giving visitors a sense of architectural style of coastal towns centuries ago.
The charming homes are impossible white, and they are connected by intricate alleyways. Of all the interesting spots to see in Menorca, this one is among the most worthy of sharing on Instagram.
4. Climbing Mount Toro
The various adventurous activities you can do in Menorca are not overly extreme. Mount Toro is the highest point of the island, but it only stands about 385 meters from sea level, and the hike is quite pleasant.
There is a small statue of Christ the Redeemer that is similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro, and a delightful cafe awaits you at the summit.
5. Dance the Night Away in a Cave by the Sea
When thinking about nightlife, there is one thing you must absolutely do in Menorca, and that is to visit Cova d’en Xoroi, a cave that naturally formed on the side of a dramatic cliff overlooking the Mediterranean in the southern side of the island.
Cova d’en Xoroi is a restaurant, bar, and disco; it is described as the most romantic spot to catch a sunset in Menorca. After the sun goes down, the place transforms into a trendy dance club.
6. Try the Lobster Caldereta
Balearic cuisine is a bit similar to that of the Valencia region, which means that you will have many options to taste. One of the things you must do in Menorca is sit down to a nice meal of caldereta de langosta, a lobster stew that is served around the island, but the best restaurants for this dish are located in the port area of Fornells and Ciutadella.
7. Explore Hidden Beaches by Kayak
There are many beaches you can’t see in Menorca, at least not from the ground because they are not accessible. One of the best ways to get around this limitation and discover little coves and isolated beaches is to rent a kayak. A popular tourism operator that rents nice ocean canoes is located in Cala Galdana.
8. Visit the Ruins of the Talaiotic Culture
As previously mentioned, the human settlement history of Menorca dates back to prehistoric times. The Talaiotic culture flourished around 2,000 B.C., and there are plenty of sites around Menorca where you can see how these ancient islanders lived.
In Cala Morell, you will find a necropolis with impressive stone structures that has been lovingly maintained by scientists and conservation specialists.
9. Explore the Northern Beaches
Just like in Mallorca and Ibiza, the southern coast of Menorca gets the most visitors, and this means that they are missing out on spectacular beaches located on the opposite side.
Cala Tortuga, for example, is a large spit of golden sand where that offers plenty of coastline to explore. Other northern beaches that are not as rocky as their southern counterparts include Cala Pilar and Cala Pregonda.
10. Stay in the Countryside
Since Menorca is recommended to travelers who are looking for something other than the sun and sand activities of Ibiza and Mallorca, it makes sense to book a hotel that is not a few steps away from the beach.
Just outside Sant Lluis, you can find a few country lodges that offer local guided tours of the rural landscape, and they are not too far from the beaches.
11. Ecotourism in the S’Albufera des Grau
Lovers of the outdoors have many things to see in Menorca, an island that the United Nations has declared to be an important biosphere for the Mediterranean. The S’Albufera des Grau natural preserve is jealously guarded by local forest rangers, but it welcomes visitors all year.
If you enjoy bird watching, you will be happy to know that more than a hundred species make this spot their habitat, and quite a few are native to the island.
12. People Watching at Moll de Llevant
The area around the Casino Maritim in Mahon is a trendy place where locals gather and mingle with visitors. The Maritim Cafe is a nice outdoor terrace where you can appreciate the beauty of Balearic women, who happen to be very stylish. At night, live music is often provided by local DJs.
13. Tour an Abandoned Quarry
Ses Pedres de s’Hostal is an old quarry where decorative sandstone used to be extracted until the mid-1990s. The quarry operations left behind a labyrinthine effect that is great for sharing on Instagram; plus, quite a few gardens have emerged since the stonemasons left. This quarry is located about three kilometers from Ciutadella.
14. Enjoy the Mahon Street Market
Just outside the Claustre del Carme convent of Mahon, a courtyard is converted into a bustling street market from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and this is where you can find local delicacies to enjoy at your hotel.
If you are staying at a long-term rental in Mahon, which is highly recommended if you have the budget, you will likely visit this market often.
15. Take a Tour of Lazaretto Island
Menorca is a large island that connects to numerous other islands, including Lazaretto, a hospital complex built in 1793 during the rule of King Carlos II.
Of all the historic architecture you can see in Menorca, this one is one of the most intriguing because it does not look like a structure that used to care for thousands of patients who died from a string of infectious diseases that plagued Europe from the late 18th century until the beginning of the 20th century.
16. Visit the Island Christmas Markets
Although the high tourist season of Menorca does not overlap into the end-of-year holidays, December and January are nice times to visit the island. Should you find yourself here during Advent season, something that you must do in Menorca is enjoy the various Christmas markets in Alaior, Ferreries, Ciutadella,and Mahon. You will find charming and unusual gifts to take home.
17. Spend the Day at Cala Pregonda
Earlier we mentioned how the northern beaches do not get too many visitors, and this has a lot to do with accessibility.
If you are able to walk about 20 minutes through nature trails, head to the Es Mercadal coastline about six kilometers west of Cala Fornells; inquire about the path of Cala Pregonda and start walking.
Once you arrive at this hidden beach, you will be impressed by its beauty and will not regret walking back 20 minutes.
18. Witness the Virgen del Carmen Celebration
One good reason to visit Menorca during the summer months is that many things are happening around the island, particularly religious feasts. In the middle of July, the Virgen del Carmen procession starts with a maritime tour handled by officers from the Spanish Armada and Coast Guard in Mahon.
They take the effigy of the Virgin around the harbor before carrying her through the streets. On the following two days, the Virgin is carried through Ciutadella and Fornells, where she is also placed aboard a boat and escorted by a flotilla.
19. Walk Around the Old Quarter of Ciutadella
Centuries ago, Mahon was not the capital of Menorca, and this explains why everything looks so modern. To get a feeling for what life during the most prosperous periods of the island was like, take a walking tour of Ciutadella, where you will find nice examples of Mediterranean architecture, including churches, castles, and port administration buildings.
20. Visit the Menorca Museum
With hundreds of archaeological sites around the island, you can imagine the collections that the Menorca Museum, located in Mahon, holds.
The permanent exhibit of the museum has artifacts dating back to the Talaiotic period, but there are also collections that illustrate life during the Roman, Carthaginian, Byzantine, Islamic, and British periods. Admission is always free on Sundays.
21. Catch the Sunset at Bar Sa Posta de Sol
This panoramic bar is located on the northern end of Ciutadella; it used to be known as Maxi´s Snack Bar, but it was remodeled for the convenience of tourists who wish to witness the dramatic sunsets that can easily compete with the ones you usually see in the Caribbean. The meals and drinks are on the pricey side, and the place gets packed, so it is better to arrive there early.
22. Taste the Local Gin
Ginebra Xoriguer is a nice legacy from the time Menorca was ruled by the British Empire. Sailors from the Royal Navy brought expert distillers from England to come up with a gin recipe using local herbs as ingredients, and the result is an interesting mixture that goes down very smoothly with lemonade.
The original distillery is located at Moll de Ponent in Mahon, but you can also ask for it at local bars.
23. Snorkeling at the Beaches
Since many of the Menorca beaches are of rocky formations, you will find that marine life gathers around these ecosystems, and they are easy to explore with snorkeling gear. Cala Morell is recommended in this regard, but be sure to pay attention to the jellyfish warning flags on the beach.
24. Hike the Cami de Cavalls
This long-distance trail gives you many things to see in Menorca; it is about 185 kilometers long and sticks close to the coastline, but it is split into 20 routes that have been curated over the years by hikers from around the world.
At websites such as WikiLoc, you can download the route for your favorite GPS device or mobile app, and it is perfect for backpackers because it includes lodging, hydration, and meal information.
25. Visit Fort Marlborough
The history of Menorca is one of many invasions and armed conflict between the British, Spanish, and French navies. During the occupation by the British Empire, Fort Marlborough was hastily built to house sailors and soldiers who found it very difficult to protect the island.
These days, the structure has been curated with dioramas to illustrate the daily routine of soldiers assigned to the Fort, and it includes a recreation of living quarters. Admission costs less than 5 euros, and it is worth the visit since you can also spend the day at the Cala de Sant Esteve beach next door.