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A Minorca travel guide – pine-clad coves, whitewashed villages and fun for all the family

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Holidays in Minorca are all about snorkelling in crystalline waters, sailing on the wind-buffeted north coast and tucking into lobster stew at sundown. Book a Minorca hotel to discover this family-friendly island of fragrant pine woods, prehistoric megaliths and no fewer than 120 beaches.

Get your bearings

More demure than Ibiza and Mallorca, Minorca is the second largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Straddling cliffs in the south-east is the waterfront capital Mahón. Rocky coves and golden beaches punctuate the south coast: from Cala Galdana’s horseshoe-shaped bay to family-friendly Son Bou. A Gothic cathedral watches over a maze of lanes in Moorish Ciutadella to the west. Windsurfers catch breezes near the fishing village of Fornells and spot seabirds in S’Albufera des Grau’s wetlands on the wilder north coast. Get your bearings over the island with views from the highest peak, Monte Toro, reaching over patchwork fields and forest to the Mediterranean Sea.

Coast to coast

Pine trees rise behind the lively west coast bays of Cala Blanca and Cala en Blanes, awarded the Blue Flag for their soft sands and clear water. For an upbeat vibe, choose a Minorca hotel near the palm-dotted marina in southern Cala en Bosch. Edge east to Cala Galdana’s half-moon bay and azure waters, and Son Bou’s 3km beach, popular among families and watersports fans. Nearby, cave-riddled cliffs tumble down to Cala en Porter’s sweep of golden sand. Seek seclusion on dune-backed Es Grau or go snorkelling in crescent-shaped Cala en Turqueta.

Family holidays

Kids love splashing in the shallow sea, free play on fine sandy bays and rock pool discoveries on family holidays in Minorca. Keep little ones cool and content on the crazy river, water castle and speedy flumes at Los Delfines Aqua Center near Ciutadella. Friendly donkeys take children on gentle rides at the Donkey Safari Park in Son Parc. Get hopelessly lost in the gigantic Amaze’n Laberintos maze or let tots loose on the playgrounds and water slides at Club San Jaime, both in Son Bou. Older kids enjoy the stallions and horse rides at equestrian show Ganadería Son Martorellet

Towns and villages

Set around one of the world’s largest natural harbours in the island’s east is the clifftop capital Mahón. Linger for coffee and pastries in a pavement cafe, a fish lunch by the waterfront or craft shopping in the web of narrow backstreets. Ponder the meaning of the prehistoric talayot (megalithic sites) at nearby Trepucó. Moorish Ciutadella’s warren of streets and shady plazas lead to a mighty sandstone Gothic cathedral. Stick around until sunset, when locals polish off rich Catalan fish stew and tapas in harbourside restaurants. The sun’s glare bounces off the dazzlingly white houses in the cobbled fishing village Binibeca Vell

Active outdoors

A steady breeze and translucent water draw avid windsurfers, kite-surfers and scuba divers north to Fornells. Master your swing at the 18-hole championship golf course Son Parc, flanked by wooded hills. Hikers, cyclists and horse-riders hit the 179km El Camí de Cavalls, a bridle trail taking in the island’s dramatic coastline. You’ll want your camera handy to snap the view from 357m-high Monte Toro, stretching as far as Mallorca on cloud-free days. Bird-spotters head north-east to the S’Albufera des Grau nature reserve, where herons and migrating cormorants flutter amid the wetlands and dunes. 

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