Monday 27 October 2014

Marvellous Menorca: Less Known Balearic Beauty

The Balearic islands of Majorca and Ibiza are some of the most famous resort destinations in Europe and host a significant number of Spain’s tourists each year. However for those looking for something slightly less intense, the lesser known Balearic beauty of Menorca is the perfect getaway.

Departing regularly from many major airports throughout Europe, flights to Menorca are frequent and flexible. Visitors will be nothing short of mesmerised after landing, eager to explore the 270 square mile island, all of which is a UNESCO biosphere. Here are a few of the island’s very best activities for visitors to magical Menorca.

Flora and fauna
The island was designated a UNESCO biosphere in 1993 thanks to its wildlife and landscapes. The forests, gorges, salt marshes, wetlands, lush rolling hills and of course pristine beaches all serve as important habitats for all variety of wild things. Much of the island is accessible by foot if not by single track roads with the piece de resistance of landscapes (or its Spanish equivalent) being Mount Toro, situated in the heart of the island and reaching some 258 meters above sea level. The peak reveals staggering panoramas of the island, views which extend all the way across the sea to Majorca on a clear day.

Menorca has been shaped over the years by a series of visiting colonisers ranging from Roman to North African to Turkish, British, French and of course, Spanish. As a result the island’s culture includes everything from prehistoric sites to Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture. Once more, UNESCO recognized the importance of Menorca’s cultural history in 2004 when it extended a protective reach over historic sites, in effect prohibiting the development of any large-scale high-rise resort development. This allowed locals to establish rural hotels known as agroturismos which are the accommodation option of choice for travellers looking to experience authentic Menorca.

Idyllic island perks
While Majorca and Ibiza have beaches packed with tourists, Menorca’s shores are significantly less crowded but boast more beaches than its busy neighbouring islands combined. The shores of the island feature a seemingly endless series of gorgeous small bays and coves away from the main resorts that range in size from tiny to sprawling. Some visitors may wish to undertake unmarked trails to arrive at a deserted beach while others may choose to explore the coast by boat, taking in the terrain from the surrounding waters. There are sea caves to explore, sea creatures to observe and endless Spanish sunshine to soak up.

Menorca is a well-preserved colonial gem in a sea of highly developed resort tourism. Majorca and Ibiza may have gained international reputations for the club-loving jet-set, but Menorca flies blissfully under the radar of major Mediterranean resort development. The island’s various cultural influences and natural beauty make it truly one of a kind for those seeking a peaceful, authentic getaway.


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