After enduring grueling months of 84-hour workweeks as an emergency room doctor, Andrea finally had a well-deserved, four-day break in June. Originally planning to visit Ibiza, fate had other plans in store for us. Due to Andrea’s tight schedule, direct flights to Ibiza were out of the question.
However, luck was on our side as we stumbled upon direct RyanAir flights between Santiago de Compostela and Menorca, available precisely on the dates we desired. Menorca is a lesser-known Spanish island waiting to be explored that, like Ibiza, is also in the Balearic Sea south of Barcelona. Neither of us had been to Menorca before, making this adventure all the more exciting.
The Island’s Charm
Menorca, a relatively compact island, captured our hearts with its serene beauty and manageable size. Renting a stylish Fiat 500 Hybrid, we traversed the island effortlessly, encountering numerous fellow Fiat 500s along the way, an amusing sight for us. Our home for the duration of our stay was the Palladium Hotel, situated on the idyllic north side of Menorca. Offering breathtaking views of Arenal d’en Castell and a convenient ten-minute stroll to the beach, it proved to be an excellent choice.
An Abundance of Buffet Delights
At the Palladium, our package included breakfast and dinner buffets, although we would have preferred the freedom to explore various dining options on the island. Nevertheless, the buffet’s culinary offerings, especially the delectable desserts, won us over. The dining room and our sea-view room provided stunning vistas, immersing us in Menorca’s natural splendor.
Keen on visiting the renowned Cala en Turqueta beach, we found ourselves thwarted by limited parking and transportation options. Adapting to the situation, we redirected our journey to Ciutadella, where the vibrant San Juan festivities were in full swing. Strolling through the city center, marveling at the boats of Port de Ciutadella, and basking in the sun at the picturesque cove of Sa Farola, we embraced the lively atmosphere.
Beach Bliss and Crystal Waters
In the evening, we drove south from Ciutadella to Playa Cala Blanca, a beach bustling with energetic college-age individuals. The pristine waters, however, remained a highlight, tempting us to immerse ourselves in their clarity and tranquility.
The Enchantment of Cala en Turqueta
Determined to experience Cala en Turqueta, we embarked on an early morning drive, only to be met again with the disappointment of full parking lots. Fortunately, we found parking at Cala Son Saura and embarked on a four-kilometer hike to our desired destination. The turquoise waters of Cala en Turqueta were a sight to behold, with fewer visitors than anticipated. Taking a refreshing swim and reveling in the breathtaking views, we felt fortunate to have encountered this hidden gem.
Hiking, Relaxation, and Breathtaking Sunsets
Returning from our hike, we made a stop at Cala des Talaier, indulging in a leisurely hour of swimming, reading, and napping under the soothing shade. The eight-kilometer round trip hike turned out to be an unexpected delight, providing us with a sense of fulfillment.
After driving back to the hotel, we treated ourselves to a relaxing pool session before driving to Binibeca for an evening of fine dining, coastal walks, and marveling at the architectural wonders of Binibeca Vela. Our day concluded perfectly at Cava d’en Xoroi, a cliffside bar where we savored refreshing cocktails while being captivated by a stunning sunset.
An Unexpected Reunion
On our final day, a stroke of coincidence brought us to a private home. Andrea had contacted her ex-boss only after we arrived in Menorca since she knew he grew up there despite now living in Madrid. She asked him for recommendations, and he replied he was also in Menorca visiting with friends and family.
On our last day in Menorca, Andrea’s former boss invited us to his father’s magnificent abode, which had a swimming pool. There we were treated to stunning views of Port of Mahon, the largest natural port in the Mediterranean. (Mahon is the birthplace of mayonnaise.) The friends and family of Andrea’s ex-boss were super nice, and the captivating sight of the harbor–and the library where the father had worked at–made this encounter truly remarkable. The father’s culinary skills delighted us with a delectable homemade paella, a fitting end to our Menorcan escapade.
Our trip to Menorca unfolded as a fortuitous adventure, leading us to a destination we had not initially considered. From its scenic drives to its awe-inspiring beaches, Menorca revealed itself as a hidden gem waiting to be explored. We returned home with cherished memories, a newfound appreciation for Menorca’s natural beauty, and a desire to share our experiences with others.
Of all the islands I had been to this month–including Greek’s Evia and Hydra, and Galicia’s Isla de Arousa–Menorca was my favorite. All were beautiful, but Menorca was the cleanest with so many captivating calas and unpopulated beaches. It was a wonderful getaway, one that was particularly well-deserved for Andrea.