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Tuesday 16 September 2014

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Menorca, Spain’s best kept island secret

Beautiful Cales Coves on the Spanish island of Menorca

The Balearic island of Menorca is truly the road to Heaven

We Brits still visit Spain by the plane load for our summer holidays, despite the ever broadening geographical horizons demanded by today’s more adventurous and savvy tourist. That said, we are quite set in our ways when it comes to choosing our Hispanic destinations, and particularly so when it comes to the islands. The Canaries are as popular as ever, but when it comes to the Balearics, Majorca and Ibiza still win out for sheer numbers over sleepier Menorca, but that just seems to make this little corner of paradise even more idyllic for those who consider it ‘their island’.

I was won over by Menorca’s many charms quite by accident. I was bound for Turkey in 1999, but was informed at check-out that an earthquake had damaged our hotel, and after many hours spent at Manchester airport, was finally offered either Ibiza or Menorca.

My clubbing days well and truly behind me (oh, okay, I might be seen out in town once every now and then if Belinda Carlisle or Hazel Dean are putting in a comeback appearance, but those are special circumstances) I decided to opt for the latter. After all, I’d never been before and I do love to visit new places.

I flew into Mao airport in the late October sunshine and was promptly transferred to my resort of Arenal D’en Castell on the north east coast of the island. Now – despite the fact that I now love Arenal for reasons which are quite idiosyncratic – had this been my only experience of the island, good though it was, I may never have yearned to go back year after year (something I thought only old people did. Oh, wait, I am old now. Well, my great nephews and nieces think so, anyway. My excuse is that I do go to many other much more diverse and exotic places for the rest of the year, so returning to Menorca is both my only indulgence and my only weakness. Apart from the gin and steak pies, that is). But I was fortunate enough to take a tour of the island, and this led me to my perfect little corner – Binibeca, tucked away on the south west coast.

Binibeca is stunningly beautiful. Not to be confused with the neighbouring Binibeca Vell – a seventies recreation of a typical Menorcan fishing village – Binibeca (also spelt Binibequer) is a quaint, picturesque and gentle settlement built up around one of the most beautiful bays on the island, complete with Los Bucaneros – its very own beach bar. Binibeca itself doesn’t have much to offer the uninitiated tourist in terms of amenities, but literally next door is Cala Torret, which sports a supermarket and a string of seafront restaurants, the best – in my humble opinion, of course – being DPs. Presided over by genial host John, this sizeable establishment manages to be both intimate and friendly, whilst offering superbly cooked food from its extensive menu. It’s not the cheapest, but is always excellent value for money.

Exploring the island is a must, so I’ve broken the Menorcan experience down into the various highlights in order to do them all justice. Have a look through them, and please do add your own comments.

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One Response to “Menorca, Spain’s best kept island secret”

  1. Michael says:

    Amazing image and lovely post!

    There is so much in this world to see….my bucket list is now getting a bit longer.

    Check out what National Geographic and the Kenya Tourist Board have teamed up to provide.

    http://www.naturalkenya.com

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