Travel News

Secret Balearic Islands: an insider’s guide to lesser-known Menorca and Formentera

Secret Balearic Islands: an insider’s guide to lesser-known Menorca and Formentera

Spain’s magical Balearic Islands rank among the Mediterranean’s most popular destinations, pulling in 16.5 million visitors in 2022. Mallorca and Ibiza are the busy headliners, but look beyond for a duo of bewitching, smaller islands where life still moves to a mellower beat.

Menorca, the archipelago’s easternmost island, was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve back in 1993. More than 100 beaches are sprinkled along its glittering 200km coastline, many only accessible on foot; wild, rust-red strands hug the northern shoreline, while the south has pine-fringed, white-sand coves. Inland, sun-bleached farmhouses, stone-built walls and mysterious Talayotic monuments dot the rural landscapes.

Then there’s salt-kissed, sand-dusted, barefoot-loving Formentera, one of Spain’s loveliest corners, off southeast Ibiza. The only way to get here is by ferry from Ibiza (30 to 60 minutes) and, in a bid to protect natural spaces, there are restrictions on summer vehicle numbers (something Menorca is also considering). Formentera’s heavenly beaches are feather-soft, salt-white sweeps washed by turquoise water that gets its translucent sparkle from the oxygen-producing posidonia seagrass. Timber boat shelters, ancient windmills and glinting salt flats await along dusty paths.

Formentera offers untouched beaches


Both islands have fabulous food-and-drink scenes, too, with Balearic staples such as bullit de peix (fish stew), seafood arrossos (rice dishes), caldereta de llagosta (Menorcan lobster stew) and Formentera’s ensalada payesa (country-style salad with peix sec – dried fish).

Here’s how to discover these under-radar isles for yourself.

Read more on Spain travel:


Cova d’en Xoroi in Menorca

( Sarah Sergent)

What to do and see

Mahón and Ciutadella

All Menorca adventures should start in the elegant capital Mahón, set on a 5km-long natural harbour. The pedestrianised old town retains a splash of British architectural flavour, left over from British rule in the 18th century. Cutting-edge art gallery Hauser & Wirth landed on Mahón’s Illa de Rei in 2021, while the history-focused Museu de Menorca occupies a centuries-old convent. Over on the west coast, Ciutadella (the former capital) has more of a classic Balearic feel, with its tangle of narrow streets and Catalan Gothic cathedral.

Wander the Camí de Cavalls

One of…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…