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Menorca Family Holidays & Breaks

Mahon portMahon port© Menorca Tourist Board
Beach sceneBeach scene© Menorca Tourist Board
Cami de CavallsCami de Cavalls© Menorca Tourist Board
Beach sceneBeach scene© Menorca Tourist Board
Flying Time 3.25hrs
Carbon Footprint 1.19 CO2
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

Menorca is a good choice for first (or second or third) family holidays abroad: it's just a couple of hours’ flight from the UK, has more beaches than its Balearic neighbours (Ibiza and Mallorca) combined, is quieter and more family focused, and offers beautiful scenery. Because there are no long stretches of coastal road, and because it’s a UNESCO biosphere reserve, it’s escaped the rash of sprawling high-rise coastal development seen elsewhere on the Med, and there’s a wide choice of intimate hotels and villas.

If you’re travelling with teens who need some nightlife, there's comparatively little on offer, so stay in or near Cala en Porter in the south, which is relatively lively. And while Menorca is perfect for a one-week break, bear in mind that given its compact size you might run out of things to do before two weeks are up.

Things to do with kids in Menorca

Start family holidays by getting an overview of the island from its highest point, Monte Toro (350m), midway between Mahon and Ciutadella, topped by a convent and church. On your way through El Mercadel at the foot of Toro, stop off at a bakery for a delicious crespell or amargo pastry.

Seek out some of the island’s many beautiful secluded coves, and visit the picturesque and characterful fishing village of Fornells on the north coast, famous partly because King Juan Carlos yachts over from Mallorca for summer lobster feasts – the village is well known for its superb caldereta de llangosta (lobster stew). It’s also a good spot for watersports, in its beautiful big bay.

See the coast from another angle by hiring a sailing boat or motorboat from Nautic Fun in Mahon.

Explore the dunes, wetlands, scrub and Talayotic and Roman ruins of S'Albufera des Grau, an 8km-long coastal nature reserve, starting from Cap de Favàritz and heading north. Stroll in the pine woods lining the lagoon and spot migrating cormorants, in addition to 100 other bird species, and learn all about the different habitats at the visitor centre, where there’s a permanent exhibition.

Wander among the well-preserved monuments of Torre d’en Gaumes to the west of the island, the Balearics’ biggest prehistoric settlement, with stone towers, a defensive wall, a taula (T-shaped stone monument) and a dolmen (burial chamber). 

Make a splash at Los Delfines Aquapark (open Apr–Oct) just outside Ciutadella on the west of the island: the best of the island’s waterparks, it has an Adventure River, a giant toboggan, hydro-tubes, kids’ water chutes, a Jacuzzi, and a seafood restaurant and pizzeria.

Take advantage of the cheap bike hire (including child-seats), often available at hotels or villas, and cycle along the flat coastal road at the top of the cliffs into Ciutadella, enjoying the spectacular views.

Wonder at the equine displays of the Minorcan Equestrian Show put on by the Club Escola Menorquina. Riders dress in the traditional island style and thrill spectators on purebred black Menorcan horses trained in the local style. Another splendid spectacle and showcase for Menorca's love of horses is the equestrian show at Ganadería Son Martorellet; kids are treated to a train ride in the interval. During the day you can visit the ranch for free. You can also watch harness races at Mahon and Ciutadella racecourses.

Go on a horse-ride or pony-trek led by one of the island’s many stables. Menorca Horse Riding Centre near Mahon is one of the best reputed, or ask at your hotel. One of the best routes is the Cami de Cavalls, an old track encircling the island, once used for defending the coast on horseback. Menorca Horse Riding Centre also offers pony rides for children and lessons.

Eat

Mahon gave the world mayonnaise (the name comes from Mahon/Máo), which is eaten here in abundance, usually with fish and shellfish. Although not traditionally Menorcan, paella can also be popular – everyone can pick the bits they like!

With more than 450 restaurants on the island, you certainly get plenty of choice. There’s no escaping burgers and fish and chips, but that can be a good thing once in a while, at least far as family holidays with younger kids are concerned.

If you’re self-catering, try to pick up some local farmhouse cheese. And try the Menorquina ice cream, first made on the island in 1940 though now mainly produced in Barcelona.

When to go to Menorca

May and September are perfect for family holidays on Menorca. It's generally warm enough in April and October, too, while the summer months themselves might be too hot and too busy. In winter there are frequent rain showers (to which the island owes its lush vegetation).

Mid–late June sees the island’s best fiesta, of San Juan in Ciutadella. Horses take prominence, with a display of medieval horseback sports.

How to get to Menorca

There are regular and direct charter flights to Menorca from many UK airports. You can also fly on Iberia via Barcelona, but indirect flights are best avoided with young kids. Direct flights take just over 2hrs from London.  

The capital, Mahon (Maó), is about 6km from the airport, and any point on the island is accessible by car within an hour. 

Cost

For family holidays on Menorca, expect to pay from £1,000 to £4,000/wk for a family of 4, including flights and accommodation.

By Rhonda Carrier

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