At half the size of the Isle of Wight, Balearic bolthole Menorca, where Sir Elton John has a home, is proof that small can indeed be beautiful.
Known commonly as a sleepy island, Menora’s slower pace of life makes it the perfect relaxation retreat, with its rolling countryside, quiet beaches and prehistoric relics proving the ideal remedy from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
And for sun-seekers too, Menorca is the ideal spot. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, Menorca is characterised by hot summers and mild winters, with the wettest month of the year enjoying just over two rainy days.
So, with Elton John’s seal of approval, here’s why you should give the island a go…
The landscape is like no other
As a cultural hot spot with hidden depths, stunning 13th- century architecture give the island its character and unique historical legacy – something you can learn about in the Museo de Menorca. In particular, check out Menorca’s answer to Stonehenge, the Bronze Age megaliths called talayots, at Torralba d’en Salort.
Nature is at its heart too and it’s the largest Biosphere Marine Reserve in the Mediterranean, fuelled by the locals’ love and respect for their homeland.
Getting around is a breeze
Smaller than neighbouring Majorca, Menorca’s natural wonders are best discovered on a horse or bike ride along the island’s fringes via the 185km-long Cami de Cavalls bridle way.
And don’t leave without exploring the whitewashed hilltop villages and the atmospheric Ciutadella, Menorca’s “Old Town”, formerly the capital, where a spot of retail therapy on the avenue Ses Voltes is a must.
It’s hard not to relax
As the newest member of the Barcelo hotel family, the five-star luxury Barcelo Nura reflects the low-rise boutique feel that sets Menorca apart from the other Balearic isles. Located in Biniancollet, on Punta Prima beach, it boasts three beautiful pools and 45 of the spacious, contemporary rooms also have direct access to a semi-private pool area.
Downloading the Barcelo app gives you all the facilities on offer. We signed up for a yoga session held in a peaceful corner of the marina and accompanied by the sound of lapping waves.
Feeling all zen, we continued our morning of self-care with a trip to the hotel spa for an indulgent massage with gorgeous essential oils and a choice of salt or sand scrub. Rejuvenated, we headed to the amazing B-Heaven terrace to sip cocktails while drinking in the stunning sea views.
Celebrity chefs approve
Celeb foodies John Torode and Lisa Faulkner recently visited Menorca, which this year was awarded the 2022 European Region of Gastronomy. It sums up the high standard of cuisine to be found.
Barcelo Nura works with local providers, such as Menorcan fishermen, to provide the freshest, most sustainable ingredients. Whether you dine at the buffet restaurant Roots, the à la carte Sa Tanca with its open kitchen, Llimona lobby and pool bar or B-Heaven, the resident chef’s personality positively shines through the gastronomical creations. The seafood is particularly exquisite, from lobster to the more exotic scorpion fish, and the desserts are divine.
Adventures lie around every corner
Explore the island in style with Catamaran Experience. Setting off from the second largest port in the world, we took a four-hour catamaran trip past the old city of Mahon, the historic military base and the Xoriguer Distillery – home of Menorca’s most famous gin. Anchor down, we tucked into drinks and snacks, and enjoyed a dip in the sea.
We also headed to Bodegas Binifadet, a vineyard that stretches over 30 acres and produces five variations of young wines. The official tour gets you up to speed on its fascinating 40-year history and the winemaking process, followed by a tasting, teamed with cheese and wine jam. We couldn’t leave without buying a bottle or two!
How to book
Rooms at Barceló Nura cost from £215 per night, including breakfast. To book visit barcelo.com/en-gb/barcelo-nura.
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