Beaches in Menorca
Out of its total coastline of 216 kilometres, Menorca has an incredible more than 80 beaches, each with its own distinct character and with enough variety to satisfy the most ardent of beach fanatic. Most are completely undeveloped and have an idyllic setting in pretty small rocky coves backed by woodlands or high cliffs.
On the south coast which is sheltered from the strong northerly prevailing wind called the Tramuntana, the beaches have fine white sand and towards the east there are some of the longest sandy beaches on the entire island.
On the north coast, which has the highest cliffs the beaches tend to be smaller, with red sand, and many are more difficult to access which means that even in summer there are always empty secluded places to stretch out in the sun.
Menorca beaches with facilities
Heading in an anti clockwise direction around the island from Ciutadella on the western coast to the Bay of Fornells in the north there are plenty of beaches with excellent facilities for families with children, and for those with limited mobility. The wilder section of northern coastline, from Cap de Cavelleria to Cala Morell is less easily accessed and is for those who are prepared to walk at least a few hundred metres to find their place on the sand. Along the southern coast the resort beaches of pristine white sand usually have hotels, self catering villas and apartments close by, with bars, cafes and restaurants near to the sea.
About 50 percent of the resort beaches have sun loungers and umbrellas for hire on the beach, and all the larger beaches will have lifeguards in attendance in the summer months. The principal resort of Cala en Porter has a wide beach in a sheltered bay, accessed by a mini train from the resort itself and with a lifeguard service. With a large number of bars and a late night disco, it is one of the most vibrant of the Menorcan resorts.
Son Bou, to the east, has the longest white beach on the island which is nearly three miles long. It is a quiet family resort with easy access to the beach itself, and a lifeguard in attendance.
Heading west again Sant Tomàs has another long narrow beach with good access from hotels very close to the beach which has lifeguards patrolling the beach.
Some ten kilometres away Cala Galdana is a lovely small horseshoe shape bay, with two large hotels and a good sheltered beach with lifeguard attendance. There are shops, restaurants and bars close to the beach. The resort beaches close to Ciutadella, Menorca’s second largest town on the southern western corner of the island are now the largest developed areas on the island. Comprising among others Cala en Bosc, Cala Blanes, and Cala en Forcat, there are many vacation villas, large hotels and self catering apartments close to the beaches, with the attractions of the old centre of Ciutadella close by.
On the south eastern corner of the island the fishing village of Binibèquer Vell is a pretty purpose built resort of white washed small apartments tucked around a tiny cove. Heading east along the coast the beach at Punta Prima has bars and restaurants close by with a wide beach and shallow water.
North again at Es Grau pretty beaches close to this small village are part of the S’Albufera des Grau natural park. There is life guard attendance here and trails which lead off into the park with lovely wetlands close to the sea.
On the northern coast the smaller resort of Arenal d’en Castell has a wide beach beneath vacation villas and self catering accommodation and at Cala Tirant, just beyond the Bay of Fornells a relatively new development has a wide beach between two headlands, with lifeguards patrolling during summer months.
Cala Morell, north of Ciutadella has a small beach with excellent snorkelling just off the shore. There are no large hotels here but many self catering vacation apartments and villas along the rocky coastline.
Wild beaches in Menorca
With 216 kilometres of coastline, most of which is totally untouched and pristine, wild beaches in Menorca are plentiful and idyllic. Hidden between small rocky headlands, or backed by dense woodland ringing with birdsong, these secret gems are wonderful places to swim from and explore, or to take a break from a walk or kayaking trip.
Many of the wild beaches on both south and north coasts can be reached by narrow country lanes and have purpose built parking areas set in fields some distance from the beach to minimise impact on the coastal environment.
To avoid traffic chaos in the height of summer, electronic signs at the closest major road turn off to the beach will indicate parking availability. It is very difficult to turn your car around in the stone walled lanes, so be sure to look out for the parking indicators before you commit yourself.
For serious walkers practically the entire coastline of Menorca is ringed by the newly reopened Camí de Cavalls, a bridle path used for centuries by smugglers and Revenue guards. Now well marked and cleared for horse riders, mountain bikers and walkers the Camí offers a new way to explore and to discover yet more hidden beaches and secluded bays.
On the southern coast many of the wild beaches lie at the end of long barrancs – the wide deep ravines and gullies cut over millennia by rainfall into the limestone plateau which covers the southern half of the island. Here, the wild beaches need at least a ten minute walk from car parks set back from the coast, or perhaps a long scramble down a rocky path, but the adventurous beach fan will be rewarded by a lovely stretch of white sand, crystal clear sea , and even in the height of summer very few others sharing the quiet seclusion.
At the western end of the island, some of the most attractive wild beaches can be reached by lanes running off the ring road around Ciutadella. Cala en Turqueta
and the smaller Macarelleta
for example are only a twenty minute drive from Menorca’s second largest town.
Parking here is a good 15 minutes away on foot from the sea but the beaches are amongst the most beautiful on the island, with small coves backed by steep wooded cliffs and rocky headlands which have stunning views over the pristine clear sea.
Further along the coast, and accessed by the road which runs from Ferreries to Cala Galdana
, Cala Mitjana
and Cala Trebalúger
can be reached by a 30 minute and 60 minute walk respectively along the Cami de Cavalls. The beach at Cala Trebalúger is a sand bar and behind it a fresh water river extends for more than a kilometre through lush wetlands which teem with wild life.
The wilder northern coast has many beautiful hidden red sand beaches reached by paths through woodlands and trails over the rugged rocky terrain exposed to the strong Tramuntana winds. La Vall
close to Cala Morell is a lovely curving beach tucked behind a deeply wooded headland.
Unusually for a wild beach there is a lifeguard’s tower here, with parking about 1 kilometre from the beach. In the height of the summer the car park often is full, but determined walkers can usually be sure to find somewhere close by for a cooling swim from a deserted stretch of sand.
, close to the high cliffs of Cap de Cavalleria is one of the most beautiful wild beaches on the north coast with small islets set inside a bay of red sand and an inviting clear sea.
In the natural park of S’Albufera des Grau
there are lovely wild beaches which can be reached from Es Grau itself following footpaths through the wetlands of the park or the Cami de Cavalls. Cala de sa Torreta
, within the park with its ancient watchtower perched on a headland has several tiny sandy beaches which even in the height of the season are usually deserted.
Those using the wild beaches of Menorca should always remember to take enough water and food for their excursion and make sure to leave the beaches as pristine as they found them. Many Menorcans will tell you that they often bring home more from the beach than they take for they invariably pick up rubbish left behind by other less careful beach goers. It is one way they say, to repay the island for the wonderful carefree days they can spend on its beaches.