Jul 26

Top tips for ‘off-season’ in Menorca

by in Europe, Holiday, Top Tips

Es Grau cottage with flower pots Menorca - image zoedawes

Pots of flowers in Es Grau

Summer time and the living is … hot and humid and the beach calls. It’s the only place to be on Menorca (Minorca) in July and August. Lying on a sun lounger taking in the rays, plunging into the deep blue Mediterranean to cool off, lunch in a seaside bar and maybe siesta like a true Spaniard. However, during the off-season in Menorca, in spring and autumn, even winter, the sun shines without being scorchio, the island is lush with flowers and vibrant colour, beaches are less crowded and you can walk about in comfort.

Marguerites on cliff top overlooking Addaya Bay, Menorca Spain - image ZoeDawes

Marguerites on Addaya cliff top

Outdoors on Menorca

One of the best things to happen to Menorca in recent years, was the opening of the Cami de Cavalls, a 185km circular route round the island, tracing a historic route passing many places of interest and some gorgeous scenery. In summer you may get a tad overheated but off-season is the perfect time to walk, run, cycle, or do what I did this spring – go horse-riding on the Cami de Cavalls. It’s the perfect way to see the island. [Read Heather Cowper on hiking around Menorca for more tips.]

Horse riding on the Cami de Cavalls Menorca - image zoedawes

Horse riding on the Cami de Cavalls

There are plenty of other walking and cycling routes on the island, the smallest of the Balearics. Menorca derives from its size compared to Majorca – 47 km x 17 km and its highest point, Mount Toro is just 400m. Having a meal beside the sea tastes just as good off season and you’ll not have to queue for that special table. Menorca is designated a UNESCO Bisophere Reserve because of its unique bio-diversity. Albufera and its bay Es Grau is a haven for wild birds within its dunes and marshland. It’s also a great place to enjoy tasty seafood.

Meal by the sea in Es Grau Menorca - image zoedawes

Meal by the sea in Es Grau

Beaches on Menorca

There are more beaches on Menorca than Majorca and Ibiza put together. The popular ones can get very crowded during the summer holidays but off-season are much less frenetic. You don’t need to get there early to bag a sunbed; just bring a towel and if you feel like a swim, the sea is very tempting. It does take a while to warm up so choose a shallower beach like Arenal d’en Castell, if you want a dip in spring.

Sun loungers on Arenal Beach, Menorca, Balearic Island, Spain - image zoedawes

Arenal d’en Castell Beach in spring

At Binibeca there’s a great beach bar which serves basic food, cold beer and cocktails – ideal for sundowners. The sandy shore is perfect for making sandcastles and the inner bay is sheltered from the stronger currents further out.

Binibeca Beach Bar lspring sun on Menorca - image zoedawes

Binibeca Beach Bar at sundown

Nearby Binibeca Vell is a photographer’s delight. White-painted cubes house tiny bars and restaurants, souvenir shops, boutique hotels and self-catering apartments. Built in the 1970s to look like a traditional fishing village, it attracts visitors all year round but is best visited off-season; this photo was taken in May and hardly anyone was around even though it was a glorious day.

Binibeca Vell fishing village on Menorca, Spain - image zoedawes

Binibeca Vell

Cala Galdana is one of the best family beaches on the island; a delightful bay dotted with graceful trees and excellent facilities for all ages. I stayed at the Artiem Audax, an adult-only hotel overlooking the bay. Not far from here are some of Menorca’s picture-postcard-pretty beaches including Cala en Turqueta, Macarella and Macarelleta.

Cala Galdana from Hotel Audax on Menorca, Spain - image zoedawes

Cala Galdana from Hotel Audax

Other popular beaches include Cala en Porter, setting for the last of the Menorca Fiestas in September, Sant Tomas and Son Bou, bordered by sand dunes and the very busy Cala en Blanes, the nearest Menorca gets to a mass tourist destination.

Places to go when it rains on Menorca

Menorca Naveta in the rain - image zoedawes

Heather Cowper and Zoe at a pre-historic Naveta in the rain

Menorca does get more rain than the other Balearic islands but there are lots of things to do indoors when the weather changes. Check out my Top Tips for Culture Lovers on Menorca for some great ideas including museums, art galleries, historic sites and foodie venues. How about a guided tour round a winery? Binifadet started growing vines in the 1970s and has been selling quality wines since 2004. They have a high-tech wine production centre over two floors, producing not only red, white and rose,  but also a very good sparkling wine. Their wine labels are works of art, including the very quirky Merluzo. Binifadet Restaurant serves superb Menorcan cuisine with a contemporary twist. I especially enjoyed their cheese platter, monkfish and prawn croquettes, roast Mediterranean vegetables and cheese cake with wine jam. (Read Kathryn Burrington‘s excellent article on Menorcan Food and Drink.)

Binifadet Winery Menorca - image zoedawes

Binifadet Winery

On a rainy, cloudy or windy day (beware the nippy Tramontana) hire a car and explore the island. Mahon has plenty to occupy you, whatever the weather.

Mahon


There’s a major road from the modern capital Mahon in the east, to the old capital Ciutadella in the west. Many road fork off the north and south taking you down winding country lanes to coves, bays and beaches on both coasts. Signage has improved greatly over the years and it can be fun getting lost amongst the stone-walled lanes. Stop off in quaint villages, search out local bars and restaurants and eat like a local. Visit the famous Cova d’en Xoroi for a unique Menorcan experience; the huge cave has been turned into day-time bar with night club. If, like us, you can’t see the renowned sunset view, at least you can enjoy a pomada (Menorca gin and bitter lemon) sheltering from the elements.

Cova den Xoroi pomada Menorca - image zoedawes

Pomada at Cova d’en Xoroi

Off-season weather on Menorca

In spring and autumn you get some beautiful weather; sunny days, light breezes, occasional showers – though it can also rain very heavily and get very windy too!  Temperatures range from about about 18°C – 24°C but it gets cool in the evenings. Bring clothes suitable for an English summer, ie layers and you should be fine. A waterproof jacket, sturdy walking shoes and maybe a brolly can all come in handy. I was in Menorca one January when it snowed, much to the delight of the locals. The snow had barely settled before it melted but it was fun whilst it lasted. However, it is the spring flowers that I love the most. In April and May the island bursts into glorious technicolour; blue cornflowers, white and yellow daisies, lacy elderflowers, bright red poppies … Don’t take my word, get out there and see for yourself …

Spring flowers in Menorca - image zoedawes

Poppies by the roadside

Visitor Information for Menorca

To plan your holiday in Menorca visit the Menorca website and www.Spain.info or follow them on social media: Twitter @Spain_inUK | Facebook | Instagram. If you need a guide to show you the sites of Menorca, I can highly recommend Menorca Guides Luis Amella. Thanks to all for a lovely trip

Menorca gate and spring flowers - image zoedawes

Menorca gate and spring flowers

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Off-season Menorca - The Quirky Traveller

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10 Responses to “Top tips for ‘off-season’ in Menorca”

  1. From Zoe Dawes:

    I have been going to Menorca for 25 years. My father bought a flat and a boat there – he loved sailing and the Med so it was a perfect choice. When he died my brother moved out there and we’ve had family holidays there ever since. It hasn’t changed much; still much more low-key tourism than its neighbours. I’ve only visited once in the summer, much preferring shoulder-seasons and even winter when the island is more accessible. Hopefully this article will inspire more visitors to enjoys Menorca all year round 🙂

    Posted on July 26, 2016 at 3:05 pm #
  2. From Gary Bembridge:

    Great read and ideas on visiting out of season. Sounds like a great place to go when there are not all the hoards in the hectic July/ August months. That calamari looks delicious!!!

    Posted on July 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm #
  3. From Kathryn Burrington:

    Off-season wins hands down for me. Although I love beaches and swimming I soon get bored just lying there but in the height of the season it’s too hot for anything else!

    Posted on July 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm #
  4. From Zoe Dawes:

    Yes, the calamari was excellent Gary and it was definitely good to visit in Spring. Maybe you will get there one day to see for yourself – just don’t expect Las Vegas-style entertainment!

    Posted on July 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm #
  5. From Zoe Dawes:

    So agree Kat. So many places are much more interesting and easier to access outside of high summer and, as you say, it can get far too hot to anything much then!

    Posted on July 27, 2016 at 1:51 pm #
  6. From Heather on her travels:

    Great tips Zoe, Menorca is the perfect place for a break in September when the sun is still warm and the crowds have gone home

    Posted on July 30, 2016 at 7:33 pm #
  7. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thanks Heather. Hope you get a chance to revisit Menorca to see more. It has a quiet charm all of its own off-season 🙂

    Posted on August 1, 2016 at 10:44 am #
  8. From Craig Cooper-Flintstone:

    I have been visiting Menorca three times a year for many years- We always go for the first two weeks in May, it’s usually pleasantly warm and sunny (although this year was an exception!) And there’s always a few bars and restuarants opening up for the start of the season, the beaches aren’t crowded and neither are the buses. Early July is a different ball game- it’s scorching and a lot busier in the tourist areas, but it’s a great time to visit the inland towns or people watch with a ice cold drink in Ciutadella. My favourite time of year is late September- the island is very green, hot without being stifling and the tourist season is coming to a close so it’s never overly busy.
    I will never tire of Menorca. I think of it as my spiritual home and would love to live there eventually.

    Posted on August 2, 2016 at 10:14 am #
  9. From Beryl Cowper:

    I’ve also visited the lovely Menorca several times (I’m Zoe’s aunt but no relation to Heather Cowper who commented earlier) and it is is always attractive whatever the season. I have so many happy memories and my husband John and I will be returning there next month for two whole weeks and will, of course, be seeing Zoe’s brother Graeme. I can certainly highly recommend a visit, especially Spring or Autumn.

    Posted on September 24, 2016 at 9:49 am #
  10. From Zoe Dawes:

    Ah thanks for commenting on the article Beryl. So glad you like it and am sure you will have a lovely time next month. Must be quite a few years since you were last there. It’s not much different from my last visit 7 years ago, and most of the changes are for the better. Give Gra my love and tell him I’ll be back soon 🙂

    Posted on September 25, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

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