Beautiful summer sunshine. Bays so clear yachts cast a perfect shadow on the sea bed. Water in shades of blue and green that even Monet would struggle to capture. The kind of place you could turn off your phone and disappear for a week or three.
Is it fake? Has Instagram just upped their filter game? No. The dream is closer than you think. Our mythical destination is just a stones throw from Majorca, the glamorous princess of the Mediterranean. When the champagne cellar runs dry and your feet beg you to stop dancing, plot a course to the party capital’s quiet but equally beautiful cousin: Menorca.
Albeit a fraction of the size, Menorca bats well above average when it comes to the quantity and quality of her pristine beaches. It also means you’ll have less competition for parking and more golden sand between you and your neighbours. Here are our top picks to get your relaxing summer break started.
Your first Menorca beach experience always leaves a lasting impression. For me, it was Cala Mitjana. Your short walk starts from the hillside above the town of Cala Galdana. As you meander through the forest, you’ll begin to see glimpses of the water, teasing your curiosity and spurring you to walk a little faster. Suddenly the forest opens to reveal the stunning turquoise ocean the island is famous for. Visitors here have the option of visiting not only the main cove, but also a wealth of smaller hidden bays, cliff jumps and caves. Bliss.
Any warm blooded beach-lover would find it hard to skip past the main beach of Cala Macarella, but stay strong and you’ll be rewarded with the smaller hidden blue bay of Cala Macarelleta. Away from the prying eyes of the more clothed traveller, you’ll be in fine company for any au naturel tanning, should you be so inclined, in Macarelleta’s steep rocky cove. The cliff top path west of the main beach also affords staggering views of the beautiful bay, and on a calm sunny day the aforementioned ‘shadow yachts’.
Cala des talaier
Size isn’t everything. While the pleasure cruises drop passengers at the beaches either side, Talaier is overlooked. It’s certainly a worthy destination, but these large vessels have little choice. Thanks to its narrow passage of water surrounded by low cliffs, boats have nowhere to park. All the better for those willing to make the effort and walk. This natural formation affords the ultimate private beach experience. The calmness of Cala de talaier also attracts a wealth of sea life easily spotted through the clear turquoise waters. Arrive early to claim a spot on what precious little sand is available.
Cala en Turquetta
The name says it all. Turquetta delivers a unique shade of blue you’re unlikely to ever see again. Approach this cove from Cala des talaier and you’ll be gifted some truly splendid colours and views from the rocky cliffs. Such is the enticement to jump into the water during this walk, we spotted an older gentleman who decided he’d rather swim the final 300 metres to shore than walk.
Our next destination sits in an enormous shallow bay on the island’s north coast, protected by a series of small islands and jagged outcrops, creating a beautiful blue-water lagoon. Cala Pregonda is a nude friendly beach that starts and ends with rocky hideaways and stretches for miles, affording excellent privacy. It’s also an easy swim to Escullar de Pregonda, the small island in the bay. Thanks to the protection from the row of islands, the water often appears like glass, which attracts photographers at sunrise and sunset. Expect to walk for around 40 minutes from the car park. A deterrent for many, your effort to get here is repaid in full the moment you arrive.