We have visited the Balearic island of Menorca a fair few times now but still have lots of places left to visit. Part of the reason for that is we do not drive. Many tourists hire a car, race around the island and see most of what it has to offer in two-weeks or less. In reality though there will always be new places and things to see.
Menorca is more about chilling out anyway
The bus service around the island is pretty good but covers much more of the island between June and September. Check out the local tourist board for the exact timings. We have visited more in late October and May when the public transport is more limited, meaning there are places still on our Menorca Bucket List.
At these times of year though the temperatures are better, unless you yearn for the searing heat of July and August; then the bus services run at their peak but you may feel too drained to trot around Menorca, plus it will be full of like-minded tourists.
One September, during a two-week stay near Mahon, we decided to hop on a bus to Binibecca.
We had not visited that resort in the south of the island before and had been given mixed reviews by others.
Well for us we loved it and it was a treat as a beach bum day out.
You will need to bear in mind that the bus service, at least when we visited, was not frequent and ended fairly early in the day. Taxis are reasonably priced if you want to visit for longer.
The weather was glorious when we visited.
It was a stifling hot mid-September day which was perfect for lazing on a beach. The sun-beds were a reasonable price to hire and much more comfortable than laying on a towel on the beach. They included an umbrella to give some much needed shade.
There is small residential area, with presumably a few shops, that you can wander around but we stayed on the clean, sandy, man-made beach.
The village houses are crisp white and resemble those on postcards from Greece or what you will find on the Greek Islands. Some visitors to this area head for those white houses to wander the streets and relax..
A bar come cafe on the beach was fairly good value. The nearby toilets were clean and free to use.
It was a great relaxing day, reading, dipping in the water and people watching.
The majority of tourists staying in and around Binibeca are Germans. I lost all interest in my book and became fascinated with an older lady, much older than myself, with pert teenage breasts. This German lady was happy to be topless and why not? However those overly youthful breasts just looked so wrong and out of place. Still to each his or her own.
In no time we had to race for the last bus back to Mahon in the late afternoon.
However Binibecca did not disappoint and is on our return visit list. If you do not want to pay bar prices make sure you take some water and a snack with you on a day trip to Binebecca.
If it is not too hot it is fairly easy to walk to the nearby resorts and during high-season a tourist train operates in the area.
Note: The following brief video was a bit of a lash-up. Without my reading specs I could not make out when I was snapping photos or taking footage. It will however give you an idea of the beach at Binibecca.
A fave Menorca beach
We had visited Menorca and its capital city Mahon a few times before we realised that the city's cathedral held lunchtime organ recitals during the summer months.
The Church of Santa Maria in Mahon, Menorca, has a prime position. It is close to the traditional fish market and the indoor market now housed in a former convent and other fine buildings. A cafe offering panoramic views over Mahon harbour is a great place to take in a snack, coffee or beer as you watch the world go by.
During the tourist season the Church of Santa Maria holds daily organ recitals (except Sunday).
In 2014 the recitals cost 5 Euros per person, began at 1pm and lasted around 40 minutes.
We popped in to one session when the midday sun and toasting temperatures became too much. The calm cool atmosphere of the church was perfect. The organ recital soon broke the peace though, albeit in a tuneful way.
The huge organ sits high above the congregation. It was impossible to see the musician responsible until the recital ended. He spoke in Spanish but whether you know the classical pieces he plays or not it will be a stunning performance.
Here is some information about the church via Menorca Live: "Built in the 18th century on the site of a 13th century gothic church this impressive building creates one of Mahon’s chief landmarks.
The interior is of neogothic style but of great note is the monumental organ that has great instrumental and artistic quality. It was commissioned in 1806 by the rector Gabriel Alenyar from the masters Franciso Otter and Joan Kiburz who lived in Barcelona.
It took three years to make and when it was ready there were problems with its transportation not only due to the fact that the Napoleonic war was on but also due to its immense size. It has four keyboards, 3006 organ pipes – 197 of which are wooden and the rest are metal. Eventually it was inaugurated in 1810 and its artistic ornamentation was carried out by the Menorcan sculptor Francesc Comas."
An interesting place to visit but the organ recital is the icing on the cake.
Its central location means it is easy to visit when you are in Mahon.
In June 2014 when we visited the church bells went into overdrive to celebrate a new King of Spain.
Church from 07.30 to 12.00 and from 18.00 – 20.30
Office from 18.00 to 19.00
Menorca is one of the Spanish Balearic Islands, situated in the Mediterranean sea.
It is less brash, noisy or large than its close neighbour Majorca and is a beautiful Island. Having fallen in love with Menorca in 2010, we returned for another vacation in September 2011 and again and again. Our next visit is scheduled for May 2017.
One of the largest towns on Menorca is Mahon the Island's capital so I will enjoy a virtual visit with you, until I can walk its streets again.
Menorca was once home to the British military. As a Menorcan resident said to us "we do not mind you visiting these days, as long as you go home at the end of your vacation". That said many UK tourists eventually move to Menorca, as its climate is kind and its pace of life relaxing.
At the opposite end of the Island, to Mahon, is Ciutadella. This was once the island's capital and has much to offer the visitor.
These days though Mahon is the capital of Menorca. The British invasion of bygone years meant that Mahon's deep waters warranted a change of capital. Mahon is the deepest natural harbour in the world.
These days it is just the cruise ships and ferries that benefit from the deep waters. However, tourist boats offer trips around the harbour and beyond. The waters of Mahon contain many interesting sites such as:
Mahon is a great place to explore. Its narrow streets have the charm of a bygone time.
The people are warm and friendly and you will feel at ease be it day or night. It is hilly in parts so if you have mobility issues plan your visit well.
On a Saturday night the local people mingle with tourists as they enjoy the end of their working week. The cafes, bars and restaurants offer something for everyone.
We visited Menorca first in October 2010, a little before the end of the tourist season. Menorca closes its doors to visitors on the last day of October. Until May the next year the only flights available are not direct.
Take a flight to Barcelona and a boat trip to visit Menorca.
Mahon has an interesting fish market and a traditional market held in what used to be a monastery, spectacular views over the Bay of Mahon, shops, museums, a small gin factory and so much more.
Mahon Fact: Mayonnaise may have been invented by Duke de Richelieu in France, in 1756 but it was first conceived, created or what you will in Menorca. According to many sources, during the siege of Mahon, there was a shortage of food supplies. The chef decided to whip eggs and oil together, without adding any seasoning. This dressing was then served at a dinner party hosted by Duke de Richelieu. Mayonnaise was named after a battle against the British which was fought and won in Mahon. The name Mayonnaise was therefore from the word Mahon.
The currency at time of writing is the Euro.
The airport is on the suburbs of Mahon.
A bus station located in Mahon offers transport around the island and runs a service to the airport. The times and places visited vary according to the time of year.
Most visiotrs hire a car for ease of getting around the Island.
You can hire bicycles also.
As you will have realised by now I loved Mahon and so did my Hubby. Now this is saying something, as he does not usually like capital cities. I have added a few of my photographs taken in and around Mahon, but not too many.
To enjoy your first visit you really need to still have lots to discover.
When visiting Menorca, a Spanish Balearic island, we tend to stay at the Hotel Del Almirante, also called Collingwood House, a former home of the famous British Admiral Collingwood.
Located on the road between the island's capital Mahon and Es Castell, known as Georgetown during the English occupation, the hotel is in a tranquil setting in spite of the busy main road.
The walk east along the road into Es Castell is easily done but for those less mobile there is a bus service or you can drive in.
A little before you enter Es Castell, at the roundabout, was a ruined landmark tower.
Locals told us it was not in reality a tower but had been a working windmill.
A year or so back, when we visited Menorca in June, we noted renovations taking place on the ruins of the mill, and in October when we visited the work looked almost complete.
There was still some work to do mainly on the immediate grounds. A cycle lane was under construction along the side of the road.
The work on that particular windmill location is now complete.
Menorca has a good road system and strives to update and repair on a regular basis. This means a surprisingly good number of cycle and pedestrian paths.
We were told that other windmills in the area are being restored by volunteers. They have taken inspiration from volunteers who continue to work on Isla Del Rey, or Bloody Island, situated in the Mahon estuary.
Across the estuary sit four wind turbines a nod to 21st Century technology and energy issues.
Further along the road, closer to Es Castell, work has started on the remains of another windmill.
Currently a restored windmill in San Luis has a recommended restaurant. In Ciutadella a steak house is also located at a windmill.
Look out for the mills, ruined, restored or in use, as you tour the small Balearic Island of Menorca. Restored they are a magnificent sight.
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!