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Minorca or Menorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands, located to the northeast of Mallorca and is the least overrun and most tranquil of the Balearics. Due to its unspoilt beauty, it allows the more adventerous the opportunity to discover new charms and experiences.
The island is split into eight administrative divisions - Maó, Es Castell, Sant Lluis, Alaior, Es Mercadal, Es Migjorn Gran, Ferreries and Ciutadella.
The main tourist area is along the south coast and includes the resorts of Santo Tomas, Son Bou, Cala en Porter, Binibeca, Punta Prima and S'Algar.
All locals can speak Menorquí, standard Catalan, and standard Spanish. Menorquí is the island's local dialect of Catalan, different enough so that people from Catalonia often struggle to understand it. The islanders use it in most everyday situations.
Regular flights are available directly to Mahon from mainland Spain and the sister islands of Ibiza and Mallorca. Regular scheduled services are available with Monarch from Birmingham, Manchester, London Luton and London Gatwick. Easyjet and British Airways also operate flights from some major and regional UK airports.
Minorca's airport is served by buses to Maó every half hour from around 6AM to 10PM and then hourly to midnight. The bus stops at the bus station, the Estacio Maritima and a couple of other intermediate points.
Regular ferries from both mainland Spain and Majorca are also available. Modest-sized cruise ships occasionally visit. They primarily use the deep harbour of Maó, which offers highly scenic views of homes, hotels/resorts and historic structures and fortifications.
There is one main bus company, Transportes Menorca.
The main bus route which serves Maó, Alaior, Es Mercadal, Ferreries and Ciutadella runs along the centre of the island.
Most of the Western beach towns are served by buses leaving from the main Plaza in Ciutadella. Other buses leave from Ferreries, Alaior and the largest bus stop on the island is that one in Maó, it serves Sant Lluis and then all of the beach towns in the East.
There are numerous agents and companies such as Avis, Hertz, Europcar etc. specializing in car hire in Minorca - both at the airport and in resorts - although it may be prudent to organise it from home before you arrive to avoid disappointment during peak periods.
The big advantage of taking a motorbike is that there will be no need to worry for place at the beach parkings. In the peak seasons the road to some beaches are closed once its parking is full. This will not be an issue with a motorbike.
Taxis are a popular form of transport if you do not plan to move so much. However, during peak season there is sometimes a lack of taxis and the waiting times can be relatively long.
What to see
The harbour at Maó, the island capital, is the second largest natural deep water port in the world - the largest being Pearl Harbour.
There were two later periods of British presence on Minorca, from 1763 till 1781 and 1798 to 1808. The British left more than their earthworks and ramparts behind.
The Golden Farm, a summer house near Maó, is one of the symbols of British presence on Minorca, perhaps as much as the bow and sash windows still to be found in the capital's old part quarter.
Son Granot is a Georgian style house built during the British presence on Minorca and is where Mackellar lived. This building is the second symbol of British presence and is considered a monument.
To this day no one is certain of the significance of these prehistoric monuments in the form of Taules, T shaped stone formations thought to be spiritual sanctuaries; Talayots which are stone towers that local people believe were once used as look-out points.
Another feature of prehistoric Menorca, and one of its most famous monuments, is the communal burial structure known as a Naveta. The best example of such a structure is close to the former capital Ciutadella.
Beaches - Minorca has its share of beautiful coastline that deserves recognition. Minorca beaches are generally not crowded, so finding a nice relaxing spot of your own is usually not hard to achieve.
Kayaking - Since some beaches are of difficult or impossible access by car or even by foot, kayaking can be a good alternative. Since it is inside the harbor of Fornells, it is usually possible to kayak on a quite sea.
Cala Galdana. Most popular place to rent kayaks in the south coastline. Plenty of caves and some of the most famous beaches of Minorca can be reached from there.
Camí de Cavalls. The Camí de Cavalls is an ancient path of 186 km (116 miles) that encircles the island of Minorca, Spain. This long-distance walking route is the GR 223 of the Senderos de Gran Recorrido network in Spain and it is also use to reach some of the most inaccessible beaches of Minorca.
Festivals and Events
Menorca's local fiestas. Starting from Sant Joan on the 23rd and 24th of June in Ciutadella to the Festes de Gràcia on the 7th and 8th of September, almost every weekend in summer there is a local fiesta in a different village of the island. The horse is the star of the festivity, being the highlights the Cargols in Ciutadella or the Jaleo in all other villages.
Opera week held in Mahon Main Theater twice a year, usually in June and in December.
Trail Menorca Cami de Cavalls. Ultramarathon going around the whole island through the Camí de Cavalls, covering a total of 185.3 km. It is held yearly in May since 2012. It is possible to participate covering only half or one quarter of the distance.
One Punta Prima Day. Surf Festival in Menorca. Exhibitions, skate park, food and good environment describe this humble festival.