Think you know the Balearic Islands, then think again! Menorca, the second largest of the Balearic’s and frequently overshadowed by its noisy neighbours of Majorca and Ibiza. This tranquil island offers a haven for hikers who seek the sun but want to avoid the busy summer Mediterranean crowds. The preserved culture, friendly locals and modern infrastructure will satisfy all your hiking needs and open your eyes to a new side to Spain.
The Cami de Cavalls, today a well-known GR route is an ancient way dating back to the 16th century. Originally used to defend Menorca from invaders, today the Cami de Cavalls offers a unique trekking experience, making the most of Menorca’s 216km coastline. This hiking path takes you through a mixture of landscapes with beautiful scenery at every turn as you circumnavigate the island. Meander along the rugged indented coast, along exposed cliffs and sheltered sandy coves with clear blue waters, continue through preserved marshland and pass enormous watchtowers which stand as relics to the islands colourful past. You will be treated to natural scenery at every turn as you trek through beautiful Mediterranean woodland full of oak and fir, olive groves and orchards. During the summer months, smell the native scents of rosemary, rock-rose and chamomile blossom in the air. The island is full of wildlife and as you pass through the protected S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993, and the unspoiled surrounding countryside, you may come across the islands famous native, the Hermann Tortoise. This shy creature is often found on dunes and vegetated slopes between Spring and Autumn feeding on leaves and small invertebrates. When you have a break from the trails, look to the sky and you may see nightingales who reside on the island as well as the huge Egyptian Vulture.
The island of Menorca has a history quite unique to the rest of Spain, which has influenced and shaped the culture, people and landscape of this small island to what it is today. Having been first inhabited by Bronze age people, these early settlers has resulted in Menorca having the highest concentration of megalithic artefacts in the western Mediterranean today and you will see many of these remains on your hike around the island. Its location at the heart of the western Mediterranean meant the island was very much sought after throughout history and over the years was host to successive Greek, Roman, Spanish, French and British invasion then habitation. This unique flow of people and ideas has shaped and remolded the island to what it is today. Architecture on the island has retained an Anglo Moorish feel and agriculture has continued to thrive, especially in Cheese production with ‘Queso de Mahón’ being the local cheese. The island also produces its own gin, which after a long day hiking is well worth tasting. In the beautiful port-side capital of Mahón (Maó), learn more about the islands history at Museu de Menorca, try the wonderfully fresh seafood in the cities developing restaurant scene and visit the lovely Franciscan monastery.
One thing is sure, if you’re looking for a hike with beauty, culture and wilderness, then hiking in Menorca is the place to you.
For more information on hiking in Menorca and more World and European treks and challenges contact our travel specialists.