Long over-shadowed by its noisier Balearic sisters, Menorca is a stunning Spanish island offering a relaxed and charming lifestyle to property buyers. We uncover why Menorca is starting to turn heads.
For so long, Ibiza has been the show-stealer of the Balearic Islands. It has secured a reputation as Spain’s VIP party hotspot. With its most famous beach Playa d’en Bossa boasting of not just restaurants, bars, and ferries – but of an open-air venue Ushuaïa and a theatre and club, Hï Ibiza. Unfortunately, all of this has come at a price – property in Ibiza is extremely expensive. It has also attracted a crowd of the super elite, often alienating those that have a little less money to spend but are equally game for a fantastic time. But there’s somewhere else that we can flock to, somewhere that has previously been overlooked – Menorca.
Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. Menorca enjoys long summers with August regularly seeing temperatures of 30°C. While winter is cooler with averages of 15°C, there is still up to five hours of gorgeous winter sun.
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Menorca: the French caught on first
Menorca has been increasingly drawing in cooler crowds. Bored by the Corsica and the Côte d’Azur, the French have been holidaying in Menorca. In 2019, the chic Parisian hospitality group Experimental opened there, affirming Menorca’s status as the place to be. Experimental are also based in London, Venice, New York, Paris, Verbier and Ibiza.
So how has Menorca gained this status of being so cool?
Menorca is beautiful
Menorca has been declared a protected Unesco Biosphere Reserve for its natural beauty. In a Times article, performance artist Roísín Murphy said, “You should go to Menorca, it’s so beautiful, like a cross between Ibiza and Ireland.” But let’s not just take her word for it – what makes Menorca so beautiful?
Menorca has more sandy beaches than its Balearic Island sisters put together. Some of its beaches are easy to get to and designed for families to have an enjoyable time in, others are more secluded, harder to get to, but well worth the journey once you make it. The most popular is Son Bou, a stretch of miles of golden sands, featuring water sports, restaurants, and resorts. Alternatively, if you want to feel like you have earned flopping down in the sun, Cala Pregonda is a thirty-minute hike from the nearest car park.
Cami de Cavalls
A walking trail paved in the 13th century; Cami de Cavalls extends 185km around the island. Originally, it was created as a defence. Today, it is a wonderful 360º walk allowing you to explore the Mediterranean ecosystem, much of it unspoiled. It crosses valleys, rocks, wetland, and farming areas. Lighthouses dot Menorca, making it as pretty as a postcard.
A foodie’s dream
Menorca offers cuisine that is far more impressive than paella and pizza with a side of chips. For example, Pan y Vino promises to “set off a gastronomic journey from Menorca to France” with its fine dining menu conceived by the French trained chef, Patrick James. At Cap Roig, you will be able to feast on the tastiest seafood with panoramic sea views, as the restaurants sits on a clifftop.
How do I get there?
Whether it’s the golden sands or the idea of tucking into seafood on a clifftop, you may be sold on Menorca. A direct flight from all London airports to Menorca is about two hours and a half long.
Unfortunately, you cannot always get a direct flight to Menorca. During the off-season, you would have to catch a flight to a more major Spanish airport and then take a domestic flight or ferry to Menorca. You could use this as an opportunity to explore other parts of Spain. What about a night in Madrid or Barcelona before your connecting flight? Alternatively, a ferry bobbing along the Med is bound to be scenic.
Also, if you prefer the laidback, less expensive lifestyle of Menorca but would like to hop over to Ibiza for some beach partying every now and again, the ferry is four hours away.
Is the price of property really different to Ibiza?
In Ibiza, the price of a one-bedroom property would be at least €200,000. For this price, you can find a studio or one-bedroom apartment with modern facilities, access to a communal swimming pool, and be walking distance from the beach. Whereas, in Menorca, you can find a similar property for €150,000 or even less. For a family house in Ibiza, with say four bedrooms, it is possible to find properties for €500,000 but there is much more choice if you have closer to €800,000 to spend. In Menorca, you can find a beautiful four-bedroom townhouse for under €300,000. For a property with a pool, the price jumps a little to €350,00.
How does Menorca compare to Mallorca?
Mallorca offers the fun of Ibiza but at mid-range as well as luxury prices. However, being more well-known, Mallorca is also much more tourist-driven and less eclectic than Menorca. As well as attracting Brits to its shores, Mallorca has a particular hold on German tourists and expats alike. In Mallorca, you can find a family home for around €280,000, although it would need some renovation. In Menorca, you can find a home for the same price that would not need as much (if any) work.
But if you’d like to pop over to Mallorca, it is just two hours away by ferry.
Not the new Ibiza, but somewhere special in its own right
Menorca does not appear to be heading in the direction of becoming Ibiza number two. Or over-taking her Balearic sister as a hedonistic live music destination. Indeed, Menorca is intent on avoiding property prices soaring to Ibiza levels. Menorca is an up-and-coming destination that has its own character and allure. It offers a little history, invigorating nature, tasty food, and untouched beaches – a relaxed but refined lifestyle for those looking to call it home.