Arriving on the Balearic island of Menorca during your private yacht charter, is breathing an audible sigh of relief. Bypassed by mass tourism and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993, this little speck of Mediterranean heaven is blissfully devoid of high-rise hotels, kitschy souvenir shops and hordes of tourists. Instead, you’ll be wowed by pristine landscapes, chilled-out locals, and the most stunning whitewashed coastal villages you’ll ever see.
While there is no shortage of photogenic villages on Menorca, here’s a rundown of the five most scenic - all dotted along the island’s untouched coast.
On Menorca’s northeast coast lies Es Grau, the resort that boasts the look and feel of everything but a resort. The village – all whitewashed houses and gardens with birds of paradise – has a small supermarket, juice bar, and a few restaurants, and that’s it. The beach, part of the s’Albufera des Grau nature reserve, is perfect for families with small children. Like a giant turquoise paddle pool, the water stays shallow 30m out to sea. Chat away while slowly wading into the water until it deepens, and then melt into delicious teal-coloured bliss.
Cala en Porter
Cala en Porter, on the South Coast, shines through its buzzy vibe, terrace bars and excellent snorkelling opportunities. Donning flippers and goggles is all it takes to spot all the underwater creatures, from painted comber to rainbow wrasses. The attractive low-key resort is also a stone’s throw away from Cova d’en Xoroi, a bar tucked inside a cave with a spectacular cliff-side terrace. As epic as daytime sea views may be, nothing quite prepares you for the technicoloured drama which unfolds at sunset. Add the bar’s chilled vibe and you have the perfect memory to linger over when you’re back to the grind.
On the southwestern tip of Menorca lies Alcaufar, a serene seaside town that will take your breath away. Narrow tree-lined lanes, low-rise whitewashed houses and wooden boats that bob in crystal-clear water: Alcaufar boasts the sort of scenes you see in dreamy holiday brochures. A gorgeous cove further enriches Alcaufar’s sleepy fishing village charm. Blissfully quiet, it’s perfect for those looking to zone out with a novel and only the sweet sound of lapping waves for company.
Cala Galdana, on Menorca’s southern coast, wraps snugly around a perfectly symmetrical horseshoe-shaped bay. Although the resort is small and tranquil, there are plenty of shady seaside terraces to gorge on steaming hot seafood paella or sip ice-cold pomadas (gin with cloudy lemon). Then there is the bay itself. It could easily be Menorca’s most beautiful cove with its white, velvet-soft sand and backdrop of sheer pine-topped cliffs. You can walk along the cliffs to explore secluded Cala Mitjana or simply spend the day soaking in Cala Galdana’s turquoise waters — shallow and ideal for little feet to splash around in.
Hidden away on the island’s rugged north coast, Cala Morell is nothing more than a smattering of photogenic whitewashed buildings. However, what diminutive Cala Morell lacks in size, it makes up for in attractions. Spectacularly shaped stones in tones of mocha and cinnamon characterize the dramatic landscape. Sunseekers will love the cove’s stone platforms as they make for prime tanning territory, while history buffs will be fascinated by the Necrópolis de Cala Morell. This awe-inspiring group of burial chambers dates back to the pre-Talaiotic period, no less.