The island of Menorca is situated at the Northenrnmost point of the Balearic Group and is the second largest of the islands. Several years ago it was named by the European Community as a Biosphere Reserve. This is the first step to conserving the natural fauna and flora of the island and an attempt to keep the effects of tourism on these to a minimum.
Menorca offers its visitors a place that combines virgin beaches with historic monuments, small towns and smaller villages, incredible sunsets,excellent gastronomy with many local dishes, tradicional fiestats and above all the tranquil pace and peaceful way of life of a small mediterranean island.
Menorca lends itself best to a quiet family holiday, where mother nature plays an important part, where one may explore small coves and beaches with cristal clear waters, narrow lanes through pine woods or tracks leading tantalizingly into the distance. Without doubt a little paradise in which to spend a holiday.
Along the length of the island (approx 45 kilometres) runs the "main road" rather like a herringbone, with various roads off on either side leading to the coast. Along the main road are several small towns with the two main towns, Mahon the captial with its magnificient natural port and Ciudadela at either end. There are very few original coastal villages and very little coast road.
The North coast is dry and rocky, with high cliffs in some places and where the sea can become quite violent when the strong north wind blows. Here also a several virgin beaches with coarse multicoloured sand and less vegetation than on the South side.
The South side is quite different, much softer, undulating hills where most of the main beaches will be found. Here are the busier beaches with all the services but here also one can find small virgin coves although usually with more difficult access.
The middle of the island is dedicated mostly to farming, here one will see the rich red earth, the herds of friesian cows or the whitewashed farmhouses.
¡Menorca is an island with many traditions of which the most well known are the fiestas held to celebrate the Patron Saints Day of each individual town and village. The centre of these fiestas is always the "Jaleo" which involves prancing horses, there is always a samll fair, fireworks and a dancing in the evening, lots of good eating and drinking of "Pomada" a strong combination of local made gin and lemon which is drunk only at the fiestas.
There are many excellent local dishes, but one which stands out is "Caldereta de langosta" a strong soup made from spiny lobsters and accompanied by thinly cut toasted bread. Menorca also makes high quality cheese which has been commended both nationally and internationally.
Another menorcan industry is shoe making. From high quality internationally renowned shoes to the more humble "Albarca", a typical menorcan sandal originally with a sole made from old rubber tyres and uppers from cowhide, although a much more sophisticated product is now on the market.