The islands are made up of Majorca in the centre, with Ibiza to the south-west and Menorca to the north-east. Their climates are very similar, with around 250 days of sunshine a year beaming down on white sand beaches and azure oceans.
Menorca is often overshadowed by its glamorous neighbours, the shores of which are famous for welcoming a showbiz clientele in their luxury yachts, as well as yobbish party-goers. But is there actually much difference between the three in terms of geography, history and culture?
In this series of blog posts I will compare Menorca with its Balearic siblings in a few different areas. First up: the lay of the land in Menorca and Majorca.
Majorca is generally known for a great range of all-inclusive package holidays which have been drawing in hordes of sun-worshipping families since the 1970s. It’s a lively, vibrant island that gets very busy during the school holidays in the summer months.
Menorca, on the other hand, with a fraction of Majorca’s population and a laid-back Mediterranean mentality, feels much less crowded than its big sister. It was largely untouched by the heyday of the fly-and-flop holiday and has many fewer high-rise hotel developments marring its skyline.
Immediately a visitor would notice that the island of Majorca is spectacularly mountainous, with the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range stretching from the north-west to the north-east. This makes the island a dream for climbers, mountain bikers and other outdoor thrill-seekers.
The landscape of Menorca, on the other hand, is considerably gentler, enabling a cyclist of any calibre to take to two wheels and explore the delights of the area. It was made a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993, which will continue to preserve its stunning coastline and communities. The Camí de Cavalls is an ancient coastal path that encircles the whole island; if you walk it in the spring it will take through swaths of beautiful wildflowers.
The south half of the island is comprised of limestone and is fringed with a number of glorious white sand beaches, which are perfect for sunbathing. The north half is made up of red sandstone, with a rugged coastline of coves, inlets and lighthouses ripe for exploring. The Bay of Fornells is a great place to learn how to windsurf or sail.
When it comes to natural beauty, the picturesque rural farmland, the rugged northern coastline and the southern Caribbean-style beaches of Menorca simply cannot be topped.