There’s no denying that Menorca’s coast is spectacular. However, there is just as much to discover and relish further inland. The island’s interior is mostly flat and stony, punctuated in places by gorges, bluffs, and spots of vegetation. If you visit the island in the springtime, you’ll get the chance to see one of interior’s secret oases.
Menorca’s Temporary Ponds
Little-known to most visitors, the island is sprinkled with about 80 temporary ponds, known as ‘basses’. The ponds are small, shallow depressions in the rocky terrain, which collect water in the rainy season and evaporate come summer. Over the centuries, these ponds have proved enormously important to island natives for the purposes of irrigation and drinking water. There is even evidence to suggest that the ponds were used by the Talaiotic people as far back as 1500 BCE.
Despite their small size – only one to two metres – and tendency to vanish in the hot Menorca sun, the basses of this island nevertheless support an astounding array of natural life. The ponds are oases in the arid, rocky landscape, supporting lush vegetation and bird life where you’d least expect it. Today, all the basses of Menorca are protected by the Life Nature project run by the Island Council.
Sa Bassa Verda
If you’re visiting in the spring to see the island in bloom, it’s well worth your while to hike to one of the basses in the interior. One of our favourites is Sa Bassa Verda, literally ‘the green pond’. The pond is located north of Ciutadella just east of Algaiarens cove.
To get there, park your car in the beach’s car park and make your way along the trail marked Cami de Cavalls through fields and forests. The trail to the pond becomes rockier as you ascend slightly, until you come to Sa Bassa Verda concealed behind tall trees and hulking boulders. The walk is approximately 6.5 kilometres and of medium difficulty – well worth the moderate effort to see the pond before it disappears!