Alternative Menorca: discovering the eastern zone

This route explores eastern Menorca, the area least visited by tourists with perhaps the least known beaches (that are no less beautiful!); you can visit prehistoric caves, see lunar landscapes, lighthouses and old fishing villages. Mahón, the island’s capital, also lies in this eastern zone. 

Binibeca 

This fishing village, characterized by white houses with blue doors and windows, was built in the 70s, basically with tourists in mind.

Binibeca

Overall, the village took the image of old fishing villages and reproduced it faithfully. Nevertheless, strolling through the narrow streets and getting lost throughout the small houses is certainly an experience. To get there from the Mahón area, take Sant Lluis, then follow signs for Binibequer Vell (the Menorcan name of the village).

Illa de l'Aire and the Torre d’Alcaufar Lighthouse 

Just opposite the Punta Prima beach, Illa de l'Aire (Island of Air) is just 1.3 kilometres away. 

Illa de l'Aire

This incredible spot is the most difficult to reach - you can only get there by boat. If you happen to visit the island, know that the only inhabitants are a few hundred rabbits and a variety of black lizards, unique in the world!

From the beach of Punta Prima you can take the Camí de Cavalls towards the north. This ancient path runs along the coast and in just 20 minutes you will reach the Torre d’Alcaufar defensive tower.

Torre di Alcaufar

Binifadet 

If you want to taste Menorcan wine and see how it is made, you should visit the Binifadet cellars in Sant Lluis. They are open all year long and organize free guided tours. At the end of each visit, they offer a tasting of two wines and cheese in accompaniment.

Binifadet, Merluzo Wine

Within Binifadet there is an excellent restaurant and shop with products from the winery. Their Merluzo Wine, pictured above, is famous throughout the island.

Cales Coves 

To the south of Alaior, a Menorcan municipality, is the Cales Coves pebble beach. The walls of the cliffs are home to burial caves that are at least 3000 years old. It is the largest necropolis of Menorcan prehistory. In the past, these caves were inhabited by the Romans who came to the island, then by peasants in the Middle Ages, and the hippie community in the 60s.

 Cales Coves Caves

Today some have been closed for safety reasons. From the beach, the path to the left leads to the caves, just follow the yellow arrows painted on the rocks. Not recommended for those with a fear of heights!

Mahón

A holiday in Menorca is not complete without a visit to its capital, Mahón. The name derives from Magon, the Carthaginian general who founded the city in 200 BC.

Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, the French and British invaded and conquered the island in past centuries, and their traces can still be seen in the architecture, culture, language and cuisine.

The importance of cities around the Mediterranean (and the main reason of conquest by various peoples and empires over the centuries) was always determined by the strategic position of Mahón and its harbour. The port of Mahón is, in fact, the second largest natural harbour in the world, after Pearl Harbour.

Port of Mahón 

Take all of its six kilometres (on foot or by boat), walk along the pier and watch the ferries, cruise ships and sailing club boats come in. Make sure to stop to enjoy Menorcan dishes in one of the many sea-side restaurants. Then from the port, you can climb the grand Costa de Ses Voltes staircase to the historic centre; it goes directly to Placa d'Espanya, where you will find the fish market.

 Fish market, Mahón

Wander the streets and you will surely arrive to the municipal market known as Sa Plaça. Last century Menorcans went there to buy fruits and vegetables that came directly from the fields. Today it offers a supermarket, craft shops, herbal shops, flower shops, clothing and footwear, as well as ceramic and glass workshops.

 Church of Santa María and Sa Plaça market 

Worthy of a visit include: the Church of Santa Maria, which houses a famous organ, an instrumental gem with four keyboards and 3000 pipes (you can attend one of the free concerts every day, except Sunday, at 13:00); the Town Hall, whose clock was built in London and presented by Governor Kane during the British era; the Museum of Menorca, and the main theatre, one of the oldest in Europe, well known around the world for the opera.

The Cave of Xoroi

This is the most famous cave of the island. According to legend, Xoroi was a castaway Turkish man that, after arriving on the island and abducting a young Menorcan girl, had found a cave and managed to remain hidden for several years, forming a family and living on petty theft to local farmers. Betrayed by an unusual snowfall and discovered by locals, he jumped into the sea afraid, followed by his son. He is said to have disappeared since. The cave has now been turned into a disco: it can be visited during the day for a drink and chill music, or at night when it hosts DJs and theme nights.

Favàritx Lighthouse

Favàritx Lighthouse

The north-east of the Cape of Favàritx landscape, dominated by its lighthouse, it is defined by the absence of vegetation and slate processed by wind and salt. As you approach the lighthouse, the island seems to change completely, from olive trees to the blue-black slate stone. This is an excellent starting point to reach the virgin beaches of Cala Presili and Cala Tortuga, or for a hike along the northern coast of Menorca.

Torralba den Salord

This village has one of the most beautiful and monumental taula, stone monuments, of the island. The monument "board" is actually made up of two large stone blocks and reaches nearly four metres high.

Torralba den Salord

The enclosure in which it is located, in the shape of a horseshoe, was most likely intended for worship. The remains of a hearth, amphorae for wine, small bronze figures and other ritual objects can be seen.

To reach Torralba take the Alaior-Cala en Porter road from the Carretera General Mahon-Ciutadella and follow the signs.

Admission: 3,50 EUR (free in winter)

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00-18:00

You will find other suggested routes through Menorca in these articles: Menorca's Historically Rich Western Coast and Alternative Menorca: an itinerary throughout the centre.

Alternative Menorca: discovering the eastern zone

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