Enjoy this handpicked collection of unusual things to do in Menorca: a fascinating Balearic island.
Menorca suffers from something called Spanish Myth Syndrome: the unshakable viewpoint that there’s nothing more to Spain than simple sunshine, sea and sangria.
I’ve written about this misconception many times: in sweeping strokes, in bullet point lists, in personal stories and in foodie recipe form.
Well, here we go again, in the face of comments I heard when I said I was off to Menorca.
Here are just some of the unusual things you can see and do on this small but beautiful island.
Honey-stone capital Mahon, is just one of the places in Europe that lays claim to the invention of mayonnaise, famed the world over and frequently mixed in with tuna. Another is Bayonne but given that Mahon sounds like it should go with mayonnaise, I’m going to go ahead and give Menorca the benefit of the doubt. That’s the kind of level of research I feel warrants a mixture of egg and oil!
Through a series of rural twilight caverns, artisanal farmers convert liquid white milk into firm, golden cheese. It looks like a back-breaking process, with each cheese brushed with olive oil and tied in cloth by hand.
(It is also, you notice, nothing like the canary yellow square slabs that end up in our supermarkets, that’s for sure.)
Surrounded by wild flowers, long grass and birdsong and overlooking the rest of the island, the Poblado Torre d’en Galmes stretches back to before historical records began. Its cream, crumbling walls form just one of more than 1574 Talayotic settlements on Menorca.
I managed to hot foot it to two: Naveta des Tudons and Poblado Torre d’en Galmes.
It was one of those days where spring stood on the brink of summer. When the grass swayed, bees buzzed and the sun tried a few warm up routines rather than switching on full blaze.
As spring tips into the summer, these cream and pallid stones form a backdrop for golden grass speckled with colour. Scarlet poppies, giant fennel, wild garlic and violets peek out from behind the olive trees and the distinctive Aleppo pine.
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Yes, that’s right, the powers that be from Britain had their grubby little fingerprints all over this island as well. You can either get a taste of historical intrigue by hopping on a glass-bottomed harbour cruise that takes in the fortifications, hospitals and underwater sealife – or you can get a taste of the gin. That’s another thing, it seems, that the Brits left behind.
One of the tastiest (and messiest) things to hail from this part of the world is the caldetera, a lobster-based dish served in a giant pot as a typical Sunday lunch.
An evergreen market of fresh fruit and veg, sweet pastries and local spiced sausage takes place within the cloisters of a former nunnery called the Mercat des Claustres. It’s a quiet way to while away a morning, with plenty of shade in case the sun’s strength gets too hot. On Saturday afternoons, you can head to the market next door for some tapas, vino and a bit of a fiesta! (Yes, OK, some of the stereotypes are true. But this is a good one, so viva viva!)
Yes, that’s really its name! In a sweet side street of a village straight from the film sets of Almodovar, the Cas Sucrer sprinkles sugar over everything, from traditional ensaimadas to crespells de confituras. What’s more, these Balearic delicacies are based on lard rather than butter – great news for those who have to go dairy-free (like me mwahahaha)
Thanks for reading,
Disclosure: I travelled to Menorca as part of a project between iAmbassador and Visit Menorca. As ever, as always, I’m free to write what I like and to seek out the unusual wherever I go.
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