Menorca or Minorca is one of the four main Balearic Islands found in the Mediterranean Sea, off the east coast of Spain. Its name derives from its size ('Minor-ca') as opposed to its neighbour Majorca ('Major-ca'). Other popular islands in the archipelago include Ibiza and Formentera.
The island has a typical Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and short mild winters. Menorca is the most northern of the Balearics, making it slightly cooler and wetter, but it is considered the most tranquil and least overrun. It is nicknamed the 'windy island' as it is in the path of eight prevailing winds.
The historic town of Ciutadella and the capital Mahón are great places to stay if you want to soak up the culture. For beautiful sea views head to Son Bou, Cala'n Porter or Santo Tomas in the south. On the west coast you'll find the beautiful Cala'n Blanes, Cala Blanca and Cala'n Bosch.
Most hotels cater well for families with plenty of kid's entertainment and activities, but you'll also find peaceful boutique hotels tucked away in the countryside and well-equipped resorts for sports and recreation.
There's plenty of low-cost accommodation options if you just want somewhere to stay while you explore the island.
In Mahón there's the one-star Hostal Jume, a peaceful hotel in the heart of the capital with comfortable rooms. Similarly there's the centrally located Hostal Jeni set in beautiful gardens boasting a sun terrace, heated pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, so you can unwind after a long day on your feet.
To stay at the popular Cala'n Porter resort there's the reasonably priced Club Menorca perched on a cliff-top overlooking the beach. Relax in your good-sized room with a breath-taking view, watch yachts passing by as you sample paella in the restaurants or chill in the rooftop bar. Sa Paissa is a two-star hotel in the centre of the resort offering outdoor swimming and a pool bar where there is nightly entertainment.
If you're after a hotel in the historic Ciutadella, there's the centrally located two-star Hotel Geminis. Stroll the streets and cosy squares of the old town and come back to tapas in the hotel's café or a swim in the pool. Hostal Residencia Menurka is a family-run guesthouse in a quiet part of the city with simple rooms, most with a balcony. It's a great base for those wanting to explore as you can hire a bike or car from the tour desk.
Want best of both the city and the seaside? Then head to two-star Cala Bona - Mar Blava located in front of a quiet promenade and just 50m from Sa Platja Gran Beach. It boasts a garden-terrace, bar and outdoor pool.
If you don't want to be confined to hotel meal times, there is a range of self-catering options.
On the west coast there's Vista Blanes Apartments in Cala'n Blanes, just 150m from the beach. Stock up on supplies in the supermarket before serving up a meal in your kitchenette. Why not do some water aerobics in the pool? For little ones there's a kids pool and games room. In the same resort is the award-winning Vista Picas Apartments, close to the beaches, boasting fully-equipped apartments, a swimming pool, restaurant and kids play area.
Heading down the coast there's Club Cales de Ponent in Cala Santandria, a modern holiday complex in front of the beach. Your spacious apartment has a kitchenette and a terrace or balcony while the hotel offers a solarium, pool, bar-restaurant and kids area. Ideal for families is Blancala Apartments in Cala Blanca just 300m from Santandria Beach. It has two pools, a kids area and crazy golf.
On the south-west of the island there's Las Brisas Playa Park Apartments in Cala'n Bosch, a stroll away from Son Xoriguer Beach. The comfortable rooms consist of a bedroom, living/dining room, kitchen and a terrace or balcony. Take a dip in the clover-shape swimming pool while the kids enjoy their own pool and a playground.
On the south coast there's Hamilton Court Apartments in Santo Tomás. Chill be the pool surrounded by lush gardens, enjoy regional and international cuisine on the restaurant terrace or hit the beach just meters away. Son Bou Gardens in Son Bou is a beautiful apartment with three bedrooms, a fully equipped modern kitchen and a lounge with satellite TV. It boasts a large pool area with shallow children's pool and has panoramic views of Son Bou Beach.
For those wanting to relax knowing everything is paid for, there are a few all-inclusive hotels around, mostly mid-range.
For a trusted hotel chain there's the two-star Hi! Binimar Apartmentos in Cala'n Blanes. The complex has four pools and kids will love the splash zone with three water slides. It has a mini-market and a range of restaurants and bars. Or three-star Hi! Los Delfines Apartamentos in Cala'n Forcat has fully-equipped apartments with a kitchenette and a terrace or balcony. There is an adults' and children's pool, and guests can also use facilities at the neighbouring Hi! Los Delfines Hotel.
If you're searching for a family friendly all-inclusive option, look no further. Sol Falco in Son Xoriguer is Flintstones-themed hotel surrounded by lush gardens. The reasonably priced resort offers a gym, climbing wall, seven outdoor pools and a varied entertainment program with activities, sports and shows. Kids can enjoy their own pool, playground and children's clubs. Or there's Hotel Club Sur Menorca in Biniancolla which has a free shuttle to Punta Prima Beach, gardens, a swimming pool for adults and two more for children, a playground and mini club.
Want to stay active at a hotel with lots of activities? Stil Victoria Playa Hotel in Es Migjorn Gran has direct access to Santo Tomas Beach with a range of water sports. Go for a walk through the extensive gardens , play ping-pong, badminton or water polo, and enjoy the entertainment programme.
If you want to splash out a bit there's Coves Noves' Club Hotel Marina Parc set in gardens next to Arenal d'en Castell Beach. It boasts an outdoor pool, gym and tennis court as well as a spa with sauna, Jacuzzi and Turkish bath. It even has its own nightclub. Or the four-star Valentin Son Bou is located on a hill in Alaior not far from the beach. It's surrounded by gardens with a pool in the middle and a terrace where you can chill with a cocktail.
On the beach
If you want the luxury of being able to step straight out onto a sandy beach, check out these coastal hotels.
In the Set Hotels chain is the mid-range Hotel Playa Azul in Cala'n Porter, a short stroll from the beautiful sandy cove. It also offers a buffet restaurant, bar and two swimming pools where you can enjoy amazing sea views. Another in the Set Hotels group is Port Ciutadella. It's slightly more expensive but is in the great location in the charming town right next to the sea. Modern and tastefully decorated it has a buffet restaurant, swimming pool and a spa.
If you want somewhere with activities for all ages there's Hi! Cala'n Bosch Hotel. This three-star hotel has rooms with balconies, direct access to the beach and it's not far from the Cala'n Bosch marina offering water sports. There are pools for adults and children and a various entertainment and activities programme to suit all. Prinsotel La Caleta is right next to the beach in Cala Santandria and has two pools for adults and two for children. There entertainment for all ages includes music, themed parties and pool games.
For a family hotel there's Sol Milanos Pinguinos, a Flintstones-themed hotel overlooking the long Son Bou Beach. It has a lagoon-style pool, two buffet restaurants and a kid's adventure playground. If you want to be in Ciutadella there's Hostal Sa Prensa, a small family hotel on the seafront. Why not enjoy some tapas on the snack bar's quiet terrace overlooking the bay.
If you're taking the kids to Menorca, there are a couple of cheaper family hotels but most are mid-range.
The one-star Talayot Apartments in Cala'n Forcat is set out like a white-washed village and is specially designed for families. It has six swimming pool, one with a slide and diving board, table tennis, volleyball, football, games room, karaoke bar. Kids have their own pool and a playground. Or there's Hotel Balear, an affordable hotel in the centre of Ciutadella town with a family environment and is a great base for exploration.
In the mid-range there's Hi! Cala Blanca Hotel, 150m from a small bay. It has sports facilities, a large garden area, pools for adults and children and plenty of day and evening entertainment. Hotel Xaloc Playa in Punta Prima is 50m from a sandy beach and has a swimming pool with kid's area, mini-golf, table tennis, two or three shows a week.
If you want the best there's the four-star Royal Son Bou Family Club, a Travellers' Choice 2013 winner for the family category. The hotel is designed exclusively for families with a range of entertainment, kids' clubs for all ages, a children's pool, cots and highchairs, as well as sports and activities for adults. Why not try Viva Menorca in Cala'n Bosch? Kids will love the pirate ship pool with slides, the playground and mini club. For the parents there's aqua aerobics and music shows in the evening.
There's a temping selection of romantic hotels and boutiques in Menorca, mostly high-end.
For something not too expensive there's the three-star Catalonia Mirador d'es Port not far from the centre of Mahón. The hotel boasts lush gardens, a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and modern rooms. Sit on the coffee bar terrace and gaze out at the picturesque harbour. Or there's Cheap & Chic Hotel in Ciutadella, a great base for exploring the city. If you hate big hotel resorts, you'll love this quirky little hotel with elegantly designed rooms with lots of natural light.
Getting more expensive is Hotel Tres Sants in the heart of Ciutadella's old town. This boutique hotel is a converted 18th century manor house with just 8 rooms, each decorated in a unique way. Unwind in the Turkish bath, take a dip in the cosy indoor spool and enjoy spectacular views across the city from the terrace. Or there's Son Granot in Es Castell, a high class boutique hotel with romantic gardens, and the beach is just 500m away.
If you're looking for a country escape, look no further than Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou, a former 1650s cottage. Marvel at the beautiful rural views with sea views in the distance. The hotel staff can help you plan activities such as horse riding, cycling tours and open-air painting. Or there's Hotel Rural Binigaus Vell in a peaceful setting on what used to be a large farm. In the grounds you'll find an outdoor pool, garden area, hiking paths and San Adeodato stables where you can go for a horse ride.
For those who want to avoid the noisy kids, head to Valentin Star, an adults only hotel in Cala'n Bosch. This elegant hotel is focused around a swimming pool with a Jacuzzi and massage showers. Sip on a cocktail on the terrace while you watch professional shows.
There is a selection of top-end hotels in Menorca if you like to live in luxury.
If you want to be by the sea there's Sol Gavilanes, directly on the beach in Cala Galdana with pretty coves nearby to explore. The minimalist rooms have a private balcony and most have sea views. Feast on Spanish cuisine in the a la carte restaurant, chill in the pool or unwind in the spa. Or the typical Menorcan style S'Algar Hotel is set in tropical gardens opposite the sea and has direct access to the beach. Indulge in the spa, dine at the a la carte restaurant, or have drink in the cocktail bar with live music every night.
For those who love the countryside there's Hotel Ses Sucreres in the charming village of Ferreries in the centre of the island. This boutique hotel has three spacious double rooms and three suite rooms with quirky décor. Go for a walk on the footpaths surrounding the hotel, relax in the courtyard or enjoy the view from the rooftop terrace. Or in Es Castell there's the rural hotel Sant Joan De Binissaida boasting a Mediterranean garden area, a gourmet restaurant and beautiful countryside views. Its 12 unique luxury rooms are named after famous composers.
If you want to get active and live in luxury, the Menorcan style Insotel Punta Prima Resort is the place to be. This five-star TripAdvisor award-winning hotel set among sweeping gardens has a fabulous seafront location next to Punta Prima beach. Swim some lengths in the Olympic-size pool, go mountain biking, or hit the fitness centre. There are also facilities for tennis, squash, badminton, football, basketball, volleyball and water polo.
With a spa
There are a few hotels where you can get some rest and relaxation with its own spa, although these tend to be quite expensive.
Hotel Paradise Club & Spa in Cala'n Bosch is not only a great all-inclusive spa hotel, but also winner of the TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice for families. Make use of the Turkish Bath, sauna and indoor pool, while the kids enjoy the splash area with waterslides. It's a short walk from the beach and there's plenty of entertainment for adults and children. Another TripAdvisor award winner is Hotel Audax Spa & Wellness Centre with panoramic views of the nearby Cala Galdana Beach. Indulge in the Blue Spa –Menorca's largest with a thermal circuit as well as a range of treatments.
Couples seeking a relaxing holiday should head to Grupotel Macarella Suites & Spa in Son Xoriguer. The spa includes a heated pool, saunas, ice fountain, an array of treatments and a gym overlooking the lush gardens. Spoil yourself with the five-star Hotel La Quinta Resort & Spa in the same village. This luxury hotel boasts colonial architecture and charming rooms facing the interior gardens where the swimming pool is located. Feast on a buffet breakfast or themed dinner in the restaurant, enjoy a cocktail in the bar and unwind in the fully equipped spa.
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