Take a trip to Menorca in the summer months and the first thing you will be struck by are the colours – the intense light saturation is a stunning and wondrous sight to behold. The waters, which shade from deep azure into luminescent pale turquoise, spill into powder like, fine white sands; its blue skies are the first to greet the sun in Spain each day, and its sunsets are arguably some of the finest in the world. Gaze past the bleached rocky cliffs and gaze on green and fertile land.
It’s no wonder then, that Menorca was declared a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993. This unspoilt island, which is located off the East coast of Spain, forms part of the Balearic archipelago, but gets much less attention than its lively sisters. This is a blessing in disguise for those looking for an authentic, old world feel, as Menorca’s coastline has been left virtually untouched by the high-rises that pepper the coasts of Ibiza and Mallorca.
Inland, there is an abundance of farmland divided into pretty patchwork by dry stone walls. These farms produce a huge variety of produce, such as Mahon cheese, olive oil, apples and wine.
The enduring presence of agriculture – and the good living it produces – has imbued Menorca with a laid back, unpretentious atmosphere that is quietly attracting a new set of admirers. From bohemian, creative types, to enterprising young tech entrepreneurs, many of these new buyers are enticed by the unspoilt landscape, not to mention the abundance of romantic, shabby chic fincas begging for restoration which can be snapped up for a steal. Throw in the fact that you’re a short one hour flight from Barcelona and it’s not hard to see why those in the know are choosing to buy here.
The Island’s bohemian credentials are further boosted by the fact that it has been discretely encouraging sustainable tourism, with walking and cycling routes across the island granting access to areas not reachable by car.
Dust off your walking shoes and head along the Cami de Cavalls, a restored medieval bridle path which circles the island along 125 miles of beautiful coast. This route will lead you to some hidden gems along the coastline, including otherwise inaccessible beaches.
All that walking is likely to build up an appetite, so head to the island’s capital, Mahon, where there is an abundance of excellent restaurants. This small but lively port city has a golden glow about it, with the Mediterranean sun reflecting its radiance off a mixture of buildings in shades of canary yellow, deep terracotta, crème anglaise and oatmeal.
A quick stroll round its pristine streets reveals an array of independent boutiques, fresh food markets and charming cafes, a perfect introduction to the sweet, laid-back way of life here.