At the beginning of Parisian autumn, Menorca posted a temperature of 27 degrees. Ditto in the sea. This tells you if the small Balearic island , off the coast of Spain , benefits from a potential chill in the sun until the Indian summer, accessible by direct flight. Ok, but once there, what do we do?
Nothing better to plan your trip than the advice of an insider. Minorcan by adoption for 7 years, Hélène de Vanssay , founder of the brilliant Atelier Enfant directory which lists kid-friendly activities throughout France, has settled near San Lluís : her island has (almost) no more secrets for her! The inspired expat gave us his favorite addresses and must-visit spots. To your notes.
Hotels to put down your suitcases
The most luxurious: it just opened this summer and the result is absolutely refined . Facing the superb beach of Santo Tomás , with its feet in the white sand and seeming to float above the water, the new 5-star hotel Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá plays the card of ethical luxury (aiming for zero carbon) with a spa signed by the French vegan brand Anne Semonin .
Villa Le Blanc Gran Meliá , from €750 per night.
The most bohemian: the Jardin de Ses Bruixes , a 19th century mansion all in white and wood in the heart of the capital Mahon , with a marvelous garden , an underground swimming pool like in a cave and jacuzzis on the terrace . The dream.
Jardí de Ses Bruixes , from €210 per night.
The most guest house: Hevresac , a stately home from the end of the 18th century with tapas restaurant, harmonious vintage decor, locavore breakfast , shared kitchen and all different rooms ( mosaic , beams , cement tiles ), all at Mahon too.
Hevresac , from €120 per night.
The most committed: Rafal Rubí , an old house bought by the French on a magnificent site where the new owners had the pleasant surprise of discovering a romantic garden worthy of Majorelle . Special mention for the dozen divinely decorated rooms, the tapas bar , the extraordinary swimming pool and the agroturismo approach with a nursery, chickens, fruit trees...
Rafal Rubí , from €550 for a minimum of three nights.
Good tables to trust
For a drink with tapas: Binifadet , a bodega below Mahon .
For a memorable lobster soup: Es Cranc , an excellent restaurant in Fornells for which you will need to book well in advance in order to taste the typical dish, the sopa de caldereta .
For a lunch on the beach: the Club Nàutic Binisafua , its salads and fresh grilled fish.
For signature cocktails: Menorca Experimental , the Menorcan address of the hotel group, in the south near Calas Covas . A sublime spot above the sea where you can sip couture potions by the pool.
For crazy sandwiches and salads: Sa Botiga in Mahon, to wash down with a cold beer.
For a large table dinner: Quitapenas in the south of the island, which offers a rather Californian menu with live concerts at nightfall.
A wow nightclub to dance the night away
The place is impressive. To pronounce it as you can, Cova D'en Xoroi is a unique nightclub in the world which is held in a sort of cave dug into the rock overlooking the sea, in the south of Menorca near Cala'n Porter . To see once in a lifetime!
The most beautiful beaches to chill
The island is surrounded by a good number of fine white sand beaches, with coves and in particular the paradisiac beach of Son Bou in the South. There is thicker yellow sand on the beautiful beach of Sa Mesquida , a few kilometers from Mahon , to the east of the island. Going up, the volcanic rocks give way to lunar landscapes, while in the North the sand becomes rather red like on the beach of Cavalleria .
Hélène's favorite beaches? Turquoise water and sand worthy of the Seychelles in the unmissable fishing village of Es Grau , like the one that runs along the adorable Es Castell . Further down, Cala Alcaufar offers a very cute cove. But the headquarters of La Menorquine to chill all day is in Binibeca , a magnificent white village and its charming beach whose hut offers, a rare occurrence, tapas to nibble on the spot .
King's Island: an artists' paradise
Impossible to ignore The King's Island ( Illa del Rei in VO) an open-air museum belonging to the gallerists Hauser & Wirth , accessible in 15 minutes by boat from Mahon . There are exhibitions all year round, sculptures placed here and there in the gardens, drawing workshops for children and even a delicious restaurant . Allow a whole day to fully enjoy it! Until November, there is the poetic exhibition Sodade by Rashid Johnson and his bluish paintings inspired by the sea.
The best shopping addresses
Mahon obviously stands out as the capital of shopping where we find in particular the fashion and decoration concept store Casa M or the cabinet of curiosities Can Sab . On the Ciutadella side, Café Central offers a great boutique space in addition to a tea room, Papillon 's little brother, which offers a decoration selection to die for. Also worth visiting, right next door: the adorable La Puríssima shop , the elegant jewelry of Paradís and the perfect vintage curation of Hijo Mio.
Impossible to leave the island without having invested in a pair of menorquinas , the leather sandals worn by all the locals and which are made on site. You can find beautiful models at low prices in all the streets of Mahon .
And also… the villages you absolutely must visit
- Mahon, the capital, is surrounded by pretty authentic villages like Es Castell , San Lluís or Es Grau .
- Fornells: an authentic fishing village in the north of the island.
- Llucmaçanes : a charming little village in the countryside with a beautiful church.
- Camí de Cavalls: the “ Path of the Horses ” to go all around the island by bike or on horseback.