Menorca Walking Holiday

Menorca Walking Holiday

Saturday 12 October-Saturday 19 October 2019.

 

About the holiday

This is a walking holiday on the island of Menorca organised by Sandwell Ramblers.

Menorca is famous for its idyllic, unspoilt beaches, hidden coves, deep blue bays and quaint fishing villages. So, as well as walking, there will be plenty of opportunities to swim, and to sample fresh seafood and local specialties. Menorca is an unspoilt, authentic and green island. You will walk along low-lying sea cliffs, through ancient olive groves and pine forests as well as through quiet, rolling countryside.

We will fly from Birmingham with jet2.com and there will be six walks led by Julia and Paul, members of Sandwell Ramblers, which will explore some of the very best bits of this beautiful, varied island. They will be principally coastal walks on good paths.

The walks will be in remote areas, so coach transport to all the walks will be arranged. Accommodation will be in a comfortable hotel in a quiet, scenic resort.

 

Where is Menorca and how big is it?

Menorca is a Spanish island in the western Mediterranean, one of the Balearic island group, about 30 miles to the north-east of Majorca and about 130 miles to the south-east of Barcelona. It is a relatively small island – just 30 miles across and about 10 miles wide. It has in excess of 100 beaches and coves, more than neighbours Majorca and Ibiza combined. Some of the cove beaches are among the best in the Mediterranean and many remain untouched by commercial development.

 

Where in Menorca is the holiday based?

The holiday is based in the resort of Cala Galdana, a small, laid-back resort in a spectacular setting at the foot of the D’algendar gorge, the largest gorge on the island. It lies in a large bay surrounded by high limestone cliffs and has a sizeable and beautiful sandy beach and safe swimming. The resort has no night clubs. It has several hotels, around a dozen or so restaurants, several small supermarkets and a few shops. It is linked by bus to the island capital Mahon and to Ciutadella - the other large population centre on the island. There are also taxis, hire car companies and boat and coach excursion booths. You can buy freshly made sandwiches and baguettes for lunch from some of the supermarkets.

 

What is special about Menorca?

The Daily Telegraph encapsulated it as follows:

“unspoilt, idyllic, glistening sand, turquoise water… just about every tourist brochure cliché is actually true when you are talking about Menorca. The island has been quietly encouraging sustainable tourism for years….its gentle landscapes are ideal for activities such as walking – with no scary sharp inclines for those who are not super fit”.

In 1993, the island was granted the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the island has a reputation as a botanist's paradise. There are 1000 species of plant (60 of which are endemic), including wild orchids, foxgloves and wild saffron, to name just a few. The avian inhabitants of Menorca attract birdwatchers from far and wide. Notable residents include Egyptian vultures, ospreys, purple herons and hoopoes.

However, the most significant feature for walkers is the GR-223 long-distance footpath, better known as the Cami de Cavalls (or Bridle Path). This is a 116-mile path that goes around the entire coastline of the island and visits nearly all of its unspoilt coves and beaches as well as giving access to dramatic inland landscapes. It is an old medieval military path used to patrol the coastline by horse. It had fallen into disrepair and been partly taken over by landowners. However, it was reinstated in 2011 at a cost of around 2 million euros and has waymarking, signposts and has been re-engineered in places. It is now a fantastic resource for walkers, riders and cyclists. It attracts walking groups from all over Europe.

 

What is the landscape like?

A sort of cross between a Spanish Cotswolds, Cornwall and one of the greener Greek islands.

The northern half of the island has a rugged and rocky coastline, with red clay rocks combining with golden sands and green vegetation to provide a striking and unique landscape. The central interior part of the island has gently rolling hills. A striking feature of the landscape here are the ubiquitous dry-stone walls.

The south of the island is a limestone plateau with heavily wooded ravines and gorges leading down to gorgeous white sand coves and beaches. 

 

What is the walk itinerary?

Walk 1 – Virgin Beaches Walk. This straightforward walk will visit some of the most beautiful unspoilt coves to the west of Cala Galdana. These are Cala Macarella, Cala Macaralleta, Cala en Turqueta, Es Talaier and Son Saura. To reach these beaches we will walk through woodlands of evergreen oaks, firs and wild olive trees. Google the coves (calas) for photos.

Walk 2 – Cavalleria to Cala Pilar. This is a linear walk along the remote, spectacular, rugged north coast of the island. We will pass the stunning beaches at Cavalleria, Cala Pregonda and Cala Pilar as well as walk through fragrant woodland and enjoy constantly changing panoramic views of the Menorcan seascape and interior hills. Once again, google the beaches for photos.

Walk 3 – Sa Mesquida to Favaritx. Another spectacularly beautiful linear walk, this time on the eastern coast of the island. Highlights of the walk will include the lunch stop in the tiny fishing village of Es Grau, crossing the nature reserve of S’Albufera and the finish at the north-eastern tip of the island with its lighthouse and other-worldly rocky moonscape.

Walk 4 - Cala Pilar to Cala Morrell. Another stunning coastal walk, starting with an extended forest section, before arriving at the impressively wide bay of Algaiarens, which contains another beautiful and unspoilt beach. We will lunch here, where there will be swimming opportunities. We then follow the cliff-top path to Cala Morell, which is situated in a wide, dramatic bay, full of geological interest. The local cheese, Queso de Mahon is made in this area.

Walk 5 – Cala Galdana to Binigaus or Sant Tomas. This is a circular walk. First, we climb onto the limestone Migjorn plateau, which is traversed by deep crevices, and cross over several streams. You may see a Mediterranean turtle on this stretch. We return along the coast path, ‘El Literol’ which passes the gorgeous cove beaches of Cala Mitjana, Cala Trebaluger, Cala Fustam and Cala Escorxada. There will be opportunities to swim in the idyllic clear turquoise bays here. There will be a short 7 mile version of this walk and a longer 12 mile version.

Walk 6 – Es Migjorn Gran to Son Bou (including Cova des Coloms). We travel inland to the authentic market town of Es Migjorn Gran and then walk to the nearby cathedral-like cave of Cova des Coloms. We then continue down a gorge to the laid-back resort of Sant Tomas and its popular beach bars and on to Son Bou with its 2-mile long beach where we will finish the walking part of the holiday with a swim.

 

How tough is the walking?

The walks are all graded Moderate and vary in length from 7 to 12 miles. There are no really steep climbs, only relatively gentle ones, and the walking is, for the most part, easy and straightforward - if a little dry and rocky. The walks are principally on coastal paths, forest tracks and over lush green countryside, passing through olive groves and pine woods as well as low sea cliffs. For those who do our Sunday Moderate walks, these walks will present no difficulty and are actually on the Leisurely side of Moderate in most cases.

There will be an opportunity to do shortened versions of some of the walks. There are also opportunities to do self-guided leisurely walks on the island. These may involve catching buses and/or taxis. You can also hire a car in the resort or at Mahon airport.

 

How hot is it in Menorca in October?

It is similar to an average August in the UK. The temperature is usually a pleasant 22 degrees centigrade during the day and 17 degrees centigrade at night. The sun shines most days, and you can sunbathe and swim; the walking temperature is also very comfortable. As with August in the UK, there can be cloudy days and there can be rain showers.

 

How much will it cost?

Holiday price is from £434 for a shared room half-board and £713 for a single room half-board. There is also a fee of around £55 for the coach transfers to the walks. These are indicative prices only and are subject to demand, availability and currency fluctuations.

There are discounts for other board options where available.

Note: For insurance reasons, you will need to be a Ramblers member to go on this holiday (annual cost £35.85).

The quoted price includes flights, airport transfers, transfers to walks, accommodation and meals where applicable. A local Eco tax of around 15 euros per person is payable to the hotel on arrival.

Where applicable, breakfast will typically be from 08.00-10.00 and the evening meal from 18.00-21.00.

 

Do I have any other options?

Yes. You can book privately and just turn up in Cala Galdana for as many walks as you want. Menorca has a large variety of reasonably priced accommodation and all the major travel companies and flight operators offer holidays here.

 

How do I book?

Email us at paulandjulia@sandwellramblers.org.uk