A discreet pearl of bewitching beauty, the most unknown island in the Balearic Islands, anchored in the western Mediterranean, is full of protected natural treasures that earned it the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993. The one that the Phoenicians called"the islet of fire" in honour of the god Baal has never tarnished its beautiful silhouette, miraculously preserved from the impacts of mass tourism. Its dry-stone walls, sumptuous beaches, sometimes white, sometimes reddish, wild coves surrounded by green pine forests, mysterious prehistoric remains and caves that pierce the cliffs are to be discovered according to the seasons, between a translucent sea and a deeply rural land, under the mild Western Mediterranean climate. Imbued with diversity, the island's northern coastline is steep and rugged, with rugged coastlines and red sandy beaches swept by the Tramontane, contrasting to the south with paradisiacal shores of white or golden sand, sometimes more touristy, limestone canyons and plains covered with wild olive trees. It is in the heart of these magnificent panoramas that we will practice a whole range of activities to enjoy all year round: diving to the north in the maritime reserve, riding horses through the emblematic "Camí de Cavalls", hiking off the beaten track, from archaeological remains to pastoral landscapes, paragliding over the island, sailing towards its coves which are only accessible by the sea... Active tourism in Minorca makes sense when it comes to discovering a fascinating and preserved nature.
An unspoilt emerald paradise
A traditional Balearic boat, the llaüt is the emblem of a fishing tradition that is still well established in Menorca, as in the rest of the archipelago. With or without a skipper, renting a boat from one of the many qualified agencies on the island - which stand out for the quality of their services - is therefore the most appropriate option for discovering the edenic Minorcan shores surrounded by an incredibly crystal-clear emerald sea. It is also the only way to reach certain confidential coves that can only be reached by water. In the active tourism agencies around Menorca, you can also rent a sailboat, catamaran, kayak, sea scooter or surf paddle board and slide along the Mediterranean coast between two sea baths with masks and snorkels to discover the island's marine flora and fauna, whether you are on a solo excursion or guided tours led by certified professionals. For even more thrills, discovering Menorca by air - by plane or paragliding - offers a completely different, breathtaking view of the bays and rugged coastlines wet by the blue whirlwinds
In the north of the island, from Cap Gros to Fornells Bay, extends one of the best preserved marine reserves in the Mediterranean, created in 1999 to protect the richness of the Menorcan coastline and integrated into the S'Albufera d'es Grau Natural Park. While the lagoons of the park are home to many bird species to be observed all year round, the westernmost of the Balearic Islands has been acclaimed for many years for its exceptional seabed and its pure waters lined with meadows of Posidonia oceanica, an aquatic plant with ecological qualities that guarantees the island's marine biodiversity. Rocky coasts, submerged cavities, caves, wrecks... Minorca, which is full of natural nuggets, is a perfect place for first dives as well as for dives for experienced divers. The diving centres and their highly qualified instructors have made the island famous. Those who are discarded by the bottles can just as easily immerse themselves in the "mask and snorkel" toolbox to flush out the marine fauna hidden in this aquatic paradise
The beaten track of the historic "Camí de Cavalls"
Along the paths of the "Camí de Cavalls" or "horse path" in Catalan - which runs along the entire Menorcan coastline for almost 185 kilometres - there are rocky plains, wild creeks, picturesque forests and megalithic remains left here and there by the mysterious Talayotic culture. It is armed with good walking shoes, a mountain bike or a horseback that we will travel the paths of this former military road, which once connected the defensive towers built along the coast during the 18th century to fight against pirate incursions. The trail, divided into 20 stages, offers varying difficulties for novices and experienced hikers alike, as well as a myriad of landscapes that summarize all the beauty and diversity of the island. Through the "Camí de Cavalls", many of the island's more than 1500 archaeological remains can be discovered ñ including the Talayotic village of Torre d'en Galmés, one of the most important on the island ñ as silent witnesses to the existence of an ancient people who lived in Minorca during the first millennium BC. Many paths from this major axis open onto the pastoral landscapes of the interior, dotted with rural accommodation offering visitors the opportunity to stay in the heart of authentic panoramas bathed in the enchantment of Menorca
For more information: The Menorca Activa association brings together professionals and active tourism companies present on the island and offering a full range of services, from guided excursions to equipment rental, including personalised tours, but also a wide range of accommodation, from farm holidays to small rural hotels. Check their website.