Menorca has been high on my hit list of places to visit for the last few years, not only for it’s renowned beautiful beaches, but also for it’s long lasting summer weather and excellent food and drink.
Menorca is only 2.2 hours from London & Birmingham and despite being based in London, I took a Jet2 flight from Birmingham. I would actually recommend this as an option for London based travellers, as it only took an hour to reach Birmingham International from Euston, which is roughly the same time it takes to get to London Stansted from Liverpool Street.
If you’re not able to fly from Birmingham, Jet2 offer many flights to Menorca from several other destinations including Belfast, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester & London Stansted.
The island of Menorca is part of the Balearic Islands which include Mallorca, Ibiza & Formentera. Menorca is a noticeably more tranquil spot, famed for its endless white sandy, unspoilt beaches and crystal clear waters.
Cala Galdana is located on the south coast of Menorca and is a very popular spot with tourists across Europe, namely for it’s reputation for being an idyllic, sun filled location that has plenty of activities to keep you busy. It also provides unparalleled access to stunning, untouched beaches tucked inside sandy crescents and picture perfect acquamarine seas.
The contrasting landscapes in this part of the island are awe inspiring, with steep vertical cliffs that tower over clean, white sandy shores, and perfectly clear blue seas. There is a river called Algendar River that flows from a valley behind the bay and into the sea and makes for a picturesque stroll. Behind the town, there is an array of hills that are perfect for light walks or serious hikes depending on the routes you choose that offer postcard ready view points of the sea and the island.
The best time of year to visit is June or September, with July & August usually seeing a huge influx of tourists, so if you’re wanting a quieter holiday to Cala Galdana, Jet2Holidays have lots of great deals available for those times of year.
Hotel Artiem Audax
If you’re looking for somewhere that has uninterrupted views of Cala Galdana and is a quiet haven that boasts a selection of delicious, locally sourced foods, then I would highly recommend staying in the adults only luxury hotel, Artiem Audax. Situated a stones throw from Cala Galdana, the hotel caters to everything you could ever wish for during a relaxing holiday.
Food & Dining
Most guests stay on a half board basis, with breakfast and dinner being a combination of delicious buffet style food, mixed with freshly made on demand dishes of either eggs to your choosing for breakfast, or freshly caught fish of the day for dinner. I’ve stayed in several hotels on this basis over the years, and was thoroughly impressed with the variety, quality and incredible taste of all the foods available.
The hotel has a total of 4 eateries: Galdana Restaurant & Oliva Restaurant are located inside the hotel on the 4th and 6th floor. (As luck would have it, my room was on the 4th floor so I never have to travel very far for a meal which was great).
Galdana offers a buffet style selection of salads, cold meats and cheeses alongside freshly cooked fish, pasta and meats of the day. Oliva restaurant instead focuses on local Menorcan dishes alongside famous international cuisines, all prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
If you’re wanting to stay close to the hotel during the day, they do offer a lunch time menu at The View – Pool Club which is a restaurant situated on their rooftop. They have an assortment of tapas style dishes and healthy organic meals. I fell in love with their goats cheese and caramelised walnut salad (which I assure you tasted as good as it sounds) and their locally made Waffer Bonbon milkshake which I treated myself to every single day as it tasted just like a melted Kinder Bueno. All of these can be enjoyed whilst looking out at the spectacular views of Cala Galdana.
I’ve only recently converted to eating salads and I was impressed by the selection of healthy but exceptionally tasty salads available at the hotel – I made sure to try different ones each day.
The kind and welcoming hotel staff explained that many of the ingredients in the meals that we ate used locally sourced ingredients from neighbouring towns and adopted locally developed recipes.
The Blue Cafe & Lounge can be found on the ground floor near reception and has best views of Cala Galdana. It morphs from a tranquil breakfast with a view stage, to a lunch time apertif setting, and finally settling as the best spot to enjoy live music every evening after sunset.
All the rooms are spacious and come equipped with air con, TV, Wi-Fi & a mini bar. Several of the rooms have jacuzzis, sea views and a balcony if you’re wanting to upgrade. The design and interiors were modern, white and clean. My favourite part of the day, was waking up early and sitting out on the balcony that overlooked Cala Galdana – it was a very serene way to start the day.
For the ultimate relaxation, head to the hotel’s Blue Spa, which is the largest thermal spa in all of Menorca, so much so, it attracts several locals during the weekend. So if you want to try and get the place to yourself, aim to visit during the week. A thermal circuit pass will grant you a day or multi day access to the spa facilities, which include: plunge pools, warm hydro massage pools, bubble beds, a roman thermal bath, a Swedish sauna, a steam room, and an exterior jacuzzi on a terrace (my favourite).
They also offer a host of massages, facials and body treatments. I opted for a relaxing massage that was so good it was impossible for me to not instantly unwind. The staff are extremely attentive and do whatever they can to make the experience as enjoyable for you as possible.
If you’re a sun worshipper, the hotel boasts two outdoor pools, with one being an infinity pool right next to their rooftop bar. It’s the perfect spot for reading, enjoying a drink in the sun, or soaking up the vitamin D rays.
If this sounds like you’re kind of hotel, then you can book a stay at Hotel Artiem Audax with Jet2 holidays who have many affordable package trips available.
For those looking for more of an adventure during their holiday, the hotel offers a multitude of activities both within the hotel and from their Artiem Sports Centre located outside reception. As a guest, you have free access to their gym which is very spacious and contains a large selection of weight and cardio machines. They also have a daily timetable of classes that guests can join ranging from Yoga and Pilates, to Spin and cross training. At the weekend they hold a running club if you prefer to be outdoors whilst exercising.
Menorca is a beautiful island with a wealth of stunning nature to see, and what better way to experience its beauty than by sea? The Artiem Sports Centre offer a mix of activities that allow you to explore all the island has to offer. If you enjoy kayaking, there is the option to hire a kayak for the day and explore the neighbouring Cala’s (beaches) by yourself for 35 euros for the day.
I would personally recommend doing a guided morning tour as they provide you with torches and lead you inside some breathtaking caves which is something that I personally wouldn’t do on my own. The caves varied in size, some were vast and large, others were small and narrow (and very dark), the guides shared some history into how and why the caves were utilised by locals hundreds of years ago which was fascinating to learn and I felt very safe the entire time.
If you want to try something a bit different, they also offer sunset kayaking tours in the evening, so you can watch the sun slip under the horizon from the comfort of a kayak whilst bobbing along the shore for 55 euros.
If you prefer to take in the scenery at a slower pace, then Artiem Sports offer both paddle boarding tours or the ability to hire your own paddle boards to explore the coast of the island by yourself from 10 euros an hour. The sea is generally very calm so it makes for a peaceful experience. The waters are extremely clear so it’s easy to spot lots of sea life from your board.
If instead you’re a land baby, then there are several hiking trails to try. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just want to enjoy a leisurely stroll to take in Menorca’s views, there is something for everyone.
The Cami de Cavalls is a 185 km dirt track that circles the entire island, and the route can be accessed from Cala Galdana to Cala Marcella – which is 3km away, and eastwards to Cala Mitjana (1.5km – approximately 25-30 minutes).
For easier routes, you can follow the river opposite Artiem Audax hotel, opposite Cala Galdana and walk along the gorge without having to climb any hills.
Menorca is known as being a haven for bike lovers and its easy to see why. One of the beautiful things about Menorca and Cala Galdana, is that aside from the endless beautiful beach coves and picturesque villages, there are luscious hills that overlook the area and are a brilliant way to explore the island as though you were a local.
Most of the cycling routes cater to individuals who have experience in biking and range from moderate to very difficult. We completed a 30km bike ride during our stay in Cala Galdana that took us through farms, through local villages, off trails and along motorways into the Ciutadella where we stopped for lunch. We headed back to Cala Galdana following signs to Cala Turqueta and then travelled along the coast, past Cala Macarelleta and Cala Macarella. We stopped at each Cala for a swim, but the terrain was very rocky and often required carrying our bike up several steep steps, so is well suited for very experienced mountain bikers.
Artiem Sports offer daily bike rental from 19 euros and have the option of mountain bikes for many of the off road trails and carbon frame racing bikes that are lighter and perfect for longer distances on roads.
They offer 3 different bike tours, Cami de Cavalls and Camí Reial (which is one of the oldest paths in Menorca) are both part of a 3 hour off road route for experienced mountain bikers. Alternatively, there is Carretera – a 4 hour road cycling route that follows flatter terrain.
Explore blue coves
The Balearic islands are known for having the most beautiful stretch of sea after the Caribbean islands, and Menorca’s beaches certainly don’t disappoint. Artiem Audax hotel is located directly in front of Cala Galdana and it is surrounded by several other beaches that can be reached by foot, car or bike. The majority of the beaches are at the bottom of a hill so take a while to reach, even if by car as the cars need to be left a certain distance from the beach. Several of the beaches take up to an hour to reach by foot, but once there, the views, waters and experience are definitely worth it.
Cala Mitjana is one of the most visited beaches in the area, it has good access by car and for the adrenalin junkies – has great spots for cliff jumping! I’ve travelled to many countries across the world – I’m originally from Sicily that is known for having beautiful beaches, but nothing quite prepared me for how stunning Cala Mitjana was.
Most of the beaches don’t have restaurants or bars – except for Cala Macarella that has a cafe, so if you plan to visit the beach for the day make sure to take food with you. Be mindful to clean up after yourself too, as every single beach is spotless and litter free – which was a welcome surprise in comparison to most European beaches!
Menorca and Cala Galdana thoroughly exceeded my expectations. The weather in October was 22C+ with no humidity, the local people were very friendly and helpful, the area in general was very peaceful and calm. As a woman in my late twenties, with no children, I really appreciated the tranquil environment of Hotel Artiem Audax and the opportunity to sample so many delicious local dishes. I’m already planning a return visit next June with my Sicilian family who I’m sure will also be won over!
If you’re looking to plan your next break to Menorca, Jet2 Holidays have a range of varied and affordable package holidays to choose form.
Disclaimer: I visited Menorca with Jet2 as part of a press trip in October, but all views and comments are my own.