S’Albufera des Grau was declared a national park and a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1995, and there is much to see in the area, from wetlands, forests, cliffs, beaches, and islets. There are a surprising number of rental properties around this area, including some in the park itself, offering complete peace and seclusion, and the opportunity to do lots of hiking and commune with nature. The pretty seaside village of Es Grau is a cluster of whitewashed buildings on the edge of the nature reserve, and has a lovely beach, as well as a handful of shops, bars, and restaurants.
As non-trashy resorts go, they don’t get much better than Cala Galdana, on the southern coast of Menorca. The bay itself is stunning – an lovely curve of white sand, lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters, and surrounded by pine-topped cliffs; the resort itself is also small and fairly quiet, but with plenty of places to eat and shop. There are some fantastic villas on the edge of the resort and within easy reach, so if you want the bonus of having your own pool but with access to the beach, watersports, shops, bars, and restaurants, then Cala Galdana is a good option. The water in the bay is very calm and shallow, so this is a particularly good places for families with young children.
The island’s capital and its environs make for a great place to stay to be within easy reach of this historical port’s attractions, while also having plenty of beach options within a short drive. You can find plenty of cosy homes for rent in the city overlooking its huge natural harbour, or on the banks opposite around the laid-back neighbourhoods of Sant Antoni and Cala Llonga with the pretty beach of Sa Mesquida close by. Opt for a villa just outside Mahón and you can access the popular south coast resorts, such as Punta Prima and Cala Torret, in the short drive, plus particularly easy connections to and from the island’s airport.
Son Bou is the longest and one of the most picturesque beaches on the island, with lovely golden sands stretching almost three kilometres along the coast from the small eponymous resort at its eastern end. There’s a mixture of contemporary villas, mostly found in the modern San Jaime Mediterráneo development, and more traditional finca with many offering lovely views over the south coast. The surrounds are also dotted with the odd farm and nearby wooded hills provide some pretty walks. It’s a particularly quiet and family-friendly spot, though wander too far along the beach and you’ll arrive at a popular section for naturists.
Located on the more rugged but still lovely northern coast of the island, the region centred around the fishing village of Fornells is a fine place to rent a villa. Its long bay provides plenty of opportunities for watersports, as well as four tiny coves and a few small islets to explore. You can also find the Reserva La Concepció nature reserve, where you can visit the 19th-century saltworks where Flor de Fornells is still harvested. The other side of the peninsular is Platges de Fornells, where there are also some purpose-built developments, styled in the form of a traditional whitewashed Mediterranean village and scattered on the hillside overlooking Cala Tirant beach.
Positioned in the middle of the island is the particularly picturesque town of Ferreries, which is surrounded by equally scenic landscape comprised of natural gorges and pine-covered peaks. The otherwise sleepy town is punctuated with regular lively markets and festivals, while also offering a good selection of tapas bars and craft shops. Its central location makes it the perfect area as a base for exploring every corner of the island, with both the north and south coasts just 15-20 minutes away by car and around half an hour to Mahon or Ciutadella.
The island’s second city – and arguably the more picturesque – Ciutadella is located on the far western end of Menorca. It was the original capital and is consequently a wonderfully historic place to stay, and with some beautiful period townhouses available to rent. There’s also no shortage of holiday villas in the areas surrounding the city, which includes some modern seafront developments such as Son Blanc and Sa Caleta to the south, and Los Delphines to the west. Wherever you stay you are likely to be within a stroll or short drive from a lovely beach.