Menorca has too long been the overlooked member of the Balearic Islands. Ibiza has its cool party vibe and Majorca has its resorts and high rises, but Menorca? It doesn’t spring to mind; and in essence that is the nub of its low key charm and the reason why it is picking up a celebrity following. In recent times celebs such as Rachel Weisz, Cesc Fabregas and Doutzen Kroes have all been spotted holidaying on its beaches, and a brief stay there makes it easy to understand why it is gaining such a following.
In contrast to the bigger Islands of the Balearics, Menorca has retained an authentic and traditional feel; a mix of the blessing and curse of its history. Key to this was its support for the republicans during the Spanish civil war – Menorca was the last place in Spain to fall to General Franco – and as a result he refused to allow it funding for public buildings during his reign. The result is a quiet, peaceful place that has escaped the worst excesses of hyper-tourism. Instead of the high rises seen along the Costas, Menorca is home to pretty cities where time has almost stood still.
The mellow vibe that this brings has obvious appeal to the celebrity trying to escape the limelight and recharge their batteries. Instead of the busy nightlife elsewhere, Menorca offers more beaches than Ibiza and Majorca put together, a retreat from the world and an opportunity to watch the sun rise before the rest of Spain sees it. Being off the beaten track gives it peace and privacy, whilst its unique history and architecture make it well worth the visit.
Its history of conquest gives Menorca a different story to the islands around it. Although authentically Catalan in language, food and culture, Menorca has been invaded by the Vandals, the Moors, the Spanish and the British. This has left it with a unique mix of cultures. In the principle town Mao (Mahon in Spanish) there are authentic Georgian buildings in amongst the more typically Spanish ones- the only examples of Georgian architecture in the whole of Spain. Today there is more regeneration and redevelopment, but it continues to be overshadowed by the rustic and the traditional, giving Ciutadella and Mahon especially a timeless, sun kissed beauty. Away from the limelight of the bigger islands, people here are happy to let the world waltz past – on Menorca there are more important things to concentrate on.
So don’t be surprised if you hear of celebs enjoying the beaches on Menorca – and more to the point don’t be surprised if you don’t see Doutzen, Rachel, Cesc et al enjoying the opportunity to unwind out of the spotlight. Because that is the point of Menorca – a place to hide away from the stresses of the world and to simply enjoy the good things in life.