Europe and Middle East, Menorca, Newsletter, Spain, Trip Reviews

Touring Menorca by Bike

13/06/2016 by .
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Alaior to Fornells

Another glorious morning, and after bidding Jesus and Iiziar farewell, I’m back in the saddle going north west. My notes tell me today’s route has no towns along the way for lunch, so I stop off in Es Mercadal to pick up some supplies. It’s been an important gastronomic market town since 1301 sitting at the junction of Menorca’s two main roads running east to west and north to south. I grab some artisan bread and cheese and a few typical Menorcan croquettes for lunch and head towards Cavalleria Beach. Binimel-la beach comes first, a wide beach with thick reddish sand surrounded by mountains.

It is tempting admittedly, but I’m heading for Cavalleria six kilometres further on as it is so remote you can only get there by walking or by bike. Locking up the bike at the cliff top, I walk down onto the reddish soft sand and sit by the sea to eat a picnic lunch with just a few other people and the sound of surf for company.

Cavalleria beach

Back in the saddle I visit another remote lighthouse at Cap de Cavalleria built in 1857. Fantastic views along the rugged northern coast, and a small museum too. I sit and enjoy a tasty coffee in the cafe before freewheeling all the way back down to the road towards Fornells.

Fornells may be a small fishing village with narrow winding streets, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with the price of its famed lobster stew, offered at eye watering prices at its harbour restaurants. I’m staying overnight at the family owned Hostal Port Fornells, a very unhostal-like hostal with private rooms and balconies, just a ten minute walk from town.

I steer clear of the lobster stews for a more modest but equally satisfying barbecued meat fest just a few steps from Hostal Port Fornells at Ca Na Marga.

Fornells to Cala Galdena

Back south this morning with all my batteries charged up overnight, I’m cycling along part of Menorca’s ancient Royal Path, the 18th century Cami Reial, a 116 mile long bridle path circling the island and at one time provided access to the island’s coastal defences.

After a quick jaunt back through Es Mercadel I head south east and arrive at the charming village of Es migjorn Gran, a place that is the very essence of traditional Menorcan living; narrow streets and small whitewashed houses with window boxes.

esmigjorn

Just a few kilometres on is Sant Tomas beach, a huge u shaped inlet that opens out directly to the Mediterranean. I park the bike at the first sea facing cafe and enjoy a long cold beer before doubling back and around to Ferreries.

Ferreries is not particularly on the tourist radar but it has a long tradition of leather shoe manufacturing, particularly the popular Menorcan Abarcas sandals, as well as costume jewellery.

Cala Gardena

After an excellent tapas lunch at Mesón Rias Baixas it’s more or less a straight downhill run to the resort of Cala Galdana and Hotel Audax, my bed for the night.

Cala Galdena beach is one of the most famous in Menorca framed by cliffs either side leading out to the sea. The resort is lively place, very family friendly, with plenty of bars and restaurants.

I enjoy a romantic dinner for one in Restaurante El Mirador perched high up on a bluff overlooking the beach.

Cala Galdena to Ciutedella, the final lap

With my island tour almost complete without a hint of trouble, disaster strikes! I’m only in the saddle for ten minutes and riding through Cala Macarella forest when I notice my trusty GPS has fallen off my handlebars.

Retracing my route I find it lying on the forest floor unusable with a broken screen. Following that little pink line door to door has been a total triumph, and now I have to resort to Xavier’s paper back up.

Ironically, this proves to be the trickiest section to navigate; along part of the stony and uneven Cami Reial once again and then having to walk the bike down a very tricky cliff path to Macarella beach.

Right across the beach a steep gravel path reaches up to the heavens and I cling to the hope I’m going in the right direction. Just when I thought all was lost, I see the church of San Juan standing proud like a guardian angel showing me the way. I am now a firm believer in miracles.

fruit from a barrowJPG

Joyous once again, I’ve earned a few hours relaxation at Cala en Turqueta, a simply gorgeous beach surrounded by clear turquoise water. A young man appears selling pieces of cool fresh fruit and I eagerly relieve him of a few choice items.

This is my idea of heaven after my tortuous morning and I’m once again stress free.

Ciutadella beckons now, Menorca’s previous capital, a hugely impressive fortified medieval city of stone arches and cobbled streets. The old town centre is dominated by the huge Catedral de Santa María de Ciudadela and the boutique Hotel Con Encanto, my bed for the nights, is just around the corner.

Ciutadella comes alive every June when the Fiesta San Juan takes place, a rousing fiesta with the sleek black Menorcan horses taking centre stage galloping through the streets.

Ciutadela

Ciutadella is the perfect place to end my cross island adventure touring Menorca by bike. It’s a bustling city with a busy harbour lined with restaurants.

The old town full of atmosphere and local flavour. A complete contrast from my days of isolation and birdsong. It has been an adventure and I’ve really enjoyed it. Menorca offers up such fantastic scenery and so little development. It is such a Balearic jewel.

Xavier greets me like an old friend at the hotel as he arrives to collect my bike.

“You made it” he smirks, but I know he is secretly proud of me for not draining my battery even once.

All images (c) Andy Mossack

Tell me more about touring Menorca by bike

Andy Mossack travelled as a guest of Freewheel Holidays, a specialist leisure cycling holiday provider, who operate a range of cycling tours in Spain including the Menorca self-guided cycling tour which starts from £779 per person for a 7 night break (excluding flights). Freewheel Holidays offer more than 40 cycling tours designed for the occasional cyclist in 10 European countries. Tel: 0161 703 5823

Menorca is well served by airlines flying regular direct services to Mahon from the UK.

Restaurant S’Amarador  Carrer Pere Capllonch 42
Ciutadella de Menorca

Finca Llimpet Cami d’en Kane 07730 Alaior, Menorca

Mesón Rias Baixas Plaça de Menorca, 1, 07750 Ferreries, Menorca

Ca na Marga Restuarant  Urb Ses Salines n.1, 07740 Fornells, Menorca

APH Parking at Luton Airport

One week’s Meet and Greet airport parking at Luton Airport with Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) costs from only £68.90. To book visit www.aph.com or call 01342 859536.

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