Three weeks ago my brother was here and we had an amazing time together. A week passed very fast but we enjoyed it a lot.
He arrived on Wednesday evening and the following day I took him for a hiking excursion to the Cova dels Pardals together with my hotel guests. The weather was beautiful so we could swim there and also jump from the cliff several times.
From Saturday we rent a car, but because I had to work, my brother went to discover some places from the island alone. He visited the lighthouse Punta Nati and Cavalleria, he relaxed on the Cavalleria beach, then he went up to the highest mountain of Menorca called El Toro and at the end he visited the Torre del Fornells. I have already presented these places to you so I won’t write more about them. On Sunday we went for a trip together and because we visited places where I hadn’t been before, I would like to share them with you now.
Fort de Marlborough
Our first stop was Fort de Marlborough. It is situated on the southern side of the entrance to Mahón harbour, in the cove Cala de Sant Esteve. Approximately 10 minutes walking from the fortress, there is a reserved parking space where you can leave your car. We didn’t park there though. We went further following the road and then we just parked at the side of the road near the fortress.
The fort is built over a large trench with a counterscarp gallery excavated out of the bedrock. The upper level provides stunning views over the historic area of Mahón harbour. Nowadays, the fort has an interesting exhibition that uses technology to transport you to the 18th century. There are some reconstructions of the original rooms and uniformed soldiers including some fun experiences that help to provide an unique insight into the military life.
I really enjoyed the visit of the fort. The exhibition is very well created. I would definitely recommend you to visit it. You will need around one hour to see everything.
The fort was built between 1720 and 1726. It was named after the English soldier and politician Sir John Churchill, the first duke of Marlborough. It’s a military construction with heptagonal in shape. The fort Marlborough together with San Felipe Castle and Stuart (En Penjat) Tower were supposed to protect the entrance to the Mahón port. In 1782 the fort was partially destroyed by the Spanish and had to be rebuilt during the last period of the British rule (1798 – 1802). The fort used to be manned by one captain, 50 infatrymen and 15 gunners. The infatrymen defended the moat from the embrasures, while the gunners manned the cannons on the top platform.
Opening hours: Every day except Thursday – 9:30 – 15:00
Admission: 3 €
Our next stop was Trepucó which is situated quite near to the fort. Trepucó is one of the largest Talaiotic sites in Menorca. Its buildings extended over an area of 5 hectares and there were surrounded by the Cyclopean wall around the 5th century BC. Each section was defended by square towers. Only a small part of the original settlement has been preserved – some sections of the original Cyclopean wall, two square towers, two “talayots”, the “taula” sanctuary and the remains of some dwellings. The central large talayot has more than 26 meters in diameter and it 8 meters high.
The archaeological site was excavated in the 1930s by the British archaeologist Margaret Murray. In the late 18th century, the taula and the talayot were surrounded by a fortification shaped like a five-pointed star. It was built during the Spanish siege of the Castle of Sant Felipe, which was in British hands that time. A lookout station and a cannon were put at the top of the talayot. Nowadays, the whole ensemble is listed as a National Historical Monument (1931).
After walking around in Trepucó, we went back to the car and continued our trip. The following place we wanted to visit was the natural park Albufera des Grau.
Natural park Albufera des Grau
The park is situated near the village of Es Grau, in the northeast of the island, just two kilometres from Mahón. We parked at the information building, ate homemade baguettes since we were super hungry and then we checked the map of the park. There were marked three different hiking routes. We decided to take the first route because it was the shortest one and led to a viewpoint. We took a car and just went down the hill and parked exactly at the entrances of the two routes. Just so you know, there is no reserved parking place. Anyway, we let the car there and started walking the first route. We really enjoyed the walk. At the end we got to the viewpoint where we could see the lagoon.
About the park
The park was declared a national park in 1995. It covers over 5000 hectares of land including 2km long lagoon. The park has the largest wetland area in Menorca and it is one of the most important of the Balearic Islands. The nature reserve is a natural environment preserving Menorca’s natural environment and diverse habitats, from wetlands, forests, a coastline of dunes and cliffs, agricultural areas to islets and marine areas. It contains a huge variety of Menorca’s wildlife and geology.
Three hiking routes
1. Mirador de Cala Llimpa
It’s the most scenic of the three walks. The way runs along the south side of the lagoon and is approximately 1,7km long.
2. Santa Madrona
It’s the longest walk with 2,8km. The route runs close to the lagoon and it’s perfect for bird watching.
3. Sa Gola
The last rute starts behind the beach at Es Grau, running through the Sa Gola canal. It has 1,7km in length. During the hot summer days it offers the sea breeze and shade from pines groves which make it a very pleasant walk.
Going to the beach Es Grau
After our walk in the natural park, we decided to go to the beach Es Grau. We left the car at the reserved parking place just on the right side of the road. Then we were walking in the direction of the beach. When we saw the Bar Es Grau just near the beach with a great view, we didn’t hesitate and went there to have a coffee. We were lucky because some people were just leaving, I would say, the best table of the bar. It was just in the front, under the tree, having half sun and half shade and it had the best view of the beach that you could wish. We asked for a coffee and we were just enjoying the stunning view as well as the delicious coffee. We couldn’t ask for more. It was just perfect chillout after visiting the previous places.
About the beach
The beach at Es Grau is one of the largest beaches on the north coast and it sits in a large spectacular horseshoe-shaped bay. Its approximately 590 meters long but it’s split in the middle by a large rock. The water is very shallow and there are rarely any waves. The bay is practically closed to the sea and protected by the island Illa d’en Colom. In the bay there are usually many fishing boats. To the north along the Camí de Cavalls, there are more wonderful caves and beaches including Cala Rambles and Cala de sa Torreta.
From Es Grau back to Cala en Bosch
After having a good coffee, we took a short walk in the village. It’s just a small authentic Menorquin fishing village, a small resort where there is not much to see. Anyway, we went back to the car and drove back to Cala en Bosch.
We got to the apartment happy that we had such an amazing day but we were also quite tired from the walking. We visited four completely different places – a fort from the 18th century, an archaeological site from the talaiotic period, a national park and a beach at the fishing village. I would definitely recommend to see all these places because they’re really worth it. I also think that for the Es Grau resort including the natural park would be better to have all day in order to walk the three routes and see everything. If you just want to get a taste of these places, you can combine it like we did.