Living in MenorcaIyna Bort Caruso
Menorca may have the same gorgeous beaches, blissful scenery and enviable climate of top resort destinations, but it’s managed to avoid mass tourism and overdevelopment.
Menorca is the most easterly of the Balearic islands that include Formentera, Majorca and Ibiza, with more beaches and fewer crowds than the latter two despite their higher profile. It is also the first place in Spain to see the sun rise.
Inland walking routes, ancient coastal paths, historic monuments, riding trails and small wineries are scattered throughout. The entire island was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, a designation which has protected its coastline from development and kept Menorca green and tranquil.
It is the Mediterranean spot for those shunning the star-wattage of flashier resorts. There are few celebrity sightings here. Nevertheless, Menorca has been discovered by venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, so much so that the Financial Times described the scene as a “tech revolution.” The reason? An event called Menorca Millennials. First launched in 2013, it brings together the heavy hitters of high tech for an annual 20-day retreat. Exposure to Menorca has sparked participants’ interest in real estate and helped to trigger the market.
The inventory of properties is generally wider and less expensive than other islands in the Balearic chain. Heritage homes and rural estates known as fincas are popular choices of the second-home crowd, many from Britain and the Spanish mainland.
More than half the population resides in or near two elegant and historic towns, Mahón and Ciutadella, which are on opposite ends of the island. Mahón is the capital and one of the largest natural ports in the Mediterranean. The influence of the British, who ruled on and off in the 18th century, is evident in local culture. The airport is just a ten-minute drive. Mahon is also connected to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia by ferry service. Ciutadella, accessible by ferry to Barcelona, is Menorca’s old capital with a historic quarter surrounded by medieval, cobblestone streets.