I spent some time on the Spanish island of Menorca this summer and it was better than I could have imagined!
While I was studying abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands this summer, we had several long weekends and were highly encouraged to travel. By the time our first trip came around, we had no clue where we were actually going to go. So the night before, the eight of us gathered in one of the dorms and looked on google flights for the cheapest destination and less than 24 hours later we were making our way to Menorca, Spain.
I expected it to be nothing like the books or the movies if I'm being completely honest. I knew that there would be beaches, but not the classic crystal clear water with colorful fish swimming around. I knew that there would be beachside markets, but not bustling with people and vendors loudly selling their products. I knew there would be bougie yachts anchored in port, but not with several people tanning while drinking sangria on the deck. I expected this to be a basic instagram versus reality moment in real life, but I have never been more okay with being wrong.
Being on the lesser known island of Menorca, I was able to experience all of the stereotypical things you see in the movies this summer.
I spent my days laying on the beach, reading books, and snacking on fruit. There were hundreds of beaches around the island. Some were more touristy with fruit carts and beachside bars where vacationers gathered to kayak, tan, swim, and eat. For it being June, The beach was far less crowded than I expected it to be, I felt as though I was truly living my best island life.
That being said there were also rocky coastal coves that you could hike out to. We had heard that these coves were exciting, but had no idea where to go. They were not on any maps and were considered local secrets. I had asked the tourist center a few days before when we were roaming around the capital of Mahon where I should go and she had mentioned one of these coves being a short walk from one of the beaches we were planning to go to. We had terrible service and spoke little to no Spanish, so we were relying heavily on the small red circle that the lady from the tourist office had marked on my free map a few days prior.
We stumbled across a dirt path that led into some semi-dead trees and rather large rocks. It was very dry the week we went and dust kicked up as we walked, coating our legs and making me feel extremely dirty. I was sweating and hot, so as one would expect, about 45 minutes into our “short” hike I started to think we were heading nowhere. As I was debating suggesting to the group that we abandon our journey to spend more time on a beach that actually exists, we reached the coast.
The water stretched out for miles. I couldn’t even tell you what body of water I was looking at, but it was beautiful. There was a thin path that weaved through the cliff side and eventually led us down to a spot where we could jump into the water. We dropped all of our stuff on a rock near the water and set up camp for the afternoon. There were yachts in the center of the cove with music and people playing card games. There was a couple on the far side of the rocky shore line tanning on a rock higher up, and three hikers rappelling off the sides of the cliffs.
We swam for hours. Floating around and climbing up the rocks to jump into the blue-green water. Earlier that day we had stopped by a beach shop and had bought pineapple, watermelon, and lemonade, so we took a snack break to reapply sunscreen to our horribly sunburnt skin and fill our stomachs with tropical fruits. None of us wanted to leave.
Besides the hidden coves in the cliffs, there were so many things to see and do on the island. We spent the evenings exploring the island's towns and ports. There were things to do outside of hanging out at the beach like shopping in the markets, visiting the many churches that litter the island, or even checking out the historical forts around the coast. Of all the things we saw and did, one thing stands out; cave bar.
One night, we had heard of this restaurant and bar that was carved out of the cliffs. It was a very popular location for tourists and locals alike. They had live music, drinks, food, and the best view of the sunset the island had to offer.
The line held 60 people, which was more than we had seen all day, and I knew that we were in the right place. We finally got inside after almost an hour in line. Just in time to see the sunset. It was so colorful with pinks, oranges, and yellows reflected in the water made it even more stunning. It looked as though we had been wrapped in the sky, it was all I could see. The warmth of the setting sun contrasted the cold dampness that omitted from the cave behind me that held the 100 or so people socializing.
The bar stretched much farther into the cave than I originally realized with several booths carved into the walls. There was no stage, but the band was just standing against the wall playing songs like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Blue Suede Shoes”. People danced and sang along creating a dance floor right in front of the band. Strangers were pulling us out to dance, including a very excited bride to be and her bachelorette. Despite the average age being around 40 or 50 years old, the room was filled with youthful laughter and lively conversations.
The whole bar danced into the early hours of the morning before collectively deciding that it was time to leave, clearing out in just under half an hour.
I looked forward to the chill, slow mornings that followed the long, exciting nights. Waking up and going to sit on our rooftop terrace (we rented out the coolest air bnb!) as the sun was still low in the sky, reading my book was beyond peaceful. I would also write about the day before while it was still fresh in my mind and couldn't wait to see what we were going to do later that day.
I could have stayed forever (even if my sunburn would not have physically allowed me to) and I was so upset when we left. It was everything I could have hoped and wished for. Laying on the beach with my fruit and chips, reading while listening to the waves gently crash on the beach is another level of peak happiness for me.
I couldn't have been happier with my decision to go to Menorca this summer and can’t wait until I have the opportunity to go again.