Flee London’s changeable weather for a long weekend away on twin islands, Menorca and Mallorca. These Balearic Islands boast vast stretches of blue sea, vivid plant life and wholesome Mediterranean food, as well as historic architecture and great local wines
Words: Rachel Mantock
In a busy world, it’s easy to let holiday season pass you by, but if you need an escape and are really pressed for time, a long weekend trip to the twin Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca could be the perfect solution.
After an easy two-and-a-half-hour plane ride, we traveled through vast stretches of green fields and vineyards – dotted with bursts of summer flowers and cobbled walls – to the 22 room, modern farmhouse hotel of Torralbenc in Menorca. Here you’ll find the perfect place to unwind with vivid skies and vast expanses of green foliage as far as the eye can see.
Checking into our suites, we were met with luxuriously appointed airy bedrooms and natural furnishings that complement the island’s countryside. The sand-coloured, stone bathroom in my suite was the size of a London flat, and the huge bed will give even the lightest of sleepers more than a fantastic night’s rest.
Breakfast is delivered to you in stunning basket hampers, complete with fresh, natural yoghurt, orange juice, organic bread and a selection of cheese and meats. For early risers, you can also enjoy this same selection in their stripped back, white dining room, with the sun shining through the windows at every angle.
At Torralbenc, you are an 18 minute drive east from the capital of Port Mahon. Here you can trek along the coastal path of Cami de Cavalls that hugs the edges of the island, circling the entire circumference. After breakfast we headed to the historic Ciutadella de Menorca to view the breathtaking Cathedral Basilica.
The breathtaking Cathedral Basilica is a 14th century Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1362, boasting both Renaissance and Medieval influences. It’s a great spot to duck out of the powerful midday sun
This 14th century Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1362 boasts both Renaissance and Medieval influences and is a great spot to duck out of the powerful midday sun. The town itself is full of rustic and quintessentially Spanish cobbled streets that will leave you stopping and marvelling at every turn. For lunch, simply follow one of the locals and try out a fixed priced menu for an authentic taste of Menorca.
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit too for a refreshing after lunch dip on the nearby beach. Back at the hotel after a much-needed siesta, we headed to the wine cellar where we feasted on authentic Spanish tapas and delicious local wines. We particularly loved the walnut and cheese pairings and the tomato bread paired with charcuterie.
The following day we visited the ultra modern, Pretty Ballerinas shoe factory to see the birthplace of this well known brand that ships its products worldwide, before heading to early evening drinks at Cliffside bar, Cova d’en Xoroi where you’ll experience a dramatic cave-like interior together with expansive, colourful views of the sunset.
Early the next morning, we set out for the smaller island of Mallorca, which is only half an hour by plane. Our home for the next day and night was ex military fortress, Cap Rocat, which stands grandiose and commanding in its castle-like glory. In fact, it’s so big that you have to be taken everywhere on golf buggies.
There’s plenty to do on this beautiful island, but don’t feel that you have to visit everywhere. Just enjoying the impressive views and gorgeous flora is as important as ticking off the tourist sites. That said, we loved the Palma Cathedral (Le Seu) for its great architecture, art and interiors.
After all that culture, what’s needed of course is the chance to eat outdoors and take in the stunning views of the sea. The Sea Club restaurant is built into the cliff side and offers guests a jaw-dropping panorama. Team this with fantastic seafood and some superior Spanish wines and you’ve got a recipe for success. Four days on these delightful islands will leave you feeling refreshed and recharged and, no doubt, heading out to your local tapas bar to re-live your long weekend all over again.
Prices at Torralbenc start from £153 per night for a king sized suite with a terrace; torralbenc.com; 34 (0) 971 377 211. Prices at Cap Rocat start from £535 per night for a king sized suite with a sea view terrace; caprocat.com; 34 (0) 971 747 878. One way flights with Monarch Airlines from London and between the islands start at £34; monarch.co.uk