Summer in Menorca conjures images of pine-studded coves and crystal-clear waters. This chilled and easy-going corner of the Spanish Balearics couldn't have established itself as a holiday mecca without oodles up its sleeve. What's more, the place really comes into its own when the heat cranks up and the sun beats down between June and September.

    That's where this guide to the best things to do in Menorca in summer can help. We’ve scoured the gem-shaped isle in search of gorgeous sand stretches and whitewashed villages, adrenaline-pumping waterparks for the whole family, and romantic vineyards for the grown-ups. It's a must-read if you're jetting off to this part of the Mediterranean in the warmer months.

    1

    Cala Mitjana

    A pristine cove hidden on the south coast

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    Cala Mitjana is a prime example of the sort of quiet coves that Menorca is known for. It hides between dashes of aromatic pine forest on the far southwest side of the island. To get there, you'll need to walk some pretty lovely paths through the trees from the roadway leading to the next-door beach of Cala Galdana.

    The main draw is surely Cala Mitjana’s uber-clear water. That makes it a hotspot for snorkelers and swimmers, who drift in and out of the small rock crevices in search of sea life. You might also see a few brave locals jumping in from the rocks here. Others prefer to retreat to the cover of the pines and set up camp for the day, reading, snoozing and watching the world go by.

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    2

    Mahón

    Menorca’s vibrant island capital

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    Mahón, also known as Mao-Mahón, is the capital of little Menorca. It enjoys a lovely location on the hills that rise from a deep-water harbour on the eastern edge of the island. There, it straddles a series of ridges with its grand 18th-century mansions and buildings, all of which cascade down to a yacht-filled port area.

    During summer, Mahón is positively buzzing with life. Cafés spill onto the cobbled streets of the hilly old city and lively wine bodegas pop corks in the balmy August evenings. Early September sees the Nuestra Senora de Gracia festivity hit the town when elaborate horse parades take over. There's also oodles of sangria flowing throughout the event.

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    3

    Splash Sur

    Cool off on a gravity-defying waterslide

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    • Group

    Splash Sur has been beckoning holidaymakers with its adrenaline-pumping mix of waterslides since 2015. It's located on the popular south coast of the island, some 15 minutes' drive from the capital in Mahón. You can hardly miss it as fear-inducing attractions like the Black Hole and Kamikaze slides can be seen from quite a distance. 

    Days out can be high-octane affairs of whizzing down tubes and splashing into plunge ponds. They could also be more chilled, especially if you take to the outdoor Jacuzzi and the relaxed lazy river. We'll let you decide which of those takes your fancy.

    Location: Urb Carrer Equinoccis, 07713 Biniancolla, Spain

    Open: July–September: daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +34 971 15 91 95

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    4

    Fiestas de Sant Joan

    Gallop into some real Balearic culture

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    The Fiestas de Sant Joan is the cultural event in the Menorcan calendar for the early summer. It takes place in mid-June each year, starting with big equestrian parades in the immersive town of Ciutadella de Menorca on the far western shoreline.

    The highlight of the show comes with the iconic Caragol del Born, a traditional Balearic horse dance that sees great steeds rearing up onto their hind legs. You'll also get to witness jockeying and jousts, along with live music and displays of flamboyant Spanish costumes. The fiesta lasts 2 full days, starting on 23 June.

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    5

    Sant Lluís

    Relax in a charming Menorcan town

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    Sant Lluís promises a glimpse of an authentic and historic Menorcan town. It's located smack bang in the middle of the so-called Golden Triangle area of the island, down between the stunning beaches and coves of the south-east coast. That makes it a fine place to base yourself to enjoy the best things to do this summer in Menorca, especially if you're the sort who wants encounters with whitewashed churches and traditional Catalan cantinas.

    The whole place is easy to navigate, thanks mainly to its 17th-century roots as a French military encampment. Head down the main drag of Carrer de Sant Lluís to find Balearic restaurants that spill onto the pavements. Also don't miss the gorgeous Iglesia de Sant Lluis – it's considered to be one of the prettiest churches on the island.

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    6

    Naveta d'Es Tudons

    Peer into the pre-history of Menorca

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    • Budget

    The Naveta d'Es Tudons sits down a dusty track in the middle of an ancient stone circle. It's just 15 minutes' drive from the bustling port of Ciutadella de Menorca, but is from a whole different world than those yacht-speckled marinas. In fact, historians believe the site dates back to 1200 BC.

    Excavated in the 1950s, it's thought to have been an elaborate funerary monument. Archaeologists have unearthed countless grave sites inside the main structure, which looms large with megalithic stones above the grassy Menorcan backcountry. Visitors can no longer enter the tomb, but you can walk around it to admire the audacious building work. Entry is free in winter but charged in summer.

    Location: Me-1, 07760 Ciutadella de Menorca, Spain

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5.45 pm

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    7

    Macarelleta

    See a star of a beach cove

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    Macarelleta is one of the stand-out coves carved out of the coast of Menorca to the south of Ciutadella. You'll need to set the sat nav for Macarella to arrive there, then find your way down the lovely coast path to the beach itself – the walk is about 900 metres in total.

    The prize at the end is a stunning inlet of white-rock pebbles and shimmering sands that you might well have seen before on postcards of the Balearic Isles. It's a protected cove, so there's no development. That means you'll need to pack a picnic. Try to get there early, too, because Macarelleta is increasing popular and often gets crowded because it featured on a major TV advertising campaign.

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    8

    El Toro

    Stretch the legs for an amazing view

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    • Budget
    • Adventure

    El Toro will definitely rank among the best things to do this summer in Menorca for the intrepid travellers in your holiday crew. Rising to a whopping 358 metres above sea level, it's the tallest peak on the island. Hiking can be tricky because much of the surrounding rugged and rural land is private, but there's a zigzagging road up that reveals some seriously stunning vistas of the south and north coastlines at once.

    Made it to the summit? Now you can check out that handsome Verge del Toro sanctuary. It's an important Menorcan religious site of pilgrimage, with a history that's wrapped up in the re-Christianisation of Spain. Be sure to explore the 16th-century chapel and the tree-dotted courtyards within.

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    9

    Cala en Turqueta

    Turquoise like you've never seen before

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    Cala en Turqueta is named for the blazing blue hues of the turquoise Mediterranean waters that lap against its narrow beachfront. A gorgeous spot for a summer sojourn on the Menorcan coast, it's found around 20 minutes to the south of Ciutadella de Menorca. The parking is 900 metres to the north but the walk down to the shore is a pleasant stroll through the pine forests.

    Don't expect to do much on Cala en Turqueta. That's sort of the point. One of the more secluded beaches on the isle, it's best for chilling and snorkelling whenever you get too hot. Simple.

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    10

    Wine tasting

    Crisp whites on a sunny Menorca day

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    Winemaking in Menorca can trace its origins back to the 1200s, when the North African Moors cultivated grapes in the fertile native soils. When the British arrived in the 19th century, the local brew became even more popular. After a period in the shadows, it's now a tradition that's slowly being reclaimed.

    The prestigious Bodegas Binifadet is one of the most popular places to go for a tasting session. It sits between the olive groves and low hills on the south side of the island. Packages include walkthroughs of the vineyards and tastings on a shaded patio. The Sa Forana vineyard is further west, offering wines with a distinct mineral hint.

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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