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Menorca

Aug 3rd, 2012 | Comments

Looking for a destination for a trip with the family into someplace warm and sunny, we ran across an island I never had paid attention to earlier - Menorca. Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands (including also Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera), and among the four perhaps the most pristine and peaceful (with majority of visitors coming from Spain). We booked the trip only couple of weeks prior to departure, and ended up on the western side of the island, near the city of Ciutadella.

Menorca is quite small, around 50 km long, 15-20 km wide. It has several archeological sites, and around the island there’s an old rugged pathway (almost 190 km in length), Cami De Cavalls, which provides opportunities for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking, and access to varying terrain and many of the coves especially on the south side of the island, unreachable by car.

The week was obviously filled with lot of swimming in the Balearic Sea and exploring the island by foot, bike and car (and feasting on Spanish cousine), but this time I also had a new tool for island exploration, the packraft.

While we toured around the island, I carried the raft with me at all times we were near the sea, and used the various opportunities to paddle out. In some of the popular beaches nearby towns with road access there were also rental kayaks available (and the usual pedalboats), but we mostly headed to more distant coves, with 30-60 minutes approach hikes from the end of the road. Leaving the sandy beaches behind, I could paddle pretty much in solitude - pushing through waves, gliding underneath limestone cliffs rising from the sea, snorkeling and exploring caves.

One day I met 2 kayakers fully geared up who were on a tour around the island, and while packraft would hardly be the best choice for such a long trip, smaller scale tours along the coastline would be very feasible, similar to what Ania and Mat did in Canary Islands.

During the week I also used the opportunity to practice wet exit and entry, finding out the tipping point of a loaded and empty raft and just playing around in the warm sea, pleasant unlike in the muddy, murky rivers back at home.

I had planned to rent a mountain bike for couple of days, to do few longer rides along the Cami, but eventually could not find time for anything more than exploring the trails around the south-east corner of the island for few hours on the last day. The bike I got was slightly too small for me, and hardly up for the task on technical rocky trails (and I ran it almost with flat tires due to slow leakage on the rear and not being able to fix it as the shop gave me a broken pump with the bike), but for a short trip it was fine. With a bit more capable bike, and couple of days to spare, it would be a nice ride around the whole island.

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