Locals say Menorca can be reduced to three words: water, fire and stone.

The Spanish island’s three essential elements are embodied in Cova d’en Xoroi, a natural cave that houses a sophisticated lounge halfway down a cliff.

As the sun dips into the Mediterranean, waves crash on the rocks below and selfie-snapping patrons burn the same roasted-orange color as the sun-bleached limestone.

Then the staff lights torches under the craggy roof, and the stunning yet laid-back venue transitions into a lively night club.

Although the scene may sound as summery as a frozen mojito, it’s repeated nightly well into autumn, when Menorca remains as beguiling as it is in peak season. Through much of October, it’s still warm enough to enjoy the spectacular beaches, but visitors will find the island has plenty to offer besides sun and transparent blue waters.

6 reasons why SA millennials want to visit the island of Menorca:

1. Menorca is the farthest east of the Balearics, an archipelago between Spain and Italy that includes the better-known islands of Mallorca and jet-set Ibiza. All three enjoy an enviably mild climate in a picture-postcard setting, but Menorca’s comes without the crowds or the 50-euro club cover charges.

2. The entire 270 square mile (700 square km) island was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1993.

3. The ancient Phoenicians called it “Nura,” or the Island of Fire. Legend has it that passing sailors saw bonfires built along the southern cliffs, which the original inhabitants used to signal each other. Signs of those first settlers — Iberian tribes that came from the mainland in the Bronze Age — are still apparent in more than 2,000 stone monuments spread throughout the island.

4. Though beaches get all the limelight, much of Menorca’s economy is agricultural, evidenced by the fact that there are more cows than people. Small farms, separated into miniature parcels by dry stone walls, cover the rugged hills of the interior, producing a shocking variety of produce (40 types of apples, for instance), olive oil, wine and the delicious Mahon cheese.

5. Menorca’s ecological sensibility resonates at spectacular restaurants in the atmospheric cities, which overlook natural harbors surrounded by battle-ready fortifications. In Ciutadella, check out Es Tast de na Silvia, the only Slow Food-certified restaurant in the Balearics. They serve updated takes on local dishes like fideua, a sort of seafood paella with noodles. Over the dining room, an arched stone ceiling is stamped with the year 1704.



Categories: Lifestyle