We started the day by turning left out of the resort and down towards the coast, rather than turning right and up towards the main roads. Arenal D’en Castell sits on the northern coast of Menorca, and therefore on the coast. There are plenty of places to park that then allow you to wander down on to the golden sand of the bay and spending the day on the beach. A stunning spot for children as the water is incredibly calm, and a gorgeous shade of blue. Plenty of snack bars and restaurants mean you don’t need to wander far for lunch either.
We followed the road around the headland, curious to know what was around the next bend and found ourselves above a stunning part of the coast line. Inaccessible from above, as so much of the island’s coast is we looked down on the people swimming along side their yacht with envy. What a gorgeous way to spend a morning.
We had other plans for our day though so turned around and headed back in land to our first stop: El Torro, the highest part of the island.
All was going swimmingly until Mr B spotted a sign that he thought said “lighthouse” in Spanish. I mean, seriously, who knows the Spanish for lighthouse? Seems my husband does.
Turning sharp right at the sign we then followed a road that became increasingly narrower, and with more blind bends, accompanied by a more insistent sat nav with each turn, but Mr B could see cars in the distance so ignored the snotty woman to his right (the electronic one at least) and continued heading north. Over cattle grids, through gates that insisted we close them immediately behind us, and over some of the largest rocks I have ever seen. And towards some pretty steep cliffs.
Mr B really isn’t one for doing as the Sat Nav tells him so kept ignoring her. Even when she started displaying a message that said “turn around as soon as safe” and then went to just “turn around”. Repeatedly, whilst displaying nothing but rocks and impending death. Cars were coming towards us though so Mr B was confident we were going in the right direction.
Gosh he wasn’t wrong. A stunning part of the island and virtually deserted except for people heading towards the lighthouse. Definitely worth the drive. The lighthouse itself, named Cavalleria, was built in 1857, stands 94M above sea level and flashes twice every ten seconds. There had been over 700 shipwrecks along this part of the coast before it was built so it has undoubtedly saved lives since then.
The lighthouse is open from 12pm until 8pm in the summer and is free to wander around (there is ample parking too). There is also a cafe selling ice cream, toasted sandwiches and cold drinks, with lots of seating in the shade of large umbrellas.
That done we then headed back along the same road to the junction that would take us back to the original destination of El Torro. Somewhere that hadn’t even been mentioned in our guidebook but the kids had been the day before and suggested we go as it is the highest spot on the island. We had decided for this trip that we would have two hire cars so that they could do what they wanted to, rather than being dragged along to things they might not have fancied. A stroke of genius as it gave us all the flexibility to do things each day, or for them to nip out for lunch when we went out for the day and left them relaxing by the pool.
Again there is a cafe selling snacks and cold drinks and one of the best gift shops on the island. The church is beautiful, and certainly cool on a baking hot day.
It was as we were looking at the view (there are 360 degree views of the island) and pointing out the lighthouse we had just come from (the tiny white speck in the top centre of the pic) that we got a text from Ellie asking if we had seen this sign in the car park:
I hadn’t as it was hidden behind a row of parked cars, but Ellie told me where to find it and then two minutes later they appeared behind us! On their way back from Cala Galdana they decided that as they were passing they would come and say hello which was lovely. Definitely worth the drive up the steep hill to capture stunning views.
We had decided earlier on that we would head out and watch the sunset over dinner (again researched by Jonnie and Ellie) so made the most of our villa having satellite TV and watched Wimbledon. Not something I would ever do at home really but with a cup of a tea and a ten minute siesta it seemed entirely appropriate.
The best sun sets on the island are over on the west coast (obviously) so we went over to Cala Blanca and had dinner in the Blarney Stone, known simply as The Irish Bar. A great menu, with plenty of parking along the roadside, it really was the perfect place to see the sun going down.
I could get used to this Menorcan way of life.