Menorca’s coastline is lined with beautiful sandy beaches, rocky diving pools, clear blue sea, reefs resplendent with sea life and the coastal path Cami De Cavalls. With one road running through the centre of the island, finding some of the best beaches requires exploration so it is worth packing a picnic for the trip.
Here are the beaches nearest to Santa Monica, starting from Bini Gaus in the west and Son Bou to the east.
With a recently developed hotel now situated on the old track called Cami de Bini Gaus Nou, leading straight to the beach from the village, Bini Gaus is still not easily accessible by car. Surrounding the beach itself and spreading away from the sea into the valley is a network of caves. Parties were often held here in the 1980s and still might be, but for the occasional complaints from the inhabitants of the caves.
This is the beach at the bottom of the main road from the village, Es Migjorn Gran, overlooked by Es Bruc beach bar, with car parking in fields on either side of the road.
To your right, in full view from the beach bar, can be seen “Hedgehog Island”, nicknamed for the covering of long grass atop the rock. A huge sign now stands where people used to climb up a set of foot holes on island’s the side and jump back 20 feet into the sea.
Today, a glorious sunset can be enjoyed while sipping a pre-dinner cocktail in Es Bruc beach bar.
The setting for Holiday Reps, an early comical ‘reality’ drama, shown on the BBC in 1997, Santo Tomas is good for a night out, lined with bars, clubs and hotels along the coast. Starting from the far end – the Victoria Plaza was still unfinished in 1997 after building halted in the 70s recession – is restaurant and beach bar Es Pins, which was the centre for a love story in Holiday Reps. The waiter in question still works there.
Another venue to get its 15 minutes of fame is Restaurant Lady Hamilton Court, where the TV reps were based.
Things to do include tennis, crazy golf and ping pong at the next venue Las Dunas, which is temptingly close to a series of late night opening shops selling shoes, clothes, beach gear, ice creams and groceries. Hawaiian style beach bar pods serve cocktails, beers and the island’s classic drink Pomada (Menorcan gin and fizzy lemon).
Along the Santo Thomas stretch there are also three venues for the younger set; a nautical-themed club inside Victoria Plaza, the Lord Nelson’s Victory Club and a pub-style outlet, which stays open late. These are only good now for 80s nostalgia.
Also one of Menorca’s older built up areas, Son Bou has been steadily increasing in size. The San Jaime area has a club, bars, swimming pools and restaurants and can be reached on foot from Santa Monica before you see the main golden stretch of Son Bou beach itself. San Jaime has also long been the site of a large water slide.
When the weather is not so searingly hot, It is possible to pack up a picnic set and walk from Santa Monica to a beach on the coast. There are various walks along ancient farm tracks leading from the house to various points along the south coast.
These include (from west to east) Bini Gaus, San Adeodato, Santo Tomas and Son Bou.
This satellite picture shows the lay of the land, including the old track leading from the village, Es Migjorn Gran, which leads past the recently developed Bini Gaus hotel, all the way through Barranca Bini Gaus to a golden beach overlooked by a network of ancient caves.
The valleys surrounding Santa Monica are dotted with ancient structures including talayots, grain grinding circles, a cave the size of a cathedral and ancient communities with standing stones, churches and dwellings.
Here is the whole area, with Santa Monica marked by a star. Son Bou starts in the bottom right corner and Es Migjorn Gran is in the middle, with Bar Peri marked in its centre.