London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Charming and quintessentially Mediterranean, Es Castell Menorca is perfect for escaping the mass tourism crowds: foodies have fantastic restaurants loved by locals by the harbour or between vineyards; culture buffs adore it for easy access to Mahon, La Mola Fortress and 18th century Fort Marlborough. And a long weekend in Menorca is so easy out of London, so many direct flights to Balerics crystal water and slower sunnier pace of life.
The smallest municipality of Menorca, Es Castell sits pretty on the eastern side between Mao (home to capital Mahon) and Sant Lluis (home to the pretty fisherman village Binibeca Vell). They say the sun raises first in here and it makes a perfect trip to Menorca with kids or without, we have adored it both ways.
Things to do in Es Castell Menorca.
(1) The countryside walks of Es Castell are full of Menorcan rural charm and the hikes by the coast are scenic. We opted for the pictoresque Cami de Cavalls from Sant Joan de Binisaida on a windy sunny day, hiking the peaceful creek of Cala San Esteve and soaking in views of the fortresses, swimming in crystal clear calm waters and exploring further by the coast the caves and salt formations.
(2) Cales Fonts harbour area overlooking the Quarantine island makes a delightful walk between boutique shops, restaurants and quaint bars, many of them built into caves or sitting within the walls of the harbour.
(3) Es Castell has no beach but 2 of our favourite Menorcan beaches are in easy reach! Perhaps overcrowded in the weekend but certainly a little gem early hours of the weekday, there’s Cala Binibiquer with newly renovated Los Bucaneros, a cute chiringuito with wooden benches.
(4) Kayaking by Es Grau nature reserve, 20 minutes drive (or Euro20 by taxi) makes a gorgeous active half day . There’s also SUP, pedalo or simply chilling by the beach and having a long lunch at Tamarind.
Where to eat in Es Castell Menorca.
(I) Can Delio in Es Castell Menorca lovely harbour is by far one of best restaurants in our regular trips. Our amuse bouches consisted of Minorcan yoghurts served with pistachio and honey with local sausages chorizo like in crunchy fresh pastry – yum! Padron peppers, patatas bravas and Can Delio salad followed, all prepped to perfection.
The black rice was la piece de resistance -squid ink, seafood and aioli, all superbly washed by cava!
(II) For charming chic lunches or dinners in the countryside we warmly recommend Sant Joan de Binissaida – the vegetables are organic and picked from their garden; the seafood and fish fresh: indulge into Menorquin octopus and skate, tomatoes and aubergines.
(III) 2023 new kid on the block Tarambana by Cales Fonts and Castel lovely marina is fab for long dinner with friends over tapas: exquisite scallops and tartars, aubergine melting in your mouth, fresh fish and fantastic desserts, we all adored and will be back.
(IV) Trebol is another warmly recommended restaurant by the seafront, family hospitality for 50 years and 3 generations. Booking for dinner in the weekend advisable if you like seating outside !
(V) For a beautiful dinner in the middle of Es Castell vineyards head to Binifadet – great cuisine with local ingredients exquisitely cooked and going greatly with Binifadet wines. They say much more than wine and vineyards, this is a beloved family project that we have adored.
(VI) From Es Castell Menorca one can taxi easily to Mahon (15minutes ) for history, harbour and more seafront restaurants. Mahon is full of maritime heritage and history, allow yourself a minimum 30 minutes to explore – but one can easily spend in here half day walking around, wining, grazing and shopping.
Where to stay in Es Castell Menorca. In July 2021 we have spent 3 gorgeous days with Sant Joan de Binissaida – a Minorcan finca restored gracefully and with sustainability in mind. Having explored it 2 years ago on a hot gorgeous Sunday afternoon, we returned in 2021 to stock up on rural charm and fun with the kiddies. There are bikes for grownups, a playground for the kids just by the the orchard, a restaurant which serves organic meals with vegetables freshly picked from the garden.
Back in 2019 we have seen the family suite, delightful large terrace overlooking the countrysides and the sea. The living room is chic and has an extendable sofa, the bedroom perfect for parents privacy.
And this year we loved their interconnected Mahler and Britten rooms, ground floor near the olive groves and with generous terraces, perfect for the kids sleeping together and mums talking late in the night over wine and star gazing. The musical names come from the love of opera, which in Menorca has a long tradition at Teatro Principal de Mahon, Spain’s oldest remaining opera theatre (1829).
In 2019 on our girls only week-end, we have also stayed in Es Castell Menorca at Son Granot – chamingly rural pied a terre. The villa is surrounded by greenery and flowers, lavender, bees and peacocks. There was no service at the hotel apart from breakfast at that point but if tranquility and privacy are priority, this made a wonderful stay.
Renting a car makes total sense in Menorca, especially if one has time to explore further the beauty of the North beaches, Ciutadella or to adventure in the Menorca countryside and experience the vineyards, cheese and further rural peace at Hort Sant Patrici. We taxi-ed on few occassions in Menorca, the service is friendly and affordable (by London standards!) but do expact ocassionally waiting for up to 45 minutes for a cab to arrive.
Travelling during the pandemic (July 2021). Being fully vaccinated and travelling from UK to Menorca was easy, just a couple of extra forms. For coming back to London we booked our private tests 3 days ahead of our travels and thereafter booked for London Day 2 private tests. The travelling guidance has been fluid though, always best to check the latest UK Foreign travel advice.
For more getaways in Menorca, head to our Long weekends in Mahon; for best restaurants in Menorca head here; Menorca with kids head here; for sailing and kayaking here and for more rural Menorca family holiday by Llucmacanes head here. And for the latest and hottest opening in Menorca, head to Hotel Can Alberti (Mahon) and Fontenille (Alaior)!
Close to the southern sandy beaches and just 3km away from cosmopolitan Mahon (Mao), Es Castell Menorca makes a pefect base to explore the island and one of best locations for summer evenings out. We will be back!