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List of beaches on the island of Menorca
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Geography of Menorca’s beaches
Menorca is the second largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, to the east of the Iberian Peninsula. Its coastline measures 216km, where cliffs predominate, among which we find the famous coves of Menorca.
Menorca has more than 200 beaches, of the most different types and sizes, making it sometimes difficult to differentiate between a beach and what could be considered more of a corner for bathing.
Most of its beaches are, in fact, coves, since they are located at the end of gorges.
For geological reasons, the north coast is steep, full of capes and gulfs that multiply its kilometers of coastline, while the south coast has a smoother and more linear contour, due to a more recent and homogeneous geology.
Geology of the beaches of Menorca
To simplify the complex geological reality of this island for the general public, specialists speak of the Menorca of the 5 colors, each of them representing a different episode in the history of the Earth, which is reflected in a composition distinctly different dust, rock, and sand and, by extension, of its color.
The Dark Menorca
Geologically, the oldest territories in Menorca date back some 400 million years. We are talking about the Paleozoic Era.
At that time, what is now Menorca was the bottom of a sea that had appeared some 450.000.000 years, when a supercontinent overstretched and sank. Sediments from the new continent accumulated on the ocean floor estimated to be around 1000 meters deep.
300 million years ago, strong tectonic movements pushed some of these sediments to the surface. We are talking about the Dark Menorca, from which some of the most spectacular territories of the north coast are made, such as the Faváritx cape, with the picturesque northeast lighthouse adorning its back.
Examples of beaches of the Dark Menorca can be found in the area of Faváritx, Es Grau, Cala Mesquida, Cala es Murtar and Cala Mica.
The Red Minorca
During the Upper Permian and Lower Triassic, the great rivers that eroded now-vanished mountains dumped the quartz-rich sand from the rocks they decomposed into shallow seas.
Because at that shallow depth the water is richer in oxygen and because, along with the sand, the rivers also dragged large amounts of dissolved iron, the metal oxidized and mixed with the sandy sediments, giving the sand the typical reddish color of the rock formations that we can see today, in many areas of the north of the island in what we know as: The Red Minorca.
Cala Pilar, Ses Salines de Mongofre and Cavallería Beach belong all to this period.
The Gray Minorca
The territories formed in a shallow sea during the Mesozoic are known as Gray Menorca, with rocks from the Triassic to the Cretaceous, mainly calcareous rocks and dolomites.
They are no longer sediments of continental origin, but mostly marine sediments. The Cape of Fornells and the Arenal de Son Saura belong to the geological period of Gray Menorca.
The White Minorca
This makes up the majority of the island, mainly the south and southwest, and was formed between 11 and 5 million years ago.
It’s basically beach sand petrified by time and the weight of later sediments. At that time the sea of Menorca was tropical, with high levels of life, which today are reflected in the many fossils that can be found in this type of rock, known as marès among the locals.
This contrasts with the difficulty of finding fossils in rocks belonging to older periods.
During the Quaternary there were large changes in temperature, which involved dramatic rises and falls in sea levels.
It was at that time that, on the Miocene platform, the great ravines of the south of the island originated, which today are home to some of the most spectacular beaches, such as Cala Galdana, Cala Macarella, Cala en Turqueta or Cala en Porter.
The Orange Minorca
The last geological phase that significantly influenced the landscape and the formation, especially of the northern beaches of Menorca, occurred during the Quaternary and is known as the Orange Menorca.>
Approximately 2.5 million years ago, the sand generated by the mechanical decomposition of marine molluscs mixed with the clayey sediments of the Red Menorca, accumulating in specific areas, where it solidified, becoming the orange sandy rock that we see today and that mixes with landscapes from other times, usually overlapping them.
Cala Pilar, Binimel.la and Cala Tirant are good examples from this period.
In conclusion, geologically, it can be ensured that in Menorca one can bathe in many types of beaches, of practically all colors, which is due to its rich geological history, especially that of the north of the island.
Blue Flag Beaches in Menorca
The Blue Flag is a seal of quality for Spanish beaches in which criteria of accessibility, health, environmental education, cleanliness and safety are valued.
As of the date of this article (2022), Menorca has 3 beaches with this award: Cala Galdana, Cala en Porter and Son Bou. All three are urbanized beaches, with a wide variety of tourist services, classifiable and classified by this site as family beaches.
For more information about the blue flag on the beaches of Spain, Click HERE.
Underwater Life on the Beaches of Menorca
The beaches of Menorca enjoy a great underwater wealth, with hundreds of species of fish, molluscs and kinds of underwater vegetation.
It should be noted that talking about the waters near the beaches is not the same as talking about the seas that surround the island, since in the sea there are species that we will never find in any of the beaches. This is the case of the squid (Loligo vulgaris), the lobster (Palinurus elephas) and the cleaver wrasse (Xyrichtys novacula), for example, which are easy to find a few kilometers from the coast but never on the beaches.
In the sand, for example, it is very common to find fish swimming right next to us, such as the red mullet (Mullus barbatus), the four-spot megrim (Lepidorhombus boscii) and, of course, the thicklip grey mullet (Chelon labrosus), among many others. These fish, at least their smaller versions, live and feed in the shallow sandy areas, drifting farther from shorelines as they grow in age and size. None of these fish are dangerous, but which ones are?
Dangerous fish in Menorca
There are not many species of dangerous fish to worry about on the beaches of Menorca, although some are worth mentioning in this section. In the shallow sandy areas of the beaches one can have the unpleasant experience of stepping on a greater weever (Trachinus draco).
These fish are very difficult to see, as they hide under the sand, leaving only their eyes and poisonous spines on their backs. Its sting (normally when stepped on), is very painful, especially that of the youngest specimens.
As a general rule, it is not necessary to go to the hospital after a sting, it is necessary to disinfect and apply hot water (between 40 and 45 degrees), and wait an hour, when the pain decreases.
On rocky seabeds we can also worry about moray eels (Muraena helena), which only attack if disturbed, and the red scorpionfish (Scorpaena scrofa). The only thing that should concern us about the moray eel is its bite, which has no poison but is very strong, while the Cab Roig has very painful venomous spines, both on the back and on the fins.
It should be noted that mishaps with these last two fish are extremely rare and easy to avoid by paying a little attention.
And while we’re in the unfortunate encounters with sea creatures section, we’ll quickly point out jellyfish and sea urchins (Psammechinus miliaris).
Jellyfish are not exactly unknown beings among bathers and people on the coast, so we will not expand with further explanations. In the case of hedgehogs, it is recommended to bathe with suitable footwear, if one is going to bathe in areas with submerged rocks. This advice is especially good for children, who tend to be much less cautious than their parents.
The beaches of Menorca have an extraordinary variety of molluscs, among which, and because they are the most common, we are going to highlight the octopuses (Octopus vulgaris), easy to locate in the cracks of rocks when snorkelling, cuttlefish (sepiola rondeleti), which occasionally can be seen in the shallow waters of the beaches, limpets (Patella caerulea), always attached to its semi-submerged rocks covered with moss and the noble pen shells (Pinna nobilis), a kind of large mussels anchored by the tip in the submerged fields of Posidonia.
Posidonia is an underwater plant that grows in underwater meadows near the coasts and beaches of Menorca. Posidonia meadows play a vital role in coastal ecosystems, protecting them from erosion and hosting innumerable species of fish and shellfish. Posidonia is considered an indicator of water quality.
If you have any problems on the beaches...
Many of the beaches on the Menorcan coast, especially those that are easily accessible by road, have lifeguards. They are the first to contact if you have any mishaps.
Keep in mind that in many places on the coast mobile phones have poor coverage. In the absence of connection, climbing to a high place will significantly increase your chances of communicating.
If you have a big mishap, call 112. Menorca is ready to help you.
Important Tips for Bathing in Menorca
DO NOT catch sea creatures! Most of the species of molluscs on the Menorcan coast are protected by law, and both activists and security forces are always ready to denounce and punish visitors who do not respect the island’s marine life.
Fishing in Menorca is allowed, but always with a license and, depending on the species that one is going to fish, the catch may only be allowed during a few months of the year.
If you come by boat or rent one on the island, DO NOT drop anchor on a posidonia field. Anchoring on a Posidonia field carries gigantic penalties.
If you go to Menorca in July or August, DO NOT GO to the small and famous beaches like Cala Macarella or Cala Pregonda, because you will find the car park full and you will have to turn around.
In July and August it is much more advisable to go to large beaches, such as Son Bou or Cavallería, where parking is large and the beach is even larger, or to small and little-known beaches.
Listen to the wind. When you have to decide which beach you are going to go to for a swim, take a look at the wind forecast. If it comes from the north, go south. If it comes from the south, go north. You will avoid dirt, waves and jellyfish.
Beware of the current. Especially on open beaches, such as Son Bou, Santo Tomás and Binigáus, the underwater currents can be much stronger and can be much closer to the shore than you expect. If you find it difficult to return to the beach, ask for help immediately.
The Water Temperature at the Beaches
The sea temperature fluctuates annually between a minimum of 14°C in February and a little over 27°C in August.Evolution of the water temperature on the beaches of Menorca during 2020
These data vary slightly from year to year, plus the exact temperature depends on how deep you dive, as well as how far from shore you are. That is, the farther from the surface and the shore, the lower the temperature of the sea water.
How to get to the beaches
The beaches of Menorca can be reached in three ways, depending on whether you have rented a car in Menorca or not, and where each of them is located.
In that sense, you can get to the beaches of Menorca in four different ways:
If you come on holiday to Menorca and plan to rent a car, click here to see a list of Trusted car rental companies in Menorca.
If you plan to use the public bus to get to the beaches, click here to obtain updated information on the regular bus lines to which beaches of Menorca.
If you want to get to the virgin coves of Menorca on foot, click here to read an article with everything you may want to know about < b>Camí de Cavalls de Menorca
Water sports in Menorca
In Menorca you can practice a wide variety of water sports during the summer. Below are some proposals from companies that are dedicated to water sports on the island:
Tourist services near the beaches
Click below to see lists of restaurants and cafes that we recommend you visit during your vacation:
Things to visit near the beaches↑
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