Kayaking in MenorcaIt would be difficult to think of an island more suited to sea kayaking than Menorca. With warm seas, pristine beaches, good weather, and plenty of sheltered coves to pull in and take a rest, the island is a perfect place for a short paddle or a far longer expedition. Many of the untouched virgin beaches can only be accessed from the sea, and so Menorca kayaking is a sure way to find that empty white stretch of sand even in the height of the summer season. Activity centres specialising in kayaking and equipment hire are to be found in most of the towns on the coast, and two, three day or even round island trips can be organised.
An ideal stretch of water for beginners at kayaking and canoeing is the wide sheltered bay of Fornells. Protected from the prevailing northerly tramuntana wind by surrounding hills, the bay, which measures 5 kilometres in length opens out to the sea by a narrow mouth and is rather like a huge inland lake.
Kayaks can be hired here at the old fishing village of Fornells where centres specialise in teaching the skills of the sport and organising excursions along the coast and around the island. Experienced kayakers who wish to hire kayaks and gear for longer expeditions can do so here, or can join groups which set off from the bay. The organised round island trip can take up to ten days, depending on the weather, with kayakers bivouacking on the deserted beaches each night as they make their way around the island. Wild camping is forbidden on the island, yet those travelling by sea are entitled to make bivouacs on the beach from dusk until dawn providing that they leave no trace of their stay behind them.
This is one of the best ways to see the hidden beauties of Menorca, with kayakers hugging the coast beneath high cliffs and paddling into the lovely caverns and hidden chambers carved by the sea. The experience of spending a night under the stars on a virgin beach is one of the best experiences, Menorcans say, their island can offer. On the south coast, protected from the prevailing northern Tramuntana, gentle sloping beaches backed by woodlands make the perfect place to land to stretch the legs and to explore. Close to Cala Galdana steps cut into the sandstone cliffs mark the place where smugglers would land illicit cargoes on still nights, to be carried to caves and safe havens far inland.
Further along, at Cala Trebal˙ger paddlers can land and drag their kayaks over the sand bar and then paddle up a river surrounded by reed beds along a wide ravine into a hidden world of fresh water turtles and kingfishers in what seems like a natural land reserve.
In complete contrast the two ports of Ciutadella and Maˇ give the kayaker a chance to float into the history of the island, passing wharves where once square rigged ships would have landed their cargoes when Menorca was one of the busiest trading points of the Mediterranean.
With its lengthy stretches of pristine unspoiled coastline, diversity of scenery, and the easy availability of interesting places to land and explore, Menorca is one of the best Mediterranean locations for kayakers and canoeists.
Read our top 10 tips for things to see and do in Menorca