Minorca was declared a Natural Biosphere by U.N.E.S.C.O. in 1993, a distinction awarded to the islanders for their strong passion in preserving the islands natural facets, culture, fauna, wildlife and promoting a controlled and sustainable industrial and urban development.
Travelling around the island, makes you appreciate that Minorca is truly a magnificent island, a jewel in the Mediterranean. It is not a large island, about the same size as the Isle of Wright, yet within its boundaries it has an immense variety of scenery and a vast catalogue of unique species (plants and endemic animals). The friendly locals have maintained the islands natural patrimony and fought against any attempts to change the landscape. Rural development or buildings are rigorously controlled and the materials used have to harmonise with the surrounds; supporting a landscape without artificial colourings or preservatives.
The Albufera Natural Park in Es Grau is perhaps the queen of all parks and here you can observe migrating birds, fish and reptiles. However, the island has five natural parks, a vast marine reserve and nineteen A.N.E.I. (Natural Areas with Species of Interest) registered areas.
Everything flows naturally and with an easy rhythm in Minorca; the complicity of life eases a stress free holiday – Your biggest choice of the day is perhaps your decision over which beach to visit. The island has over 120 beaches; all with their own speciality.-There are beaches for all tastes, from the long soft sandy ones to the hidden smugglers coves or the wild rocky beaches. The southern coast is lined with white fine sands surrounded by pine tree woods with crystal turquoise coloured waters. The north is wilder and sharper due to its erosion provoked by the Tramontana wind, these wind sculptured cliffs give way to idyllic beaches and virgin coves with deep waters. The presence of the posidonia, an endemic Mediterranean seaweed, along the coastline is the best sign to indicate the good health of the beaches, although slightly scorned by the beach user who is not aware of it usefulness.
The islands sea beds offer a rich environment for a large variety of sea life and mineral composition, offering a great spectre of colour for the diver. The islands protected Marine Reserve is located in the north. Sailing around the island you will view more than ten unique underwater caves with their own marine life.
But, Minorca is not only beaches. The grand variety of landscape and about 300 days of sunshine a year, allows one to discover the delights of walking. Strolling through the islands gorges can open up a new world; these gorges commence from the centre of the island and cut their way through to the south, towards Cala Galdana or Santo Tomas. They are majestic ravines with up to 220 species of fauna which co-habit with the remains of past used sand stone quarries and prehistoric constructions. For the professional group the island has over fifty inland caves still to explore.
Travelling around the island or even by studying your detailed island map, its possible to view the abundance of ponds, salt marshes and lagoons in Minorca - The most important humid area is the Albufera Natural Park at Es Grau, although the areas at Addaia, Son Saura and Son Bou can be appreciated.
The island will never let you down as no area during any season is free from beauty, for even when driving along the rural lanes you can enjoy spotting thistles, orchidaceous and chrysanthemums, patches of wild asparagus, berries, lounging black and white coloured Frisian cattle, glossy coated black stallions, grazing sheep and a world of bird life. This rural feast is a heaven for artists, photographers and bird and fauna watchers.