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Nature of Menorca

El Camí de Cavalls (Menorca)

El Camí de Cavalls is an alternative way to contemplate Menorca?s natural charms. On foot, horseback or bike, this ancient coastal trail offers the chance to come into contact with one of the island?s most important allures: its nature. In addition, work all along the trail offers Menorcan society, fervently devoted to horses, new ways to enjoy horse riding.

A long recovery process that began in 2000 with the Balearic Parliament?s passage of Act 13/2000 culminated on May 12, 2008 with the latest bureaucratic procedures to re-establish the free public use of El Camí de Cavalls in its entirety.

It is not known exactly when the road was created and the oldest written documentation found until now dates from 1682, although the origins of some stretches appear to go back to the fourteenth century. This trail was used to safeguard the coast and communicate with battlements, watchtowers and other fortifications.

Several stretches are currently being signposted and repaired while others are still in use, as in yesteryear. You can find information on the progress of the rehabilitation works and different stretches of El Camí de Cavalls, which is considered historic heritage and an asset of cultural and environmental interest, at Menorca?s Office of Tourism.

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Cap de Favàritx (Menorca)

Cap de Favàritx is a rocky point formed by black slate and flanked by bays on both sides. The coast is characterised by low, black and grey slate cliffs that are some of the Balearic's oldest lands from a geological point of view. The interior is crisscrossed by fine springs that run along the surface until encountering a land mass and disappearing underground again.

Fossils of the first beings to inhabit the site can be seen in the slate: crustaceans and miniscule marine creatures from thousands of years ago.

The zone near the lighthouse is battered by winds, especially the north wind, and waves crash over the coastal barrier made up of a pebble beach next to the lighthouse, flooding an esplanade and forming an off-white surface known as "La Salina", or salt flat, when dry. Two different types of material and long veins of bright ochre oxide can be seen in the rock to the left of the lighthouse.

Legend has it that on nights when the moon is full, those who walk alongside these magic pools will receive the beneficial effects of the moon and seawater: strength, energy and fertility.

In addition to the lighthouse, the road to Son Camamil·la leads to two unusual and striking, long, open coves: Cala Presili and Cala Tortuga, the former with a fine, very dark sandy beach and the latter with a smaller, yet fetching gravel beach.

To get to Cap de Favàritx, go down the Mahon-Fornells road from Mahon around 8 kilometres and follow the turn-off to the right. The lighthouse at Cap de Favàritx, which dates back to 1922, is 6 kilometres down the road.

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

S'Albufera des Grau Nature Park (Menorca)

S'Albufera des Grau Nature Park is located in the northeastern part of the island of Menorca. It encompasses a broad expanse of characteristic, well-conserved land and includes two wetlands ("S'Albufera des Grau" and "Es Prat de Morella"), wide swaths of shoreline, an islet and a number of farms which use traditional farming practices.

Albufera des Grau, a 2-km-long, oval-shaped lagoon, is Menorca's largest wetland, one of the most important in the Balearic Islands and the nucleus of the Biosphere Reserve. It is located next to the village of Grau and its beach, and lies on a Palaeozoic basin into which three torrents empty and which is separated from the sea by a series of dunes

On the 7th of October 1993, the island of Minorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the International Committee of UNESCO, because of its environmental diversity and landscapes, with natural spaces of special relevance, such as the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau.

There are two ways to reach the park: PMV-7102 (es Grau) and PM-715 (cabo de Favàritx) both in the Maó municipal area.

Centro de Recepción Rodríguez Femenias
Ctra. de Maó a Es Grau Km 3.5 detour Llimpa, 07700, Maó Illes Balears
Tel. +34 971356303 / +34 971356302

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Menorca Nature Centre (Ferreries)

This environmental information centre managed by the GOB is located in Ferreries in the heart of Menorca, which was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Interactive exhibits, conference cycles and other temporary activities for the entire public are offered all year round.

http://www.gobmenorca.com/museu

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Posidonia Ocenica, a marine plant that promotes transparent waters (Illes Balears)

Balearic Islands have exceptional beaches and peerless diving conditions, thanks its clear, clean waters. One of the main reasons for this is the presence of Posidonia Oceánica, an angiosperm marine plant that promotes transparent waters, prevents erosion and serves as a habitat for a wide array of ocean fauna. In fact, the waters of the Natural Reserve of Ses Salinas in Ibiza and Formentera are home to some of the finest beds of Posidonia Oceánica in the Mediterranean, in terms of conservation.
The sea beds in that area, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, are carpeted with fields of posidonia oceanica, which gives the water its crystal clear appearance and makes it the ideal place for scuba-diving.

http://lifeposidonia.caib.es

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Almond trees in bloom, a showcase for nature in the Balearic countryside (Illes Balears)

Encouraged by the temperate Mediterranean climate, the first variety of the island's more than 7,000,000 almond trees timidly begin to bud in late January, a foretaste of the exquisite fields blanketed by white, delicate flowers that burst into bloom between late January and mid-February. Be it in a lone specimen or a riot of flowers, this surprising and omnipresent forerunner of spring is a special treat for visitors. A closer look at this man-made display of nature reveals in detail the colours of these flowers, which range from the purest white to pink. A unique and guaranteed opportunity for photography lovers to take an unforgettable memory back home with them.

The cultivation of almond trees was introduced en masse after phylloxera devastated the Islands' vineyards in the late eighteenth century, especially in Mallorca and Ibiza. Their fruit can be sampled as is, toasted or as part of the islands' typical dishes, especially pastries. Almond products from the archipelago's most important area are sold under the trusted brand name, ?Ametla de Mallorca?. Furthermore, beauty products made with ingredients from this singular tree can also be found in perfumeries.

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Barranc d'Algender, a valuable ecosystem and a spectacular landscape (Ferreries)

In the pre-Talayotic or Copper age (2500-1500 BC), its inhabitants were agricultural and livestock farmers who lived in caves and in the depths of the ravine. The remains discovered in Barranc d'Algender date from the year 2200 BC and are the oldest found in Menorca.

This ravine was declared Common Heritage of Mankind in 1998 and lies in the district of Ferreries. It is about six kilometres long and leads into the magnificent Cala Galdana beach in the south of the island. At some points during its course, it reaches amazing proportions with excavated channels of up to fifty metres in depth.

The whole area is of great ecological interest, proof of which can be seen in the twelve different habitats that coexist there. There are more than 200 animal and vegetable species, of which 18 are indigenous and 26 are classified rarities. One example of its exuberant vegetation is the surrounding area of the stream with its deeply-set bed.

A route to be carried out by foot or bicycle

These characteristics mean that Barranc d'Algender is a route of extraordinary interest, either by foot or by bicycle. The excursion takes you down age-old paths that wind through leafy Mediterranean woods, the ruins of ancient constructions in the rocks and slopes or through lands cultivated with ancient farming techniques.

Its slopes connect to an old path to Mao, popularly known as Ses Voltes, one of the most marvellous spots on the journey. It is one kilometre long, made up of horse-shoe shaped nooks chipped into the rocks and leads down to the bottom of the valley.

One of most impressive panoramas that the ravine has to offer is from above. You take the right hand path half way down the slope just where a centenary oak tree stands.

Crossing a little bridge, you can walk along the bed of the valley, another wonderful experience to be enjoyed while of course scrupulously respecting the marvellous ecosystem.

The side road to Barranc d'Algender can be found at 29'400 km. on the C 721 road.

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es

Piano and cello concerts in Illa del Rei (Maó)

This island near the port was the site of the town?s first hospital, built by the English in the nineteenth century. The remains of a sixth-century Paleochristian basilica discovered there prove the island was inhabited in ancient times.

A beautiful mosaic measuring approximately 32 square metres was discovered while the land was being furrowed for sowing in January 1988. It was first thought to be from a Roman villa or Jewish synagogue, but several studies reached the conclusion it was a Paleochristian basilica. The only remains from the building are these white, pink and blue mosaics, which are currently housed at the Museo de Menorca.

Illa del Rei is also home to a unique species of lizard, the only one of its kind in the world: the Podarcis lifordi balearia.
Further information: www.islahospitalmenorca.org

Texts and images provided by www.illesbalears.es