The island of Menorca, the smallest island of the Balearics, is a favourite summer getaway for those who love the sea, nature and tranquillity.
With its dozens and dozens of idyllic beaches and coves and the feeling of peace that it exudes, the island is undoubtedly ideal for those who are looking forward to a relaxing holiday and much more besides. It is an excellent destination for anyone who enjoys snorkelling, water sports, boat trips and above all excursions and walks.
One of the most distinctive features of Menorca is that a walk amidst nature can easily be combined with a pleasant stop at the beach, owing to the Camí de Cavalls, the most famous and longest footpath on the island.
Read on for all the information on this magical trail, as well as a series of tips for organising your excursions.
The history of the Camí de Cavalls
Camí de Cavalls (literally, “Way of Horses” in Menorcan) is just one of Menorca’s many footpaths, but it is undoubtedly the longest and most picturesque. It is actually a network of ancient paths, around 115 miles long in all, which circles the entire coast of the island.
Initially, its function was mainly defensive, given that a link between various points around the island was very useful in the event of attack. The oldest historical sources state that it was created by order of King James II of Majorca, who ordered its construction in 1331.
As well as serving as a defence system, the trail was also used as a public footpath by the Menorcans, which was of great benefit to local trade.
As time went by, owing to the various military emergencies that arose over the centuries, and particularly after the Spanish Civil War, the Camí de Cavalls unfortunately began to deteriorate and “disappear”.
The Camí de Cavalls today
Owing to the determination of the Menorcans, in 2000 a regional law was enacted in an effort to restore the Camí de Cavalls and render it free and open to residents and visitors.
The restoration project, however, was only completed in 2010, and from that year onwards it has been possible to follow the entire trail. The Camí de Cavalls is still open to the public and is marked with special signs that indicate places of interest and their distances.
Furthermore, it is passable on foot or on horseback (and in some places by bike).
Trekking on the Camí de Cavalls
The Camí de Cavalls undoubtedly falls within the places not to be missed in Menorca: even following a small stretch of it will give you the chance to breathe and admire the authentic essence of the island.
One of the unique characteristics of this path is that, given that it coasts the entire island, it also passes through various types of landscape: ranging from green pastures to rocky landscapes or scenes of red earth, and from beaches with turquoise-blue waters to tarmac.
It is not the easiest path, particularly in certain places, but it is very picturesque and also the only way to reach some of Menorca’s totally unspoilt virgin beaches.
It is also a way to reach other less isolated but also extremely beautiful beaches, such as the pearls of the south Cala Galdana, Cala Turqueta and Son Bou. What could be nicer that diving into the water after having taken a long walk under the sun?
Stretches and distances
The Camí de Cavalls is currently divided into 20 stretches of various durations and levels of difficulty. The maximum height above sea level is 410 feet. Given that it is a circular trail, you can start at any point, although ideally it starts from Mahón.
The fittest can walk the entire trail in a minimum of seven days, but even novices can enjoy its beauty by choosing the easier stretches. However, it is a good idea to keep in mind that there are no tourist facilities along the route, nor is it permitted to sleep on the beach. Therefore, if you want to walk the whole path, you will have to rely on taxis or public transport to get back to your accommodation once you have finished each excursion.
We would also advise against attempting to walk the entire trail in the months of July and August, given that the temperatures on Menorca get very high at that time of year.
Here is a list of all the stretches of the Camí de Cavalls, so you have a complete overview of their length and difficulty.
- Stretch 1 > Maó – Es Grau: distance: 10 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 2 > Es Grau – Faváritx: distance: 8.6 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 3 > Faváritx – Arenal d’en Castell: distance: 13.6 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 4 > Arenal d’en Castell – Cala Tirant: distance: 10.8 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 5 > Cala Tirant – Binimel·là: distance: 9.6 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 6 > Binimel·là – Els Alocs: distance: 8.9 km, difficulty; hard.
- Stretch 7 > Els Alocs – Algaiarens: distance: 9.7 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 8 > Algaiarens – Cala Morell: distance: 5.4 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 9 > Cala Morell – Punta Nati: distance: 7 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 10 > Punta Nati – Ciutadella: distance: 10.5 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 11 > Ciutadella – Punta D’Artrutx: distance: 13.2 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 12 > Punta D’Artrutx – Cala en Turqueta: distance: 13.3 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 13 > Cala en Turqueta – Cala Galdana: distance: 6.4 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 14 > Cala Galdana – Santo Tomás: distance: 10.8 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 15 > Santo Tomás – Son Bou: distance: 6.4 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 16 > Son Bou – Cala en Porter: distance: 8 km; difficulty: medium.
- Stretch 17 > Cala en Porter – Binissafúller: distance: 11.8 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 18 > Binissafúller – Punta Prima: distance: 8.1 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 19 > Punta Prima – Cala de Sant Esteve: distance: 7.3 km; difficulty: easy.
- Stretch 20 > Cala de Sant Esteve – Maò: distance: 6 km; difficulty: easy.
Suggested excursions along the Camí de Cavalls
If you really want to explore the Camí de Cavalls but you do not feel up to walking the whole path, here are a few suggested routes that will lead you to discover some of the most beautiful beaches and places of interest in Menorca:
- From Cala Morell to Punta Nati (stretch 9): this stretch is ideal for travelling on horseback. The path starts from beautiful Cala Morell, nearby Ciutadella: if you stay in the old capital of Menorca, we recommend you do not miss this very special beach and to walk as far as Punta Nati, where one of the islands lighthouses is located.
- From Cala Turqueta to Cala Galdana (stretch 13): this stretch also has a low level of difficulty, which will allow you to make a stop at two of the most beautiful beaches in southern Menorca, Cala Turqueta and Cala Galdana.
- From Mahón to Es Grau (stretch 1): if you stay in Mahón, we advise you to take the path from there to reach Es Grau, which passes the splendid and panoramic Cala Mesquida. This path is quite easy even by bike.
- From Arenal d’en Castell to Cala Tirant (stretch 4): excellent trail to walk if you are staying in Arenal d’en Castell. The coastal stretch that leads to Son Parc, a beach where you can stop off before reaching Cala Tirant, is truly spectacular.
Now that you know all about the magical Camí de Cavalls, you can start organising your dream excursion, perhaps with a beautiful beach for the final stop! And if you still have not booked your holiday in Menorca, have a look at our direct flights page to find the best offer to suit your needs.