Enjoy the GR 223: hiking guide on the south coast of Menorca. We explain all the details
Index / Content
- What is Camí de Cavalls?
- Brief history of Camí de Cavalls
- The south coast
- The seasons of the year
- The best routes and stages of the south coast
- Stage 12: Cap d’Artrutx - Cala Turqueta
- Stage 13: Cala Turqueta - Cala Galdana
- The different ways to make the routes
- Why our hotel is a key point
- The best places to eat
What is Camí de Cavalls?
The Camí de Cavalls is, for all the population of the island, much more than a simple path. It goes far beyond its functionality or its beauty. It is a symbol, and as such, makes its population proud.
El Camí de Cavalls, for those who do not know it and have not yet enjoyed its tours, is a rural road that runs the entire perimeter of the island of Menorca.
It has a length of about 185 km and, for greater accessibility, it has been divided into 20 stages. The majority of sections are of extraordinary beauty, surrounded by nature, forests, beaches and beautiful landscapes.
It passes through ravines, rocky outcrops, valleys, streams, wetlands and cultivation areas; it connects old watchtowers, lighthouses and trenches, and leads to a large part of the creeks of the island. It is, without a doubt, the best way to discover the great natural and heritage wealth of the island.
It is also a place frequented by hikers and tourists on foot, on horseback or by bike, who enjoy the magnificent views and the fauna and flora of Menorca.
If you are interested in traveling the path in any way, the most convenient thing is to inform yourself beforehand about the difficulty of the route, that's why we offer you a guide that will help you to get around the GR 223.
Grid with all stages of Camí de Cavalls
Brief history of Camí de Cavalls
Its origins seem to be traced back to the times of King Jaime II (XIII - XIV century), who ordered the knights to keep an armed horse for the defense of the island. At that time there were already some sections that facilitated its defense. Later, the construction of coastal watchtowers against pirate incursions made the existence of a perimeter road that went around the island more necessary.
In 1736, during the first English dominaton, Governor Richard Kane considered it a "royal road" and ordered to keep it "clean and passable". A few years later, in 1758, it was the French governor who ordered its maintenance and expansion. In 1780 appeared the first known map of the island that contains the Camí de Cavalls.
Throughout the 20th century, the Camí de Cavalls suffered notable deterioration mainly due to its lack of maintenance and the disuse of some of its sections. The courage of the Menorcan people, channeled through the Coordination for the defense of Camí de Cavalls, managed to reopen this important ecological, historical and landscape heritage. It was not easy: since 1996, protest excursions and popular pressure forced the political powers to promulgate in 2000 the "Llei del Camí de Cavalls". Subsequently, the Special Plan established its route and made possible the agreements and the expropriations, since it crosses 120 private farms. Since 2010, after conditioning and marking, it can be enjoyed on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.
The south coast
Although its size is small, Menorca is an island of contrasting landscapes. The enormous diversity of habitats and landscapes in Menorca have a complex and highly varied geological composition.
The north is formed by an amalgamation of very old land and materials. The coastline is very rugged and abrupt. Its colors are darker, its sand is more yellow and thicker, and sometimes its colors can be reddish or grayish.
The south is made up of lighter coloured calcareous rocks and sandstones. It is flatter and more homogeneous than the north. Unlike this, the coastline is more rectilinear and its beaches are of fine white sand surrounded by pine forests.
The seasons of the year
Menorca is not only varied by its geography and its landscapes, it also offers a new face of the island in each season of the year, each one with a different and distinct personality.
Most of the visitors know the island in midsummer, when its color tones tend to ocher and the season is hot. But all visitors who come out of the summer season are surprised to see the lush green that covers the island the rest of the year.
It could be said that the island shows all its qualities during spring, when temperatures are mild, nature offers a blanket of colours, smells and sensations at its best.
The best routes and stages of the south coast
The two stages that we have closest to Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou are stages 12 and 13:
Stage 12: Cap d’Artrutx - Cala en Turqueta
Distance: 13.3 km. Difficulty: easy. Estimated time on foot: 4 hours
This stage begins at Cap d’Artrutx (Cape of Artrutx), on the beach of Son Xoriguer and runs through the first part of the island's south coast. From this beach we leave the urbanized area and for 4 km walking we enter the most virgin part of this part of Menorca.
Cap d'Artrutx Lighthouse
Following the low coast, along a flat and rocky path, we will find small creeks until we reach the beaches of Son Saura in the south. But before it is essential to stop at Sa cova des Pardals, the first stop, located just 15 minutes from the Son Xoriguer beach. You will find a white house on the edge of the rock, just next to it there are some stairs carved in the rock that go down to the cave.
This was formerly used by fishermen on the island, as well as for smuggling tobacco, coffee and soap in times of scarcity after the war and during the dictatorship. It is a very special place, a cozy atmosphere with spectacular views. We recommend taking a bath in hot weather.
Cova des Pardals (Ciutadella de Menorca)
In case of doing this section in high season, with high temperatures, we remember above all not to make the way at noon, protect your head with a hat, apply cream and hydrate yourself frequently.
Once on the beaches of Son Saura in the south we can enjoy a lush pine forest between the beach and the wet area. These beaches are a set of two virgin beaches separated by a small rocky point, which make up the largest sandy area on the southern coast of Ciutadella. The first is the Bañul beach and the second is the Bellavista beach. Be careful with the dune system that is behind the latter, because it is protected.
Bellavista beach in Son Saura
From this point the landscape begins to change and Camí de Cavalls enters the wooded area of the central part of the south coast of Menorca, where we will start to find wild olive, pine and holm oak, as is the case of the surroundings of Cala Turqueta . We will be accompanied, from here and along the following sections, by the different ravines that flow into the sea.
Before reaching Cala Turqueta, we will find the beautiful beach of Es Talaier, a small unspoilt and paradisiacal creek located just 20 minutes from Son Saura. During the route we will be able to observe Sa Talaia d’Artrutx (17th century), a watchtower to prevent the presence of possible invaders to the area.
Flora: During most of the route we will find a vegetation dominated by scrub with plants such as heather, rockrose and rosemary. Later, when you get to the Son Saura area, the areas of holm oaks and wild olive trees, will abound.
Fauna: With a bit of luck we will be able to observe various waterfowl upon arriving at the Prat de Bellavista wetland, before Son Saura. It is of high ecological value.
Services: The only services that we will find are in Cap d’Artrutx, in the urbanization during the tourist season, so we recommend that you bring a small backpack with food and plenty of water. Of particular interest is the Artrutx Lighthouse, built in 1858, which has a bar-restaurant. All beaches, including virgin ones, have a small WC
Stage 13: Cala Turqueta - Cala Galdana
Distance: 6.4 km. Difficulty: easy. Estimated time on foot: 2 hours 30 minutes
The landscape of this transit on our GR 223 road is landscape-different from the previous one. The central part of the island of Menorca presents the ravines, which cross the island vertically, therefore, we will go from the dry environment to the shady and humid environment that occurs inside these ravines, protecting them from the wind.
This stage of the Camí de Cavalls begins in Cala Turqueta entering the forested area of the beach. This virgin beach is of incalculable beauty and has become one of the main attractions of the island, so the option of arriving on foot is one of the best, since being a small beach, parking in summer, is packed first hour in the morning. Its sand is white and with transparent waters and turquoise colours. It is surrounded by small cliffs and a pine forest that reaches the sand itself.
Approximately 1 hour walking we will arrive at Cala Macarelleta and just afterwards at Cala Macarella. They are, without a doubt, the two most photographed and admired beaches in Menorca. The two beaches are of fine white sand, with transparent waters, and like Cala Turqueta, surrounded by small cliffs with pine forests that reach the sand. Macarelleta is Macarella's little sister, but it is like perfumes, which with the small bottles contain the most beautiful fragrances.
Cala Macarelleta, with its turquoise and transparent waters
Crossing Macarella, right next to the “Ca na Susy” restaurant (the only bar-restaurant in the entire area) we will find some stairs that lead us to the upper part of the ravine that meets the path that will take us to Cala Galdana, located at only 45 minutes. This beach is urbanized but it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire island, you only have to look at photographs from when it was virgin to realize its exuberant beauty. It is a large sandy area surrounded by pine trees, shaped like a shell and protected by a cliff of considerable height. The waters and the sand, like the previous ones, are transparent and white. Around it, proliferate bars and restaurants with all kinds of services.
During this last section we will find different indicated trails that will take us to 4 viewpoints. The first offers a spectacular perspective of Macarella.
Both in Macarella and Cala Galdana we will find groups of artificial caves in the walls of the ravines that face the sea. It is a necropolis from the Talayotic period. This type of funeral practice was very common in prehistoric Menorca. Between these two beaches are also the remains of some old English farmhouses built in the 18th century, as a military detachment for coastal surveillance. As a modification of the English word “barracks”, it has derived the current place name of the site, to es Bèrecs.
Cala Galdana beach. In the background you can see part of the Santa Galdana urbanization. Just to the left of the photo begins the part of Santa Anna, which leads to Macarella.
Fauna: In spring, on your journey through the forests and ravines, we will be accompanied by the song of the nightingale or the great tit and, with a little luck, the famous cuckoo song.
The Mediterranean tortoise is an introduced species. It is very common in almost all the insular surface. It is particularly abundant in the southern ravines, where it finds its optimal habitat. We named this animal because in our hotel, from time to time, one of these friendly animals appears.
Flora: The ravines of Cala Turqueta and Macarella stand out in this area, where, in addition to the aquatic vegetation associated with torrents, we can locate magnificent holm oaks. Pine, wild olive and holm oak abound in the forest.
Posidonia is a marine plant endemic to the Mediterranean. Like all higher plants, the leaves change every year and a part of them is deposited on the beaches. At Macarella we often find these sediments. We must take care and respect this part of nature because it protects the coast from its erosive processes and allows the sand to be maintained throughout the beach. Furthermore, posidonia is a bio-indicator of the quality of the waters.
The pines that we will find right on the coast, touching the sands of the beaches are, the so-called white pines. They are easily attached to the ground and grow rapidly.
Services: Cala Turqueta only has a small beach bar in the parking lot, located about 10 minutes walk from the beach. Upon reaching Cala Macarella, as mentioned above, we will find the “Ca na Susy” bar-restaurant. And Cala Galdana offers all kinds of services, bars, restaurants, etc. All the beaches, including the virgin ones, have a small WC.
The different ways to make the routes
The Camí de Cavalls can be done in different ways: on foot, by bicycle, running, practicing Nordic walking, etc… Here we link you what are all the options:
On horseback: Here, at this link, you will find information on horseback riding and tours of the south coast.
By bicycle: Menorca, and especially the south coast due to its easy access, is an ideal place to practice cycling and enjoy the exuberant nature of our Camí de Cavalls. In our hotel we have bicycle rental. You can check on our website.
On 10, 11 and 12 October the BTT of Menorca is organized. People from all over the world come to the island to enjoy Camí de Cavalls and enjoy its routes. The BTT team offers a program and a regulation to follow. Please inform yourself on their website.
On foot: Trekking or hiking is a perfect way to enjoy the south coast of Menorca. Remember to wear good footwear and adequate clothing, since the path is dirt and sometimes stony.
Practicing Nordic Walking: You can bring your sticks or we can loan them to you.
Why our hotel is a key point
The Rural Morvedra Nou hotel is located right in the center of these two pleasant stages. In the middle of three of the most beautiful and important beaches in Menorca, Macarella, Macarelleta and Cala Turqueta, apart from the no less spectacular beaches of Son Saura and Es Talaier.
It is of importance to highlight the ease with which these two stages of Camí de Cavalls can be carried out, especially from our beautiful location. The ease with which one can move from our car park to the car parks at the beginning and end of the routes is a factor to emphasize.
From our hotel, it only takes 10 minutes to arrive to Macarella by bus (the only way of transportation to get to this beach in high season). The same time to reach the Cala Turqueta car park. 15 minutes is what it takes to arrive to the Son Saura car park. And in 25 minutes you will reach Cap d’Artrutx (or Cala’n Bosch) if you want to start route number 12. That is, we are right in the middle of this beautiful part of the island.
Also, the bus to Macarella has a stop right in the parking lot of our rural hotel.
Terrace and pool area of our Rural Hotel Morvedra Nou
We offer, in our bar-restaurant, picnics with sandwich and fruit to take away and to be able to carry out the routes without the headaches that can be caused by not finding any service on these virgin and paradisiacal routes. We also have water to take away or the service to fill your canteens in the case of not wanting to generate plastic waste, which we recommend if you come to do this type of tourism.
The best places to eat
If you prefer to eat somewhere on these routes, they have a very little offer due to the almost null intervention of the human being in all this territory. Our best recommendation, modesty aside, is our Morvedra Nou Restaurant. In the main houses of our hotel we have a fantastic restaurant with an outdoor terrace overlooking the countryside and the garden. You will enjoy a la carte menu at noon that is complemented by a half board menu for our guests, at night.
Our cuisine, led by our chef Romina Castro, is a fusion of the most traditional and typical dishes of the island of Menorca with the internationalization of the cuisine, and with a mix of classic and modern touches.
Restaurant area of our Rural Hotel Morvedra Nou
Apart from our restaurant, you will find a beach bar just at Macarella beach with lunch and dinner service. Its cuisine is much less elaborated but its proximity to the beach is greatly appreciated. The bar-restaurant is called “Ca Na Susy”.
After these two options, we only have the Cala Galdana urbanization that offers all kinds of services. Bars, restaurants, souvenir shops etc ... and that are located throughout its buildings and constructions.