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Villages ... Menorca Part 4 - The North
Contributor / 2008-09-21 16:43:56
Last week we visited Ciutadella, the former capital of Menorca, this week we shall head for the north of the island, a wild and rocky stretch of coast, much of which cannot be reached by road.
We shall start at the northernmost point of the island, the Cap de Cavalleria, a tall rocky headland, which is in fact the most northerly point of all the Balearic Islands group. At the top of this narrow, windswept headland it is possible to walk along the cliff top, near to the lighthouse and enjoy some breathtaking views of the Menorcan coastline. Nearby are the remains of an ancient Phoenician settlement called Sanitja, mentioned in the writings of Pliny, the renowned Roman author, it was later established as a port and camp by the Romans and renamed Sanisera, the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus, set up a garrison here in 123 B.C. and it was from here that he conquered the Balearics, you can also visit a relic of the British occupation here, in the form of a watch tower (Torre de Sanitja) one of eleven built by the British on the island's most strategic points, this particular tower was built between 1798 and 1802 by Captain Robert D'Arcy, it had a garrison of eighteen men.
To the east of the Cap de Cavalleria lies the pretty fishing village of Fornells (pronounced "Fornays"), renowned for its seafood restaurants, it attracts the rich and famous, its most notable visitor being the King of Spain Juan Carlos, who drops in from time to time to dine in one of the waterfront restaurants. The local speciality is caldereta de llagosta (lobster stew), an expensive but delicious dish. Fornells was once a major port and at the entrance to the harbour stands an old watch tower, from where you can enjoy stunning views over the harbour. Close to Fornells is Ses Salines, one of the best places on the island to learn to sail or windsurf.
A little further east, the coves of Addaia were the site of the last British landing on Menorca, by Scottish Highland troops in 1798, it is now a harbour and holiday village. There is some modern development in this area especially at Arenal d'en Castell, set on an attractive bay, with a wide sandy beach, there are a number of high-rise hotels, not seen elsewhere on Menorca, this is the liveliest spot in northern Menorca, and tends to attract the younger set. The old fishing village of Macaret also has some development, but less intrusive, it blends in nicely with the traditional Menorcan style.
To the west of Fornells and the Cap de Cavalleria there is a long stretch of coastline, with a number of beautiful unspoilt beaches, some of these are difficult to reach by car and include Cala Pregonda, Cala del Pilar and Cala d'Alagiarens. At the small resort of Cala Morell it is possible to visit some fascinating caves which were inhabited during the Bronze and Iron Ages and were used both as dwellings and burial chambers, the caves have windows and chimneys and central pillars which support the roof. Further inland and well worth a visit is the town of Ferreries, the highest town on Menorca, it has some interesting places to visit including the Museu de la Natura de Menorca, the 18th century church of Sant Bartomeu and the Plaí§a d'Espanya, where the Saturday market attracts a multitude of visitors. Ferreries is located at the foot of the S'Enclusa hill, which protects it from the cold Tramuntana wind which sweeps through this region, its name is derived from the Catalan word ferrer (blacksmith), referring to the numerous blacksmiths who made their living in the town, these days the main industries in the town are shoe-making, hand made jewellery and furniture manufacture.
This concludes our visit to northern Menorca, next week we will look at the south of the island and visit some of the megalithic sites for which the island is famous.