5th April 2023
Menorca is the largely unspoiled gem of the Balearic Islands. It has been awarded numerous prestigious awards and statuses due to the pristine condition of its natural environment through its conservation, sustainability and ecotourism efforts. Find out more about how Menorca has been recognised as a Top 100 sustainable destination and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993 protecting its flora and fauna biodiversity.
While tourism developed fast on neighbouring Balearic Islands Mallorca and Ibiza from the 1950's, Menorca resisted this original wave of package tourism, instead focusing on balancing tourism with protecting its natural environment and traditions. Menorca has since been recognised as a Top 100 sustainable destination, but the story of its sustainability goes even further back.
To punish the island for refusing to support him during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930's, the fascist dictator Francisco Franco refused to send money for Menorca’s infrastructure development. The 435-square-mile island remained largely unaltered for years, and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Mass tourism eventually began to trickle in from the 1970s, but a local movement spearheaded by the Grup Balear d’Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa (GOB) association ensured that the island’s most pristine natural spots escaped being developed.
The entire island was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993 protecting large parts of the island from being built on. The island is also a certified Starlight Reserve and Starlight Destination for its unpolluted, clear skies. In 2019, Menorca requested that UNESCO move to protect more of the island and its biodiversity, including the waters around it, essentially putting a stop to any new development where it didn’t already exist.
Although its popularity is increasing, Menorca still only welcomes around 1.5 million tourists each year, compared to Mallorca’s 10 million or Ibiza’s 3.5 million.
The island has announced plans to abandon fossil fuels by 2030 and generate 85% of its energy from renewable sources and is also campaigning for its Talayotic archaeological sites to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Many of Menorca’s beaches are deliberately only reachable by foot, ensuring visitor numbers remain lower and protects the coastal environment. Trails have been restored for hiking, horseback-riding and mountain-biking and the island also encourages other eco-activities like kayaking, paddle-boarding or birdwatching to enjoy the island's natural habitats and wonderful variety of flora and fauna.
Menorca continues to focus on local produce and traditional production methods, like its renowned dairy industry. Ambitious revivals of Menorca’s wine scene are underway and Menorca’s increasingly exciting food scene using fresh local ingredients is witnessing fantastic restaurants popping up across the island, whilst Menorca was also recently named European Region of Gastronomy in 2022.
Despite becoming a popular tourist destination, Menorca's hotel industry still maintains a laid-back and community-centric approach, with a focus on sustainability. Since 2016, all visitor accommodations have been subjected to a sustainable tourism tax (ITS), ranging from €0.50 to €4 per person per night, which is then reinvested into local environmental initiatives. The majority of Menorca’s holiday accommodation are thoughtful renovations of rustic buildings bringing new life to historic buildings with a low eco footprint.
From restaurants to diving companies, businesses on the island who have been recognised for their positive impact on the island for their efforts to support sustainability have been awarded the Biosphere Reserve Seal who we recommend supporting during your stay on the island. Watch out for a blog post coming here soon about these businesses.
Watch this space for a post about how MPO support Menorca’s eco efforts.
If we've tempted you to choose Menorca as your holiday destination, why not browse our incredible range of Menorca villas. From properties situated right on the coast to those nestled in Menorca's idyllic countryside, we have beautiful, hand-picked villas to suit every taste and group size. Search by island destination or desired villa type to plan your perfect Menorca holiday.
Booking a villa with us has never been easier and there are multiple ways you can get in touch with us. We pride ourselves on taking the stress out of your villa holiday from start to finish, read more about how we do just that with our personalised service. Our team of Menorca experts are more than happy to help you find your perfect villa so get in touch via the ‘enquire now’ button or call us on +44 (0) 1335 330169.