Thank you for everyone for the tips we got, it helped make our holiday one of the best we have ever had.
To begin with, we flew with EasyJet out of London Gatwick. Somewhat annoyingly, we paid over the odds on flights in January because we wrongly assumed that we would save money by booking early. As it turned out, the Euro crisis meant that the cost of flights around Europe fell dramatically in May. Regardless, we boarded our flight with a flutter of excitement and great expectations, only to be accompanied by a chorus of screaming babies and toddlers! Not the best start - we were hoping for a holiday without 'vocal' families - but as it turned out, that was exactly what we got as we stepped off the plane.
We rented a car through Autos Victoria - no fuss, everything booked via email. We paid cash, 160 Euros for the week, and no credit card was needed. Someone from Auto Victoria was waiting for us at arrivals, so it only took five minutes to get the keys and be on our way. Driving was scary at first but I quickly got a handle on it. For the most part, everything was very well sign-posted, particularly the larger towns and resorts. Menorca tends to use huge roundabouts over T-junctions, and the small volume of traffic leaves the main roads (ME-1 etc) in very good condition. My only worry was that the speed limits were not very clearly marked. I got passed a lot at 80, and finally pushed it to 100 after a few days, but still have no idea what the top limit is meant to be. A lot of the routes to smaller beaches are little more than dirt / gravel tracks wide enough for a single car, but with everyone driving so carefully there was never a problem. Indeed, driving around Menorca proved to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
We stayed in Playas de Fornells in an apartment we rented through Privatemenorca.com. It was a two-bedroom flat with a nice view, right by the pool. Everything booked through email, we paid 320 pounds for the week. The holiday season hadn't yet started when we arrived at the start of June so the resort felt really empty and quiet (which was exactly what we wanted). That said, the American couple staying above us did try their hardest to be heard at all times, going into great detail about their sunburns, their opinions on the local food and sharing their colourful digestive disorders. For those of you reading, Spanish properties use single-breadth walls so sound travels easily - no need to shout. Moving on, the pool was generally deserted and caught direct sunlight most of the day, so when we dipped into the warm, clean water we felt like we were enjoying our own private pool. Most enjoyable!
Our holiday was primarily about hiking off the beaten path. We slept in everyday before setting off on long hikes in the early afternoon. We used the "Walk! Menorca" guide to select the most scenic routes, taking in the natural beauty of the island for 3 / 4 hours at a time. While hiking we encountered varied wildlife ranging from colourful butterflies to mafia-style herds of goats, the occasional wandering tortoise, a ghost-donkey and legions of grasshoppers the size of our thumbs. After sweating our socks off, we'd then crash at a different beach every late afternoon/early evening and soak up the never-ending sun. Speaking of the weather, it never rained - we enjoyed clear skies and temperatures in the high 20's up until the beautiful sunsets at around 9pm (which threw off the internal clocks a bit!).
We visited Sun Bou which was a lovely, shallow beach with good snorkelling. I can imagine this beach might hellish in the midst of tourist season, but we were there in late afternoon, on a weekday, and there was hardly anyone around - just some topless sunbathing here and there. We also went to more remote beaches tucked into hidden coves where it was not unusual to encounter full nudity (and occasional friskiness). The locals were perfectly at ease with their own bodies, and they came in all shapes and sizes... not that we were looking...
We were self catering but did eat out a few times. Our favourite spot was actually within the resort at a little place called Cafe del Nord (review written) where the staff were friendly, the food was good and the value for money was excellent. When stocking up on supplies we used the Spar in Mercadel for our needs, which was more than sufficient. Again, prices were reasonable and the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables was significantly better than in England. In fact, we believe that the reports of high prices are inaccurate - if you venture outside the main tourist hubs along the South and West coasts and shop where the locals do, the value for money is excellent. We spent 600 pounds for the week and this included car rental, all food (we dined out on four separate occasions), incidentals (like ice-cream, parking and souvenirs) and a two-hour horseback riding excursion with the Menorca a Caval stables (100 Euros for the both of us).
We had a lovely holiday in Menorca. The island was scenic, friendly and filled with numerous excursions for all kinds of travellers. It appeals to couples like us, who want peace and quiet with a dash of adventure, and we can see how it would appeal to families (especially on the South and West coasts) who want lazy beach days with all facilities nearby. It is not a party destination however, so keep that in mind.
The postcards do not lie. I can recommend Menorca with a resounding YES!