Tucked away in the north-eastern region of the island of Menorca, an island that is often hidden by its colourful surrounding is Cala d’Albufera, an islet that has become a resort since the 1960s. Although it is only about 15 km in length and not particularly spectacular in its own right, the nearby developments sure do have a real staying power.
Cala d’Albufera is located just south of the island’s capital city of Mahon. The islet is the end of the line of hills that run north-west on the island and stand about 1500 metres above sea level. It is the location of the island’s only resort,Albufera, which was established by an American casino business traveller looking for a place to stay in the evening. It is an ideal resort location for holidaymakers looking for a quiet break away from the city life. The newly refurbished casino and holiday facilities has made this a very popular place to visit.
If you venture out of the resort during the week, you can visit the larger nearby digger harbour and cruise to the island’s most famous landmark – the Statue of Saint Vincent and the Holy Grail. The statue was given a face lift in the 1980s to accommodate its new delicate appearance, although the stone itself was nearly completely worn away by centuries of sailors’ belching organ music.
Once here, you will find one of the island’s biggest attractions – the island’s two huge water parks. Divers will find that the Coral World and the stars are no accident of the park’s location; they can also dive directly into the swimming pool with the water park’s Marvel pool. Those who would rather stand still abound in St Vincent’s Valley, a mecca for divers of all standards. The Valley offers an abundance of reasonably priced dive sites and instructors, but it is also home to a marina full of boats to accommodate the marinas’ permanent skippered fishing boats. Should you be fishing in the local waters, you will catch local seafood and Benedictine pilchard, a local fruit that hasúmoss grapes embedded into its pulp.
The water theme park at Albertina will be enjoyed by all the family, with the waterslides, swimming pools and river rapids all responsible for generating the awesome water displays that are famous in this part of the world. After paying your $40 entry fee, you can explore the area’s scenic spots and travel down to Port O’Calla, where you can then take a stroll to the spectacularGod’s Window, an impressive natural formation that is also a part of the natural park. What better to watch than the beauty of nature in action?
God’s Windowis a 70m high sheer-cliff formation that is unique in the Mediterranean and was built in the early 1960s as a form of active sculpture. 70 divers, each 80m long, leap and duck through the waterslide 100m above the beach. 300 million people watch the jump from the water’s edge each year. Your safety, and the beauty of the many thousands of tourists participating in this adventure, is assured.
For those who prefer a leisurely pace of their own, Cala Morfata naturally provides. Even if you are a seasoned diver, you may find some of the navigation challenges slightly disorienting at first. However, this is part of the fun and part of the experience. The dive deepens considerably if you are wearing a flippers mask; these are specially designed for children of all ages and will provide children with adrenaline-boosting summer holidays. To make matters easier for you, there is a top diving school that will teach you the art of diving and life in the sea.
The ideal starting point for your holiday is the beach resort of La Manga. Located on the island’s south-western Caribbean shore, the main town is spectacularly laid-out. After you’ve arrived here, you’ll be able to easily arrange transport to the neighbouring Santa Maria Island, an excellent place to explore.
Many visitors leave their accommodation at Santa Maria staying in a hotel – called a ‘praha’ – in Playa de la Arena. Praha is on the beach and it is fairly easy to reach it by road. The island’s only industry is that of the tourists who come to relax in its crystal-clear waters. However, if you want to explore the island, a more convenient option is to use the island’s900 kilometre of beaches, which stretch between the main towns and a number of the islands.
The capital of the island, Santa Maria, is a charming town with a history going back to the 16th century.