Playa de Fornells is a quiet beach resort town on the northern coast of the Spanish Balearic Island of Menorca. Nestled between ruggedly beautiful hills and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, this quaint seaside town of traditionally Spanish, whitewashed villas with terracotta roofs is the perfect picturesque setting for a relaxing beach holiday in the sun.
Playa de Fornells is set into the hillside overlooking the S’Olla bay area, with stunning views out across the sea. Its sheltered position makes it ideal for a wide variety of watersports, and its calm, shallow waters make it a great location for swimming with small children. The town also boasts plenty of swimming pools, a number of beautiful local beaches and a clutch of fantastic restaurants selling traditional seafood dishes.
Playa de Fornells has just a few hotels dotted around the entrance to the town, and a number of low-rise apartments close to the beach. Without the huge hotels and apartment complexes – and the vast numbers of tourists that accompany them – Playa de Fornells has a much quieter and tranquil feel, which makes it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Playa de Fornells is situated in some really beautiful scenery and is a great base for hiking or walking, with a whole network of footpaths and bridleways all over the area. You could even try horse riding on one of the many horse riding trails. One of the most scenic routes is the walk all the way along the coast up to Menorca’s northernmost tip, the Cap de Cavalleria, where there’s an eco-museum, café, and some breathtaking views.
With the clear, sheltered waters of the bay area, Playa de Fornells is also a hotspot for diving and has a great scuba diving centre. For those that wish to stay above water, then you can also go on a glass-bottomed boat trip to view the spectacular marine life.
The Playa de Fornells is renowned throughout Menorca for its superb seafood. You can tuck into wonderfully fresh local specialities such as seafood soup, platters of gorgeous shellfish or the most prized local dish, caldereta de llagosta, a stew made with the blue spiny lobster which is found in the cales (coves) of the island’s northern coast. If you’re not a seafood fan, you can tuck into succulent grilled meats, often pork or lamb, which might be served with nutty romesco sauce. Then there’s tumbet, a roast vegetable dish which is similar to ratatouille with the addition of finely sliced potato. Try some of the ubiquitous pa amb oli (country bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled with olive oil) with a platter of Menorcan cheeses and embutits (cured sausages).
Fornells is an idyllic spot for a relaxed, low-key family holiday in the sun. The resort is small, but the gorgeous beaches and coastline will keep the family happy for hours. Kids can potter about in the shallows, investigate rock pools and go snorkelling or kayaking (depending on their age) around the stunning coastline. They might even enjoy a visit to Fornells to watch the fishing boats unload their catch. There are glass-bottomed boat trips, and even a small water park to add the resort’s family appeal. The restaurants and cafés are well geared to the youngest holiday-makers, and many have play areas and other amenities.
The Balearic island of Menorca is a paradise for walking and mountain-biking, with scores of amazing and well-marked trails across the island. Some of the best are found near Playa de Fornells at Monte Toro, the island’s highest peak (which, at 358 metres, is not particularly high, but still enjoys superb views from the summit). There are some fantastic hikes and bike trails to the top. There are more gorgeous walks along the craggy coastline around Playa de Fornells, and the area is one of the best in the Mediterranean for snorkelling and scuba diving. You’ll find plenty of local suppliers that can arrange diving excursions, as well as offering courses and providing equipment rental.
There are plenty of stunning beaches in the area surrounding Playa de Fornells, such as the Cala Tirant, the Playa d'en Fornells, and the Cala Mesquida. These beaches are all easily accessible from Playa de Fornells – mostly via charming coastal walks.
The golden sandy beach at the bay of Cala Tirant is an excellent choice for families, just a short walk along the coast from the centre of Playa de Fornells. With clear, shallow waters, Cala Tirant provides a safe environment for kids. For great windsurfing, sailing, and water-skiing opportunities, head to the neighbouring town of Fornells, just a few minutes’ drive away. For a day swimming and sunbathing in the most tranquil of settings, then explore along the coast on the Camí de Cavalls, Menorca's most famous long-distance walking path, and discover one of the many hidden, secluded coves.
Visitors love the Playa dels Fornells for its peace and tranquillity, so you won’t find much in the way of nightlife. What you will find is a handful of relaxing local bars and cafés, including some in the hotels, where you can enjoy a drink, often with wonderful sea views thrown in. For the best nightlife on the island, you’ll need to head to the two main cities: Mahon, on the east coast, or Ciutadella on the west coast. Mahon, the vibrant Menorcan capital, is about a 25-minute drive away, and has a host of bars and clubs, including some fabulous bars set in the cliffs, while Ciutadella, 35 minutes away by car, has oodles of historic charm and some various stylish nightspots.
Menorca is the perfect holiday destination for romance if you’re looking for peace and tranquillity in beautiful surroundings. Playa de Fornells is set on the craggy northern coast of Menorca, which provides the perfect setting for wonderful walks and picnics with your partner. You can laze on the gorgeous beaches, have a dip in the warm seas, or snorkel through the crystal-clear waters admiring the underwater landscape. There are plenty of restaurants for a romantic dinner, including some overlooking the sea. And, if you fancy a day trip to do some sightseeing and shopping, the lively island capital of Mahon is only about 25 minutes away by car.
Menorca is renowned for its megalithic standing stones and burial sites, erected around 3000 years ago during the Talaiotic era. Many of these prehistoric archaeological sites can be visited, including the fascinating Talaiotic village of Talatí de Dalt on the outskirts of Mahon. Mahon has a host of other cultural and historic attractions, notably an impressive 18th-century fortress, Fort Marlborough, which guards the harbour entrance and was erected by the British. The Xoriguer Gin Distillery, which is open for visits, was also established under the British, in order to cater to the tastes of the soldiers stationed here. There is a clutch of museums, including a museum that provides an insight into the island’s colourful history, and the city’s extensive programme of cultural events includes concerts and drama performances.