Balearic family holidays: Rustic Menorca
Spain's Balearic islands welcome young families with open arms - and away from the crowds each oozes individual charm, says Ali Horsfall
What's not to love about this understated and suprisingly rural island? With two charming cities perched east and west, and quaint seaside villages peppered in between, it's a great getaway when you have little tots in tow.
Cala Galdana in the south has a family-friendly beach – spend a go-slow day in this sheltered horseshoe bay. For less-crowded sands, just take a woodland walk to nearby Macarella. Then, when you're bored with beach play, pack a picnic and head to Mahon's Es Freginal Park, where you'll find a large children's playground hidden away in the centre of the pretty gardens.
If seafood's your thing, a visit to Café Balear (cafe-balear.com) in Moorish Ciutadella's port is a must. Enjoy a relaxed lunch of lobster, monkfish or prawns – all caught daily on the restaurant's own fishing boa
Surrounded by vineyards, chic Torralbenc in Alaior will make you swoon. The traditional farmhouse has been turned into a cool collection of whitewashed rooms and cottages, with authentic charm but bags of style. There's a top-notch restaurant, mini meals for tots, plenty of space for outdoor play, and should you crave a beach, the cove of Cala'n Porter is a ten-minute drive away. Doubles from £140.
Swing by Fornells, the characterful, orange tree-lined fishing village on the north coast. Take a glass-bottomed boat trip – seeing marine life swimming under you will get a thumbs-up from the kids.
Visit the unspoilt S'Albufera des Grau nature reserve and you can roam around the natural park spotting birds and wildlife as you go. Afterwards, roll in the dunes and play in the sea at Es Grau beach – the safe shallow waters here are excellent for paddling.
Have a mooch in Mahon, the island's buzzy capital. There's a maze of narrow streets to explore, stunning architecture and a beautiful harbour for a bit of luxury boat-spotting. For a waterside meal and early evening stroll, visit nearby Es Castell, with its two rustic harbours.