Visiting Es Grau, Menorca | A Seaside Village in a Natural Park

Spending time in Es Grau in Menorca is like being transported back to the island of old. You can wander past whitewashed houses with beaded door curtains, inhaling the fragrant aromas emitting from within. Look up at rooftop terraces, as freshly laundered washing billows in the breeze, and browse family-owned shops selling fresh local produce and textiles.

Along peaceful side streets, elderly locals sit on sidewalk terraces sipping strong coffee and chatting as they while away the hours. And by the water’s edge, tourists gather for lunch on the terrace of Es Grau’s finest restaurant.

Walk barefoot along the village beach, Platje d’es Grau, or swim and snorkel in safe, shallow water. Observe kayaks, paddleboards and sailboats out in the bay and spot turtles amongst the lush vegetation of S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park.

If you’re seeking an authentic Menorcan stay, with a slow-paced lifestyle and outdoor adventures in a nature reserve, you’ll love Es Grau. Here are a few of our favourite things to do during a day, or longer stay in this seaside village.

A Brief History of Es Grau

One of the oldest fishing villages in Menorca, the small village of Es Grau dates back to the end of the 19th century.

Fishermen, sailors, and their families lived here, and it was a place for Mahón residents to spend their summers close to the city. They were attracted to the string of secluded coves and breathtaking beaches of the north coast, and many came to birdwatch and walk the trails.

By the time the 1990s came around, Menorca was making waves on a global scale. The island’s outstanding natural beauty and variety of endemic species caught the attention of UNESCO, who recognised it as a Biosphere Reserve.

Consequently, the land surrounding Es Grau village was transformed into the 5000-hectare S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park we see today. It’s home to protected wetlands, lagoons, coastline, dunes and forests with pathways, a visitor centre, birding huts and boardwalks for viewing the diverse flora and fauna on display.

This development also had a knock-on effect for Es Grau village, but in a positive way. It didn’t lose any of its old-world charm, instead, a few more restaurants, shops and activities were added for visiting tourists to enjoy.

Getting to Es Grau

By far, the easiest way to reach Es Grau is by car. I always recommend visitors hire a car in Menorca, as the smaller villages and many of the best beaches aren’t accessible by public transport. I normally use Discover Car Hire to search and book the best deals (I often find it’s cheaper than booking direct!).

It’s a short 15-minute drive to Es Grau from the capital Mahón, and 5 minutes more from Menorca Airport. Simply make your way to the Me-7 route northwest of Mahón and join the Me-5 road. This road takes you through S’Albufera de Es Grau Natural Park to Es Grau village – it’s well signposted.

If you’re arriving from Ciutadella, the quickest route is to follow the Me-1 to Mahón and join the Me-5 north of the city as above. The entire journey time is around 50 minutes.

There is a seasonal bus from the central station in Mahón – the L23, however, it’s only operational between June and September. Taxis are also available from the airport and many resorts.

Things to do in Es Grau

If you wish to spend a day or longer in nature, hiking historic trails, partaking in watersports, lounging on sandy beaches and feasting on delicious Menorcan cuisine, here are a few ideas on how to spend your time in Es Grau.

Enjoy Beach Time

Es Grau’s family-friendly beach – Platges des Grau, is protected from the Tramontana winds by Illa d’en Colom in the bay. It’s a peaceful place (except for July and August – particularly at weekends) and a great spot to soak up the sunshine, play beach games, swim or snorkel.

The waters are shallow and suitable for young children, and the beach is divided into two sections by a large rock, so you can pick your preferred spot on the sand.

Cala en Vidrier in Menorca, Spain

You won’t find any chiringuitos or bars serving food on Es Grau beach, but you are steps from the village if you desire a drink or snack. There are no sunbeds for hire, nor any parasols, therefore if you plan to spend a few hours here, it’s advisable to pack your own beach gear too.

Continue a little further from the village, along a sandy trail, and you’ll reach Cala En Vidrier, a naturist beach with aquarium blue waters and a small fishermen’s hut tucked beneath hillside vegetation. It’s a scenic location for a refreshing dip and obtaining an all-over tan!

Partake in Watersports

One of the best ways to spend time on a holiday in Es Grau is to join in with watersports. The village is a superb destination for beginners, with a range of fun activities available from stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) to kayaking, snorkelling and boat excursions.

You can book a kayaking tour to hidden caves, virgin beaches and Illa d’en Colom, glide to Favàritx lighthouse along the coast or even enjoy a sunset trip during the summer months.

If you don’t want to join a tour, you can also rent kayaks, pedalos, and SUPs from a handy kiosk (also run by Menorca en Kayak) on the beach.

Alternatively, join a group snorkelling expedition with an expert instructor to discover diverse marine species, sponges and posidonia beds.

Or, go your own way and hire a little boat to potter around the coastline at your own pace. Boats are available to hire from Ses Barques des Grau, and you don’t need a licence to take one out for the day.

Explore Parc Naturel s’Albufera d’Es Grau

S’Albufera des Grau Park plays host to an abundant variety of flora, birdlife and marine life. To take it all in, there are three main hikes to enjoy within the park, which are easy and short – taking an hour or less to complete – so they’re doable on even the hottest of days!

Route Red 1 – Mirador de Cala Llimpa

This 40-minute easy hike departs from the visitor centre car park, leading you through olive and holm oak trees to the lagoon viewpoint known as Ses Puntes. This scenic area is teeming with bird life (I even saw flamingos in the lake below once!), backed by a colourful canvas of lush hills and tranquil azure waters.

Route Green 2 – Santa Madrona

If you’re a keen ornithologist, you’ll love the hour-long Santa Madrona trail. With birding huts and viewpoints en route, you can spot some of the 100+ species residing in the park including purple herons, stone curlews and wood sandpipers. And don’t forget to look up, as you may even glimpse Egyptian vultures and peregrine falcons circling above.

Route Blue 3 – Sa Gola

This 45-minute hike is an easy one to do without having to drive/walk to the visitor’s centre first. It begins in Es Grau by the village football field/parking. From here, the route takes you to a scenic viewpoint, along pathways strewn with vegetation, concluding with a walk along Cala Es Grau before returning to the village.

The park’s walking trails are clearly signposted and open daily throughout the year. While on your hike, don’t forget to look out for the endemic Balearic wall lizard, found around the islets and cute turtles hanging out on the pathways, or by the water’s edge!

Hike the Camí de Cavalls to Favàritx

The Cami de Cavalls is a hiking and biking trail that circumnavigates the entire island of Menorca – and walking it is my absolute favourite pastime on the island!

There are 20 individual stages of the Cami to undertake, but even if you’ve completed part of the trail before, there are few sections as scenic and beautiful as the route from Es Grau to Favàritx.

The trail takes around three hours each way excluding stops, therefore it’s wise to set off from Es Grau village early in the morning with snacks, water, and wearing comfy shoes and a hat.

This hike takes you along winding country trails flanked by lush green vegetation, through shady woodlands and via farm paths overlooking lagoons and secluded sandy beaches where you can break for a refreshing dip.

Although there are many highlights along the trail, some favourites include the beaches of Cala des Tamarells (perfect for swimming), the cove of Cala de sa Torreta and Platja d’en Tortuga, so-called for the turtles that inhabit the lagoon behind it. From the latter, you can enjoy sweeping coastal views and catch your first glimpse of Favaritx lighthouse.

The lighthouse itself is distinctive, painted in spiral monochrome colours – an impressive concrete structure with a light beam stretching for 16 nautical miles. Since its inception in the early 1900s, it has saved many a ship from being wrecked on the rocks.

Stay a while to take in the glorious Mediterranean views and scenery of the northern Menorcan coastline, before embarking on your homeward journey.

Or Hike in the Other Direction to Sa Mesquida

If you’re still eager to discover more of this region of Menorca, you can also hike in the other direction from Es Grau – this time heading towards Sa Mesquida.

This route takes you along cliffside pathways overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, along woodland trails and through farm pastures. The colours are spectacular – a cohesive mesh of pistachio and emerald vegetation and sparkling azure blue waters enhanced by a cloudless sky.

On the trail, indulge in a spot of birdwatching, discover ancient stone defence towers built by the British and marvel at the flora and fauna.

Upon arrival at Sa Mesquida, spend time relaxing on soft white sands, make a splash in turquoise waters or enjoy a delicious lunch, before returning to Es Grau. Sa Mesquida has a similar feel to Es Grau – it’s very much a beloved local holiday spot rather than a resort.

Visit Colom Island

Illa d’en Colom is a true haven of paradise, located 1.5 kilometres across the bay from Es Grau. It was named after the explorer Christopher Columbus.

There’s a rich history waiting to be discovered on the island. In years gone by, over 260 Spanish soldiers were returned to the island after being enslaved in Algeria. The soldiers were quarantined on Colom Island while being checked for symptoms of a plague sweeping North Africa at the time.

Today, the island is privately owned, but much like S’Espalmador island near Formentera, you are free to visit the island for a day trip by hopping aboard a boat or kayak.

If arriving by water taxi or kayak, you can choose to spend time at either of the stunning coves on the island – Tamarells, or Arenal del Moro. As far as I’m aware, you’re unable to walk between the two coves once you arrive. But you can wander up meandering trails from Tamarells, and stroll beneath shady pines while trying to spot the endemic Balearic lizards that live here.

Best Places to Eat in Es Grau

If you’re spending a holiday in Es Grau or simply visiting for the day, the village has a handful of casual restaurants and a fabulous healthy juice bar to refuel during your trip.

Restaurant Tamarindos

Tamarindos is one of the best restaurants in Es Grau. Nestled at the water’s edge, it’s the perfect spot for lunch or dinner. You can order bar snacks of cheeses, smoked sardines and olives, sample seafood stews, ensaimada sandwiches or feast on fresh pasta or vegetable paella. Kick back and relax with pomada in hand, and watch the sunset from the cosy terrace.

Zumeria es Grau

At the entrance to Es Grau by the football field and overflow parking, you’ll find a tropical juice bar, Zumeria es Grau. This place is a small, friendly bar/kiosk serving freshly squeezed, ice-cold juices to quench your thirst after a long drive, cycle or hike (I can tell you how good it tastes after walking hours on the cami!). Choose from zumo de naranja (orange juice), freshly squeezed lemonade with garden mint and ginger, delicious smoothies and more.

Café Bar Es Moll

Café Bar Es Moll has reasonable prices and generous servings. The menu focuses primarily on Mediterranean and Spanish fare with a few veggie dishes for good measure. You can relax with a café amb llet, share a skillet of paella or sip a glass of wine soaking up the lively atmosphere.

L’avi Bernadet

This charming restaurant in Es Grau is renowned for its tasty empanadas, tapas, seafood dishes and paella. It’s a casual, unpretentious spot for lunch or dinner away from the water’s edge and is often frequented by locals and families. It’s usually our go-to, as it’s quieter than others, and the service is friendly and efficient.

Other things to do Around Es Grau

Planning a day trip from Es Grau? There are dozens of picture-postcard resorts and historic attractions to visit within a short drive.


Menorca’s capital Mahón is a place to dive into the island’s rich history. Feast on delicious tapas by the harbour or at the colourful fish market. Visit Carmelite Cloisters for a spot of retail therapy, or spend time at the Museum of Menorca, where historic artefacts tell fascinating stories of the island’s past.

Read more: Best Things to do in Mahon


Spend a day in Alaior, a bustling town with open-air markets, exquisite architecture, convent museums and modern art galleries. Follow hiking trails to the hermitage, discover prehistoric Talayotic settlements, or take the kids to feed rescue donkeys before sitting down to dinner on a leafy terrace in the town square.

Read More: Visiting Alaior, Menorca

La Mola

If you enjoy learning about military history, you’ll adore La Mola near Mahón. It’s home to one of the largest European fortresses and the surrounding area is a haven for birdlife. Take a guided tour to explore underground mines and old artillery, photograph the coastline or walk the ramparts.


Binibeca on Menorca’s south coast is an enchanting fishing village of whitewashed houses and narrow alleyways clad in bougainvillaea. It was built just a few decades ago as a place for creatives and intellectuals to gather and share ideas.

On a visit, discover delightful cafes and restaurants, swim in clear waters at the beach or hike a stage of the Cami de Cavalls trail.

Read More: Visiting Binibeca in Menorca

Illa del Rei

Visiting Illa del Rei is one of Menorca’s most interesting things to do. It used to house an old military hospital, but today, it’s home to the prestigious Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery. Browse the artworks and installations sprinkled across island landscapes and make a stop at Cantina – a restaurant serving dishes made from the finest, fresh ingredients.

Es Grau Key Things to Know

A small population live in Es Grau year-round, so some facilities are open for an extended season. There’s a small supermarket that’s open most of the year, and some of the local eateries are open from March – October.

Aside from that, there’s not much available in Es Grau itself. No car rental, ATM or pharmacy. But there are a few small boutiques for any souvenirs you may want to pick up before you depart!

If you’re staying in Es Grau, I’d recommend renting a car from the airport and perhaps doing a “big shop” in Mahon before heading out to Es Grau – then topping up with a few bits & pieces from the local store as you go.

Where to Stay in Es Grau

You won’t find any large hotels or resorts in Es Grau – which is partly what makes it so special! Instead, local accommodation is found in the form of private holiday homes and apartments. Here are some of the best.

Roques5 – This is a one-bedroom chalet that’s ideal for couples. Take in the sea views from your private balcony and prepare delicious meals in the fully equipped kitchen.

Ponent – This two-bedroom apartment offers a comfortable stay for families, and boasts incredible views from the terrace.

Luxurious Refuge – This three-bedroom house with a heated pool is situated within the natural park, ideal for those looking for a tranquil escape.

Read More: Best Places to Stay in Menorca

Es Grau offers a relaxing holiday or day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the busier tourist resorts and cities. It’s a place for beach fun and water sports, for hikers, and for those who simply wish to bask in the glow of nature. If this sounds appealing, don’t forget to add Es Grau to your upcoming Menorcan itinerary!

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