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Mallorca or Menorca?
Balearic Islands, Spain.
Best beaches, Menorca or Mallorca?
Let's start with the beaches. I will compare Cala'n Bosch in Menorca with the bays of Pollensa and Alcudia in Mallorca. Mallorca has some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. They are especially safe for children in the North East of the island with the family resorts of Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia bay. The beaches are shallow and more gently shelving in Mallorca and tend to be more open, breezy bays. In Menorca we found we were competing for space and a way down to the sea as there were so many towels laid out on the beach. It was also a lot harder to find a parking space in Menorca. The beaches in Menorca seemed to shelve more steeply and it was easy to get into deep water. The main advantage Menorca has is the clarity of the water for snorkelling and the variety of species encountered. The water seemed cleaner in Menorca, especially in comparison to Puerto Pollensa which is quite an enclosed and busy port. In terms of facilities Mallorca has the edge on Menorca for convenience. Menorca should be applauded for trying to keep its beaches as natural as possible.
Verdict: Mallorca wins hands down for me.
Child friendly beach in Puerto Pollensa
Which island has the best airport?
This one is easy for me. Arriving at Menorca airport is calm and straightforward. You don't have the massive queues for collecting your hire car and the airport is airy and well laid out. It was the same for departure, Menorca airport has better shops than Mallorca's terminal A and seems far less busy. It was easy to pick up and drop off our hire car from Inter-rent in Menorca. There is no need to book priority service (queue jumping service) in Menorca as we didn't wait more than ten minutes.
In Mallorca we use Goldcar which provide great cars but the queues to pick it up can take hours to get through. Mallorca airport is much busier and more intimidating for the nervous traveller.
Menorca wins the battle of the airports!
Menorcans or Mallorcans?
Bearing in mind that most of the staff in hotels seem to come from the mainland for the season I am basing this on my experiences only.
Menorcans are polite and genuinely seem to want you to enjoy your holiday. We didn't come across any rude ones at all. They have a dry sense of humour and use a lot of irony. They seem to like British tourists and make you feel safe and welcome.
Mallorcans appear much less friendly and more weary of tourists. I get the impression they prefer their German customers although this is probably simply down to economics. I have come across downright rude service in Mallorca. Many references to "when we get independence things will change".
Menorca wins for customer service and friendliness.
Driving about and car hire
We used Inter Rent in Menorca. The car was easy to pick up and we didn't wait long at all. There were a few added extras like paying another 6 euros for cleaning the car before we picked it up. The alternative to paying this was that we clean the car ourselves. I was a bit surprised to find the car was not spick and span when we started! The car had low tyre pressures. I should have known when we moved out of the car park the tyres were making an awful squeaking noise! The warning light came on. The car cost over 400 euros for a week but was easy to find a short 5 minute walk away from the terminal.
In Mallorca we use Goldcar and always book "priority lane" which allows us to effectively queue jump. The alternative is a ridiculously long wait which could be hours. Goldcar cars are always good but the service can be abrupt to say the least. They always try to sell you the 'relax' cover which is expensive but basically means they don't check the car at the end as you are covered for everything. I think they are good value and located in the main airport terminal. The cars are picked up in the multi storey car park a short walk away from the terminal.
The roads in Mallorca are much better and seem safer than in Menorca. Mallorca is a bigger and busier island so motorways exist whereas in Menorca most roads are simple A or B roads which are over-stretched. I have driven in europe a lot and didn't like the Menorcan roads much. We didn't have any problems but it just felt too busy.
Parking in some Menorcan resorts is a nightmare, especially Cala Galdana in August. We have always managed to find a space in Mallorca.
Mallorca seems safer on the roads but book priority pick up for car hire!
Mallorca is so varied.
There is no competition. Mallorca is far more varied and beautiful. Menorca has lovely beaches but is too rocky and flat for me. I always take loads of photos in Mallorca but I hardly got my camera out in Menorca.