Menorca for sale
What to buy & what to try
Retail therapy can be just as relaxing for some folk as a doze on the beach, so it’s just as well that there is plenty in Menorca to divert the keen shopper.
The island has an enviable reputation for craftsmanship – particularly in terms of shoes and leather goods – and also in craft foods, like cheese and charcuterie.
What to buy & what to try
Gin has been distilled in Menorca for centuries and the local brew is excellent, and relatively inexpensive if you buy carefully, while the island’s vineyards enjoy a growing reputation for taste and quality.
In short, there’s no end of opportunity in Menorca for those keen on a shopping expedition. Read our full guide below…
Some shopping-trip suggestions
Designer labels, everyday wear
Menorca offers plenty of opportunities to browse for fashionable clothing. The smart city-centre shops in Mahon and Ciutadella boast emporia offering all the big brand names as well as locally made specialities, including leather goods.
Jaime Mascaro, whose shoes and accessories can be seen adorning every worthwile A-lister, is a Menorcan family firm and there is a store in the centre of Mahon as well as a factory outlet shop (where bargains can often be found) in the centre of the island, at Ferreries.
The Pons Quintana leather goods chain makes many of its products in Menorca and has shops in the cities as well as a factory store at Alayor.
Between Ciutadella and Ferreries is the Castillo Menorca outlet, where the kids can entertain themelves on karts or in the pool or playground while you shop for souvenirs, handbags, toys, jewellery, crystal ware, clothes and Llladro figurines.
Boutiques selling inexpensive and pretty garments, jewellery and so on can be found lining the extensive harbour at Mahon and also its smaller sister Calas Fonts at Es Castell.
There’s plenty afoot in Menorca
Most everyone in Menorca owns a pair of avarcas, the quirky leather-and-rubber slip-on shoe which is as simple as it is stylish. When they first appeared avarcas were made from recycled car tyres, but design and development over the years has seen them evolve into an altogether more sophisticated proposition.
They are sold all over – you should look for ones labelled ‘Avarca de Menorca’ if you want to buy a locally made pair.
One of the best known outlets is avarcashop.com which as well as an online presence has stores in Mahon and Es Castell.
Cheers from Menorca!
Blame the British – it’s an international pastime, after all! – but in this instance go easy because it was the British influence on Menorca in the 1700s which resulted in the development of a local gin-making industry which endures to this day.
The best known Menorcan gin is Xoriguer, and it is possible to visit the distillery, harbourside at Mahon, to learn the gin-making process and sample the wares. If you fancy taking some home with you – and who wouldn’t – best to buy it in a supermarket and pack it securely in your hold luggage. They do sell it airside at Mahon airport but it’s a little more expensive.
Wine-makers have sprung up across Menorca in recent years and the best known vineyard is Binifadet, in Sant Lluis, which you can visit and learn the processes involved in wine-making and, of course, sample the winery’s range of red, white and delicious rose. There’s a lovely vine-clad courtyard restaurant also, but be warned you will need to book ahead. In the peak weeks there’s a ‘drop-in’ bar where you can drink and eat snacks including delicious local cheeses.
Local delicacies to sample
Cheese-making has been a speciality in Menorca for centuries, and you can buy locally produced cheeses in most supermarkets across the island. One of the best known is the Mahon cheese made from cow’s milk, which has a distinctive taste said to come as a result of the salty sea breezes which blow across the pastures. When young, Mahon cheese is mild and creamy; as it matures it gets harder and saltier but no less delicious. Binifadet winery produces some great wine-marinated cheeses also.
Menorcan sobrasada is a cured sausage made from ground pork, salt and spices and a real local delicacy.
Coca is a kind of flat bread. Savoury coca is the best known and is often covered with tomato, red pepper, anchovies, olives or pickled sardines.
Pastissets are flower-shaped shortbread cookies with rounded tips. They can be simple, covered with powdered sugar or with fig jam filling.
Ensaimadas are a kind of brioche made with pork lard and are very popular exports from Menorca. If you’ve ever wondered what is contained in the octagonal packages every Spanish tourist seems to be carrying at Mahon airport, then now you know. Ensaimadas can be natural or filled with cream, pumpkin jam, chocolate, cream, dried apricots or sobrasada.
Don’t forget the seafood… There are brilliant fish markets in both Mahon and Ciutadella, and all the major supermarkets have impressive seafood counters.