Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Island of Menorca has long been a more low-key holiday location, in contrast to its immediate neighbours of Ibiza and Mallorca. With an area on just 700 km square, Menorca is a small island full of endless beaches, pine trees, turquoise water, rugged coastline, and a winding network of trails. Mahon is the capital and Ciutadella de Menorca is the second largest centre on the opposite side of the island, both filled with narrow streets and wonderful architecture. There is a great deal to love and appreciate in Menorca.
With a highest elevation point of 358m (Monte Torro), Menorca is essentially flat. However, if you journey around the coastline, you soon realise that the rollercoaster of trails that continually take you up and down make a circumnavigation of the island, a challenge.
Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (1993) the island is a paradise for botanists, especially in spring when meadows are carpeted with wildflowers. Calm, peaceful, rest and relaxation, Menorca is, without doubt, not the party destination as associated with its nearest rivals. Culture, gastronomy, local products and produce, places of interest, Menorca is waiting to be explored.
Many ask, what is the best way to see the island of Menorca? The immediate answer, is nearly always, rent a car and go explore…
Ask a trail runner, and the answer is clear, ‘Enter Trail Menorca!’
Trail Menorca, created 10-years ago utilizes the ‘Camí De Cavalls’ GR223 route to journey around the island either in entirety (185km,) or in sections broken down as 100km, 85km, 58km, 45km, and 27km. North or south, Menorca has a great deal to offer, there is no better way to explore than by running or walking this hidden gem of the Mediterranean. As the race says, 7 adventures, 1 legend.
The Camí de Cavalls (way of the horses) according to some sources goes back to the 14th century. Named after the ‘Cavalleries’ (knights) who were charged with defending the perimeter of the island from invading forces – pirates! The 360-degree route that weaves around the island with watch towers and trenches randomly located for protection; both still in existence to this day were created by the British who marked the path to defend against the constant sieges of invaders.
In the 1990’s, after long and lengthy protests, much of the Camí de Cavalls which had been closed for decades, was once again made accessible. Finally, some of the most pristine landscape and coastline of the Mediterranean was once again available to be explored. With 185kms of marked trail, 130 bays and coves, desert like beaches, dense woodland, rugged, harsh and rocky terrain, the GR223 became a reason to journey to Menorca for an active holiday. For many, the journey takes at least one week to complete the circular route, while 10-14 days is more normal. Off limits to cars, a journey must be undertaken on foot, by bike or horse; or maybe a combination of all 3!
However, in May every year, Trail Menorca provides the opportunity to experience the Camí de Cavalls over a stunning weekend of racing. Breaking the island down in to north and south sections, runners can decide a distance and direction. The north being more rugged, exposed, and rough. The south more groomed, tranquil, and picturesque with the turquoise Mediterranean as a backdrop.
The 185km route (TMCdC) starts in Ciutadella and travels clockwise providing a full, immersive and difficult 360-degree journey. The other routes all conclude in Ciutadella but start in different areas of the island and then either travel clockwise or anti-clockwise to return to the finish.
The TMCN 100km starts at 0100am in Maó and travels north winding through rugged coastline of exposed and harsh terrain.
The TMCS 85km starts in Es Castell and weaves its way through the full length of the south coast and its incredible coves and beaches.
The PTCN 58km starts in Fornells and concludes in Ciutadella taking in the final sections of the TMCN route.
The PTCS 45km starts in Es Migjorn Gran and arguably provides the most beautiful and picturesque journey of the whole GR233 route.
Finally, the STCN 26km, which starts in La Vall provides an entry level distance travelling the final section (or opening sections, depending on direction) of the GR233. Enough to whet the appetite to return the following year and take on a longer distance.
The beauty of Trail Menorca is that you can quite easily race year-on-year and never have the same race experience as it is possible to run north or south sections over multiple distances. Perfect for those who consider the full 185km route a step too far!
Menorca may not have high mountains, but what it does have is unique and special. There is an incredible beauty and calm in Menorca. Racing is just one attraction, the opportunity to chill, relax, recuperate, and enjoy the islands gastronomy post-race makes this Balearic gem an essential to-do list location.
JOIN THE 2023 EVENT
Race website HERE
The 2023 edition is already close, but it is not too late to join Trail Menorca!
‘Trail Menorca Camí de Cavalls is an opportunity to discover what is hidden on this wonderful island, jewel of the Mediterranean, beyond its fantastic beaches. Running on tarmac, road, track, rocks, forest trails and depending on the race and distance, experience a night illuminated by stars. Come and immerse yourself in the beauty of Menorca.’
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