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Arenal d'en Castell Menorca

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Arenal d'en Castell Attractions

The principal attraction for most visitors to choose Arenal d'en Castell for their summer holidays is without doubt the magnificent beach and its water sport facilities. A word of caution though, last summer the sunbeds cost 6 euro each to hire and an umbrella another 5 euro, which can work out a little bit pricey for a family of 4.

As with most Spanish holiday resorts, Arenal d'en Castell has a mini train running the town around during the day, and well into the early evening. The total round trip takes about 45 minutes, but in the long run it will prove a little expensive if all you want to do is the 10 minute trip up the hill from the beach each day.

For the more energetic the neighbouring resort of Son Parc is just about walkable, although in the heat of the Menorcan day, I would prefer to make the trip in an air-conditioned car. Here you will also find the only golf course on the island.

First opened in 1977, the Son Parc Golf course is open 365 days per year and visitors are always welcome. The course has recently been extended, to a full 18 holes, to the designs of Dave Thomas who is an ex Ryder Cup player, and architect of many other quality course worldwide, including The Belfry courses and the San Roque on the Costa del Sol.

The course is set among beautiful wooded hills and is of championship quality, and is ideal for both beginners and experienced golfers alike. An additional hazard, or attraction of the course, is the flock of peacocks who live next ot the third green. Contact details for more information and bookings are:
Golf Son Parc Menorca
Urbanizacion Son Parc
Es Mercadal
Telephone: +34 971 188 875
Fax: +34 971 359 591
Web site: www.golfsonparc.com

If you want to escape the resort for the day, the municipal district of es Mercadal does offer visitors a wealth of attractions that are sadly missed by most visitors to the island. Every Sunday there is always a colourful flea market held in the actual town of es Mercadal, and is one of three weekly markets that were established way back in 1301 by Jaime II as part of the Christian conquest of the island.

As we mentioned very briefly on the general introduction page the highest point on Menorca is the 354m peak of Mount Toro, and this is clearly visible from most points on the island, including Arenal d'en Castell.

A trip to the Sanctuary of the Mare de Deu del Toro is always included in most of the tour operators "see Menorca in a day" type island tours, as it usually offers exceptional views over the island, and in particular the north coast.

Mount Toro is recognised as being the spiritual centre of Menorca, and legend has it that in 1288, a few months after Christianity was restored on the island, a group of monks found a statue of the Virgin with a small lit lamp in a cave here.

The monks built a small chapel in her honour, which was then rebuilt in the 17th Century as the Sanctuary of the Mare de Deu del Toro that we see today. The Sanctuary is now the home to a small community of nuns from the Franciscan order, although it is also used by various other spiritual groups from the local community as a meeting place.

Despite what many people may think, fiestas on Menorca are not held purely for the benefit of tourists, and many can be traced back to the 14th Century.

To the local residents, the word fiesta conjures up images of beautifully groomed horses, the drink “Pomada” which is a combination of gin and lemon, and the traditionally baked cake “Coca amb Xocolati”, which is served with a sweet chocolate drink.

A typical fiesta begins in the afternoon before the Saint's day with the horses and their riders meeting and parading through the streets before congregating at the church for Mass. In the evening there is often live music and traditional folk dancing, and then a magnificent firework display ends the celebrations at around midnight.

Although the holiday resort of Arenal d'en Castell cannot justify a fiesta in its own right, the more traditional towns in the area proudly celebrate two fiestas each year.

The first is held on the third Sunday of July each year in Es Mercadal in recognition of the towns patron saint Sant Marti. The highlight of the celebrations is always the parade through the town, where at pre-determined points riders encourage their horses to rear onto their hind legs to the cheers of the crowd.

The other principal fiesta in the area is also held in during July each year, this time in the port of Fornells on the forth weekend in July in honour Sant Antoni.

As we briefly mentioned above, horses have always played a central part in the fiestas and traditions of Menorca. The pure bred Menorcan horse is recognised and valued, throughout the world as a strong, slender and elegant breed, that is famous for its ability to rear up onto its hind legs.

The Menorcan Horse Fair is held in Es Mercadal during the first Sunday of May each year, where the the very best horses on Menorca are judged by a panel of experts from the Menorcan Breeders Association, which is then followed by displays of riding skills.

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This website was launched on 1 May 2002

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