A day after arriving on the island of Menorca, I took my very first cycling adventure and headed to Fornells.
After a morning laze on Cala Tirant perving off the lifeguards, I sat on a bench in Fornells for a few minutes before heading back, feeling slightly more than disappointed.
So my first impression wasn’t great – but I guess that’s because I wasn’t actually in Fornells.
For whatever reason, I’d decided to circumnavigate a Spanish council estate, call it Fornells and leave. And even though residential areas can’t get much more idyllic than this one, there wasn’t a lot to entertain the eyes.
The Real Fornells
So a week later I made a second attempt at visiting Fornells, and this time I found it. And oh how my opinion has changed. After spending almost three weeks here now, Fornells has come to be my absolute favourite place to be.
The cycle down from Sa Roca is a speedy and smooth twenty-five minutes of minimal pedalling, maximum pleasure. The roads here are so well kept, the cars know to keep an eye out for cyclists and everywhere you look there’s something to see.
The entrance to this little seaside town is a long avenue, dotted with palm trees with a silent bay to the left that’s scattered with sleeping sailing boats. The only thing between you and deep blue sea is a higgeldy-piggeldy little fence made of tree branches – something I crashed into and nearly threw myself headfirst over yesterday when I was day dreaming. To the right are small plots of farm land and as you get closer to the town, a few large houses with bay-view balconies and perfectly kept gardens on every side.
Following the small coastal road to the right, you’ll see the diving centre and rows of boats and lauts moored up at the marina and your gaze will meet Fornells. As you turn the corner, the breeze turns up a notch and your nostrils are filled with the smell of salty seas and fishermens’ catch.
In the mornings you’ll see workers sauntering the streets, sweeping or emptying the bins, gardeners tending to the lawns, fishermen heading out to sea and the occasional pair of tourists strolling along the harbour hand in hand. By mid-morning, caffeine and pastries are fighting the salt-scented winds for your nasal attention and by lunchtime, paella is in the air and Fornells has well and truly woken up.
Fornells has a small promenade which takes you along past the waterside restaurants and tiny boutique shops, further along the coast to where you’ll find my favourite spot.
It’s got a small man made bathing area with a row of benches under a shelter to shade you from the sun, and metal steps leading you into an oceanic swimming pool of crystal clear waters and slippery rocks. Some afternoons there’ll be a band playing their guitars; relaxed renditions of Spanish classics and the occasional acoustic version of Justin Bieber’s Despacito.
This is where I come when I have the afternoon off. It’s where I come to laze after a hard morning ironing hundreds of bedsheets. It’s where I scribble up blog posts, read my book on Buddhism and pen out articles for writing competitions and stuff. It’s where I people watch and let the gentle breeze whistle me to sleep. It’s where I come for a little bit of me time in the sun.
Fornells is definitely one of most picturesque of the Menorcan small towns I’ve visited.
A few hundred years ago, Menorca was often attacked by Barbary Pirates and so small defensive towers were dotted a round the coastline to serve as protection. Shortly after, they began to build a castle near to the tower and although construction was ceased part way through, this is how Fornells was born; a small fishing village.
Today Fornells is possibly one of the least spoilt villages I’ve encountered. It’s not advertised much on holiday websites, it does have a few family-restaurants and cafes but there are no oversized hotels and I haven’t seen a single inflatable unicorn.
I love the coastal aromas, being blinded by the whitewashed buildings bedecked in bougainvillea, I love riding my bicycle over the cobbled streets, lazing in the sun and buying postcards for practically everybody I know at the little gift shop.
Whenever you’re solo wandering, it’s good to find a little place that feels like your home away from home.