Our 2019 summer holiday was a week in Cala Galdana, Menorca. As we’re thinking of going big again next year (Florida), we wanted a pool/beach holiday that wouldn’t break the bank.
We booked the Floramar Aparthotel through Jet2Holidays as a package deal which came in at just over £2,000 flying from Manchester for the four of us. It’s probably the least research I’ve ever done on a holiday since I booked one through Teletext 20 years ago (never again). We were completely swayed by the Trip Advisor reviews which were generally great.
One thing with the Jet2Holidays website that I like is it shows you the price difference for changing days and airports. By switching our airport from Leeds to Manchester we saved £100.
Enough about booking, on to the holiday. The Floramar is a decent hotel, it’s not stunning but it’s very clean and the rooms are modern, pretty much everything is new inside. I paid extra for a room with a pool and ocean view which is highly recommended if you’re planning on staying at the Floramar otherwise you’re likely to get a view of a road. The view was great, you overlook the Cala Galdana bay with its green-blue sea and surrounding pine trees.
The Floramar is around a 5-10 minute walk to the beach, down a fairly steep hill which could pose problems for those that need somewhere a little more forgiving. Cala Galdana does have other hotels that aren’t situated on a hill if you’re sold on the location but don’t fancy doing much walking. Our recommendation here is to take a look at the Cala Galdana Hotel which is very close to the beach and had a great atmosphere.
Cala Galdana Beach
On our first day we headed down to the beach which was incredibly busy. There were people everywhere. With it being the middle of August, I guess it was the busiest it’s likely to get. We hired a pedalo with a slide for an hour (€20) which the kids absolutely loved, it was loads of fun out in the ocean jumping in, snorkelling and going down the slide. We only wish we’d hired the pedalo for 2 hours.
After tiring ourselves out on the pedalo and wandered around checking out the various hotels and restaurants we opted to eat in our apartment for the evening and get a relatively early night (we’d been up since 4am). I went looking for a takeaway which I couldn’t find but there are a few restaurants which do food to go, you just need to ask.
Sant Bartomeu Fiesta, Ferreries
Day 2 was more of the same, this time heading to the beach and taking the pedalo out for 2 hours. This means the kids could get plenty of snorkeling in. Later in the day we headed to Ferreries to see the Sant Bartomeu fiesta. We were pretty lucky that our holiday coincided with the fiesta. A short bus trip (10-15 minutes) got us there about 30 minutes before the start.
Ferreries seemed completely deserted. There was bunting everywhere and clearly something was about to happen but there were hardly any people around. Come 4pm bodies started appearing from everywhere and things got going with the ringing of a bell. A band marched through the streets with what seemed like the whole town following, we followed too. As the fiesta continued, horse riders appeared on the streets on the most beautiful horses and were rounded up. I’m really pleased we managed to see the fiesta, it was great to see something so authentic even if we had no idea what was actually happening.
Having hired a car for 3 days mid-way through our holiday (a lovely little coral Fiat 500), I thought it was worth seeing Ciutadella. One evening we took the drive out and went for dinner there. It has a very different vibe there and there’s a lot to see and take in (unless you happen to be my kids who really weren’t that interested in looking at architecture and inside churches). We found a restaurant and relaxed for the evening. It was actually quite tough finding a restaurant which didn’t have an hour wait time so we were limited in choice, although it was quite late by the time we were ready to eat (after 10pm).
Splash Sur Waterpark
There are 3 water parks in Menorca and after much deliberation we chose to go to Splash Sur which is just south of Mahon. This was around a 45 minute drive from Cala Galdana. Last year when our main holiday was in Crete in late October, all the water parks were closed so I really wanted to make sure the kids got to one this time.
Splash Sur is quite a small water park, although maybe my opinion has been swayed by the giant water parks in Florida. It has a lazy river, 4 or 5 slides, a restaurant and some areas for smaller kids. We had a great day here and it wasn’t busy at all, the longest wait we had for anything was 5 minutes for a slide. We spent a good 4 hours here and I’d say it was good value for money at €20 for an adult and €12 for a child. Even the restaurant was fairly priced which is very unexpected when it’s the only choice.
Restaurants in Cala Galdana
It’s worth mentioning that during our stay I would say all of the restaurants we visited (including the top 3 on TripAdvisor) were all very average. The food was always ok but never great and by no means are any of us food snobs. If part of why you go on holiday is for great food, I really don’t think Cala Galdana is the place. We were averaging about €50 for a meal for 4 (no starters/desert), although none of us were drinking alcohol which would have significantly increased this.
Our 3 favourite restaurants were…
- Sa Lluna
Oh and give El Mirador a miss, it has a great location overlooking the beach but it’s really not worth it. The service was poor and the food average.
Beaches in Menorca
One thing we all like to do is to explore and find great beaches. We spent a lot of time on the beach at Cala Galdana but I wanted to see more. Most of the beaches around Cala Galdana are quite difficult to get to, certainly by land. We visited a few of these in Cala Macarena and Cala Mitjana but we preferred Cala Galdana firstly as it was so close, but also because of its amenities. Most of the other beaches have no toilets nearby or anywhere to buy drinks from which isn’t ideal when you have kids with you.
For 6 out of our 7 days we had great weather, the sun was shining and the temperature was generally around 30. We had one day of rain and thunderstorms which can hinder a holiday in somewhere like Menorca but credit to the kids, they were in the hotel pool regardless. I think they really enjoyed having the pool to themselves.
We really enjoyed our 7 days in Cala Galdana and felt like we did pretty much everything. Snorkeling was very much the theme of the holiday and we also got around and saw some other places and a little bit of culture. Honestly I’d say that after 5 days me and René were starting to feel like we’d done it all but the kids would have stayed forever.
It was a very safe holiday, we knew what we were getting and Cala Galdana delivered. It’s highly unlikely we’ll come back at any point but that’s true of pretty much everywhere with us. There are too many places we want to go and see.
If you’re looking for a bit of a banker of a holiday that will give you some great beaches and enough to keep you busy for 7 days, Cala Galdana is worth a look.