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Es Grau, the «secret» natural park of Menorca

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We do not discover anything new if we tell you that Menorca fascinated us last May. Coves, beaches, gastronomy, charming corners, prehistoric vestiges ... Menorca is a paradise! However, far from the best known, on this trip we discovered a small "secret" treasure (or at least less known to travelers, nothing is left secret) that conquered us from the moment we stepped on it. Es Grau, or also called the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau, is the most protected area of ​​an island in itself Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 1993. What do you promise?


Menorca, thanks to its different ecosystems, forms a conglomerate of pieces where humid areas, hills, plains, torrents, ravines or agricultural areas are kept in balance becoming one of the few places in Spain that preserves that unique landscape and that we can meet through its Camí de Cavalls.

Visit Es Grau or Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau

Natural Area of ​​Special Interest (ANEI), Natura 2000 Network, core of the Menorca Biosphere Reserve and Natural Park with 5,100 hectares in the northeastern part of Menorca ... There is nothing! If Menorca already seems to us one of the last paradises of Spain, these descriptive awards quickly caught our attention to take advantage of a less sunny morning and get to know it, although The Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau encompasses what is the lagoon of Es Grau proper, the island of Colom and the cape of Favàritx and it will be the first, of about 70 hectares, our goal



It's around 9:30 when we set foot in the Information booth that also serves as an exhibition of flora and fauna and guides you to the three paths enabled to explore one of the most peculiar ecosystems of the island

OPENING HOURS OF THE RODRIGUEZ FEMENIAS RECEPTION CENTER:

In high season (of April to October) the schedule will be 9 to 19 from Tuesday to Thursday and of 9 to 15 from Friday to Monday.
In low season (of November to March) it will be of 9 to 17 from Tuesday to Thursday and from 9 to 15 from Friday to Monday

Es Grau houses, in its greater extension, a lagoon with various aquatic plants, multiple birds and great species biodiversity Like the osprey Even turtles that Paula likes so much! (Although we were not lucky to see them!)



Its coastal area, despite being more exposed to wind, drought or salt, is also a paradise for another type of ecosystem, with plants such as socarrels or those unique Balearic long-haul in the world.

THE SERIES "MENORCA IN 1 MINUTE" NOW IN YOUTUBE: After the experience in Minorca We bring you the best AUDIOVISUAL EXPERIENCE for this trip. In our Youtube channel you can see the COMPLETE SERIES and then the chapter of the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau

To visit Es Grau have been created three different routes, starting two of them near this Information Center and another in the same town of Es Grau. In fact it was the presence of private houses, farms and more buildings that were blurring throughout the park that led in 1995 to protect the area. And what are these routes?You can see them in detail on the balearsnatura.com website but basically they are the following:

- Itinerary of "Sa Gola" that runs along the canal of the same name and the dunes area of ​​the beach of Es Grau. It has a distance of 1.7 km (45 minutes walk) and it's very simple for everyone
- Santa Madrona Itinerary which borders the southwest bank of the lagoon with more viewpoints and observatories, especially birds, for its proximity to the lagoon. It has a distance of 2.8 km (1 hour walk) and it is the best route to observe waterfowl
- Itinerary of the viewpoint of Cala Llimpa that takes you through the southeast part of the lagoon. It also has a distance of 1.7 km (45 minutes walk) and is complete at the level of fauna, flora and landscape

Our route through Es Grau or Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau

Because of its proximity to Mahón, its landscapes and the tranquility and nature that it breathes, we would dare to say since Es Grau is a visit of those that are defined as obligatory if you come to Menorca. We decided to come with the car near the main town where one of the most unknown coastal towns on the island is located, just overcrowded.




We had decided on him "Sa Gola" itinerary that could be perfectly complemented with a walk along the beach of Es Grau, being able to visit different environments in just over 1 hour, a beach that enjoys a good reputation among the locals and that usually offers kayaks or small boats to visit the island of Colom, another of its attractions (but surely it is possible from the port itself from the old fishing village)



A wooden walkway gives access to it, always with all the necessary indications not to get lost, so you quickly hit the "Sa Gola" route at the end of the beach. Seeing it on a map, our tour has been similar to the following from Wikiloc


The beach of Es Grau is divided in two by a rocky ledge called Dels Mabres and serves as a perfect example of what is considered a dune system, with front dunes, mobile dunes and stabilized dunes that serve as natural protection for the Es Grau lagoon




From this end point of the beach there is a path that enters us through the vegetation. Everyone the trails of the Natural Park is well signposted and it is important to follow them so as not to get lost. If we continued north along the corresponding Camí de Cavalls we would arrive at the Martian area of ​​Cabo de Favàritx and its famous lighthouse, but we will talk about it in another article




Thus we leave the dune system in search of the lagoon, completely changing the ecosystem and entering the humid zones, the forests of olive trees and the temporary ponds that characterize the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau


To save the lagoon, temporary ponds or marshes, where the sheet of water is above the surface, have been enabled wooden walkways that make access possible to anyone (even for the disabled)




We reach, now yes, the largest freshwater mirror in Menorca, where several viewpoints and some bridge, allow to observe the birds, plants and more endemic species of the area. Waterfowl lovers have an appointment here




It goes without saying that this place in the lagoon has become an important step for hundreds (or thousands) of birds each year in their migration between Africa and Europe



It must be recognized that in Menorca, unlike in many other parts of Spain (unfortunately), things have been done very well and now it is time to preserve it

SOME BASIC RULES:

Walk in silence (or at least without mounting scandal)
The park is private, you cannot walk at our leisure (there are also agricultural and livestock properties)
For groups of more than 25 people you must ask for authorization
It is forbidden to alter the dune system (do not step on, do not use motor vehicles, do not use bicycles, do not pass with horses)
Fire and camping prohibited
Do not take stones, plants or fauna
Do not walk with pets through strict protection areas
Scuba diving prohibited

We are delighted from our visit to Es Grau, one of those great secrets of tranquility and nature that are still found and where you can spend a very complete day combining forest, lagoon and beach if you have more time

Practical information to visit Es Grau

How to get to Es Grau?

From the end of the port of Mahón, in a roundabout enabled, exit the M7 road. Subsequently take the turnoff to the right along the M5 road that ends at Es Grau. It has no loss

What kind of clothes and shoes to wear?

We are really facing a very relaxed walk. Unless you want to make a long walk that requires comfortable footwear and appropriate clothes for trekking, we would tell you that you can do this route with any type of clothing (except going out, haha)

What else to visit in the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau?

If you want complement the visit of the lagoon of Es Grau with some other points of interest of the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau, notes the following:

- In the estate of Sa Torreta you can find vestiges of the Talayotic culture with archaeological remains of great value
- Near the town of Sa Torreta you can see a medieval defense tower and also, something more remote, another 18th century turret


- You can access the Colom Island and its beaches by a kayak or boat, one of those magical places away from civilization (only accessible by sea) with fish, fine sand and transparent water. We were sorry we couldn't get close!
- Of course, the Favàritx lighthouse It is a must. We drove after finishing this ride

Where to sleep? Our option in Menorca

Setting a base in Menorca can be one of the best options to enjoy several days in this paradise of the Balearic Islands. We did it in Es Castell, next to Mahón, in the Barceló Hamiltón Menorca... !! a success!



For location, for services, for that wonderful terrace and for enjoying the first sunrise of Spain. Now available full review of our experience.

What do you think of the "Secret" Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau? And the lagoon itself? This small coastal lagoon separated from the sea by the dune system has been one of our great discoveries in this paradise called Menorca, which we have much more to tell you.


Isaac and Paula, from Es Grau (Menorca)

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