Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Our CEO, Fernando Gonzalez, just returned from 10 days on the Balearic Island of Menorca (Minorca) with his wife Awilda, and nine-year-old daughter Sofia. Sofia, who also is the F1S Children’s Ambassador, and her dad share the highlights of vacationing off the coast of Spain.
How would you describe Menorca?
The island is an outdoor paradise with friendly, welcoming locals. The beaches and landscape are unspoiled, rustic, and full of rolling hills. You can be as active or as relaxed as you want. The second largest of the Balearic Islands, it’s a very popular destination with British tourists. The others in the archipelago include Mallorca, which is the largest, Ibiza, the party island, and tiny Formentera.
Why is Menorca great for families?
Menorca is an amazing, safe place for children and families. The beaches have calm waters with no waves. Kids are able to bike ride freely and can safely explore the coves, beaches and even several prehistoric sites. The children in town are extremely friendly, too, so it’s a great place to make new friends. Sofia really enjoyed that.
What were your favorite activities?
We loved how everything revolved around the outdoors. Biking to Monte Toro, the highest point on the island, and Torre de Fornells, which dates back to British rule, were definite family highlights. We loved the scenic boating excursions. And dining alfresco every night. For those who love horses, you must take a ride along the beautiful ocean.
Are there any activities geared toward children in particular?
Minorca Sailing in Ses Salines is one of the best sailing schools in the Mediterranean. They have week- long programs for all ages, starting at age 3, with wonderful, kid-friendly instructors.
What local food do you recommend?
Menorca is an island of fisherman. Restaurants are full of the catch of the day, from the freshest lobster, to flounder, dorado, sea bass, and mahi mahi.
Did you find some great restaurants?
The locals go to the north of the island for the best restaurants. We loved Can Toni in Es Migjorn Gran, a tiny, third-generation family run restaurant in the garden of their home. We watched the most amazing sunset while feasting on the menu of the day. Tucked away in the forest, Sa Barraca D’Es Carboner is famous for suckling pig and fried lettuce with crispy garlic. Ca N’Olga is perfect for a special evening, and Sofia loved the pizza and pasta at Sa Proa.
Where did you stay?
If you’re going with the family, the most popular choice is renting a home. Ours was in the more rustic north in Ses Salines. The island has small bed and breakfasts but few hotels. However, two stylish options are the boutique villa Binigaus Nou and rustic hotel Binigaus Vell.
Where were the best beaches?
There are lots of beaches and coves to discover. Our favorites were Cala Pregonda, Cala Mitjana, and Cala Galdana. Cala Galdana is the most famous beach. Cala Pregonda is a stunning red beach on the north coast. And Cala Mitjana has clear blue waters, cool caves and good snorkeling.
How did you get around the island? Do you need a car?
You can bike around the island, but renting a car is pretty essential.
What is the best time of year to go?
Spaniards take their vacation in August, so plan 3-4 months in advance during this peak month. June, the beginning of July, and September have fewer crowds but still great weather.