Nudist Beach in Es Mercadal
Situated in the centre of the Balearic Island of Minorca is the market town of Es Mercadal, derived from the Latin word mercatum which means market. Originally the centre of commerce for Minorca, the vibrant open air market remains an attraction of the island and is well worth a visit. Mount Toro, the highest mountain on the island, overlooks Es Mercadal and is regarded by many as the spiritual centre of Menorca. There are varying opinions of how the mountain came by its name, some say it comes from the Catalan word ”turo” meaning hill and others believe it comes from the Arabic word ”al tor” meaning high place. My favourite interpretation is the tale of a bull that led a group of monks up the mountain to a carving of the Virgin Mary in the rock face, therefore it takes its name from the bull.. el toro. Mount Toro is over 340 metres high and can be reached either by foot or vehicle. On the summit stands a statue of Christ and a Gothic church from 1670 named the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Toro. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the whole island, browse the gift shop or enjoy refreshments in the mountain’s restaurant.
Es Mercadal has a quaint Old Quarter with pretty whitewashed houses lining the narrow lanes and a waterway that runs through it. Throughout the town and Old Quarter there are a selection of shops, bars and restaurants, and a must try are the local biscuits and cakes found in the town’s pastry shops. There are several beaches to choose from within a few kilometres of the town, and for a bit of exercise and lovely scenery, take a walk along the Cami de Trumuntana which exits the north of the town and meanders through meadows and farmland to the coast. There is also an official nudist beach in Es Mercadal, located a few kilometres from the town.