If you’re thinking of planning an island escape, somewhere in the Caribbean or Mexico might be what first comes to mind. There are frequent direct flights from lots of cities in the US and flight times are usually short to these beaches just south of the border. But if you’re looking to try a different kind of beach getaway that packs just as much sabor as your fave Latin American playas, you might want to check out the Mediterranean. Earlier this month I spent a few days in Menorca—one of the Balearic Islands off the southern coast of Spain and I was blown away.
At first you might be thinking “OMG WHAT?! I CANNOT AFFORD A TRIP TO EUROPE.” But if you’re budgeting for the Caribbean, chances are you can afford the Mediterranean, too. For one of my friends, it was her first time on a European vacation and she was shocked at how affordable the trip ended up being. And you don’t need to worry about missing out on the laid back Caribbean life, especially if you’re in the land where the siesta still reigns.
The Mediterranean Life
Before we get into the cost details, let’s get down to what you can expect during your visit. Menorca is a small island, so it’s easy to plan a drive across the island and hit all the key places of interest in a day or two. The island’s location in the Mediterranean is hit by winds from the North—which means that the Northern coast has more rocky beaches and cliffs—complete with New England style lighthouses—while the South is home to white sand and turquoise waters that you could easily mistake for a Caribbean beach. With so much diversity in such a small island, you’re sure to be impressed by these stark changes in landscape between the north and south sides of the island. As you can see, we made sure not to miss out on any photo shoot ops!
Since you’re able to cover most of the island in a short time, that leaves time for some much needed relaxation! The beaches are pristine, and the restaurant and nightlife options are plentiful and affordable (think $20 for a three course meal including a glass of wine). From the best Indian food I’ve had in Spain, delicious traditional Spanish tapas, Catalan architecture, to the breathtaking views at this swanky lounge nestled in a rocky cliff, you’ll keep yourself entertained and your wallet happy.
Flight Planning and Prices
Sometimes it’s easy to get that direct flight to Puerto Rico or wherever else in the Caribbean you’re looking to go. Other times you’ll need to pay $300 extra for a direct flight or suffer that layover in some not so convenient city. If you’re going to have to stopover, why not plan a Mediterranean trip with a European layover instead? We used London as a launching point for our Menorca trip. TripAdvisor is sure to point you in the right direction to enjoy your extended layover and get accustomed to the time change. And there are plenty of off the beaten path options, too. While I was at a Tex-Mex restaurant, I managed to find a DJ who was pretty on point with his reggaeton jams to make me feel like I could have been dancing in the caribe.
I snagged a roundtrip flight for $550 from New York to London, and my friend (apparently an even better deal-finder than me!) found a $380 round trip flight from Boston. Check out sites like Skyscanner, which search for more European airlines than Orbitz or Priceline. Or look directly on Norwegian Airline’s site, a long haul low cost airline offering direct flights to Europe from many cities in the US—at a fraction of the cost of the flagship carriers.
Once you’ve made it across the pond, don’t expect to have to shell out much more to make it to your Mediterranean island destination. On EasyJet, we paid $125 for our round trip flights from London to Menorca, which included checked bags. If you really travel light you can skip the baggage fee. So at $500 total round trip, you’re not looking at much more than what you might spend on that Caribbean or Mexican flight.
I stayed right in town by the port in Mahón—Menorca’s capital. Our two bedroom apartment from Airbnb was only $75 per night! If you’re looking for a bit more luxury with direct beachfront access or a swanky pool, you’ll find lots of options for only about $50 more per night.
With out of this world sightseeing at prices that are in your budget, what’s your hesitation? Take the plunge and make that next beach trip to the Mediterranean.