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Wild camping

Wild camping the Camí de Cavalls with a dog

The Camí de Cavalls is a 185km hiking trail that circles the whole of Menorca’s coast. Because it is a circular route, you can pick where you begin, although the most popular starting points are Ciutadella or Maó. I began and finished in Ciutadella. 

This is a stunning little trail, which you can walk in 6-10 days, depending on how fast or slow you want to do it. There are a lot of beaches on the route, and if you like to swim in the most turquoise sea you’ve ever seen, you might find yourself hiking slowly!

My experiences on the Camí de Cavalls

From the moment I started hiking this trail from the port of Ciutadella, I knew it was going to be stunning. Five minutes into walking, I came to the first postcard-perfect beach. This was to be daily life on the trail – walking in the hot, hot sun and then swimming in the sea. The sweet smell of the pine trees and wild herbs made me instantly love the Camí. 

North and South

The trail is one of two halves. The southern section, from Cuitadella along the south coast to Maó, is stunningly beautiful, with the most perfect beaches of white sand and turquoise sea, surrounded by pine forest and rocky red earth. But the south section is also absolutely packed with tourists if you hike in the warmer months. The beaches are very popular, and the trail is full of day walkers seeking out the more secluded beaches. Every day you’ll walk through multiple towns which only have villas for international tourists. You’ll see next to no local Menorcan life for the first half of this trail! What you do get, though, is stunning nature. 

The northern half of the trail, from Maó to Ciutadella, is much more deserted. For the most part, I had the trail completely to myself, which was a welcome relief. This half is more rugged, with cliffs with lots of ups and downs, low shrubs, agricultural areas, and – to a lesser extent – more of the same fake tourist towns. But there are also villages with a mixture of tourists and local people. Again, there are stunning beaches for swimming. 

Which is better? Both are beautiful. But if you hate crowds and package holiday tourists, you’ll prefer the northern section. 

Wild camping

Although there are a lot of facilities on the route, they’re not made for hikers, but for package tourists on week-long holidays. When researching this trail, I couldn’t find any information about people who had wild camped. All I could find was that wild camping is illegal in Menorca. So I looked up whether there are campsites on the route, and no, there aren’t. Besides, the only two campsites in Menorca don’t accept dogs. I looked up accommodation on the route and was shocked by the insane prices of one night in a hotel (think 100 euros per night). 

I solo wild camped almost every night on this trail. These nights camping was what made the trail special for me. Most of the time I camped on beaches, which became deserted after sunset (apart from the odd yacht or two anchored in the coves). One night I camped in a pine forest. There are also lots of meadows that you could camp in. 

The only section of the trail where it is tough to find a good camping spot is in the built-up tourist area of villas between Binifasallar and Punta Prima. But as soon as you leave Punta Prima, many good camping spots exist. 

I met other people wild camping on beaches, too. Some were hikers, others were kayakers. Obviously, be sure to take down your tent early and leave no trace

Of course, you don’t have to wild camp. There are so many tourist towns on this route that with a bit of planning, you can book all your accommodations and not carry a tent or sleeping bag. If you do this, bear in mind that there is one 33km section – between Fornells and Cala Morell – with no accommodation. These are stages five, six, seven, and eight in the official trail notes.

Many hikers use a company to book their accommodation and sort out all the logistics for them, while others base themselves in Ciutadella or Maó and day-hike different sections. 

Food and water

For food, you will be relying on supermarkets and restaurants in tourist resorts. Therefore, if you’re doing this trail off-season, you’ll need to check in advance whether the supermarkets are open.

There is next to no running water on this trail. You’ll rely on the tourist towns, filling up or buying water from them as you go. You can drink the tap water, but bear in mind that it tastes strongly of calcium so you might prefer to buy wasteful bottles of mineral water instead. I mostly drank mineral water. 

There is one section – 24km long – between the restaurant at Binimel-la and Cala Morell (stages six, seven, and eight in the official trail notes) where there is nowhere to buy food or fill up water. 

If you’re hiking outside of tourist season, I advise you to check the opening times of the restaurants of Cala Morell, especially. Contrary to the official trail notes, this town does not have a supermarket but is an essential spot for filling up water. I would be surprised if the restaurants here are open when the tourists go home, and the villas might be completely deserted in wintertime (so you wouldn’t have access to taps, either). 

I would also check whether the restaurant at Binimel-la – another good place for eating food and stocking up on water – is open outside of tourist season. 

But if you’re hiking in tourist season (I guess between May and October), you will have lots and lots of food and water options in small shops, restaurants, and bars. You’ll never have to carry much food, because you’ll be coming to another tourist town soon enough (except for between Binimel-la and Cala Morell). 

Hiking with a dog on the Camí de Cavalls

Before hiking, I could not find information about whether this trail was good for hiking with dogs. I decided that it would be a good choice because there are no technical climbing sections. The route is very straightforward for fit humans and dogs, and the only thing that might pose a problem is the heat. 

I hiked this trail in June with my black dog Bud; the sun was too intense for her. We had to take hours-long breaks every day, and I gave her water at least every half a kilometer, making progress slow. 

In theory, Menorca is not a dog-friendly island. There are ‘no dogs’ signs everywhere and officially dogs aren’t allowed on beaches. In practice, though, I found the island dog-friendly enough. I ignored the ‘no dogs’ signs on the beaches, and no one ever asked me to leave. Locals with dogs ignored the warnings too. 

There was also a whole section on this trail – through the Albufera nature reserve – where dogs weren’t permitted. But I didn’t know about this til I arrived there. But again, I ignored the signs and walked quickly through the wetlands with Bud on a tight leash, and had no problems. 

There are also several hotels on the route that accept dogs, although you’ll have more limited choices and will pay a lot of money to stay in them. The two hotels I stayed in (Hotel Bahia in Ciutadella and San Miguel Hotel in Maó) are especially dog-friendly. 

As for the restaurants and bars, they all accepted us as long as we were sitting outside. If you have bad weather on this trail, I’m not sure whether they would let you inside. 

This is a fantastic little trail that I highly recommend. The route is not difficult, with a mixture of small hiking paths, dirt tracks, and some road walking (although not too much to ruin the trail). It is a typically rocky Mediterranean trail, and nature reminded me of being on the Lycian Way in Turkey. So if you’re looking for a stunning short hike in the Mediterranean, this is the trail for you. 

 This website was all I needed to work out my hike. 

Follow Lisa on Instagram – @thruhikes or check out her blog


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