When determining which of Spain's islands is the best one for your stay, you'll definitely want to consider lovely Menorca if you're after a more relaxing island experience. Menorca is perfect when you want to get away from it all, feel your stress disappear on the ocean breeze at the many picturesque beaches and simply enjoy the laid-back natural atmosphere that the entire island offers. Many visitors to Menorca also come for a rather unique reason, and that's to get a good look at the island's seven lighthouses. Each is worth your time, but the Favaritx lighthouse is among the most visited and should definitely be on the top of the to-do list for any lighthouse enthusiast.
About the Favaritx Lighthouse
Just a little over 10 miles from Mahon, Menorca's capital city, you'll discover this working lighthouse on the northeast side of the island in the S'Albufera des Grau Natural Park. Its vivid white tower, with the black bands that spiral upwards, stands out brilliantly against the clear blue sky, and it's quite impressive at nearly 92 feet tall. This lighthouse is 154 feet above sea level, and it operates with two flashes every 15 seconds that can be seen some 16 miles out to sea. It is surrounded by an extremely rocky terrain of black slate stone that is said to mimic the landscape of the moon.
A Bit of History
Like other lighthouses, the construction of the Favaritx lighthouse was prompted by the many shipwrecks in the area, which include the French-owned Ville de Rome, which was wrecked in 1898 and the Issac Pereire, a mail steamship that reguarly ran from Marseilles to Algeria, which sunk in the exact same spot near the Cala Mesquida in 1906. The General Chanzy met its fate in 1910 when it sank just off Punta Nati, and only a lone survivor made it to land after that terrible tragedy.
It was obvious after those and many other shipwrecks that a lighthouse was needed, and construction began on the Favaritx lighthouse in July of 1917. Unfortunately, there was a serious dispute about who owned the land as well as problems with securing the funding for the building materials, so the lighthouse wasn't actually completed until 1922. It was the first lighthouse on the island to be built with concrete, and it functioned without the benefit of electricity right up until 1971.
Today, visitors may enjoy the permanent maritime exhibition inside of the lighthouse that showcases many interesting artifacts that depict its history. This includes the original catadioptric optical system that was used in the lighthouse before electricity became available.
Check Out the Lake
As you come down the road to the lighthouse, you'll notice a small natural lake that is known as the Cos des Sindic. It's a mixture of rainwater and saltwater that has been blown in by storms, and it comes and goes as the weather dictates. When water is present, a great many birds stop in the area to rest and feed, and there's also some interesting plant life.
Exploring the Area
The lighthouse and its surroundings provide a wonderful morning or afternoon in the fresh sea air. Many couples may be seen walking hand-in-hand around the lighthouse, and children are particularly fond of climbing and playing on the rocky landscape. Of course, it's also the perfect spot for taking photos and enjoying the exceptional views, and you might like to extend your day of fun with a stop at the nearby Cala Presili, which is a lovely beach with crystal-clear waters. It's within walking distance of the lighthouse, and it's a wonderful spot for swimming or snorkeling.
Getting to the Lighthouse
Many people choose to rent a bike in Mahon for their journey to the lighthouse, and others enjoy the scenic walk. Of course, you may also go by car or by the bus that regularly runs out to the area. There are also several trusted tour companies in Menorca that offer a tour of the lighthouse along with a day of other fun activities. For example, Excursiones Menorca combines your lighthouse tour with a fun jeep adventure, and you may even arrange for this company to take you to see the island's other lighthouses as well.
Local legend has it that the lighthouse is a source of supernatural powers, so don't be surprised if you see people intentionally walking in the puddles that surround this structure. The legend says that those who walk in the puddles during a full moon will be granted exceptional fertility, strength and energy from both the moon and the sea. So if you happen to be a couple hoping to conceive during your Menorca stay, then you might just want to visit the lighthouse during a full moon.