Shangrila Menorcan Style

Does ShangriLa exist? Is it to be found in Menorca? I sometimes wonder if Menorca has an unlimited source of surprises for the unwary visitor. Well Menorca has its own very special form of ShangriLa

Shangri-La is defined as "An imaginary remote paradise on earth; utopia or "A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness. In the first tourist boom of the 1970 Menorca almost followed the route of its sister Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza and dived headlong into mass tourism.

Plans were laid for an up market golf resort on the shores of the S'Albufera lake which was to be called Shangri-La. The authorities saw the folly of the plan and following years of political and legal wrangling the development was halted on the grounds that it constituted an illegal development in a conservation area.

Menorca had won the battle to contol its tourism developments but not before it was half built. Today the golf course is overgrown, there are abandoned half built villas and some of the early accommodation is stilled lived in.

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Despite the authorities renaming this area Albufera, in an attempt to improve the areas image, visitors still find an "air of desolation".

Menorca has once more proved that it is no ordinary island and that ShangriLa can not be built by man nature has already created a secluded hideaway of great beauty and peacefulness which we call Menorca.

So why did the Authorities attach so much importance to the Abufera Conservation area?

Prior to the development of agriculture in the island there were many more areas of wetland around the Menorcan coast. The British encorage agricultural development during their stay and land was reclaimed by draining these areas.

Of those that have survived S'Albufera is the largest and most important. The lagoon is separated from the sea by a barrier of sand, creating salt-water marshes beside a freshwater lake. S'Albufera is now part of the S'Albufera Park and forms the focus of Menorca's Biosphere Reserve.

Nearby Es Grau is protected from the lake by pine woods and dunes. Es Grau is an unspoilt seaside village.

The large beach is perfect for children as the water is shallow. The Ilia d'en Colom is only 400 meters out to sea and in summer you can take a boat trip to the Ilia d'en Colon.

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