A Place in the Sun House Hunters - “We like the quiet appeal of Menorca”

A Place in the Sun House Hunters - “We like the quiet appeal of Menorca”

“We like the quiet appeal of Menorca”

Mallorca, along with the Canary Islands and also, coming your way soon, Ibiza, are all hitting the headlines for the anti-tourism destinations. This is not a very welcome development for holiday home owners on these islands, especially those who rent out their villas to tourists.

But in Menorca, the low-key and often under-the-radar Balearic Island, there is no such thing so far and the lack of high-volume tourism might suggest that it could stay that way. For Neil and Lisa Bird, who bought a villa in the west of the island, that has always been part of the appeal. “It’s so unlike Mallorca, not just in that it is less built up, but in terms of the tourism,” says Neil, who’s in his mid-fifties, like Lisa.

The island’s rugged coastline, rolling hills and pristine beaches have retained a sleepy feel and you won’t find nightclubs, raucous beach clubs and party boats there. “A flipside of this is that there are fewer flights [from the UK] to choose from. There are no direct flights at all there in winter, although EasyJet are in discussions about reinstating some. The result is that the island pretty much closes down in winter.”

But that has also had an impact on property prices, keeping them a little more accessible. Read more here.

Neil and Lisa featured on A Place in the Sun last month [May] with Jasmine helping the couple from Essex to find a three-bedroom villa with a private swimming pool for a budget of £250,000 to £300,000. After flying out to the island in June 2022, they ended up buying property five, a three-bed, two-bath villa in Cala en Bosc, for just under £300,000.


The purchase process was refreshingly ‘old-school’ says Neil, in this day and age of high-tech or remote dealings. “It was all done by cheque. We all sat at the notary’s office – the sellers, us and our lawyer – and we all sat around a table for the signing of the contract. We hugged and got the keys. The owners were lovely as they had allowed us to stay for three weeks in the villa in the run-up to this completion.”

The couple spent the first year painting and weather-proofing the property, and also found it pleasantly surprising how easy it was to find good tradespeople. “We’ve found some good plumbers and electricians, all reasonably priced,” says Neil, whose job involves designing kitchens for restaurants. “It does help that my best friend had moved to Menorca a few years ago, but the local bar owners has also been helpful.”

“A lot of the work we’ve had done is ‘behind the scenes’ rather than obvious to the eye: a new pool pump, a new boiler, oven etc.”

With the couple still working – Lisa for a care company – they are for now restricted about how much they can visit Menorca each year, but when they retire they could see themselves spending longer periods there, visa rules permitting. Currently holiday-let licences are hard to come by in the Balearics, so they won’t be renting it out either.

Their two children, aged 17 and 19, will however get to enjoy the new family holiday home too. “We will visit for three weeks in the summer holidays and our daughter will visit with a friend for a week,” adds Neil. “We’ve also offered it to a cousin for their honeymoon. Being able to share it with family and friends is part of the joy of owning a place in the sun.”

Read more:

search for properties IN THE BALEARIC ISLANDS

Liz Rowlinson