Whilst on Holiday in Menorca a few weeks ago I was privileged enough to be able to ride on the Cami De Cavalls. This is an off road coastal foot path which circles the whole Island. It also provides a route to some of Menorca’s most inaccessible beaches, and is one of the Mediterraneans best kept secrets.
It is believed the original use of the Cami De Cavalls was used to connect watchtowers, fortresses and cannons around the coast whilst also making it easier to transport troops and artillery. Although this is accepted view of what the path is used for, the date of origin is not clear. The most accepted theory is that it was used by French Invaders during different periods they were living on the island. However according to some studies, it could have been formed as early as the 14th century. As the original purpose was defence and control of the island, it was patrolled on soldiers mounted on Menorquin Horses, which is where the word Cavalls comes from in the name. This means Horses in Catalan.
For many years, parts of the path belonged to private land owners and not usable for the public. An agreement between the islands government and the landlords allowed the path to become available to everybody. 900,000 Euros has since been spent on the path restoring it.
It has become great place for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. It now holds the Trail Menorca Cami De Cavalls which is a single staged ultra marathon which is a qualifying race for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc with the acquisition of 4 qualification points. It is a total of 185.3km long and the current record is held by Zigor Iturrieta of Spain who managed a time of 21h 10m 04s. Laia Diez Fontanet, also from Spain is the fastest women who finished with a time of 27h 16m 33s.
Also held on the same dates are the Trail Costa Nord which is on the North Coast only and between 90-100km, and the Trail Costa Sud which is the South Coast only and between 85-91km. Each of these gives 2 qualification points for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. There are also 2 Trekking events on each coast held at the same time which vary in distance and elevation every year.
Between April 28th and May 1st 2012, World Adventure Racing Champion Arnau Julia travelled around the island 3 times using the path twice, once running, once on a mountain bike, and once Kayaking. He finished after 82h 30m and covered more than 500km.
The Cami De Cavalls is divided into 20 sections, with the start and finish of each section all accessible to road traffic, making it possible to only cover one section at a time.
- Mao – Es Grau
- Es Grau – Favaritx
- Favaritx – Arenal d’en Castell
- Arenal d’en Castell – Cala Tirant
- Cala Tirant – Binimel la
- Binimel la – Els Alocs
- Els Alocs – Algaiarens
- Algaiarens – Cala Morell
- Cala Morell – Punta Nati
- Punta Nati – Ciutadella
- Ciutadella – Cap d’Artrutx
- Cap d’Artrutx – Cala en Turqueta
- Cala en Turqueta – Cala Galdana
- Cala Galdana – Sant Tomas
- Sant Tomas – Son Bou
- Son Bou – Cala en Porter
- Cala en Porter – Binisafuller
- Binisafuller – Punta Prima
- Punta Prima – Cala de Sant Esteve
- Cala de Sant Esteve – Mao
A segment for the section between St. Tomas and Cala Galdana can be seen below. The segment stops at Cala Mitjana which is a bay located just before you reach Cala Galdana when heading from Sant Tomas.
I would say that this would be a great place for somebody who wanted to train for Cyclocross. The route has a constant change of gradient and terrain, with some sections only able to cross on foot. The peak time of August to travel to Menorca also fits well with the Cyclocross season just around the corner.
Originally the Cami De Cavalls was introduced to me by my Dad when on holiday in 2012, this is the first time I have been back to ride it with him since and it reminded me of how great it is. We are planning to ride the whole 185.3km over 4 days at some point in the future which I anticipate would be a very worth while experience and one I am very much looking forward to.