Mount Toro, admiring Minorca from a bird's eye view
Mount Toro is a must-see. Compared with the island’s idyllic beaches, Minorca’s highest mountain exudes its own magic. Not for nothing is it the highest point of the picturesque island. Although it is not one of the 14 eight-thousanders which many climbers long for, its 358-metre height is the perfect plan for a family trip, a different holiday activity with your friends or somewhere you can disappear to with your partner. Link: Minorca with children
Mount Toro’s silhouette rises impassively in an area with gentle slopes. In fact, this peak can boast of being unparalleled. Such is the case that, after reaching the summit, the views are quite a treat, even for those who are not hiking enthusiasts.
Culture, history, nature and legends combine on this hill, creating a special irresistible atmosphere. Easy access, nearby services and the landscape are additional attractions of this natural area in the heart of the island, which also hides interesting secrets.
Mount Toro: the origin of a legend
Even before setting foot near Mount Toro, visitors will be captivated by the legend behind this Minorcan mountain. And quite right, too. The oldest and even the youngest islanders know well the history of the name of this quaint hill. Legend has it that the name comes from the belief that, many years ago, a bull (toro in Spanish) protected the summit and blocked the way to anyone who tried to get near.
Drawn to the intriguing lights, several monks dared to ascend the 358 metres of Mount Toro a certain night and, to their surprise, they found the bold animal there. Rather than being intimidated, the bull came to their encounter. When the bull got closer to them and saw the crosses that the monks were carrying, it changed its intention and, instead of frightening them away, it led them to a cave. There, in the mountain cavity, the monks discovered the image of the Virgin of the Bull, the island’s current patron saint.
Whether this is a myth or reality, the truth is that the story about the origin of Mount Toro continues to shroud the place in magic. However, the sceptics indicate that the name comes from the Arabic word for height: ‘tor’.
Climbing Minorca’s highest mountain
If you thought that reaching the summit of Minorca’s highest mountain would shatter your idea of a relaxing holiday, think again. The ascent to Mount Toro does not involve any difficulties and can be done by car or bicycle or on foot. Depending on what you choose, it will take more or less to reach the summit; if you decide to take a nice walk, it will not be more than one hour.
Things to do at Mount Toro
Enjoy the views: Mount Toro is one of the best places to view a spectacular scenery. If you chose this island for your holiday, it was probably due to its landscapes. This mountain gives you the opportunity to see most of the coast: from the Bay of Fornells to Son Bou, to Mahón and even Ciutadella. Weather permitting, you can even make out Majorca.
Are you looking for a romantic plan? Imagine this: you and your partner snuggling up on Mount Toro to watch a beautiful sunset. Are wedding bells ringing from afar?
Cultural visit: The scenery is not the only delight about Minorca’s Mount Toro. There is also room for a cultural visit at the island’s highest point above sea level. The sanctuary of the Virgin of Mount Toro was built in the seventeenth century at the summit on the ruins of a former Gothic church and admission is free. One of its three chapels contains a wood carving of the Virgin and in another you can see the legendary cave from which Mount Toro takes its name.
You will also see an impressive defence tower annexed to the sanctuary and declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, as well as a large statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Get your energy back: Before returning from Mount Toro, you can also enjoy a snack or regain your energy if you decide to climb. Sa Posada del Toro opens every day between 1 May and 31 October. If you travel at a different time of the year (between 1 November and 31 March) and plan to go there, you can only enjoy its traditional Mediterranean-style meals on the weekends.
Visit Es Mercadal: If this mount is not sufficiently appealing, you can also visit one of the most beautiful inland villages. Es Mercadal is located at the foot of the mountain and is a must if you decide to reach the island summit. Moreover, if your visit coincides with the traditional San Martín festivities (on the third weekend in July), do not miss the iconic horse dances during the so-called jaleos.
Include a visit to the island’s best showcase and remember to pack your suitcase with a camera!