The GR-223, known as Camí de Cavalls (Way of the Horses), is a long distance bridle path of that circles the coast of Menorca.
‘The Camí de Cavalls is not just a bridle way made up of paths or trails that circles the island, but also a collective heritage that forms part of our identity’. This phrase of J. Gomila illustrates the way the Menorcans feel about the Camí de Cavalls, a route that allows us to enjoy the wide variety of landscape and ethnological features of the island and also to observe the contrast between the urbanized and unspoilt areas.
The origins of this ancient coastal path are not widely known. We do know that in the 14th.century there were already some stretches which made the defense of the island easier and that later on the construction of coastal vigilance towers in response to pirate raids made a coastal route all the way around the island more necessary. In the 18th.century the British administration considered it as a Camino Real (King’s Highway) and at the same time it was already being used as a public right of way.
The spirit of the Menorcan people channeled through the Coordinator for the defense of the Camí de Cavalls has achieved the reopening of this important ethnological, historical and scenic heritage. It has not been easy: since 1996 protest excursions and popular pressure forced the political powers to enact the ‘Camí de Cavalls law’ in 2000. Subsequently the ‘Special Plan’ established the exact route and enabled the agreements and expropriations that were necessary as the route crosses 120 private properties. Since 2010, after its preparation and sign-posting, one can enjoy it walking, cycling or horse riding. By late 2010, all that was left to be done was the sign-posting of the route within urban areas, improve a few stretches (especially for horses) and add some more sign posts.
The Camí de Cavalls is 115 miles long and is divided in 20 stages. Although its maximum height is only 415 feet, the aggregate climb reaches about 13,000 feet. As it is a circular route, you can start anywhere, but Kilometre 0 is situated at the Culàrsega at the end of the Port of Mahon where the first stage starts. It has been included in the official GR network of long distance footpaths of part of Western Europe, with the number GR 223. It is sign posted with wooden stakes every 50 – 100 yards and with information panels at the start of each stage.
That there are more than 100 gates to cross are a reflection of the fact that traditional activities such as livestock farming are still very much alive and well along the way.
Thanks to the demand from our customers and because of our passion for the countryside of Menorca, this year we are adding biking and hiking routes to our experiences.
That way we can show you more magical spots that, out of respect for the environment or because of the width of the paths, we cannot get to with our 4×4s. In groups of no more than 9 people, we aim to recover the spirit of the authentic bike tourer. Walking and cycling at your own pace, come with us and plunge into and lose yourself in the Menorcan countryside.