We Just Adore Our Cala Days; THE Husband and Wife TV Presenters Have Found the Perfect Getaway - the Quiet Balearic Island That's Full of Sandy Bays and Superb Eateries in Menorca.(Travel)

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Byline: ALAN DOUGLAS and VIV LUMSDEN

OUR special place in Menorca is so easy to get to, we could leave home after breakfast and be there in time for lunch.

We're less than half an hour from Glasgow airport, then there's a two-and-a-half hour flight, and our holiday house is only a quarter of an hour from Mahon Airport. It feels as if it's just on our doorstep.

That means when we get the chance to escape there, it is a really relaxing break, without all the hassle, flight connections and problems associated with most other foreign trips.

That easy feeling continues on the island, where the pace is decidedly leisurely. Menorca is the smaller neighbour of big Majorca and brash Ibiza and everything is slower, softer and gentler.

That's why it has become very popular among families with young children, and more mature sunseekers who are happy to bypass the all-night clubs and permanent party antics on the other Balearic islands.

We like the scale of Menorca. Everything is close at hand. The house we stay at - a small cliff-side apartment in the small resort of Cala En Porter - is only 20 minutes' drive from the capital Mahon and nowhere on the island is more than an hour away.

That includes some of the cleanest and quietest beaches in the Mediterranean. There are more than in Majorca and Ibiza put together.

It's also full of quaint, whitewashed buildings round peaceful harbours, stunning cliffs and sea views. If retail therapy is your thing, good quality leather goods are on sale everywhere - from corner shops to big factory warehouses.

If you're interested in history there's a lot to take in. The island is littered with important archaeological sites.

Almost every cove and bay has deep caves carved into the cliffs and everywhere you go there are historic exhibits, from the remnants of Bronze Age settlements to classic Georgian buildings in the two main towns, a legacy of British rule in the 18th century.

Getting about is easy. There are good bus services which are easy to get to grips with and Menorcan taxi drivers obviously make a good living. Their cars are all the latest models and in good condition, but the fares are reasonable.

We usually hire a car and there are deals to be had if you are prepared to haggle. Last year we got a Fiat Punto through Holiday Autos for a week for only pounds 75. A few weeks ago we secured a week's hire for pounds 80, including unlimited mileage and insurance - and the car was upgraded to a five-door estate.

There's a huge choice if you like the seaside. The beaches are long and the sand is soft and white. At Cala En Porter, they'd cleared the seaweed and the smell within days of our arrival. Swimming is generally safe and this year the Spanish Red Cross had lifeguards on duty at most busy beaches. …