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The road leading north from Es Mercadal to Fornells runs through some of the island's finer scenery. Mass-tourism hotels, so far, have not discovered this place, but there are a few good dining choices. On the northern coast, the tiny town of Fornells snuggles around a bay filled with boats and windsurfers and lined with restaurants and a few shops. Built around four defense fortifications -- the Talaia de la Mola (now destroyed), the Tower of Fornells at the harbor mouth, the fortress of the Island of Las Sargantanas ("the Lizards") situated in the middle of the harbor, and the now-ruined Castle of San Jorge or San Antonio -- Fornells today is a flourishing fishing village noted for its upscale restaurants featuring savory lobster calderetas.

West of Fornells is Platja Binimella, a beautiful beach (unofficially nudist) easily accessible by car. Its long, curving, sandy cove is peacefully set against undulating hills. A snack bar is the sole concession to civilization.

By far the most splendid panorama here is from the promontory at Cap de Cavalleria, the northernmost tip of the island, marked by a lighthouse. Getting here requires some effort, however. At a bend in the road leading to Platja Binimella, a signpost indicates the turnoff to Cap de Cavalleria through a closed gate heading to a dirt road. The closed gate is typical of many of the roads leading to Minorca's undeveloped beaches. All the beaches in Spain, however, are public, so no one may impede access to them -- although landowners might discourage visitors by making access difficult. The prevailing custom is simply to open the gate, go on through, and close it behind you. It is important that you close the gate because often they keep livestock confined to certain areas. As you follow the long dirt road (negotiable in a regular car or on a motorbike) out to Cap de Cavalleria, you come across several more sets of gates and travel through countryside reminiscent of the Scottish highlands, with cultivated fields and scattered grand fincas. Shortly before the lighthouse is a parking area down to the left. You'll have to pick your way across the scrub and rocks for the views. The best one is from a circular tower in ruins up to the right of the lighthouse. Now brace yourself for a vista encompassing the whole of Minorca -- a symphony of dramatic cliffs and jewel-blue water.