The Radar: Erola Arcalís

Self-portrait in the studio. London, February 2023. Erola Arcalís

  • 28 April 2023

For this edition of The Radar, our regular column of uncommon cultural recommendations from friends and colleagues around the world, Menorca-born artist Erola Arcalís shares some of her favorite places on the Balearic island.

The landscape of Menorca continues to be, for me, a grounding place and a fertile source of inspiration. The island has a fascinating history that becomes apparent through its intricate landscape. Growing up with this complex heritage and unique biodiversity makes Menorcan people like me protective of our cultural traditions and also proud conservationists.

La Mola My journey starts with an early morning run from the harbor of my hometown Maó (or Mahon) on the eastern side of the island. My destination is the fortress of La Mola, located near a narrow opening to the Mediterranean Sea—just over four miles in total. The opposite side of the harbor (known as s’altra banda) offers a full panoramic view of Maó and neighboring town Es Castell. This vantage point captures the striking geography of the natural harbor and shows the different surrounding isles, including I’Illa del Rei, l’Illa Plana and El Llatzaret. At the end of the road, La Mola comes into view, and I reflect on how this has remained unchanged since it was built in the mid-1800s.

The fortress of La Mola sits at the entrance to Maó’s natural harbor

A traditional tomato pastry or coca de tomàtic from Es Llonguet

Es Llonguet  Opened in 2014, this Maó bakery is owned by the Ferrer Coll family—their other Maó bakery, L’Única de Can Senyalet, opened in the 1930s. Among Es Llonguet’s wide range of Menorcan pastries, I recommend their coca de tomàtic, a tomato tart with the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Torralba d’en Salord  As a child, I often visited this prehistoric village with my father. I had a special fascination with its ancient hypogeum. Back then, the ruins were covered in wild plants and overgrowth. But the site has since undergone archaeological excavations and maintenance, and is now one of the better-preserved Talaiotic settlements on the island. Located near Alaior, Torralba de’n Salort was inhabited during different historical periods ranging from the Iron Age to Roman times to the Middle Ages.

Talaiotic settlement of Torralba d’en Salord. Courtesy Consell Insular de Menorca

Bookstore La Torre de Papel in Ciutadella

Restaurant Ses Salines  In the bay of Fornells, just a short drive to the north of the island, Ses Salines is the best place for a taste of delicious Menorcan seafood. It is the sister restaurant of the renowned Sa Llagosta, which serves its lobster in Fornells. For lunch, I go for black rice, a type of a paella colored with squid ink.

La Torre de Papel  The narrow streets of the old town in Ciutadella (the island’s westernmost city) are the perfect place to get some shelter from the afternoon sun. Visit the bookshop La Torre de Papel, which specializes in art, philosophy and children’s books. Originally a bookstore café, it was recently reopened by a local artist, Cora Sánchez.

Cap d’Artrutx  To finish the day, I go to Cap d’Artrutx, one of seven lighthouses in Menorca, with one of my favorite sunset views.

Erola Arcalís is an artist based in London whose work combines images of abstract landscapes and sculptural still life to create fictions around individual and collective memories. Her works are included in the exhibition “After the Mediterranean,” on view at Hauser & Wirth Menorca from 2 April – 29 October 2023.