Tourists Strip Menorca Of Natural Treasures

Souvenir Hunters Put Menorca At Risk

Image of Menorca. Credit: Serenity-H/

Are souvenir hunters on holiday harming the natural habitats of Spain? In a shocking revelation, the Guardia Civil revealed that around 14 tons of geological materials have been seized at Menorca Airport since 2015.

In 2022 alone, a staggering 1,083 kilos of geological souvenirs – including sand, stones, and fossils – were confiscated.

These items, often taken by tourists as personal mementoes are taken from Menorca‘s picturesque beaches and unique geological zones like Favaritx.

The sheer volume of these thefts poses a severe threat to the island’s natural heritage, writes La Vanguardia.

Conservation Efforts Underway

Marta Carreras, a technician at the Council of Menorca, explained their partnership with the Mestral association. They collect confiscated materials at the airport where they classify them by type and origin, and return them to their natural habitats.

The process is guided by the Geology Centre’s interpretive guidelines, which categorise Menorca’s landscape into five units based on rock colour and geological features.

Impact And Awareness

Despite these efforts, Carreras acknowledges that only a fraction of the removed materials is recovered. Many tourists, along with locals, are unaware of the significant damage caused by these seemingly harmless actions.

The widespread nature of this issue necessitates increased public awareness to prevent further environmental harm.

With a population of just 100,000, Menorca’s natural beauty is at risk due to the annual influx of 1.7 million tourists.

Initiatives like environmental training workshops led by Agusti Rodriguez, a geologist, and the Mestral association’s classification projects, play a crucial role in educating the public and preserving Menorca’s geological integrity.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.