Bids invited for sun-drenched Mediterranean island

It is the dream of many - but in the realms of few - and now bids are being invited from would-be buyers of their very own Mediterranean islet.

Illa d'en Colom, 200 metres off the coast of Menorca, Spain, is expected to fetch £5 million after being put up for sale by the family which has owned it for more than 100 years.

The 58-hectare islet is part of the s'Albufera des Grau's Natural Park and, the particulars say, boasts two stunning beaches with a sandy southern coastline and a contrasting rugged, northern area where cliffs sweep upwards and overlook the sea.

Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands, attracts thousands of visitors from the UK each year, including the rich and famous.

Earlier this week comedian Paddy McGuinness was pictured on Menorca strolling along the beach hand-in-hand with girlfriend Christine Martin.

The island was once a British possession and preparations are under way to mark next year's 300th anniversary of the British Naval Hospital there.

Colin Guanaria, a partner in estate agents Bonnin Sanso, which is handling the sale, said: "Mediterranean islands rarely come on the market and this is a beautiful spot - unspoilt, tranquil."

Mr Guanaria said likely bidders may be "big yacht owners" as Illa d'en Colom offers safe anchorage and is a reasonably quick cruise from the south of France and Italy.

His company has chartered a Cessna aircraft to give interested parties as bird-eye tour of the property.

"It really has to be seen to be believed," he said.

"If I'd won the Euromillions jackpot last weekend I'd buy it without a second thought.

"Sadly, I didn't pick the winning numbers."

Illa d'en Colom was purchased by Antonio Roca y Varez in 1904 for just 7,850 pesetas.

It is still owned by the Catalonia-based Roca family who have used it as a summer retreat.

But the large family home on the island, as with many of the outhouses, has fallen into disrepair and rebuilding can only be undertaken on the footprint of existing structures.

Bidders must also be aware that both beaches are public domains and in the summer they attract many visitors via boat and canoe from Es Grau.

It is also the responsibility of the landowner to protect the unspoilt habitat and diverse wildlife, which includes a lizard found only on this island.