Formentera, Balearics

Hippy vibes, stunning beaches, nature trails


Hippy vibes, stunning beaches, nature trails

They say it’s made of cheese, this smallest of Balearic isles. A tiny paradise coloured with deep hues of sapphire and emerald. Pristine and pretty, crystal clear waters lap golden shores and palm trees sway gently in the Mediterranean breeze. And what about the cheese you may indeed ask. Well so it’s claimed thanks to vast network of caves, miles of which riddle the island, caverns and grottos forming a hundred hidden homes for the hippies who’ve lingered since the 60s among the cliffs overlooking the sea.

Just a few miles from its hedonist sister, Formentera feels a world apart from Ibiza’s eternal party. At 20km long and only 2km wide at its narrowest point, here you’re never far from one of the island’s beautiful beaches or quiet coves. It’s the perfect place to enjoy diving, underwater photography, or kayaking in the calm waters, or just relax and dine on amazing fresh seafood on a beachfront terrace.

Sounds idyllic? Well, other visitors have long thought so, and during the summer months the island does see an influx of holiday makers, coming mostly from France, Germany and mainland Spain. Formentera remains less frequented by the British travellers who flock to more familiar Balearic shores. This is set to change though owing to the arrival of A-listers Kate Moss, Leonardo di Caprico and some well-known footballing faces. So from mid-June to Mid-September Formentera steps up, with beaches filled, culinary venues running at peak performance, and the island’s small but chic clubbing scene in full swing. Low Season Travellers should think about visiting from around April when the season is opening to mid-June, or alternatively the late September to October months. At these times the weather is plenty warm enough to enjoy beach life and watersports in peace. The island breathes again with the tranquillity and purity in more reasonable temperatures. Winter adventures are possible too, with ferries continuing year round to service the 12,000 residents. The island remains lovely at this time, but be aware that many eateries and hotels do close completely until spring.

Getting There and Getting Around

One of Formentera’s great blessings is that it can be reached only by boat. Ferries run regularly from neighbouring Ibiza. The crossing takes 30 minutes or so and one way costs upwards of €20. If you’re feeling flush, consider renting a speedboat, with or without skipper, and arrive in style. Landing at the port town of La Savina choose whether you want to hire a car, moped, bicycle or e-bike, and it’s super easy to get around. Plus, once the heat of summer has relented, low season brings a perfect climate to enjoy the 30 or so well signed green routes. These take you hiking or cycling through the unspolit beauty of hidden corners, passing historic lighthouses, nature reserves and small forests.

Are we in the Caribbean?

Just about everywhere in the Med claims to have the very best beaches, but in the case of Formentera, there may actually be a valid claim. Unlike other islands and resorts, Formentera has banned beachfront construction for more than 45 years leaving a coastline dotted with chiringuitos, rustic beach bars, and fine clean sand. On the northern coast Ses Illetes is particularly undeveloped, once winning ‘best beach in Spain’, while in the south, Platja Migjorn stretches for more than 6km. Cala Saona is popular with families due to its shallow lagoon like shores, and Platja de Llevant is the official nudist beach. Explore and find your own favourite.

Wild Formentera

Flora and fauna thrive in the island’s outstanding natural environment. It’s a real draw for birdwatchers with more than 200 bird species living here along the shoreline and wetlands. Estany Pudent in particular boasts a beautiful phenomenon with hundreds of flamingos migrating between August and October each year. Dusk is the best time to see them. Formentera has a strong bent towards sustainability. Of special note is the Save Posidonia Project which launched an action plan to conserve this rare UNESCO protected marine plant.

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar Apr
Jul Aug Sep
Nov Dec

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Formentera Jazz Festival

Taking place at the end of September, the festival has been running for 7 years since 2015. Inspired by the island’s long musical past, local and international artists come together to embrace different genres and work creatively in this magical place.

El Pilar de la Mola Hiking Trail

This beautifully scenic 13.5km loop explores La Mola peninsula on the island’s eastern side. It’s rated as moderate and takes 5 to 6 hours to complete. Hike through fields, vineyards and forests to the cliffs of La Mola lighthouse built in 1861.

Dive Freus Marine Reserve

Freus Reserve is a spectacular dive site, between Formentera and Ibiza. It’s the only natural area in the Med on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and home to Posidonia Oceanica meadows, caves, and, in spring, sea turtles migrating to Mexico.

Insider Tips

  • Formentera was a hot stop on hippie trail. Members of Pink Floyd spent happy summers in the late 60s in a house in the Migjorn area; Joni Mitchell wrote her 1971 album Blue on the island; and Bob Dylan lived a while in a 200 year old windmill.
  • Low season is sports season with many energetic events taking place once summer is through. Embrace your inner yogi at the Zen yoga festival; run in the island’s own half Marathon; or get involved in the annual triathlon or BTT cycling tour.
  • Don’t miss culinary delights like farmer’s salad (with dried fish), frit de polp (fried octopus), calamars a la bruta (fried squid in its ink), or bullit de peix (fish stew). For dessert, there’s flaó (cheese cake with mint) or orelletes (aniseed sweets).

Good To Know

  • Live webcams around the island mean you can keep an eye on your beautiful destination before arrival at See the village of Es Calo, Sant Francesc plaza, Estany des Peix lagoon and La Mola lighthouse.
  • If you are after the best of the low season nightlife, try El Pujols, the island’s main resort. The seafront has plenty of restaurants, shops and markets, but check out also the laidback alleys behind the promenade with small tavernas and cafes.
  • At the craft markets you’ll find the usual textiles and jewellery produced by artists living on the island, but for a special gift check out the guitar workshop in San Ferran de Ses Roques. You can even take a 3 week course to make your very own guitar.

Food & Drink

Restaurant Can Rafalet

A spacious venue with indoor dining and outdoor terrace on the shores of Es Caló, sporting spectacular sea views. Serves specialties typical of the island, including amazing seafood and exquisite desserts.

Restaurant Vogamarí

A stylish eatery committed to fusion cuisine and accessible via a walkway directly from Migjorn Beach. Toni Mayans, well-known chef from Formentera, revamped the restaurant in 2010 with considerable success.

Quimera Restaurant & Lounge

Gastronomy that appeals to the senses in the port town of La Savina. Mediterranean fusion created with fresh fish and seafood, supplemented with vegetables from an in- house garden. Delicious sunset cocktails.

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