7 Things to do in Formentera

Tranquil, easy-going Formentera could hardly be more of a contrast to Ibiza. The island is very flat, and has a population of just 12,000. Most visitors are drawn here by the exceptionally clear water and some of the longest, whitest, cleanest and least crowded beaches in Spain. The island has just one resort, Es Pujols, a restrained, small-scale affair. Inland, the beautiful, sun-baked countryside is a patchwork of golden wheatfields, vines, carob and fig trees, divided by old dry-stone walls. Bliss.

1. Sant Francesc Xavier: Formentera’s tiny capital

Sant Francesc Xavier is a pretty little town of whitewashed streets. Its heart is the Plaça de sa Constitució, a fetching little square with a few benches scattered between gnarled olive trunks and palm trees. The forbidding, fortified Església de Sant Francesc Xavier stands on the north side of the plaça. By Formentera’s standards, Sant Francesc gets quite lively in summer when it bustles with tourists making the most of the shops and bars. On Saturday evenings, live jazz plays in the plaça and there’s outdoor cinema on Tuesday evenings at the Jardí de ses Eres. Sant Francesc’s market is held every morning except Sunday in the summer months.

2. Explore some of Spain’s finest beaches

It’s no secret - Formentera boasts some of the Balearic’s best beaches. The renowned Playa de Ses Illetes is regularly ranked as one of the finest in Europe, with white sands extending out into calm, turquoise waters, it’s worth a trip in itself. But if you look beyond the most famous, you’ll find a beach to suit every type of visit; from peaceful bays ideal for families, to unspoilt, open coastline backed by steep, rocky cliffs. Want to find out more? Then check out our full list of Formentera’s best beaches.

3. Fantastic coastal walks

There are some excellent cliffside walking routes south of Cala Saona, along coastal paths that meander past sabina pines and sand dunes and offer plenty of quiet, shady spots for a picnic lunch. The views from this section of the coast are stunning, with a dramatic perspective over the Mediterranean to the sphinx-like contours of Es Vedrà and Es Vedranell, and to the soaring hills of southern Ibiza.

4. Es Pujols: Formentera’s only real resort

Located 2km north of the village of Sant Ferran, Es Pujols is an attractive, small-scale affair. It’s lively but not too boisterous, with a good quota of bars and a decent nightclub. The reason for its success is its beach scene – two crescents of fine white sand, separated by a low rocky coastal shelf and dotted with ramshackle fishing huts. The beautiful shallow, turquoise water here heats up to tropical temperatures by August, when it can get very crowded, with rows of sunbeds packing the sands. There’s nothing much to see away from the beach, and nightlife consists mainly of a stroll along the promenade, selecting a seafront restaurant and browsing the market stalls.

5. Navigate the Trucador peninsula to Espalmador

The idyllic Trucador peninsula extends north from Platja Illetes and Llevant towards the island of Espalmador. You’ll have to continue on foot if you want to explore this very narrow final section of the peninsula, which is barely 30 metres wide and bordered by blinding, white powdery sand that never seems to get too busy. A kilometre from the Platja Llevant car park, you reach the northerly tip of Formentera, Es Pas, or “The Crossing”, partially connected to the island of Espalmador by a 300-metre sand bar. If the sea is not too choppy, you should be able to wade across without soaking your belongings.

6. Catch the epic scenery and sunsets at La Mola

The knuckle-shaped tableland of La Mola, the island’s eastern tip, is the most scenic part of Formentera, combining dense forest with traditionally farmed countryside. La Mola’s limestone promontory looks down on the rest of the island from a high point of 192 metres, and there are stunning views across the ocean from the steep cliffs. From Es Caló de Sant Agustí, the highway’s steep incline continues, winding through Formentera’s largest forest until you reach the El Mirador restaurant, from where there are sublime sunset views.

7. Catch your ferry from La Savina

Set in a small natural harbour in the northwest corner of the island, orderly La Savina is likely to be your first (or last) view of Formentera, as all ferries from Ibiza dock here. It’s a sleepy place, ferry traffic aside, but the modern harbour is pleasant, with cafés perfectly placed if you need to while away some time before your ferry departs. Find out more about travelling between the islands: Ibiza boat trips.

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