You know Ibiza. We know Ibiza. Everyone knows Ibiza. Even if you’ve never been, you probably have at least a loose idea of what to expect when you visit this Balearic beauty. So, what can you do to get a different perspective on the White Island? Well, exploring some of its hidden-gem beaches is one way, but a boat trip is another.
Though trips are available from Ibiza Town – including ferry services to Valencia and Barcelona – Sant Antoni is the place to go for Ibiza boat trips of a more recreational nature. Hop aboard for voyages around the island, power boat rides (for occasions when less adrenaline-pumping boat trips won’t suffice) or diving boat trips.
For the many ways to see Ibiza by boat, just browse our video guide to all things nautical on the island:
After all that, if you’re tempted to take a boat trip from Ibiza, might we recommend one to Formentera? Read on for more about Ibiza’s bohemian neighbour.
Just over 20 km from Ibiza lies the blissfully unspoilt island of Formentera – home to unbelievable azure waters, a burgeoning beach club scene, and incredible white-sand beaches which are rated among some of the very best in the Mediterranean.
Although it’s always been overshadowed by the disco debauchery of Ibiza, Formentera has always – at least in recent history – had an association with celebrity. Unknown until the 1970s when the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan rocked up, this little island still attracts a steady stream of if-you-know-you-know visitors including Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio. And now you. (You’re welcome.)
In a way, Formentera is the opposite of Ibiza. It might not be quite the shy-and-retiring place it once was, but there’s very little to see and do on the island… and in a way, that’s the whole point. Where vibrant Ibiza has nightclubs, resorts and a constant stream of construction projects bringing luxury resorts and accommodation to the island, less-is-more Formentera continues to enjoy life at a slower pace.
It’s as if the entire island was purpose-built for maximum relaxation and minimal crowds – if you were planning a few days here (more on that later), the itinerary might consist only of bike rides to and from its snow-white beaches for a spot of all-day sunbathing.
The beaches, of course, are the main attraction. Platja Illetes is as close to the Caribbean as anywhere you’ll find in the northern hemisphere, while the divinely undeveloped Platja Levant and charming Cala Saona are also well worth a visit.
Tiny Formentera is, unsurprisingly, perfect for exploring on two wheels rather than four. Once you’ve stepped off the ferry at the port of La Savina, you’ll find no shortage of places to hire a bike. While you could hire a car, bikes are the preferred method of transport for many of the island’s visitors, with a network of pedestrian and cycle-friendly ‘Green Routes’ (Rutas Verdes) to take you all over the island.
Download a map here.
Buses and scooters are also available for those who don’t fancy getting a sweat on, and day visitors should look to get on the L3 bus, which takes in some of the island‘s more tourist-focused sites. Pick up a ticket inside the ferry terminal at La Savina.
Timetables can be found at the Formentera bus company website (though, unfortunately, there are none available in English.)
As Formentera has started to emerge from the shadow of its sibling, its restaurant scene has begun to flourish. Understandably, restaurant menus have a strong seafood slant, with Spanish and Italian influences naturally coming to the fore. From beachside bars to rustic restaurants, here are just a few of the places any visiting foodie really should check out:
Juan Y Andrea (Playa Illetes, s/n, 07871 Illes Baleas, Illes Balears, Spain) is tucked away in the dunes near Platja Illetes, and has occasionally been heralded as one of the best restaurants not just in the Balearics, but in all of Europe. Dine in the shade of the four huge palm trees surrounding this family-run restaurant, and tuck into some sensational seafood specialties while enjoying a cracking view of the beach. Can Dani (Carretera de La Mola, Km 8.5, 07871 Sant Ferran de ses Roques, Balearic Islands, Spain) is the first restaurant in the Pitiusas (as Ibiza and Formentera are collectively known) to have been awarded a Michelin star. While it no longer holds the coveted award, the standard of food here is still incredibly high. Other highlights include Beso Beach (s/n, Parque Natural de Ses Salines Playa de Cavall d´en Borràs, 07860, Balearic Islands, Spain) – a perfect spot for some Catalan paella – and Can Carlos (07860 Sant Francesc Xavier, Balearic Islands, Spain) with its romantic outdoor terrace and garden, for delicious Mediterranean classics.
Of course, your trip to Formentera doesn’t have to be restricted to just one day. Another difference between Ibiza and its little sister is their contrasting approach to tourism: Environmentally ethical, Formentera limits its construction and hotel numbers. That said, hotels like the sparkling-white Hotel Cala Saona ( Carretera a Cala Saona, 6, 07860, Illes Balears, Spain), the boutique hideaway Can Tres (Camí de Can Simonet, 07860 San Francisco Javier, Illes Balears, Spain) – comprised of three, cosy, architect-designed apartment buildings – or the converted farmhouse Etosoto (Lugar Venda De Ses Roques, 3806, 07871 Sant Ferran de Ses Roques, Illes Balears, Spain) are suitably luxurious places to rest your head should you fancy a longer stay.
So, if you’re planning a boat trip from Ibiza, Formentera is the place to go. And if you want more from your trip to Ibiza than visiting – and potentially staying on – an island that‘s not Ibiza, then we’ve got you covered. Need to know where the top yoga retreats, best beaches and best restaurants in Ibiza are? Then look no further than our guides.
Sign up to receive weekly offers and travel inspiration. You’ll also get the gift of a dedicated Balearic Islands travel guide, created in collaboration with Rough Guides.