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Nature and idyllic beaches on tranquil Formentera

Nature and idyllic beaches on tranquil Formentera

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During our walking holiday in Ibiza, we could see another island in the distance: Formentera. This “sister island” of Ibiza is the smallest island in the Balearics. However, there is surprisingly much to see and experience, as we discovered during a full day trip there by boat. Formentera is definitely worth a visit from Ibiza, even if it’s just for a day. Why, you’ll read in this blog.


A bit of history about Formentera

The story of Formentera begins with Roman rule, during which the island flourished. Roman influences are still visible in the form of ancient structures and artifacts that enrich the island. After the Roman period, Formentera fell under Moorish rule, which brought prosperity to the island.

In the previous century, Formentera became particularly known for the influence of the hippie culture in the 1970s. The arrival of the hippies (“peludos”) transformed the island into a refuge for those seeking an unspoiled environment. This period has had a lasting impact on the island and has contributed to the unique atmosphere that still characterizes it today.

Watch tower

What to do in Formentera

Formentera is a true paradise for beach lovers. We found the beaches here almost tropical, similar to those in the Caribbean. Think of stunning turquoise, crystal-clear water and sugar-white sand. It’s not surprising that most visitors go to Formentera for the beaches, as well as for water sports such as swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkelling.

In addition to beach life, you can wander around the various picturesque, whitewashed villages, especially in Sant Francesc Xavier, the capital of the island. Here, we found charming restaurants, boutiques, and some historical sights, such as the 18th-century parish church and the chapel of Sa Tanca Vella. Furthermore, the island hosts several markets with unique local products, art, and handicrafts.

Nature lovers like us also find plenty to enjoy in Formentera. Here, you have the Ses Salines Natural Park. In this impressive landscape of marshes, salt pans, and pine tree-lined cliffs, you’ll find more than 210 bird species, including the Audouin’s gull, the Balearic shearwater, and pink flamingos. This area is excellent for walks and bike rides due in part to this.


The most beautiful beaches of Formentera

As mentioned, Formentera offers a paradise for beach lovers. Here are the six most beautiful beaches that are well worth a visit:

Playa de Ses Illetes

One of the most beautiful beaches of Formentera, we found Playa de Ses Illetes, located on the Es Trucadors peninsula. With a long and narrow sandy beach, restaurants, and UNESCO World Heritage status, this beach is truly a must-see, in our opinion.

Ses Illetes


This beach, north of Ses Illetes, stretches over about 1400 meters and attracts those seeking tranquillity. The presence of a wooden beach bar and the wind also attracts surfers. You can see the beach as you sail from Ibiza to Formentera by ferry.


Being the longest beach in Formentera, Migjorn offers a mix of quiet coves and rocky parts. With various restaurants and beach bars, it’s the perfect place for a relaxing day at the sea. The beach sand is really lovely here!

Cala Saona

Cala Saona, a favorite among the local population, offers a small but wide beach and is an excellent location to enjoy a sunset. At a short distance are the beautiful cliffs of Punta Pedrera and Punta Rasa. We found the sea water here to look truly tropical.


Cavall d’en Borras

This beach, a little further from the port of Formentera, is quieter than the nearby Ses Illetes. The shallow water and the presence of Posidonia seagrass make it extra special. This seagrass is also the nursery of a lot of marine life. Therefore, make sure to bring your snorkel and mask when you go to this beach!

Es Pujols and Sa Roqueta

Es Pujols is a popular beach next to the village of the same name. You have crystal-clear water and a wide choice of bars and restaurants. It’s also recommended for windsurfers. A little further north is the tranquil playa Sa Roqueta. A little to the southeast, you’ll see the Torre de sa Punta Prima. This old tower is nice to look at, but you can’t enter it.

Es Pujols

Cycling on Formentera

Thanks to its relatively flat terrain and extensive green routes, Formentera is an ideal cycling destination. Whether you have a good cycling condition or are just looking for a relaxed cycling tour, Formentera has something for everyone.

On the official website of Formentera, you can find a useful PDF with so-called green routes. There are 32 routes in total, covering more than 100 kilometers in length. Initially designed for walkers, 29 of the 32 routes are also suitable for cyclists. The PDF is available for free download in Dutch. The routes lead you past some of the most enchanting sights of Formentera, including secluded beaches, picturesque villages, and pristine nature reserves.

For our cycling tour, we combined several routes from the PDF. However, we found this method not always convenient as it resulted in many individual GPX tracks. For this reason, it’s also wise to look for cycling routes on sites such as alltrails.com, komoot.com, or Wikiloc.com.


Walking on Formentera

The aforementioned green routes are perfect for enjoyable walks. However, bear in mind that there’s little shelter on the island. In the summer months, it can quickly become too hot for a (longer) walk. Therefore, we hardly walked on Formentera, except for a few short stretches in the nature reserve. We explored almost everything by bike.

In addition to a useful PDF, the Formentera website also provides a more comprehensive overview of all the green routes. Using a user-friendly search filter, you can quickly search by categories such as difficulty and distance. In addition to a detailed description of the walk (or bike ride!), you can also find links to the GPX track or the route on Wikiloc. Convenient!


Cultural and Historical Sights

Some of the green routes lead through picturesque places and past historical landmarks. We’ll highlight a few of these places because they are truly worth a visit.

Sant Francesc Xavier

Sant Francesc Xavier is the capital of Formentera. It is a picturesque town with whitewashed buildings and a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to cosy restaurants and terraces, boutiques, and local markets, you’ll find an interesting church here. The austere-looking church dates back to the first half of the 18th century, a period when Formentera frequently dealt with pirates. The church therefore had a defensive function, which is still visible in the door covered with iron plates. We wanted to take a look inside, but there was a wedding taking place at that time.


Sant Ferran de ses Roques

Sant Ferran de ses Roques is a charming village known for its relaxed atmosphere and artistic community. The village offers a variety of art galleries, bohemian-style cafes, and cosy bars. It’s a popular destination for art lovers.

La Mola

On the east side of the island lies La Mola, a picturesque village dominated by the impressive La Mola lighthouse. You have breathtaking panoramic views of the cliffs and the sea. During the summer season, there is an artisan market every Wednesday and Sunday, which is the island’s main market.

Es Caló de Sant Agustí

Es Caló de Sant Agustí is a picturesque fishing village with a small harbour and traditional whitewashed houses. The village is set in a quiet and picturesque environment, offering excellent fish restaurants and beautiful views over the Mediterranean Sea.

La Mola

Practical tips for visiting Formentera

Where is Formentera located and how to get there?

Formentera is part of the Balearic Islands, located east of Spain. The island lies south of Ibiza. The most common way to travel to Formentera is by ferry from Ibiza. Ferry services from Ibiza to Formentera depart regularly, with the crossing usually taking around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the chosen ferry service. Additionally, there are also ferry services from the Spanish mainland, particularly from the ports of Denia and Valencia.

What are the transport options on Formentera?

To get around the island, you have the following options:

  • Cycling: This is the most environmentally friendly (and enjoyable) way to explore the island, with numerous rental companies available.
  • Buses: Various regular bus lines operate from La Savina to the villages, beaches, and resorts on the island.
  • Scooter Rental: A fast but less sustainable way to explore the island is by scooter, with plenty of rental companies available, including Moto Rent Formentera.
  • Car Rental: If you are traveling with more than two people and luggage, renting a car is an option, with several car rental companies on the island, some of which also offer electric cars.
  • Taxis: Taxis do not have meters, so the fares are determined by the driver. Uber is not available on Formentera.
What is the best time to visit Formentera?

The best time to visit Formentera is during late spring, summer, and early autumn, from May to October. During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny, the sea is warm enough for swimming, and most amenities and tourist services are fully operational. Outside of this period, the weather can be more changeable, and some facilities may be closed.

What is Formentera particularly known for?

Formentera is particularly known for its beautiful unspoiled beaches with crystal-clear water and white sand. The island is also renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, picturesque villages, and delicious Mediterranean cuisine, making it a popular destination, especially for those seeking tranquillity.

What are the most picturesque villages in Formentera?

Formentera boasts several picturesque villages worth visiting, including:

  • Sant Francesc Xavier: The island's capital, with its charming squares, local shops, and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Sant Ferran de ses Roques: An artistic village with boutiques, art galleries, and cosy cafes.
  • La Mola: A picturesque village situated on a cliff, offering stunning views and a distinctive lighthouse.
  • Es Caló de Sant Agustí: A small fishing village with a picturesque harbour and excellent fish restaurants.
How many days do I need to get to know Formentera well?

If you're not visiting Formentera primarily as a beach destination, you'll need about two days to get to know the island well. We were there for only a day and found it to be just insufficient. However, if you're a beach lover, you can easily enjoy yourself for about five days.

Where can I dine well in Formentera?

Formentera offers numerous restaurants where you can dine well. Here are some recommendations based on search results:

  • Pastis Restaurant Formentera: Charming atmosphere and delightful dishes. Try the delicious almond-roasted trout or the delightful mussels. Varied menu and interesting wines, though somewhat pricey.
  • Salitre de Mar: A fine, brand-new spot on the large bay at La Savina. We had a wonderful meal and drinks here, particularly impressed by the service!
  • Lo Bocana: A relaxed eatery with a splendid sea view and tasty dishes, especially the seafood. Good food at a reasonable price.
  • Vanni Formentera: A beautiful menu featuring delicious Mediterranean dishes, from fresh fish to exquisite meat dishes.
  • Ritmo Formentera: Located in the centre of Sant Ferran, this restaurant offers a high-quality culinary experience with a focus on detail in the decor. It serves typical Mediterranean dishes with fresh ingredients and also offers excellent cocktails on the picturesque terrace.
  • Fonda Plate: Cozy bar-restaurant with a lovely terrace in the heart of Sant Francesc-Xavier. Perfectly prepared nacho chips and excellent tapas! Reasonably priced. We could spend hours here!
Where can I stay comfortably in Formentera?

Formentera offers a wide range of generally pleasant and comfortable accommodations, ranging from romantic and secluded hotels to luxury boutique hotels and holiday farms. You can view the full list of accommodations in Formentera.