Formentera Majorca Mallorca Travel Destinations Spain


Formentera is the smallest inhabited Balearic Island at just 20 kilometres across. It is a much simpler, less cluttered island than the others, and its inhabitants have the longest life expectancy in Spain.

Limited water supplies have constrained development, a situation compounded by the lack of an airport. You can only arrive by boat, and it is possible to make day trips from Ibiza Town, 16 kilometres away. The ferry takes an hour, the hydrofoil even less.

Boats arrive at the port of Sa Savina, where you can rent cars, mopeds and bikes, before heading to the capital Sant Francesc Xavier. 'Capital' may give false expectations because there is little to see. There's a fortress church dating from the 18th century looking over the small plaza, and a 14th century chapel, but for excitement you'll have to go to one of the few resorts.

The largest of these is Es Pujols on the north east coast. This was a fishing village with a couple of small beaches, which now has the pubs, clubs and apartments that you would expect of a tourist development, albeit on a smaller scale than on the other islands.

Activities on Formentera are geared towards the water, especially windsurfing and diving, rather than golf and tennis. The beaches have some of the whitest sand in Spain, and among the best are Llevan and Illetes on the northern peninsular and Cala Saona to the west. Illetes gets the most tourists and has all the water sports, parasols and restaurants that you could wish for. You can swim 150 metres off Formentera's northern tip to the tiny island of S'Espalmador, a nature reserve whose beaches are entirely unspoilt.

There are some prehistoric remains on Formentera, such as the dolmen (ring of stone) dating from 1600 BC which sits on a nub of land jutting into the Estany Pudent. A more recent ruined fortress tells of the Roman occupation; in those days the island produced grain and the Latin word for wheat, 'frumentus', possibly gave the island its name.

Two special places to eat are Fonda Pepe in Sant Ferran, between Sant Francesc and Es Pujols, an island legend that has been serving food since the 1960s, and the Blue Bar cafe on the south facing Playa Mitjorn.