Three must visit beaches in Formentera
1. S’Alga, S’Espalmador Island
Regular 40-minute round-trip sails from La Savina to the peaceful, private island of S’Espalmador off the northern tip of Formentera cost €22.50 (£19.50). Choose from sandy S’Alga beach, the coves of Cala de Bocs and Sa Torreta or wallow in mud in the central salt plain. Bring refreshments, sunscreen and parasol as there are no amenities.
On the Trucadors peninsula, east of popular Playa de Illetes, is the quieter and wilder Playa de Llevant within Ses Salines Nature Park. Its white sandy beach surprises with shaggy dunes, wooden footbridges, forestland and salt ponds.
3. Cala Saona
This craggy cove flanked by fiery cliffs and fringed with pine trees and quaint wooden boat houses, has a safe, sandy beach and simple chiringuito bar offering drinks and snacks. Clamber up the red rocks on either side for clear vistas out to sea or visit the high cliffs of Punta Rasa by boat.
A spotlight on... sustainability in Formentera
The Balearic Islands have long been reputed for their eco-credentials and conservation is something the local government of Formentera takes very seriously. Enter the Save Posidonia Project, a pioneering conservation initiative set up to protect Posidonia Oceanica, a unique seagrass believed to be the reason behind the Mediterranean Sea’s turquoise colour.
And it is well worth protecting. The Posidonia is one of the most important natural values of Formentera, playing a significant role in the coastal ecosystem by contributing to maintain the quality and oxygenation of the water by filtering the sediments which gives the water its unique transparency.
So how can you get involved? The initiative allows both companies and individuals to sponsor a small patch of the seagrass for as little as one euro, the funds from which go directly to the programme. Over 250,000 sqkm of the Posidonia Oceanica meadows have already been sponsored and preserved.
That's not the only way Formentera's environment is being protected. The Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera movement started in 2018. Formed of local non-profit organisers, they work alongside volunteers to raise awareness about plastic pollution and offer solutions to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Their goal? To ensure both Formentera and Ibiza are free of single-use plastics by 2023.
How to spend 48 hours in Formentera
Head to La Savina for a takeaway breakfast at el Tamis Formentera before hopping on a ferry to the private island of S’Espalmador. Here, enjoy the wild and natural sandy beach and clear waters of S’Alga or birdwatch at the saltwater wetlands of Sa Bassa de S’Espalmador. Inland, visit the defence tower of Guardiola, the coves of Bocs and Sa Torreta and natural mud baths of the salt plain.
Return by boat to La Savina, passing the turquoise waters of Illetes beach en route. Head to Sant Francesc and pop by the Spartan white fortified church, inaugurated in 1738. Also in the plaça is the tiny 14th century barrel-vaulted chapel of Sa Tanca Vella and close by, the two-room ethnological museum. If you arrive by 2pm, browse the local craft market and enjoy an authentic Italian ice-cream at La Mukkeria. Once refreshed, follow the road to the remote, lunar-type landscape of the Barbària Peninsula to view the meagre remains of three 3,800-year-old Bronze age settlements, the secluded lighthouse and 18th century Garroveret watch tower.
Take a detour to Cala Saona for a fortifying mojito at the Kiosko bar and climb up the south side of the red rocks to watch the sun go down. From here, go east to lively Es Pujols and enjoy dinner on the terrace overlooking the sea at Tahiti Beach Formentera. There are also many great restaurants in Paseo Maritimo to admire the sea views such as S'Avaradero.
Rise early to catch the morning sunrise at Playa Llevant or Illetes before stopping for breakfast at S'Espardell in Es Pujols. Now, take in the splendour of the megalithic tomb of Ca Na Costa with its concentric circles of stone and watch the flamingos, Terns and Balearic Shearwaters in the shimmering lagoons, formerly salt pans, of Estany Pudent and Estany des Peix. Make your way to Sant Ferran and visit both the 19th century sandstone church and legendary sixties hangout, Bar Fonda Pepe, before enjoying lunch at veggie haven, Blat Picat.
Taking the highway to Castell Romà de Can Blai, the remains of a Roman fortification, and follow Green Route 32 to La Mola through wild and rugged countryside, passing Terramoll vineyards and El Pilar de la Mola church. At the eastern tip is the lonely white Far de la Mola and a stone monument to writer, Jules Verne, who was sufficiently inspired to include it in a novel. Two historic windmills can be found here but newly renovated, 18th century Molí Vell is especially interesting, as it once served as a hippy commune where Bob Dylan purportedly lived for five months.
After a busy day, feast on paella at La Fragata and savour the views over the sea. Later, if it’s a Wednesday or a Sunday, head back to Sa Mola for the evening hippy art and craft market with live music until late.
Three foodie experiences in Formentera