Find your feet in Formentera

Whether it’s your first trip to Ibiza, your tenth consecutive summer holiday or you’re a seasoned lifer, island-hopping to Formentera is a must-do for every Ibiza visitor and resident alike. While the two islands are indeed similar by nature – think white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and sunsets – the more bohemian little Balearic island has a laid-back, grass-roots appeal that makes it feel worlds apart, even though it’s really just a quick 30-minute journey across the sea. Once you’ve come ashore, finding your feet in Formentera is not always that simple, as the island remains slightly off grid when it comes to general information, online guides and magazines – read our insider’s guide to the island and you’ll be one step ahead of your fellow travellers.

First things first – get your bearings. Formentera is tiny – just 19 kilometres long and only six kilometres wide – so you’re never too far away from anywhere you want to go. The main port of La Savina (facing directly opposite Ibiza) is where all commercial ferries dock, while private charters tend to head directly for the adjacent beach of llletes. Illetes is known as a European jet-set playground and when you first lay eyes on its Caribbean-clear waters and stretch of pure white sand, you’ll completely understand why many day-trippers don’t venture further than here. It’s 100% pure paradise.

"Sant Francesc"

Ask anyone who lives in Ibiza however, and they’ll tell you that Formentera’s true magic is found further inland, and around the coast. As you drive out of the port and village of La Savina, you’ll quickly come into one of the island’s ‘major’ (yet tiny) villages, Sant Francesc – by day, it could be compared to a ghost town, as life in Formentera is definitely lived by the water, but once the sun sets, this is the place to be for fantastic food, a buzzing atmosphere and sensational people watching. A beautiful church takes pride of place in the cobblestone square, often the location of live concerts and fiestas in summer – the highlight being the town’s signature Flower Power party.

Two of Formentera’s most renowned fine dining restaurants sit just on the cusp of Sant Francesc – Ca Na Joana, set in a 17th century finca dripping with bougainvillea and serving up Mediterranean classics, and Can Carlos, a fairy-lit haven with an Italian-influenced menu that also showcases the best of Formentera. For a more laid-back vibe, vibrant corner restaurant Casadela serves up artisanal pasta, hip and healthy hangout Bona Espina keeps things on a fresh and light Mediterranean tip while Japoneria Bufambo is Formentera’s number one sushi spot. Right by the church, Ca Na Pepa is an island local’s favourite.

"Sant Ferran de Ses Roques"

Continue on the main road (it’s not quite a highway) that cuts down the centre of the island and you’ll come to the next of the local villages, the rustic chic Sant Ferran de Ses Roques. This is the place where locals come together for aperitivo, pizza (Macondo is a must-visit) and live music, with plenty of performers busking in the streets and an open-air stage in summer for special events. The night market is a must for anyone seeking an authentic Formentera souvenir – local artists, jewellers and designers showcase their wares every night from sunset. The vibe here is casual, in keeping with the hostel in then heart of the village – Fonda Pepe is where you can hang out in the bar Bob Marley once frequented in the late 60s, and the décor, not to mention the prices, don’t seem to have moved with the times. It’s all part of the charm.

When you’re on the road again, keep driving until you reach ‘the top’ of the island – although we recommend a quick coffee break at lookout restaurant Mirador, where you can see all the way across Formentera and Espalmador to Ibiza. At the end of the road you’ve arrived at El Pilar de la Mola, the last of the island’s main villages and the location of the lighthouse Jules Verne described as ‘a place to take measure of the world’ in his novel The Lighthouse at the End of the World. You’ll spot a monument to the famed writer on the cliffs. The hippie market is another iconic stop-off, but be sure to note it’s only open on Wednesdays and Sundays.

"Platja de Migjorn"

Now you’ve covered all the inland ground, it’s time to get to know Formentera via its incredible coastline. Migjorn is the biggest by far, dominating the entire five-kilometre stretch of sand on the south coast. It’s also quite varied – made up of lots of little curved coves, all accessed by different caminos coming off the main road, it can be fun to try them all. Start at the furthest end, where the teensy tiny Calo des Mort defies its creepy name (it translates to ‘bay of the dead’) with stunning clear water and just a small patch of sand that makes it feel like your own private cove. Arenals comes next, where you can make a wish on the shell-covered tree at Bartolo’s – another institution serving up simple beach food since 1976.

If you prefer something fancy, head further north to the recently revamped Flipper – a classic boho-chic chiringuito bedecked with local art and a hand-written menu that makes you feel as if you’re in the home of a very chic Italian friend. Keep heading north to arrive at Gecko – a beach club and restaurant with a touch of French Riviera chic and a high-end menu with Spanish classics like lobster rice and paella. Just a few steps down the wooden walkway on the beach is Kiosko 62 – a little beach shack serving up their signature gin and lemon smash sundowner cocktails while reggae floats on the airwaves, 365 days a year.

"Es Pujols"

Sunset lovers will be enamoured of west coast bay Cala Saona. By day, it’s awash with brightly coloured beach umbrellas, and there are more people in the sea than on the sand. Million dollar yachts bob in the bay and as dusk starts to settle, the place to be is the little bar precariously balanced on stilts on the side of the cliff, with views all the way across to Es Vedra – stop off at farm to table garden restaurant A Mi Manera for a cocktail on your way out. Of course, the famous Ses Illetes is also known for sunsets, with places like Beso Beach, Sa Sequi and Juan y Andrea keeping their customers tipsy on mojitos and cava sangria long after the sun’s said good night.

Just a little around the coastline from Illetes is Es Pujols – Formentera’s only resort town, and an area that’s experienced a gentrification of sorts this summer. The famous beach restaurant Chezz Gerdi occupies one end of the beach, while the other end is home to chic Italian newcomer Bocasalina. Meanwhile, high up on the rooftop of the island’s Kokoy by Hideki Matsuhisa, serving up haute Japanese fusion cuisine with stunning views across to Ibiza. If you didn’t leave the urge to party behind in Ibiza, you’ll find the two mini-clubs, Tipic and Pineta, primed and waiting for a downsized dance-til-dawn experience.

Finally, Es Calo is another little area that really must be discovered on any Formentera road trip. On the other side of the main road to Migjorn, the beach itself is quite small, but it’s the typical local cuisine from restaurants Es Calo and Can Rafalet that drives tourists here in droves. You may have gathered by now that food (and quite often Italian food) is a big deal in Formentera; it offsets the languid days spent on the sand. Other dining destinations to look out for include Can Dani – contemporary Michelin quality Mediterranean dining – and the quaint and creative Can Caterina, plus Casbah, an exquisite little location tucked away in the thick of a pine forest.

Horse riding on the beach, island-wide bicycle tours (unlike Ibiza, Formentera is mostly flat), crystal clear kayaking, yoga, SUP (and yoga on SUP boards!) – there’s no shortage of activities if you decide to extend your stay in Formentera. Contact our Guest Relations team if you’d like to arrange a boat charter to Ibiza’s little sister isle, or an on-island itinerary with a difference while you’re there. They might even share some top secret local tips with you!

If you wish to discover Formentera during your stay, the resort provides its own charter services with three different Pershing yachts, contact our team for more information. 

E: yachting@7Pines.com     T: +34 971 195 200  

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