Formentera

Formentera the last Mediterranean paradise

 

Formentera the smallest of the Balearic Islands and for years known as the “forgotten Balearic” is considered by many the last Mediterranean paradise as it has been able to combine tourism with environment protection.   Back in the 60's it became the perfect shelter for the the hippies coming from all over Europe which played a pivotal role in making itself known to the world.  The island has something for everyone from incredible beaches to spectacular natural landscapes, lighthouses that inspired Jules Verne himself and beachfront bars to enjoy refreshing cocktails while the sun sets.  It is not difficult to imagine why so many visitors have fallen in love with Formentera over the years.

Formentera can only be reached by boat as it does not have an airport; the easiest way to get there is by flying to Ibiza and boarding a ferry which takes about 30 minutes.  For those that do not like to fly there is the possibility of boarding a ferry from Valencia, Denia or Barcelona to Ibiza and then on to Formentera.  During the summer months there is a ferry directly from Denia to the island. This inaccessibility has made Formentera a peaceful place where travelers can be freed from stress and overcrowding. 

Pink Floyd found inspiration in this island for their album More, specifically in Moli Vell, today the windmill Es Calodating back to the eighteenth century has become of great cultural interest.   From here it is easy to get to Camí de Sa Pujada also known as Camí Romà or Roman path about two miles away leading to Es Caló de San Agustí a small fishing village which name references the Augustine monks that founded the monastery of La Mola in the ninth century.  Es Caló is the perfect place to discover little coves in the area making it ideal for those seeking privacy and tranquility. For those who prefer excitement and a cocktail, the beach bar of Arenals overlooking the sea is a great spot.   Nearby, like everything in Formentera, lies the village of San Ferran a place that has some of the most unique crafts on the island and la Fonda Pepe, a legendary establishment where locals go to drink gossip and watch time go by.  We must not forget to visit the lighthouse of Cap de Barberia; stepping down into the hole in the rock to explore the cave and enjoy the views to the beautiful sea.  Iglesia de Sant Franscec

Sant Francesc is the capital of the island at its center stands an 18th century fortified church that used to be equipped with cannons used to keep the pirates at bay.  Opposite the church are the town hall, the post office and the church square, the main meeting point of the town.   In the same plaza you will find Costa shop with its own unique clothing designs inspired by the casual style of the island.  Next to the church on Saturdays there is a second hand market.  In the evenings the market is transformed into a popular cinema showcasing independent films from different countries to accommodate the multicultural ambiance of the island.

If adventure and sea is what you are looking for then head to the windsurfing school ran by Asier Fernandez an Olympic windsurfer that came to the island on vacation for three months and ended up staying.  He runs one of the best windsurfing schools in the world and also organizes Kayak outings around the island, instructive tours that teach visitors about the geological peculiarities of the coastline, the importance of sea grass in the ecosystem and much more.  For the more adventurous he offers windsurfing and sailing lessons visit www.4nomadas.com.

 

Where to Sleep

Riu La Mola - Frommer's Review - located at Es Arenals this hotel is one of the best equipped on the island and during the summer it is packed.  Opening on to the longest beach on the island, Play de Migjorn, La Mola is designed in the style of a Spanish village.
Club Punta Prima - Frommer's Review - built in 1987 in a low slung, two story format hugging the coastline a short walk from the beach, this hotel attracts a loyal clientele from northern Europe.  The good size rooms are comfortably furnished and well maintained.  Great attention has been paid to the enhancement and preservation of the site's isolated natural beauty
Sa Volta - Frommer's Review - this small inexpensive hostal features good, clean modest guestrooms and neatly kept bathrooms with shower stalls.  It has no restaurant, but it is located right in the tourist belt of Formentera in the midst of many cafes, restaurants, and nightlife options.  Reserve well in advance as it is hard to get a room here.

Where to Eat

Fish is the luxury item of Formentera cuisine whether in "guisat" or "bullit" (two varieties of Mediterranean stew) or as an essential part of a rice dish (with or without liquid) Formenteran fish can transform any dish into a compendium of Mediterranean essences.

Figs (fresh or dried), goats' cheese and the excellent "peix sec" (fish dried in the sun which is crumbled and incorporated into salads) are some of the little secrets of the local cuisine.

Juan y Andrea located in Playa Illetas right on the beach.  The restaurant offers local dishes: grilled seafood and fresh fish prepared to perfection and one of the island’s best paella. Also worth noting are the  Arroz Negro (rice with squid ink) and lubina a la sal (sea bass cooked in salt to preserve its juice).

Restaurante Tanga in front of the beach of LLevant serving wonderful paellas and salad of peix sec.

Restaurante Es Cupinà overlooking the beach of Migjorn close to the Riu La Mola hotel and a must to try fig mouse.

Café Matinal en Sant Franscec for its homemade yoghurt and marmalade.

Sa Palmrea located in Playa Es Pujols lying along the beach rustically decorated specialties are fresh fish of the day, zarzuela de mariscos a seafood stew flavored with tomatoes white wine and fish broth.

San Finca in Sant Ferran great for salads with salvia dressing and calamari stuffed with sobrasada.

 

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