Formentera is the smallest and the southernmost island of the Balearic Sea, a Mediterranean paradise for relaxing holidays. An island with unspoiled natural beauty and amazing beaches, Formentera is the peaceful destination you are looking for! Find information about vacation in Formentera, what to do on the island, beaches, sightseeing, food, as well as details about ferry schedules and how to get there.
Vacation in Formentera
Formentera belongs to the Balearic island complex and it is located south of Ibiza and east of the coast of Denia in the Iberian peninsula. It is often called Ibiza's "sister island" as it is just 40 minutes away by ferry. The island of Formentera is the perfect choice if you want to relax after some intense party days in Ibiza or take a day trip to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Of course, Formentera is much more than an add-on to your Ibiza holidays: a small paradise in the Balearic Sea.
Formentera is a popular holiday destination particularly during the summer months, with lots of visitors from Italy, Spain, and northern Europe. The island has some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean (if not in the world), as well as a unique landscape that will charm you straight away. Formentera is a less-is-more island with compact size (just 22km long) and the ideal way to move around is by bicycle or scooter. No one is ever in a hurry there, anyway! The relaxed vibe of the island in combination with the impressive scenery has made Formentera an attraction for hippies from all over the world. It is said that, along with Ibiza, it was an important meeting point for hippies traveling from Europe to India.
The capital of the island is Sant Francesc de Formentera, which is located in the mainland about a 5-min drive or a 15-min cycle from the port of La Savina. An interesting fact about Formentera is the island’s environmental awareness. The citizens of Formentera practice limited car usage and promote the use of electric vehicles, bicycles, or even horse routes to support a sustainable economy and way of living. From the summer of 2019, the Formentera Council has decided to allow only limited transportation of vehicles from Ibiza and mainland Spain in order to reduce the pollution and traffic on the island. Starting 2021, the island is also reducing the use of single-use plastics.
Swimmers enjoy a sunny day at the beach of Calo Des Mort, on the west side of Formentera.
Beaches in Formentera
The island of Formentera is renowned for its beautiful beaches, which are considered to be some of the best in the Mediterranean! Most of the Formentera beaches have soft white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a refreshing feel. Access to all the island beaches and coves is easy, either by bike or on foot. Here is a list of the best beaches in Formentera:
- Playa Illetes: Beach with a Caribbean feel that has been voted as one of the world’s best, only 5 km from the port of La Savina. It has crystalline waters and there are visitor facilities on one side. The beach edges are quieter and nudist-friendly. Playa Illetes is one of the most popular options on the island and it has many restaurants, beach bars, and shops.
- Playa de Levante: Located on the eastern side of Playa Illetes, it is a long sandy beach with sand dunes. The beach is quiet and ideal for nudists. it does not enjoy much protections from the wind, so there may be strong water currents and waves. You will enjoy a great view of the neighboring island of Ibiza.
- Cala Saona: Picturesque cove on the west side, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The beach has a part with sunbeds and parasols, while the combination of white sand and rocks allows you to find some more private spots for sunbathing.
- Playa Es Pujols: Long sandy beach on the east coast, close to the only tourist resort on the island. It offers several amenities such as parasols, water sports facilities, restaurants, and disabled access.
- Playa Es Migjorn: Sandy beach stretching for over 5 km on the south coast of Formentera. It has beautiful blue waters, white and golden sand and it is quite a popular option as it has many beach clubs and beach bars (chiringuitos). It is also nudist-friendly.
- Playa es Arenals: Located on the southeast side, it is a sandy beach with visitor amenities, as well as a diving and windsurfing school, ideal for water sports lovers.
- Calo des Morts: Small cove on the west side of the island. It is accessible via steps and a small path. We propose that you get all the beach essentials in advance, as there are no visitor amenities. The beach is quite small, so make sure that you arrive early to secure a spot. The fishermen's fishing boat huts add a picturesque touch to the beauty of the landscape.
Tip: You can take the small La Bahia ferry from La Savina for a day trip or excursion to the islet of Espalmador, an uninhabited island with amazing beaches.
The impressive combination of white sand with crystalline waters on the beach of Illetes.
Sightseeing in Formentera
The island of Formentera is a small oasis. You can rent a bicycle to wander around and explore as much as possible. Despite its small size, Formentera has a long history that dates to 2000 BCE, with influences from Romans, Byzantines, and Moors. During the Spanish Civil War the island acted as a camp for political dissidents. The natural landscape, as well as the history of the place, make Formentera a great destination to discover. Below you can find a few of the best places to visit when in Formentera:
- The island lighthouses: El Faro del Cap de Barbaria (in the south) and El Faro de la Mola (in the east)
- The island caves: Cova d’Estrips, Cova Foradada, Cova de Fum, and others across the island coves
- The village of Es Caló de San Agustí, surrounded by an impressive forest
- The village of San Francisco (Sant Francesc Xavier) with the historic chapel of L'Ermita de Sa Tanca Vella
- The still-functioning windmill of El Molino de la Mola
- The megalithic graves; especially the one in Ca Na Costa
- The 18th-century watchtowers on the northern coast of Formentera: Torre de sa Punta Prima and Torre de la Gavina
- The Terramoll and Es Cap de Barbaria wineries for wine-tasting
A cinematic landscape at the cap of Barbaria in the south of Formentera.
Food in Formentera
Whether you visit Formentera for a day trip or for holidays you should keep in mind that, particularly during the summer months, the island restaurants get quite busy and might fill up quickly. You may want to consider booking in advance. Check the "El Mirador" restaurant, which is a reference point for many visitors on the island due to its spectacular view to the Balearic archipelago. Like all Balearic Islands, Formentera has delicious food! Here's a list of suggestions for food in Formentera from the Ferryhopper team:
- Payesa salad with dried salted fish
- Fried octopus (frit de polp)
- Aioli sauce with onion, oil, garlic, and tomato
- The traditional Balearic sausages sobrasada and butifarro (or butifarra)
- Goat cheese
- Thyme and rosemary honey
- Dried figs (xereques)
- The local cheesecake flaó, perfect with coffee or tea
- Herbal liquor (served on ice!)
Tip: The restaurants located on the beaches of Formentera serve tasty and fresh food. However, they tend to be more expensive during high season, so if you are traveling on a budget, you might want to find alternative options.
Useful information and phone numbers for Formentera
Apart from travelers arriving from Ibiza, Formentera is also popular amongst celebrities who usually prefer to arrive by yacht or stay at Las Banderas beachside retreat. Formentera may be more expensive ompared to other Mediterranean islands during high season and that's because resources are scarce - especially water - and almost everything has to be brought in. You can find cheaper accommodation options on the mainland. Also, look out for seasonal offers!
Formentera has no airport so you can only get there by ferry. The most popular and sustainable way to move around Formentera is by bicycle. You can bring your own, but there are many bike hire stations with both manual and electric options. The island is quite flat and the roads are good featuring bike lanes. Since 2019, only a limited number of motor-vehicles is allowed in Formentera. Keep in mind that when you access Illetes, Levante and El Tiburón by car or scooter, you will have to pay a small fee. Access to the small peninsula as well as parking options are limited.
There are regular bus routes from La Savina to the villages and beaches of the island, as well as to the resort in Es Pujols. There is also a tourist bus, the L3, which mainly serves the route La Savina-Ses Illetes-Es Pujols, as well as longer distances from the middle of May to the end of October.
Some useful contact numbers for your stay in Formentera:
- Emergency number Ibiza - Formentera: 112
- Tourist Office Formentera (La Savina): +34 971322057
- Formentera Health Center: +34 971322369
- Formentera Hospital: +34 971321212
- Municipal Police Formentera: +34 971322201 / 971322034
- Formentera Radio Taxi Service: +34 971322342
- Bus company La Savina (Autocares Paya): +34 971323181
- Sea taxis: +34 609847116 / +34 629158664
- Port Authority La Savina: +34 971322130
The picturesque fishermans' village of Es Caló de San Agustí.
Ferry schedules and ferry tickets to Formentera
You can only reach Formentera by ferry arriving at the port of La Savina, located in the north of the island, right opposite the port of Ibiza. The ferry connection between the two islands is easy and frequent, while you can also get a direct ferry connection from mainland Spain to Formentera from the ports of Denia and Barcelona. Here are some useful details about these routes:
- Denia - Formentera ferry route: The port of Dénia is located in the region of Alicante, between the cities of Alicante and Valencia and opposite the islands of Ibiza and Formentera. The ferry connection from Dénia to the port of La Savina in Formentera is daily and the duration of the ferry trip is a bit more than 2 hours.
- Barcelona-Formentera ferry route: There are regular ferry routes from Barcelona to the Balearic islands. The itinerary Barcelona - Formentera is in operation with 5 weekly crossings and it lasts around 12 hours.
Island hopping in the Balearic Islands
The Formentera - Ibiza ferry route is the best way to start your island hopping in the Balearic Sea and the most popular way to reach the small island. The ferries depart from the port of Ibiza to the port of La Savina daily from early morning to midnight. The duration of the ferry trip is just 25 minutes, which allows visitors to organize day trips to the two islands. It's the perfect chance to combine the party vibes of Ibiza with a relaxing retreat in Formentera.
From Ibiza you can take direct ferries to Mallorca and continue your exploration in the Balearic islands. There is also a daily ferry route from Formentera to Mallorca and the trip lasts approximately 3h 30min.
On Ferryhopper, you can find all ferry routes to Formentera and the Balearic Islands and organize an exciting holiday in the Mediterranean!
Sailing boats in the crystal blue waters of Cala Saona, Formentera.
Where to book ferry tickets to Formentera?
Formentera is a unique destination in the Mediterranean and its beautiful, exotic beaches will leave you breathless. On Ferryhopper you can compare all ferry schedules to/from Formentera and book ferry tickets online in just 4 clicks!