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 here information about holidays in Formentera, what to do on the island, beaches, sightseeing, food, as well as how to get there and ferry schedules.
Holidays in Formentera
Formentera belongs in the Balearic island complex and 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, just 40 minutes away by ferry, it's the perfect choice if you want to relax after some intense party days in Ibiza or for a day trip in a 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 from hippies from all over the world, and it is said that along with Ibiza, they were important stops of the hippie trail from Europe to India.
The capital of the island is Sant Francesc de Formentera, which is located in the mainland about 5min drive or 15 min cycle from the port of La Savina. An interesting fact about Formentera is the island’s environmental awareness. The citizens of Formentera have 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 limited transportation of vehicles to the island from Ibiza and mainland Spain in order to reduce the pollution and traffic on the island. From 2021 the island is also reducing the use of single-use plastic.
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 of the best in the Mediterranean. Most of the Formentera beaches have creamy white sand, crystal waters, and refreshing temperature. 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 beaches, only 5km from the port of La Savina. Crystalline waters, half of it is organized, on the edges of the beach is quieter and nudist-friendly. One of the most popular options on the island, it has many restaurants, beach bars, and shops.
- Playa de Levante: On the eastern side of Playa Illetes, a long sandy beach, with sand dunes, quiet, ideal for nudists. Not much protected from the wind so it can have strong water currents and waves. Great view of the neighboring Ibiza.
- Cala Saona: Picturesque cove on the west side, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The beach has an organized 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: A long sandy beach on the east coast, in a tourist resort (the only one on the island). Well organized with parasols, water sports facilities, nearby restaurants, and disabled access.
- Playa Es Migjorn: A sandy beach of over 5km on the south coast of Formentera. Beautiful crystal blue waters, white and golden sand. quite a popular option as it has many beach clubs and beach bars (chiringuitos). Nudist-friendly.
- Playa es Arenals: Located on the southeast side, an organized sandy beach with a diving and windsurfing school, ideal for water sports lovers.
- Calo des Morts: Small cove on the west side of the island, not organized and accessible via steps and a short path. We recommend that you get all the essentials for a day at the beach in advance (including water, shade, snacks). The beach is quite small so make sure that you arrive early to secure a spot. The fishermen's huts for fishing boats 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 Paradise, and we recommend that you rent a bicycle to wander around and explore as much as possible. Although a small island, Formentera has a long history that dates to 2000BC, with influences from Romans, Byzantines, and Moors, while 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) where you can visit the historic, old, chapel of L'Ermita de Sa Tanca Vella
- The still-functioning windmill of El Molino de la Mola
- The megalithic graves and 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
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. We would therefore recommend making a reservation in advance. Check the "El Mirador" restaurant which is a reference point for many visitors on the island for its spectacular view to the Balearic archipelago. Like all Balearic Islands, Formentera has delicious food! 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 (with ice!)
Tip: The restaurants located on the beaches of Formentera serve nice and fresh food however there are slightly more expensive during high season so if you are traveling on a budget you might want to find alternative options. Also, Formentera has 2 wineries, Terramoll and Es Cap de Barbaria which organize wine tasting sessions and tours to the vineyards.
Useful information and numbers for Formentera
Apart from visitors from Ibiza and hippies, Formentera is also popular amongst celebrities who usually prefer to arrive by yacht or stay at Las Banderas beachside retreat. It is possible to find Formentera food or accommodation more expensive compared 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 as well as via hotel 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, the roads are good with bike lanes. Since 2019, a limited number of motor-vehicles are allowed in Formentera to reduce pollution and overcrowding. Keep in mind that when you access by car or scooter the small peninsula where Illetes, Levante, and El Tiburón beaches are located, you will have to pay a small fee, and the access, as well as parking, are limited.
There are regular bus routes from La Savina to the villages and beaches of the island as well as the resort in Es Pujols. There is also a tourist bus, the L3, which serves mainly 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
Formentera can only be accessed by ferry through 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. Some more specific information on these routes:
- Denia - Formentera ferry route: The port of Dénia is located in the region of Alicante, half-way between the cities of Alicante and Valencia and opposite the Balearic 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: The port of Barcelona has regular ferry connection to the Balearic islands and, while the island of Formentera is the more distant of the four, there is a ferry that departs from Barcelona around 5 times per week to the port of La Savina. The Barcelona - Formentera ferry trip lasts about 11 -12 hours.
Island hopping in the Balearic Islands
The Formentera - Ibiza ferry connection 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 almost every 30 to 45 minutes (early morning to late afternoon). The duration of the ferry trip is very short, just 30 minutes, which allows visitors to organize day trips to the two islands and also 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 direct ferry route from Formentera to Mallorca a few days every week and the trip lasts approximately 3,5 hours.
On the Ferryhopper search engine, you can find all direct and indirect ferry connections 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 4 clicks.